Saturday, November 11, 2006

Restore veterans’ benefits NOW

On this Veteran’s Day, I suggest that instead of displaying stupid yellow car magnets and other modes of make-believe support of our troops, that we as Americans, and the Democrats we’ve just elected to office, instead do something that’s actually meaningful: give something back to those who have survived our mideast follies. Provide meaningful educational support, and decent medical care, and a leg up with home purchasing. In short, pay them what they’re owed, while also rebuilding the ranks of the middle class.

It is unforgivable that those made most vulnerable through our misguided foreign adventures return to so little, when compared to veterans of other wars, and that so many end up flailing both economically and emotionally, a clear demonstration that for all the lip service we give to “supporting the troops,” we really just don’t give a damn.

If we believe that we can no longer “afford” to provide such benefits, we should understand that we can no longer “afford” to have a military, and we should also make every living recipient of such “largesse” of yore pay us back, with interest, for the benefits that were provided to them. Because make no mistake: many of those past GI Bill recipients are the very same folks as those who are responsible for gutting the benefits for today’s veterans. And if our veterans of today are undeserving, then so are our veterans of yesterday.

The GI Bill benefits had a huge role in the creation of America’s middle class, and the simultaneous demise of both is more than mere coincidence. Restoring meaningful benefits to all veterans should be high on the Democratic agenda, because our veterans need help, and because it’s the right thing to do. Give something back.

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