U.S. War Veterans and American Hypocrisy
America's economy is truly a war economy. The fiscal year 2005 war budget is over $420 billion, the highest in our history. It is 8 times higher than China's, a country with the second largest military expenditures. Combine all military spending by every other nation on Earth, and it is only slightly higher than ours. The Santa Cruz Sentinel reported that 47% of every dollar collected by Washington goes to the military. Yet, we can't even defeat a rabble insurgency who is now so bold that in April, Iraqi militants made a direct assault on Abu Ghraib, wounding dozens of U.S. boys. Because the war machine needs to be primed, the Fed takes in insane amounts of tax dollars every year. Yet, America ranks 49th in World literacy, claims the New York Times. Yet, a year ago the Bureau of Labor Statistics said the real unemployment rate was 10.9% (not counting those who are off the grid), and some claim it is now reaching 25%. Those are other stories. Today we will be discussing how a war society treats its Military Veterans. It seems incumbent on the Federal Government and the American people to provide the necessary benefits and compensation for those who have served in combat. Even with an all volunteer army, and as misguided and brainwashed as those troops who are murdering innocents might be – they are mostly young and mostly poor, which leaves them few options but to join the Big Green Machine – they deserve to be treated with just financial, medical, and humanitarian benefits.
Throughout American History, this has not been the case. We are a nation whose government treats it military veterans like common trash, and then lies to the public, telling them that we always care for our own. Our criminal Federal Government are simply conniving liars.
Revolutionary War Veterans – It must be remembered that the document for which the Revolutionary War soldiers fought, were wounded, and died for was The Articles of Confederation. Under the battle cry of unjust taxation, these men slogged the territory of their Homeland thinking that they would not be taxed again. Concerning the Articles of Confederation, Wikipedia notes that, "Perhaps the most important power that Congress was denied was the power of taxation: Congress could only request money from the states." Yet, directly after routing out the British, the Freemasons threw away the Articles and ratified The Constitution. The Constitution led directly to the Whiskey, Shay's, and Fries's Rebellions, which pitted Veterans of the Revolution against the newly created government.
Of the Vets general condition, Veterans of Foreign Wars, in a John Resch article of June/July 2002, relates: "Many were destitute." Officers were, as usual, treated better than the "grunts." The History Place states that Officers met in Newburgh, New York to protest. "They were angry over the failure of Congress to honor its promises to the army regarding salary, bounties and life pensions." Our first president, who led the assault against the tax rebels, was the first president to deny the 1st Amendment right of assembly – to the Officers! The History Place: "General Washington stopped that meeting from happening by forbidding the officers to meet." He called them subversive, but talked them into standing down. The Officers created a secret society, The Society of Cincinnati, and were promised five-year pensions. They were given bonds, many of which were never made good upon. The Society of Cincinnati continues to be a secret group, bonding the elite in exalted status. Fritz Springmeier writes in "The 13 Bloodlines of the Illuminati" that the new government was weak, and the States held sovereignty over their people. Springmeier: "The Society of the Cincinnati was partly responsible for getting that changed. The Society of Cincinnati favored a very strong central government, a national bank, etc… Every president of the United States has worn the Diamond Eagle jewel of the Society of the Cincinnati."
Another source for information was Emily J. Teipe's book, "America's First Veterans and Revolutionary War Pensions." In this book, the plight of military regulars were so abhorrent as to be traitorous. Reviewer Short summarizes: "The government had stopped issuing pay to soldiers in 1777… Congress finally passed pension legislation for indigent veterans in 1818, and service pensions for all veterans in 1832. Thus, a non-indigent veteran could receive a pension for military service, but only if he survived forty-nine years after the close of the war." Teipe notes that because of the secretive, elite Society of Cincinnati, many Americans viewed all Veterans with suspicion.
In summa, from the inception of the United States of America, war veterans have been used, abused, uncompensated, and susceptible to lives of poor medical care and poverty. Congress' treatment of Revolutionary War Veterans amply set this precedent.
War of 1812 – The American populace viewed the Revolutionary War heroes with as much suspicion as they did the English Army. This changed by the War of 1812, but the reasons were political and, as such, unsavory. In the same VFW Magazine article by John Resch, the real idea behind glorifying the veteran is exposed. "Between 1800 and 1812, Republicans and Federalists glorified veterans to arouse patriotism… Ramsay's account of the Newburgh Conspiracy changed it from a near act of treason to a tribute to the Army's patriotism and virtue… Infirm, impoverished and aging veterans were not to be shunned as paupers." This led to the first military pensions in 1818: A monthly stipend of $8 for regulars and $20 for officers, who had been wounded. By 1818, the pension was raised to include non-wounded veterans in need, orphans, and widows.
