Caring for Our Veterans
Despite the widespread expressions of support for our troops coming from elected officials and the public, the reality of the care that veterans receive after returning from combat is totally unacceptable. Suicidal veterans have to wait on average 30 to 45 days for an appointment. One-third of returning veterans have mental illness or addiction problems that deeply impact their families or ability to begin families. Homelessness and incarceration rates for veterans are nearly three times those of the general population. Twenty veterans take their lives per day (See WW II Veteran For Peace Jay Wenk’s poem[TC10] on the suicide of individual veterans, entitled “Thank You for Your Service.”) In 2014, the risk for suicide among female veterans was 2.5 times higher than that for civilian adult women. Rates of suicide were highest among younger Veterans (ages 18–29).
In 2016 after 14 years of war, the number of veterans with multiple tours of combat duty is the largest in American history. This abuse of our veterans that was never allowed in the Vietnam War is unconscionable.
Veteran suicide is an epidemic that our elected officials should be doing everything they can do to stop. Instead, way too many are eager to stir fear and push a war agenda that leads to more casualties for political gain. The 2014 Senate Bill 1982 to improve veteran health care was voted down by 41 senators, enough to defeat it.
- I support greatly improved healthcare for veterans of combat that requires increasing annual expenditures.
On September 17, 2014 Jacob George a 32-year-old four-time Afghanistan veteran from Arkansas took his life. After his service, he had co-founded the Afghan Veterans Against the War Committee, part of Iraq Veterans Against the War. He wrote a song called “Why Do They Send Farmers From Arkansas to Kill Farmers From Afghanistan?”