Thursday, November 11, 2010

stand with vets

The empty rhetoric that abounds every Veteran's Day just gets stupider and stupider. Here's Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) likening supporting the deficit commission's ridiculous preliminary report (here's how bad it is: even Fox News hates it) with the sacrifices veterans have made.

Irony alert: the commission recommends making veterans pay for their own healthcare. (via)

The money quote:
“There is no way doing it that’s not controversial and difficult. But you know today is Veterans’ Day. You think of what they sacrificed for this country. If some of us have to sacrifice a political career to get this country back on track then so be it. It has to be done,” Conrad told me.
WTF. Cutting old people's social security benefits requires the same courage as being a soldier, carrying arms into a foreign, hostile land, being shot at, being blown up, and being abandoned by the country you love upon your return. You, Senator Conrad, are an idiot.

But here's a way to actually help veterans in what will hopefully be a tangible way. Sign this petition to congress to establish a veteran's trust fund. Text from the declaration of support:
America has a moral obligation to ensure that every soldier injured or wounded while defending our country is guaranteed the help he or she needs. We can do no less for those we send into harm’s way. To that end, the United States Congress should establish a Veterans Trust Fund so that at the outset of engagement in conflict abroad we can ensure that those injured or wounded in the course of their military service receive proper care and support.
I know, I know, it's another goddamned online petition, and what good do those ever do, really? But at least in this case, it has the potential to help start a dialogue on the devastating human costs of war suffered by those who serve. I think this is a bit more satisfying and potentially even helpful than empty promises and self-aggrandizing FB shout-outs.

Even if you hate war, as I do, and think it is mostly about bellicose, money-grubbing cynics shouting loudly and forcefully enough to get other people's children to do their fighting for them--especially if you feel that way--don't let them co-opt this day without holding their feet to the fire. If you're going to send people into harm's way, ACTUALLY support them in tangible ways, not just with bullshit platitudes. Sign up now.

ADDENDUM: My grandfather served in WWII, and I never got to meet him. One can only speculate about what kind of psychological damage that does to a family. Not to mention the damage that has been done to the psyches of those who do return.

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