Present Day Veterans – These two drastically different stories of the treatment of our war veterans paints the two major problems with handling veterans today. First, I will prove that Veterans are treated with shoddy malfeasance: care is abyssmal, their out-of-pocket expenses continue to increase, and many wartime illnesses are intentionally ignored by our government. Second, I will prove that the pensioners' list has mushroomed to include people who have no business garnering benefits, thus propping up our pseudo-communistic political system, and further depressing the level of care due to the gargantuan bulk of claimants.
See No Evil – I believe that Veterans who are wounded should be compensated. I am also against the nanny-state. Thus, I am against war except in defense. America has not been in a defensive war in over 100 years or more. That being said, it is certainly not the fault of Veterans that this is so. The government, however, is treating our war heroes like 3rd rate citizens. Just because you don't see the evil, does not mean it doesn't exist. "We the people," being the government, cannot turn a blind eye to this travesty.
We run the gamut, and all is corrupt. George W. Bush is punishing Veterans, even as he sends young boys off to a foreign land for a reason he admits was a lie, er, incorrect. There are no WMDs in Iraq. The CIA has more ties to Al-Qaeda than did Saddam. To top it off, Bush is pushing pure democracy, a loser's game, rather than cutting Iraq into States and forming it into a Republic, as it should be. Vets For Justice report that The Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims is pointedly committing fraud against Veterans. Vets For Justice claim that the Chief Judge has written openly that he is against having a court for Veterans! They contend that the court was meant as a pacifier, to combat against the rapid uniting of Veterans into PACs and organizations. Proof? VFJ: "Out of 14,000 cases filed before the Court of Veterans Appeals the Court ruled in favor of the Veteran only 13 times!… In the Veterans Court, motions that are critical of the Court or expose the truth are not filed. Motions filed by Veterans are not ruled on or rubberstamped "denied" while Motions filed by the Department of Veterans Appeals are usually ruled on within two days, and always granted." Veterans For Justice insists that the Veteran is sent "in endless circles" of bureaucracy, in many cases until the ex-soldier is dead. "When a veteran dies his claim dies with him."
Ashley L. Decker in "Support the Warrior, Not the War: Give Them Their Benefits" gives some real-time statistics related to how Congress is today deciding to treat Veterans. Decker: "The House of Representatives have recently voted on the 2004 budget which will cut funding for veteran's health care and benefit programs by nearly $25 billion over the next ten years." It passed. "The Veteran's Administration, plagued by recent budget cuts, has had to resort to charging new veterans entering into its system a yearly fee of $250 in order for them to receive treatment. It is a sad irony that the very people being sent to fight the war are going to have to pay to treat the effects of it." In essence, Bush and Congress have increased the budget for war, yet cut the expenses granted for the soldiers when they return home. This is leading to VA Hospitals closing down, up to 19,000 nurses losing their jobs, which makes 6.6 million outpatient visits impossible. And a big slap in the face, "Bush Administration funding cuts will also prevent veterans from receiving their disability pensions." And, "Making matters worse, forty percent of Vietnam Veterans are homeless." What the…? This, Americans, is unacceptable!
Veterans Against Corruption is more to the point. "VA employees and lawyers break the law and are never held accountable." In fact, on record with the U.S. House of Represenatitves is a document which admits that the Department of Veterans Affairs punishes whistle-blowers who expose corrupiton. From Senate records, March 11, 1999: "free speech repression has been a way of life at this agency."
Back to President Bush, his record in treating Veterans poorly is clear. In These Times journalist Dave Lindorff reports a string of sad facts in his article "Dishonorable Discharge". Lindorff: "Bush administration sought this year to cut $75 a month from the 'imminent danger' pay," but was blocked. "This year's White House budget for Veterans Affairs cut $3 billion from VA hospitals… The administration also proposed levying a $250 annual charge on all Priority 8 veterans… Until protests led to a policy change, the Bush administration also was charging injured GIs from Iraq $8 a day for food when they arrived for medical treatment at the Fort Stewart." Bush and Co. also closed down 19 commissaries which help the poorest soldiers; they defeated a bipartisan attempt to use a paltry $1.3 billion of the massive $87 billion Iraq war request; and they even denied Kevlar protection to 40,000 troops. One person commented that $9 billion of that $87B went to Israel, yet we can't give $1.3B to Veterans?
