Sunday, March 22, 2009

Obama declares war on our vets

From the 23 March 2009 Greater Niagara Newspapers

By Bob Confer

The lingering physical trauma and mental anguish of war are things that most Americans will never experience.

We will never know what it feels like to have limbs ripped from our body by a bomb blast or a hole run through us by searing hot lead. The long road to recovery – or adjustment to a new reality – that comes from such a horror is something completely foreign to us.

Nor will we will ever understand the psychological pain that many a vet carries with him for his lifetime. We know not the vivid imagery trapped in a soldier’s mind that plays like a recurring nightmare, one where his friend is gunned down before him or where he happens upon the remains of women and children defiled by our enemies.

Most of us will never have to suffer those “living casualties” of war because we are blessed. Our national interests and the defense of our nation and other nations much less fortunate are upheld by our impeccable armed forces. More than 26 million men and women count themselves as veterans of our defense, having served and sacrificed so that we may go about doing what Americans do and living in peace and liberty. It is to them that we owe our lives.

It is to them that we owe their lives.

They have given much, and seen plenty, and it is our responsibility as citizens – especially as citizens who did not share in their higher calling – to take care of them, as they did us, when they return to the home front. Many of the vets went about their military business selflessly and with no expectations but to maintain Americana. Regardless of that, we do have an obligation to them, to return the favor in kind and provide them the care they need, both physically and mentally, in their efforts to become whole again. It’s the very least that we can do for them. And it’s still not enough.

Not everyone sees it that way. Remarkably, President Barack Obama, the Commander-in-Chief, is one who doesn’t see their well-being as our full responsibility.

Last week Obama held a meeting at the White House with various veterans organizations at which he dropped a bomb: His Administration is putting serious thought into cutting back on the medical treatment of service-related injuries. Much to the chagrin of veterans everywhere, he believes that their expenses should be covered not by VA funds but by the private health insurances that veterans have access to. Obama looks at this potential move as a revenue generator for Veterans Affairs, believing it will rake-in more than $540 million in new monies.

So, while most people look at the sacrifices of our vets as something priceless, Obama chooses instead to attach a price tag to them. You must assume that if he’s looking at the insurance transfer as a profitable proposition he’s looking at the current system as a losing endeavor. Such thinking further represents the government’s growing mountain of hypocrisy. Our federal government bleeds money and wastes at it every chance possible (see the stimulus package and the glut of bailouts), yet here it is nickel-and-diming the men and women who believe more so than most in what that government should stand for. When you look at it, that $540 million is one of the very best investments we can ever make.

This makes you wonder who’s on whose side. Back in the late-1960’s some Vietnam War vets, upon coming back home, were spit on by antiwar protestors. Here it is decades later and they (as well as all other vets) have been spit on again. But this time, their efforts weren’t punished by protestors. Their current offenders are their own president and his staff who seem to look at the health of those soldiers as a waste of taxpayer money.

It’s really a sad state of affairs in Veteran Affairs.

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