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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Seriously, HOW MANY? (part 4 of 4 War Questions)


"Vietnam was the first war ever fought without censorship. Without censorship, things can get terribly confused in the public mind." - General William Westmoreland

Something is Seriously Wrong

The final section of military related reporting. At this point, I’m not even going to say “you decide” per Fox “news” standards. What I’m going to say is if you look at these numbers and don't conclude that there is something seriously wrong with the system, you must return immediately to a Fox social media subsidiary.



"There is no morality in war. Morality is the privilege of those judging from the distance. War is only death and destruction." - John Cory

WWI Veterans 

At the end of World War I, veterans received a $60 allowance and a train ticket home. Five years later, congress agreed to pay WWI veterans an additional bonus but held payment for over two decades. 

WWI vets and their families marched on Washington during the depression asking for the bonus. Herbert Hoover escalated the conflict and called out the Army. It became violent and was a disaster for the politicians.


"Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army." - Edward Everett




WWII Veterans' Benefits 


To avoid a similar catastrophe, additional financial support for WWII vets was authorized. WWII servicemen were given an increase in pay. (Privates earned $21 a month in 1941 and $50 a month in 1942.) 

By the time the original GI education bill ended in July 1956, 7.8 million of 16 million World War II veterans had participated and the VA backed nearly 2.4 million home loans. The result was a national increase in financial stability and a strong middle class with purchasing power.



"It's outrageous that many enlisted people qualify for food stamps because military salaries are so low" - Patricia Schroeder

The Food Stamp Army 

Currently, military families redeem more than $100 million in food aid, double the amount spent in 2009. 1.5 million vets or 7% of all vets used food stamps in 2012. 

The least experienced solider is payed a little over $18,300 per year. Military spouses have a three times higher rate for unemployment compared to civilian spouses. 620,000 military households rely on food banks.

 

The Pentagon is considering increasing prices at the commissaries.



Sections of an open letter from a veteran to congress: 

“My name is Jason. I turned 35 less than a week ago. . . .  I’ve never gone longer than six months without employment in my life and I just spent the last three years in the military, one of which consisted of a combat tour of Afghanistan.




Oh, and I’m now on food stamps. Since June, as a matter of fact. 


Why am I on food stamps? The same reason everyone on food stamps is on food stamps:

because I would very much enjoy not starving . . .
I do apologize for burdening you on the checkout line with real-life images of American-style poverty . . . 

I’ve known people recently – soldiers in the Army . . . They were off fighting in Afghanistan while their wives were at home, buying food at the on-post commissary with food stamps. 

And nobody bats an eye there, because it’s not uncommon in the military.



It’s not uncommon – nor is it shameful. It might be shameful how little service-members are paid, but that’s a separate issue . . . 


I didn’t risk my life in Afghanistan so I could come back and watch people go hungry in America.

Anyone who genuinely supports cutting food stamps is not an intellectual or an ideologue – they’re a bully. And nobody likes a bully. Except other bullies. 


It’s time for regular Americans to stand up to these bullies. Not cower in the corner, ashamed of needing help. Because if there’s one thing life has taught me, it’s that you never know when you’ll be the one in need.


"We found widespread predatory and deceptive recruiting practices, high drop-out rates and inadequate, or even non-existent, academic and student support services, among other things." - Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, chairman of the U.S. Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee.


GI Bill Abuse 

Education spending through the GI Bill has increased to $10 billion. However, for-profit schools have been the primary beneficiary and have increased revenue by up to 600 percent. For-profit schools, per a recent government report, are notorious for "making deceptive or otherwise questionable claims", admissions without a screening process for academic readiness and encouraging students to maximize student loan options.


They have disproportionate marketing budgets and have been allowed on military basis and links to military websites to promote their programs. They also offer courses with no accreditation and with credits that rarely transfer to serious academic institutions. 60% of military students who attend for-profit schools default on their loans. 




"It takes twenty years or more of peace to make a man; it only takes twenty seconds of war to destroy him." - King Baudouin I of Belgium


Service Connected Disability

3.6 million veterans have a recognized service connected disability and almost 1 million are classified as 70% disabled or higher.


45% of the 1.6 million veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan have filed disability claims, more than double the early government estimate. 





"We need access to care . . . and we have to come home and fight for it." - Retired Staff Sgt. Zach Mcilwain 

Compensation and Pension Claims

VA workers processed more than 1.3 million compensation and pension claims in 2014 leaving a backload of 300,000 claims. 

However, more than half of all VA disability appeal cases are sent back for further review. An additional 300,000 veterans are currently waiting for an appeal decision and the average wait time is more than 1,200 days.



53 vets die every day waiting for their benefits.


"A certain kind of officer demands sex from underlings in the same way he demands they pick up his laundry." - Aaron MacLean 


Sexual Assault 

In 2012, 26,000 active duty military personnel admitted that they had been sexually assaulted. The DOD believes the number is much higher. 


Of those assaults, 3,374 cases were reported, 484 cases went to trial, and 376 resulted in convictions. 

Ninety percent of the assault victims were eventually involuntarily discharged.






