GOP Dishonors Veterans’ Sacrifice with Benefit Cuts and Privatized Healthcare Schemes

Another Memorial Day is upon us to remember the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces, and with American soldiers fighting in Afghanistan, it is important to reflect not only on their service and sacrifice, but on the reason they are in harm’s way. Using the military should be a last resort and only to defend this nation, however, there are politicians and leaders who take advantage of the military’s dedication and force to advance their own self-interests and they dishonor America’s service members with their cavalier attitude toward human life and taxpayer dollars.

The men and women who volunteer to defend America do so out of a sense of duty, and they are to be commended profusely for their willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice in service of their country. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan certainly had nothing to do with defending the homeland, and looking back on the Bush administration’s folly in both countries invokes myriad feelings of betrayal because the terror attacks on 9/11 that precipitated the wars was avoidable if Bush et al heeded warnings in August of 2001 that Al Qaeda intended on flying commercial airliners into buildings on American soil. It is now part of the historical record that when Bush entered the White House in 2001, one of the first questions his team asked was “where are the war plans for Iraq,” and despite volumes of evidence that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction or involvement in the terror attacks on 9/11, the cowards Cheney and Bush fabricated evidence, lied to the American people, and sacrificed thousands of American service members lives to enrich the oil industry, Dick Cheney’s company Haliburton, and the evangelical mercenary army, Blackwater Inc. Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, and five of their legal counsel were convicted of war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo; the criminals remain free  and the blame lies solely with the media, but that is another story.

The Bush administration’s blatant disregard for the lives of our brave soldiers is only matched by the deceit and machinations the warmongers perpetrated in order to enrich their wealthy corporate friends, and for we Americans who lost loved ones and friends, there is nothing but contempt that should serve as reminders that any politician who lusts for war is not worthy to lead. This author’s family has lost six precious lives to Bush’s cowboy diplomacy, and nurtures a beloved son-in-law who fought in the Battle for Baghdad and still struggles with horrific nightmares and regret at taking lives because of a lie. Every combat veteran returns home inexorably altered, and it behooves America’s leaders to carefully consider the psychological, physical, and financial impact of their decision to go to war.

The presumptive Republican presidential candidate, Willard Romney, has made no secret that he is panting to send Americans to engage in a war with Iran, and it is in part because of his Bush-Cheney chicken hawk sensibilities and his cult’s belief that they are “latter day American Israelis.” It is Willard’s lifelong trait to promote sending other Americans to fight and die on foreign soil while he avoids making any sacrifice, and according to the Mormon cult, missionary service is more important than serving in the military. When Romney was queried whether his five sons served their country, he said they were serving by working to get him elected president, and pointed out that they proselytized for the cult for two years.

When most Americans today are honoring veterans’ sacrifice, Romney is six months into promoting giving veterans vouchers for their healthcare benefits to enrich the health care industry, and it informs where his true loyalties lie. Instead of increasing funding to care for the men and women who served in the military, Romney hopes to cheat them out of the benefits they earned. Romney’s hero and Republican’s courageous fiscal guru’s budget that passed in the Republican House of Representatives cuts $11 billion from veteran’s spending, or 13% less than President Obama proposes in his budget. In fact, in the nearly 100-page Ryan Path to Prosperity budget, the word veteran is not mentioned one time. Romney’s privatization scam would “be inadequate, and become more so over time, so that veterans who don’t make enough money to top them up would fail to receive essential care” according to noted economist Paul Krugman.

Republicans are warmongers who love sending America’s soldiers into harm’s way, but are ill-inclined to care for them after their service is over. Bush underfunded the Department of Veterans Affairs by approximately a billion dollars in 2005, and it took Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs, Jim Nicholson, begging Congress to pass emergency supplemental spending until they finally acted just to keep the doors open.

On this Memorial Day, it is important to remember our service members’ sacrifice by more than flying the American flag or saying “support our troops.”  America promised its veterans to provide health care after their sacrifice and service, and the GOP dishonors them by cutting their benefits and promoting privatizing their health care. However, more than anything, a leader, or potential leader must think long and hard before sending them in harm’s way and it should only be as a last resort and not because a Mormon thinks he is a latter day American Israeli defending god’s chosen people or to secure oil. It is telling the Republicans will increase defense spending to start wars and kill Muslims, but when it comes time to care for the brave soldiers who fight their wars, they claim fiscal responsibility and slash their benefits and propose giving them vouchers that are insufficient to fund their health care.

