Sunday, June 14, 2009

Betrayal of the American Soldier.

A little over one year ago I blogged about America's outrage over Elliot Spitzer's hypocrisy despite the lack of outrage over the duplicitous way we allow our government to impose further punishment on the young men, we glibly "honor" with dollar store "patriotism".

Instead of making it as easy as possible for our soldiers to reenter "civil" society, we basically send them back into battle, to receive what amounts to, if they're lucky, a modicum of care.

As soon as the soldier is discharged from the military, he immediately loses all of his benefits, no matter how severe his injuries. It makes no difference whether the soldiers are severely wounded or not, they must be processed through the archaic paper based system, still in existence thanks to tax cuts for those who need an entire staff to track their wealth, in an effort to prove themselves worthy of receiving any compensation for the wounds sustained abroad.

Returning soldiers are handed 500 pages to read, and 26 pages of paperwork to fill out, after which they must wait, at the very least, six months, or - should something go wrong during these unnecessary procedures and red tape - up to two years to qualify for Veterans’ benefits.

That's not all. Our tax system is set up in such a way that the burden is on the government to prove that what we're presenting as true, is false, by auditing a small subset of taxpayers, in hopes that that will be enough to prevent people from cheating the system.

In contrast, we place the entire burden of proof on the soldier/veteran. The presumption is that whatever the veteran is claiming is wrong with him is not the result of serving their country, therefore he must gather all the documentation, doctor’s notices, all of the hospital forms and all the things from all the different places to prove he is indeed injured and in need of care, even though prior to his discharge from the military, his condition was already confirmed.

In his new book, The War Comes Home: Washington's Battle Against America's Veterans, authorAaron Glantz clears away the smoke and mirrors created to deceive us about the soldier and veteran's reality. He systematically documents the US government and the Bush Administration's treatment and neglect of America's returning soldiers and veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and confronts America's willful ignorance of those we claim to support, replacing myth with the grim facts.

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