"A great war leaves the country with three armies - an army of cripples, an army of mourners, and an army of thieves." -German Proverb 

Severe Mental Health Outcomes

One in six veterans from Iraq or Afghanistan are impaired by substance abuse or prescription drug abuse which increased fivefold from 2002 to 2008. 



Troops who face multiple deployments are at a 300 percent increased risk of severe mental health outcomes. Almost half of the troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, have had multiple deployments, many more than five.




"The most basic obligation we have to our veterans is that we keep the promise that were made to them. That is what makes the recent failures of the Veterans Administration so shameful." Doc Hastings, US Representative 

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury

F
rom a recent DOD study of veterans who have been identified with PTSD and TBI (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury), 59% reported either feeling no improvement or feeling worse after undergoing treatment and 30% had terminated their treatment completely. 

Estimates for military members with PTSD range from 50,000 (Department of Defense) to 400,000 (RAND Corp). 

Less than 40% of veterans with these conditions seek any type of treatment. 





"If you think you know the one thing that causes people to commit suicide, please let us know,” because we don't know what it is." - Army Vice Chief of Staff General Peter Charley

Suicide 

More than 100,000 veterans and active military have killed themselves since Sept. 11, 2001. 
Compare that to the 5,370 deaths from combat during the War on Terror. 


22 veterans took their lives each day in 2009 and 2010. Veterans are twice as likely to commit suicide as non-veterans. Estimated suicides for Vietnam vets are 70,000 to 300,000. 


The DOD and VA has ordered an end to regular, scheduled public disclosures of suicide data.





"The 1st panacea of a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the 2nd is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; a permanent ruin." - Ernest Hemingway

The cost of caring for veterans peaks 30 to 40 years after the war. The estimated cost in 2050 will be, at a minimum, $900 billion. 





"The responsible choice would be to honor those who have worn our nation's uniform, but the administration made a different choice. They're raising veterans' health care fees by $250 a year while cutting taxes for millionaires." - Senator John Kerry


VA National Scandal 

Recall the huge national embarrassment from the Phoenix VA? Recall how congress what going to change all that?

Well, with the people I work with, I would say Congress has improved . . . nothing, bupkis, zip, nada, zilch . . . allow me to provide an example.




“VA’s widespread and systemic lack of accountability is jeopardizing the health of veterans and contributing to all of the department’s most pressing problems.” U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee 

Aid and Attendance

There is benefit for veterans (and their spouses) who served during war time called Aid and Attendance. It helps cover the costs of caregivers in the home (including sons and daughters who are paid to be caregivers) or the cost of a nursing home. 

The benefit is up to $2,019 monthly for a veteran and spouse, and up to $1,094 for the widow of a veteran.



“Congress will be tempted to wipe their hands of this, go to the Election Day and say ‘we've done our part’ and that’s where groups like ours, Concerned Veterans for America, veterans across the country have to keep the heat on them to say this is just the start. VA is not fixed.” – Pete Hegseth, CEO of Concerned Veterans for America

Of the 1.7 million World War II veterans in 2011 only 38,076 veterans and 38,685 surviving spouses were receiving assistance.

It’s been an entitlement for 61 years but almost impossible to access. 





"War is a racket. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives." - General Smedley Butler

The application web site states:
You are not eligible for A and A unless you already qualify for a basic Veterans Affairs pension . . . for which you are not eligible unless you have been classified as totally disabled.

What it fails to mention is when wartime vets turn 65, they are automatically classified as totally disabled.





“If you think it’s too expensive, then don’t send them off to war. Taking care of veterans is a cost of the war. They paid for it.” Sen. Bernie Sanders on Republicans blocking comprehensive veterans’ legislation on fiscal ground.  
   
Most Medicaid programs require veterans to prove they have applied for VA benefits and have been rejected. This means the vets that I'm working with (medically fragile and requiring a high level of care) cannot get state assistance, have no community resources (because of their location) and per my 12 month attempt to get help from the VA, will also not receive the VA benefits they are entitled to. 


I can't remember how many times I've been told by older veterans that they went down to the VA, stood in line for help but left because they believed the younger veterans who were also waiting needed the benefits more than they did. 


Dick Cheney 

However, to keep things in perspective, Uncle Dick Cheney believes that we really, really, really needed to spend a trillion dollars on the War on Terror and Halliburton really, really, really needed $17.2 billion tax dollars. 

Dick Cheney on Iraq and weapons of mass destruction: 
March 17, 2002: "We know they have biological and chemical weapons." 
March 19, 2002: "We know they are pursuing nuclear weapons." 
March 24, 2002: "He is actively pursuing nuclear weapons." 
May 19, 2002: "We know he's got chemical and biological...we know he's working on nuclear." 
August 26, 2002: "We now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons... Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us." 
March 16, 2003: "We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons."



"Every man thinks god is on his side." - Jean Anouilh


It is a matter of perspective . . .  oh and money . . . and reprehensible, illegal and immoral behavior . . . you can even ask Fox "news". 

Did you miss the prior post about who didn't come home?



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