President Obama is a staunch supporter of our military and especially veterans, and his reluctance to send them in harm’s way for no apparent reason has garnered condemnation from Romney and Republican warmongers who dishonor their commitment by slashing benefits and pushing for more wars. America owes it to its service members to support them during and after their service, and to employ them only to defend our nation; not to enrich the oil industry, Haliburton, or the defense industry. It is incumbent on all Americans to thank the brave men and women who defend our liberty every day by ensuring that we choose leaders who use their service prudently, and that after they have served, to fulfill the promise of providing the care they need; anything less dishonors their service and commitment. Republicans have shown they have as much contempt  for veterans as they do for every other American, and it demonstrates they do not support the troops before, during, or after they send them to another needless war.

16 Replies to “GOP Dishonors Veterans’ Sacrifice with Benefit Cuts and Privatized Healthcare Schemes”

  1. Thank you for a timely, informative post. My husband is a disabled veteran from Viet Nam, and we have watched this budget fiasco for 40+ years. The promises made to our veterans have been taken away and reduced over and over again. We must have a Congress and President that understand and treat our veterans with the respect they deserve. Thank you, President Obama–now let’s give him a Congress that will work with him.

  2. Thank you so much for writing this. I am fighting the tears in my eyes as I type my reply. My younger sons’ father died due to a service-connected illness from his service in Nam. My present husband is 100% disabled from service in Nam.
    It makes my blood boil to hear that these so-called patriots want to cut VA benefits. We would not be able to afford his care if the privatization scheme is implemented.

  3. And yet the military will vote republican, vote to send themselves into war because the church has infiltrated them and when they finally leave the military will have far less than those who went before them.

  4. Romney et al are just following the footsteps of their conservative forebears, who made promises to the people who served their country, but did everything to avoid keeping those promises once the war was over.

    There are plenty of instances where this is so… going back to after the Civil War. Previous to the Civil War, they gave land parcels out which served to expand the US territory (thus serving the interests of the elites).

    As an example, look up the “Bonus march”. There are plenty of documents that show how they avoided helping vets after they’d been hurt and the war was over.

    Greed, thy name is Conservative.

  5. Screwing over vets and retirees is a time honored American pastime.

    I retired 20 years ago, just as Congress passed a bill limiting COLA for retirees to 1% BELOW national average.

    Their excuse was that people would have a second career and have THAT pension to rely on.

    That wasn’t the deal. Those of us unable to work are left without the entitlement we earned..
    My ‘deferred compensation’ is now smaller than it was 20 years ago.

    The bank just refused to modify my mortgage because a retired Major’s pension can’t cover a modest home.

    The much maligned Karl Marx decried this attitude in the Communist Manifesto:

    “The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his “natural superiors”, and has left no other nexus between people than naked self-interest, than callous “cash payment”. It has drowned out the most heavenly ecstacies of religious fervor, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom — Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.

    The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honored and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage laborers.”

    No matter how wonderful Capitalism is, it needs a balance.

  6. “No matter how wonderful Capitalism is, it needs a balance.”

    We are about to see that one a global basis. Because of people who think we are the serfs

    First they came for Greece…

  7. And once again we see the Republican hypocrisy in action – trillions of dollars given to athe military – but not reayy, it’s trillions given to the defense industry to manufacture weapons of personal and mass destruction. But damn little to the men and women who actually do the FIGHTING.

    “Defense spending” is merely another GOP phrase for, “Give money to the Arms Manufacturers.” It is NOT a phrase that has anything to do with the words, “Keep America Safe”, except as it applies to “Keep the 1% Safe From the rest of the world”, especially including the rest of America…

    They have the police, the National Guard, ALL branches of the Armed Forces and “Homeland Security,” a phrase reminiscent of Nazi Germany, which actually claims dominion over just about every person engaged in security or observational work except (perhaps) mall cops. And they are there PURELY to preserve the status quo (and to engage in some additional land/resource/power/money transfers when they can find something else to loot.) They contribute NOTHING to the defense of America, except for the occasional lucky guess at finding some dude with a bomb in his shoe.

