Monday, July 21, 2008

The Latest Victims of Circumstance

Why is it that we tend to gloss over issues that pertain to our soldiers' and the world they face when they return from their service?

I'm not old enough to remember anything about the Vietnam war but I know from material I've read and shows I've seen that when soldiers came back from this war, they were pretty much dismissed. They were dismissed by people who were against the war and dismissed by the government that sent them there.

Flash forward to 2008 and we find, thank goodness, that some things have changed. We have a large number of people in the U.S. that were against the war but learned not to blame the men and women that went to Iraq to do what they were ordered to do. That's a huge step forward for the American people. We've finally learned that the men and women doing the hard work of attempting to bring peace to an area far from the U.S. aren't to blame for what's happening in that particular country (with a few exceptions, of course).

So, if hundreds of thousands of people can bring themselves to shift their personal beliefs and be able to denounce the war while supporting the troops, then why is it so damned hard for the government to learn to do right by the personnel that do the dirty work for them?

Today, I read an article about a soldier who was hailed as a hero shortly after the Iraq war started. He was a reluctant hero. He wasn't in it for the accolades. In reality, he went to the front to do a favor for a friend who was hesitant to leave her kids when she was called. He went, he did his job, he came home.

How come no one bothers to check these guys when they are discharged? See if they're ok to go home and start life over again? Hell, not that it would make a difference, I'm guessing nobody would have cared anyway. This poor guy served his country and was pushed into the limelight when he didn't want to be there. He started falling apart when he got back. Started seeing things. He began suffering from PTSD. Started hearing things. He's got friends who are trying to help but it's not enough. A once good and caring man is reduced to a shell of man who dies lying in his own urine and feces. Where is the government's responsibility in all of this?

Some of our men are dying in the field. Yes, the enemies might be responsible for pulling the actual trigger and firing the gun that killed them, but how much responsibility does the U.S. government take in sending in men that are not fit, mentally or physically, for duty? Last week, I read this article about a young man who probably was not fit to serve in our armed forces. Are we so desperate that we'll put people in harm's way that have no business being there? "The Army was under a lot of pressure to graduate scouts at the time, and even matter how competent or incompetent," Berg says. So it's come to this. We slam the enemy for strapping bombs onto the bodies of people with Down Syndrome but we are not so different.

What about the discharged veteran waiting for a disability check? Well, wait on brothers and sisters because that check might be a long time coming. This is just ONE article of several I've read on the subject of disabled veterans waiting over a year for their disability checks to kick in. Just what are these guys supposed to do until that check comes in??? How are they supposed to live??

I guess I'm just ranting about this stuff but it just pisses me off that our government is letting all these wonderful men and women fall between the cracks. If we're going to send them off to fight our wars we should be taking care of them when they return, damn it.

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