How We Show Our Appreciation
Yet, many of our Republican Congress members would reduce benefits to our brave soldiers who put their lives on the line, risking death and dismemberment, at the call of our nation.
Romney entertained privitizing the VA. Michelle Bachmann thought disability pay should be reduced by $4 billion. Paul Ryan (WI) suggestion gutting VA Healthcare by $6 billion, which would have cut 1.3 million veterans out of the program.
Is this how we treat those answered the call to duty…and lost so much?
Meanwhile, First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden have been working to increase care and training for our vets.
The Veterans Jobs Corps initiative will reportedly give $166 million in grant money to communities that show a preference for hiring post-9/11 veterans for new law enforcement positions, and $320 million in grant money to fire departments who pledge to hire and train new veterans.
Obama, who’s called on Congress to act on the initiative, also recently announced a new “We Can’t Wait” initiative that will help thousands of service members with manufacturing and other high-demand skills receive civilian credentials and licenses.
Also, in just the last two months, more than 27,000 unemployed veterans have submitted applications for a new VA-funded skills-based program that pays veterans for up to a year of education toward an associate degree or a non-college-degree or certificate.
In addition to unemployment, another massive problem plaguing veterans are mental health issues such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and suicide. The VA, which even veterans advocates who support Obama acknowledge is still a long way from adequately addressing the mental health crisis among veterans, just announced the hiring of 1,600 new mental health care workers.
These workers include psychiatrists, psychologists, mental health nurses and marriage and family therapists. An additional 300 people will be added to support this new clinical staff.
Michelle Obama and Jill Biden have also stepped up efforts in recent months to improve mental health care services for veterans as part of their Joining Forces program for military families, which was launched last year. In April, the first and second ladies announced an agreement with 150 nursing organizations and 500 nursing schools to educate nurses on combat-related injuries such as PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
In January, Mrs. Obama announced a similar pledge by 135 medical schools to educate future physicians and increase research for PTSD and TBI.
Instead of doing less, we should, if we had any honor, being doing more as well as making sure our young people are not put in harm’s way again for ideological dogma. As Eisenhower said, war should be the very last option after all other options have been tried and failed.