    THE TSA IS PROOF THAT THE TERRORISTS WON… They radically transformed America into a third-world mentality, and the sheeple just went along.

    ALL THIS HOOPLA DAILY is NOT justified by the threat, only by the demand to control our every movement. It is a device to insure the level of FEAR stays high so we accept the loss of freedoms, rather than revolt and kick the assholes out, as any free American would have done before the Muslim Menace…

    ANYONE who believes A SINGLE WORD of the GOP rhetoric that seems in any slight way to be good for the working people of America – YOU’VE BEEN HAD, FOOL. If there is any positive change for the middle class under GOP principles, it is either accidental, and will be eliminated as soon as it is noticed, or is a deliberate distraction to cover up another power play and/or overt theft.

    The GOP used to be a political party. It is now simply a group of greedy old assholes who will do anything to complete their goal of owning ever piece of land, every drop of water, every gallon of crude and every human being on the planet.

    You can stop them NOW at the ballot box, or TRY to stop them in the street (remember, they own ALL the guns with real stopping power – the REAL, unvoiced reason for the ban on assault rifles. They say it’s so the criminals can’t get one – but thugs never seem to have that problem, it’s only the citizens that have no real defense. Like always.) Even our soldiers – they may get the assault rifles, but body armor is just not cost-effective. It costs too much to equip each soldier with high-quality body armor, it’s cheaper issue cheap sub-standard vests (or none) and to pay off the widow, or toss the wounded into a VA hospital for which we have removed the funding. MUCH more profitable…

    You know that the way to solve this is to re-institute a mandatory draft for ALL persons at age of 18. You can choose Military or Homeland Management, or some nice euphemism for, “Infrastructure Repair and upgrade.”

    When the Senators’ kids MUST go into the service, we WILL see better treatment of our soldiers, but as long as the majority are poor ghetto kids with
    no other way out – c’est la vie, kids. Body bags are WAY cheaper than body armor.

  8. To (as close as I can remember) quote a colleague and friend of mine (now Professor Emeritus): “The best economic system that we can think of that provides the greatest freedom for everyone is a very carefully regulated capitalism.” We’d been talking about interdisciplinary conversations on economics and freedom.

    Our discussion went from there to the basis of the regulation – to keep the rich from gathering up all the resources for themselves, or garnering all the political power so that they were in control. Also, it was mentioned how such a system would keep the highest standard of living for everyone… it would even benefit the rich in the long run (by preventing the rage I see growing and that might turn on them).

  9. The only time “vouchers” should be used is if the VA can’t deal with a soldier’s needs in a timely manner. Then the script/referral to civilian medical should be paid in full by the VA.

  10. Cathy, like you I have a husband who is a disabled Vietnam veteran. I’m mad enough to spit after reading a poll that said veterans are supporting Romney who ran away to France to avoid service in Vietnam and who said his sons have better things to do than join the military.He also wants to cut benefits. We must get this information out there.

  11. The ones who chastised us for “not supporting the troops” because we thought the war was bogus ( turned out it was) are the same egregious bastards that want to abandon the troops after they come back home. These people are lowball slime. Supporting the troops also means taking care of them when they get home. Do you not agree chicken hawks?

  12. My brother died of a service-connected illness from his service in Nam. When he was discharged fromn the service they gave him a 10% disability rating and it took more than 10 years for him to receive the 100% disability that he should have been given in the first.

    Having to fight for 10 years to receive his benefits just about wore him down. He was so disolusioned that he refused to even look at the medal he won in Nam.

    Someone, please explain why military members vote republican or will vot for Mitt. Even John McCain voted against almost every bill that was supposed to benefit service men and women.

    Senator John McCain’s Record on Troop and Veterans’ Issues, by Brandon Friedman, Oct 01, 2008

  13. My guess is that they don’t know better, and have been programmed to be conservative.

    I used to be that way, and was quite hostile and negative towards Bill Clinton during his presidency (I still distrust and dislike him). I asked about it from a family member who was in the military, and was told that they are forbidden to speak bad of their commander-in-chief.

    I wonder if that is still true today.

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