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Tuesday, July 28, 2009


The latest estimates of homeless veterans range from 230,000 to more than 750,000, about two-thirds of whom served since the beginning of the Vietnam era.

Let's own up to the truth.

It was mostly the poor and uneducated who were drafted to fight the Vietnam War, it should come as no surprise that so many are now on the margins of society.

Admittedly, the Veterans Administration provides many benefits, including educational assistance, job training, disability compensation, pensions, readjustment and job counseling, housing loans, and medical care. But few of the homeless veterans receive all the benefits they deserve or need.

The situation is going to get a lot worse and soon. Thousands of Iraq vets will soon be swelling the homeless ranks. It usually takes a year or two before the returning troops suffer the delayed shock of what they have seen in this horrifying war

I voted for Obama but I am getting very discouraged on this issue. Barack, the candidate made a big point of the Veterans problem, terming it "intolerable and unacceptable." McCain said much the same thing as did G.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

The cruel reality is our leaders do very little to address this situation after they are elected. Why?

Because it flies beneath the radar. Bank bailouts,unemployment etc, all legitimate concerns, grab the headlines. It does not fly beneath my radar. Every time I see a homeless vet I get a lump in my throat.

I served in the Korean War. The nation at the time was tired of wars since the War to end all Wars had just ended a few years earlier. Still, while there were no parades for returning Korean vets, their reception can in no way be compared to what has happened after Vietnam and what is happening to the returning Iraq vets today.


Saluting these men and women on July 4th, Memorial Day and Veterans Day does not cut the mustard. Its almost like the people who call themselves spiritual because they don't beat their children. Heck, animals do that.

Veterans deserve more than we can ever give them because without their service those who never served could not be enjoying what they have today.

Two homes,one for each season, bowling alley size master bedrooms, home theaters in the basements and four cars and 5 dogs in every family. We spend more on our dogs and veterinarians than we do on veterans. I have no figures to back that up but I know I'm right.

Wake up America , veterans make up 11 percent of the adult population, but they make up 26 percent of the homeless according to a National Alliance report report. That's insane.

Wake up Mr. President. Fly out to San Diego this week and talk to these homeless vets gathered there for 3 days to receive their annual dental checkups from a volunteer organization called Stand Down. The military term, stand down refers to time out from combat to allow rest and re-equipping.

Stand Down started 21 years ago here in San Diego and is duplicated on a smaller scale in other cities. It still draws a preponderance of Vietnam-era men, many fighting alcohol and drug problems.

''Vietnam veterans have never been able to resolve the questions that a person needs to answer to have a healthy psyche, like, 'What did I do that for?' and 'What was the fighting about?' '' says Michael Leaveck, a spokesman for the Vietnam Veterans of America. Jeers Instead of Cheers

Leaveck goes on to say that the war left many veterans with alcohol or drug problems, or the mental illness called post-traumatic stress disorder. According to the organization, one-third of the homeless veterans have substance abuse problems and another third have mental or physical disabilities.

We need dramatic efforts and legislation to bring this sad story on to the front pages.

Specifically, our veterans should not have to get their health care from volunteer organizations. They should receive lifetime coverage equivalent to what our Senators receive.

EVERY VETERAN WHO LOSES A LIMB should receive 1 million bucks from the govt; 1 million for each limb lost. In other words a quad amputee would receive 4 million and so forth.

Every vet who is emotionally crippled by post traumatic stress syndrome should receive a lifetime pension which would keep him or her from living on the streets.

And every single vet who served in Iraq itself during the past 7 years should receive a free home,minimum of 3 bedrooms. Their can be absolutely no rational reason why any of these brave young returnees should ever be homeless!

Not in a rich country like this. No way!

P.S. Tried google and other search engines for photos of amputee vets. I could not find any for this article. Amazing how even our search engines protect our sensitivies. We all choose to buffer ourselves from reality when it shames us.