Entitlement or Welfare – First, let me say that probably 97% or more of all combat veterans will experience mental disruptions or disorders due to post-traumatic stress. I believe all combat vets should get some amount of pension or subsidy from taxation. Of course, there is an argument that those who oppose the war vehemently should not be forced to pay for restitution. Regardless, I would pay. However, while many honest, debilitated, and homeless Veterans fall through the cracks, millions who have never even been in the military or who have never seen combat are receiving veteran pensions.
Intervention Magazine journalist Stewart Nusbaumer reports some dizzying data in his article, "Veterans Administration Out of Control?" Nusbaumer admits that the Bush Administration has dramatically increased military spending, while at the same time crunching costs for care of Veterans. However, he further claims that a majority of payouts are to people who have no business receiving government subsidies. After Vietnam, Veteran assistance "de-emphasizing combat status and time limits, the agency became a welfare agency for poor veterans… In fact, today the Veterans Administration performs both functions, caring for veterans and for non-veterans… Although there are only 25 million veterans alive today, 70 million Americans are eligible for veteran's benefits. Clearly, the mission of the VA has expanded beyond veterans."
Does it seem that our supposedly streamlined, yet obviously bungling, government could use logic? Would it not be obvious to see and treat combat veterans first, with full pay to combat veterans, first? Yet, that would force the government, then the media, and then John Q. Pulic to face depleted uranium exposure, combat vaccination experimentation, and Gulf War Syndrome. Heck, they haven't even owned totally up to Agent Orange yet. Many Veterans who are positive they were exposed and are getting strange diseases are not treated as having been chemically damaged in Vietnam. Many people don't understand that Veterans who were intentionally exposed to radiation are denied access to the system.
Nusbaumer goes on to complain that noncombat veterans outnumber service for combat veterans 10 and even 20 to 1. A veterans' budget request went so far as to allocate money for non-veterans. This has led to a direct decrease in the assistance allotted for combat veterans, even amputees. Bottom line, 90% of Veterans' benefits are non-combat related.
As an example, imagine two men during the Vietnam War. One is a poor farm boy from Any-town, USA. The other, a Harvard graduate whose father owns three businesses, one of which sells weapons to the government. The farm boy gets a one-way ticket to the Jungles. He does his nine-month tour. While there he sees several friends die from bullet wounds, suffers traumatic stress for which there is no diagnosis and so stays in the field, and upon receiving his third purple heart will be bed-ridden for a year and suffer excruciating pain for his entire life. The Ivy Leaguer gets stationed in Germany, with a posh condo, a retirement plan, and trips to Amsterdam every weekend to smoke dope and screw whores. Twenty years later, both men are considered Veterans. The officer receives a multitude of government subsidies. The grunt is constantly shoved aside by the social doctors at the VA. The government claims that he wasn't gassed with chemical agents, even though they can't explain his strange tumors. And some dumb President just upped his co-pay for painkillers. Do we really believe both these men deserve the same level of treatment? Would you even care if the officer were getting MORE?
The Answer – The first answer would be far too simple. That is, we should have a mass uprising and force the government to cease committing to foreign wars and spending half of every dollar on the military. No one wants to kill Americans because we are free. If that were the case, why aren't "rogue nations" planning to attack Switzerland, Sweden, or Denmark? The reason is because they remain relatively neutral in world affairs. It's really as simple as that: less war means less war means less war.
Second, we must ask ourselves who, exactly should receive priority medical, psychiatric, and economic assistance. I believe that 90% at least agree that combat veterans should come first. We must let non-combat veterans' pensions and Social Security take care of their ills. Children and spouses of Veterans deserve our sympathy, but not are hard-earned cash. Hardship is a part of life, and it is the life of men, women, and children living amidst the World's most militaristic empire, The United States. It is not that we should not care. American charity, when left unfettered by high taxes, always comes through. It is simply a matter of whether we are to remain Socialists. Or, are we to re-adopt the tenants of no "entangling treaties" and that a Welfare State is juxtaposed against individual sovereignty.
Finally, we must demand, regardless of the demons we will have to face, that the government treat combat soldiers with the highest level of care. This is not the case. The worst health care in the nation is often given to our former soldiers. Studies are routinely denied that would ascertain the reasons for PTSD, Gulf War Syndrome, Agent Orange, other obvious radiation exposures, vaccine experimentation, and a plethora of other war-related illnesses. The Federal Government, however, has a vested interest in keeping this quiet. The Government is not the cover-upper, it is the instigator, the criminal, the traitor to our living war memorials, our Veterans.
Only when America takes a long, hard glimpse into the treatment of combat veterans will America realize the true horrors of war. That is the day we will no longer seek to dominate the world at the expense of humanity. For today, another excuse, and another Veteran will die without proper medical care.
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