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Democrats greedily blocking healthcare for our returning veterans

By Rachel Alexander
web posted November 26, 2007

Whether one agrees with the war or not, individual patriotic Americans who signed up to serve our country, putting their lives in danger, should not be blamed.

The Democrats in Congress did a sneaky thing to try and force massive spending increases for social welfare programs and government education through – they included them in a bill that provided funding for veterans' healthcare. Instead of including all funding for veterans' healthcare in a defense appropriations bill, Democrats put part of the authorization for funds for veterans' healthcare in a $606 billion dollar domestic spending bill that contained more than 2,000 pork earmarks, including a sailing school taught aboard a catamaran, a prison museum, a Portugese language program, $665 million in sheer giveaways to private community organizations, and $225 million for community health centers, something that is already well-served by the private sector.

The bill would have increased spending for social services and government education by more than $10 billion over what Bush told the Democrats the country could afford, another 4.3% more for these programs than last year. 56 of the programs are ineffective or duplicative and should be eliminated. Bush observed that although the Democrats ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility last year, they've acted like a teenager with a new credit card. Consequently, Bush was forced to veto this spending monstrosity until a compromise could be made to allow the veterans' healthcare provisions to pass. Democrats, not surprisingly, led by Senator Joe Biden, have used the opportunity to blame Bush for blocking veterans' healthcare provisions. This is a transparent attempt at fooling the voters, considering the Democrats' tradition of advocating for reductions to all things military while Republicans have consistently asked for more support for our troops.

This is despicable considering that our wounded veterans are this country's greatest heroes. Whether one agrees with the war or not, individual patriotic Americans who signed up to serve our country, putting their lives in jeopardy, should not be blamed.

Since the war in Iraq began in 2003, over 60,000 troops have returned with physical injuries or mental health problems. 1/3 of the troops returning from Iraq are diagnosed with some kind of mental health problem within 3-5 months. Coincidentally, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder wasn't diagnosed until the Vietnam War – when war protesters first emerged, calling our troops "babykillers" and taunting them when they came home. With the emergence of TV during that war, and now the ever present media of today, hatred towards our troops is magnified. It was appalling to hear of the rude protesters who showed up at Veterans' Day parades around the country last week. Hollywood actors and stars like the Dixie Chicks are contributing to the psychological toll that is demoralizing our troops and contributing to mental health issues like depression. According to CBS, over 120 veterans per week across the U.S. committed suicide in 2005, a total of 6,256 that year.

It is impossible to determine how many of our veterans' mental health issues have been caused or made worse by the American left's harsh criticism and ridicule. The number is probably in the thousands, but we'll never know. Similarly, it's unknown how many of our enemies have decided to continue their terrorism and killing due to encouragement from American leftists. If we could identify an absolute number of American troops who have been killed due to leftist criticism of the war, perhaps the left would be shamed into subduing their criticism of our government during times of defensive war. The American left is gambling that if the U.S. withdraws from Iraq, the terrorists won't attack us again. We already know the terrorists are irrational, and are becoming increasingly emboldened, so why would we think they would be satisfied with killing just 2,996 Americans on 9-11?

Our troops who return from Iraq unable to work requiring disability income are encountering bureaucratic delays, no doubt caused by government giving priority to other interest groups over our veterans. There is only so much money to go around in government to administer programs. War veteran D.A. King recently observed that illegal immigrants have more powerful lobbyists in Congress than our veterans , because illegal immigrants have unfettered access to no-cost healthcare paid for by American taxpayers under federal mandated law. Whereas according to the American Journal of Public Health, more than one million of our vets have no insurance or access to VA medical care. Unlike illegal immigrants, veterans are screened out from healthcare coverage by income, number of dependents, and the nature of their condition. This is a direct result of Democrats prioritizing medical care for illegal immigrants and designating the medical care of our vets to second-rate citizen status instead, ironically.

Democrats are playing similar games with providing adequate funding for our troops who are still in Iraq. They've tacked a "cut-and-run" withdrawal deadline onto a defense bill authorizing continuing funds for our troops in Iraq. They won't authorize necessary supplies, ammunition, and basic living expenses for our troops unless a deadline for withdrawal is included in the bill. By cutting funds for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and setting a timeline to leave, Democrats are sending a clear message to our enemies that we are giving up. Democrats are gambling on the risky chance that the terrorists will never make a major attack on the U.S. again. Which party do you feel safer with? If you serve your country, which party do you think will consistently value that service?

Note: D.A. King was in the USMC 1970-1971 and stayed in Camp Pendleton, California. It should be noted that means testing for vets has only recently been implemented. His website is www.TheDustinInmanSociety.org ESR

Rachel Alexander and her brother Andrew are co-Editors of Intellectual Conservative. Rachel practices law in Phoenix, Arizona and blogs for GOPUSA.com.


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