Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Unacceptable

Salon.com is reporting that the government is looking to cut the costs of war by investigating people claiming post-traumatic stress disorder for fraud. America, I know I said I wasn't going to read Salon.com again, but I have and, as a result, I think I'm going to throw up. Here's the deal. Regardless of whether you are for the war or against it, we have a responsibility to these soldiers. This obligation is not easily met through slapping a yellow ribbon sticker on your SUV or accusing liberals of being anti-American. Sorry. The cost is a little greater than that. I keep feeling like this should be obvious, but apparently it's not, so I'm going to spell it out for you. These men and women are volunteering their time, energy, skills, and potentially their lives. Regardless of what you think of the war, we need a strong and healthy military, and we need to support the men and women in it. One way to support the men and women in the military is to continually examine and reflect upon the goals for the campaigns in which we have them engaged. Yes, this means that we have an obligation to fight about whether we are doing the right thing. This does not make the arguers unpatriotic. It makes them careful with our most valuable resources--our citizens. Another way to support them is to insist that they have the equipment and resources they need to do their jobs. It is UNACCEPTABLE that men and women are in harm's way because they don't have the things they need to do their jobs while we are sitting here in relative comfort. Wars have costs. And even though I think this war is a crock of stinking shit piled so high it blots out the sun I would gladly do without whatever the hell you needed me to do without so that soldiers can have Kevlar or whatever else they need. Of course, because asking real sacrifice and not just rhetorical loyalty would make the war very real for people in a way it's not, we can't have that. Instead, we're going to continue to screw over the very people who are making real sacrifices. And now, now that we've stuck them in that stinking pit of a place and fucked some of them up good, we're going to try to cut costs by refusing them mental healthcare because a few of them might be frauds? Okay, seriously, I don't know how many of you folks know people who were in Vietnam or who had fathers or friends of fathers who served in Vietnam, but let's just talk frankly here about the shit we normally don't talk about. If people go through traumatic events that they then find themselves unable to deal with once they get back here and if they cannot get the help they need, they are not the only ones who suffer. You know what I mean? This is not just a military problem. This is a problem that affects all of us and one that we all need to work to address. Look at this bullshit from the VA: "Right now, the number of homeless male and female Vietnam era veterans is greater than the number of service persons who died during that war." Please, read that again. The number of homeless Vietnam vets right now, as they are in their late 50s and early 60s, is greater than the number of service personnel that died in that war. If there is any clearer statistic on the way we have and continue to let our service people down, I don't know what it is. So, here's what really pisses me off about this witch-hunt. 1.) Even if there is some fraud, the overall benefits of widely available mental health resources is so great as to, in my mind, negate what little fraud there might be. If you go through some terrible shit on my behalf, I don't mind my tax money being used to help you deal with it. If some dumbfucks steal some of it, it's still worth it to me for you to have the help you need. 2.) The people in the armed services are not our enemies. But the implication of investigating 72,000 veterans of the war on terror/global struggle against violent extremists is that, indeed, they are all potentially liars and con artists. This is the thanks they get? These true patriots come home from a war they volunteered for only to be accused by this administration, which has so closely linked support for the administration with support for the military and with "true patriotism," of being criminals? Truly unacceptable.

13 Comments:

Anonymous Sarcastro said...

You had me until the bullshit VA stat. The problem with that is the difference between "Vietnam-era veterans" and "Vietnam-conflict veterans." There are plenty of Vietnam-era veterans who spent their entire military service shoveling shit in El Paso, Texas without ever setting foot in Vietnam. Are their problems related to military service or are they related to choices that person may have made after finishing his/her enlistment?

Hell, I'm a Desert Storm era veteran, I even went to Kuwait for a few months. But the only shots I heard fired in anger were dumbass Kuwaiti Border Guards shooting at me by mistake. If I come down with cancer tomorrow is it from Gulf War Syndrome or is it from the pack of Marlboros I suck down per day?

8/09/2005 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

I don't think that matters. If you served our country, who the hell cares why you get cancer? You're a vet; you're entitled to our gratitude and our help for the rest of your life, even if you fuck it up with drugs or booze or reading the blogs of loose women.

To link the help you get to the cause of your problems is just a convenient dodge for us to get out of fulfilling our obligations to you.

That being said, it's especially gross to target recently returned veterans.

8/09/2005 11:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Sarcastro said...

Loose women, eh? Is there like a special ward for that?

The gubmint's obligation to me should extend to things related to my gubmint service. If I wake up every night screaming, yeah, they owe me a couple of gift certificates to the head shrinker.

But me tripping on the back porch steps Sunday while grilling out and ripping my calf muscle in half is my responsibility and possibly the responsibility of that rat-faced fuck Bobby Flay.

8/09/2005 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Well, lucky for you, they aren't going to stick me in charge of the VA any time soon, so your calf muscle's status remains an issue for you and, perhaps, that odd man Mr. Flay.

8/09/2005 12:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarcastro said...

Mr. Flay can be found drawn, quartered and served with a homemade white bbq sauce here: http://flakmag.com/tv/flay.html

8/09/2005 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Why Stephanie March left L&O:SVU for him I'll never understand. She could have spent the rest of her career making googly eyes at Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay. It makes no sense.

8/09/2005 01:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarcastro said...

That Steph March looks about a foot taller than him and could have done a whole lot better. She was cool and elegant, but he comes off like a leprechaun with short-man's complex.

I guess opposites do attract.

8/09/2005 01:08:00 PM  
Anonymous The Yellow Brand Hammer Co. said...

It's so expensive!

If you really want to be sick, use the "compare to the cost of" links.

8/09/2005 02:19:00 PM  
Blogger TVonthefritz said...

You remind me of a blogging Bernie Mac.

8/09/2005 03:57:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Shoot, Fritz, what do you think that B. stands for?

8/09/2005 04:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

B, how funny is it that you're having this argument with an ex-serviceman? And which sides you and he are on?

HEAR HEAR! to every word of your post.

Elias

8/09/2005 06:42:00 PM  
Blogger Kat Coble said...

Maybe I'm missing something, but they're just investigating, right? Are they refusing to pay any and all claims? 'Cause any insurance company anywhere should investigate a claim.

I definitely support troops, and don't have anything with a yellow ribbon on it. But I also know that there's no harm in investigating a claim.

8/09/2005 07:05:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

According to the Salon.com article, politicians from Illinois asked the VA to investigate whether veterans in that state were receiving payments too low for their situations. Instead, the VA will be focusing solely on the veterans who receive the maximum payments to see whether they are defrauding the government.

Veterans organizations have argued that the amount of deliberate fraud is very small and the discrepancies are instead due to the fact that there's not consistant medical screening. But again, rather than investigating whether consistant standards are being implimented across the board, they're asking deeply traumatized service people to prove they aren't liars and thieves.

Sure, I'd love to believe this is just prudence on the part of this administration, but this is the same administration which had to be shamed into finding $1.5 billion dollars this year to fund the VA fully in the first place. So, I have my doubts about this just being proper stewardship of my tax dollars.

Elias, it's only weird if Sarcastro's not a libertarian. Then there'd be no explanation for how easily we slide into each other's traditional rhetorical stances. If he is, it makes sense, because really, what's the difference between me and a libertarian? We both don't give a shit what you do; I just think the government should pay for it.

8/09/2005 09:14:00 PM  

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