Monday, March 05, 2007

Overwhelmed In Every Area

In the last two weeks the Army secretary has been fired, a two-star general relieved of command, and two special commissions appointed over inadequate services to our veterans in the last several years under Congressman John Kline and the GOP controlled legislative and administration's lack of leadership and oversight.There are numerous examples that while Kline is voting for tax breaks to wealthy Americans, he's voting against veterans services. Over a hundred times while in office Kline has voted to cut veteran benefits, slash veterans services and deny veteran funding.

Kline's record in the last four years has sharply 'deklined' the services provided to America's veterans to it's current substandard level. Even his recently endorsement of the “Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act” (HR 327) which dictates how the Department of Veteran’s Affairs should treat soldiers suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is just window dressing. It provides no additional funding to address PTSD nor does it address some of the causes of PTSD. Causes that Kline's leadership has institutionalized such as forcing repeated Iraq tours; prohibiting soldiers from leaving service when their enlistment ends; insufficient body armor; inadequate equipment and being forced to kill or be killed in an unnecessary war.

Kline is now asking for an investigation into the gross neglect of wounded U.S. veterans only following the recent tragic death of a local soldier who took his life after being placed on a VA waiting list. But showing his usual arrogance, Kline is not willing to accept responsibility for the major roll he's played in how veterans services have been slashed and bashed in the last several years to the point they are now inadequate or the complete lack of oversight for any of these programs.

Sounding a lot like a replay of what happened with Katrina, Linda J. Bilmes, a professor of public finance at Harvard, recently completed a study of the long-term costs of providing medical care and benefits to veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Department of Veterans Affairs, she said, “is overwhelmed in every area.”

Supporting our troops is more than sending them off to war, it's also paying for programs needed by thousands of returning soldiers with traumatic mental and physical injuries. Tell John Kline it's time for him to support all our troops, even those unfortunate ones that can't advocate for themselves due to injuries. They were good enough to go fight for their country, now wounded veterans deserve to have the best treatment American can offer.

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