While the title is a bit provocative, it’s not completely unsubstantiated. Right now in the United States, some veterans have waited over 600 days to hear back about their benefits… SIX HUNDRED DAYS! That’s almost two years. I shudder when people make the improper analogy between governments and businesses, but can you imagine what would happen if a business waiting 2 years to tell its employees about their benefits claims? These soldiers aren’t even the ones that are coming home right now. Logic would tell you that the veterans that are coming home today wouldn’t have to wait as long as those that have come before them… wrong. The wait time is getting longer.
I was born and raised in Canada, so my cultural perspective on joining the military and going to war is a bit different from someone who was born and raised in the United States. Nonetheless, I’ve done quite a bit of reading on the subject and the American culture’s beliefs about war and soldiers permeate… everything. The “Support our Troops” campaign was long-adopted in the USA before it was in Canada. Not to mention the way that war is glorified in TV, movies, and video games.
Given all of this, I can’t understand how a country like the United States would not properly care for their veterans returning home. It’s unfathomable. People give of their time (and become soldiers) only to return from war zones with injuries — both physical and mental. Isn’t it the obligation of the country to then properly care for those people? Shouldn’t people be chomping at the bit to help these people. These people who risked their lives for — presumably — the country’s freedoms (or to help another country assert its freedoms). Note: I realize that the last couple of sentences may spark conversation about foreign policy and the US as interventionists overseas, so I wanted to acknowledge it in this side note and redirect to the main point of taking proper care of veterans.
Last night, Rachel Maddow had on the CEO of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Paul Rieckhoff. He’s been on the program before, but last night seemed like a special interview. I’d urge you to watch it (couldn’t embed it on WordPress, so here’s the link: Veterans appeal to Obama to step in on VA backlog) and then do something about it! Tweet about it, email your member of Congress, email your Senator, call ’em, tell your friends, tell your family, shout it from the rooftops!