Caring for our Soldiers

My husband told me, several months ago, about a woman he worked on a factory line with whose husband fought in Iraq, came home, injured his shoulder during re-training and was unable to return to the front lines. This soldier and his wife have been struggling for a very long time. She works incredibly hard while he does his best to care for their children. For months he fought to be able to get the surgery to repair the tears in his shoulder, and even now he is still fighting to get the disability benefits he needs. They went from making good money to having a house payment, car payment and the expenses of caring for three children with his wife working herself to the bone for $50,000 a year. If she’s lucky, the industry does well and there are regular bonuses she may make more. If things continue to do poorly, as they have, she will likely make less. They need his disability pay, they need him to get adequate medical care. They are not selfish or lazy- they are people in need.

A few days ago he made the local news, you can see the print story here.
My husband wrote about it on his blog as well, which can be seen here. (He has the video of the television broadcast, as well)

I just don’t know what to say about things like this. I’ve worked in the medical industry. Yeah, it was as a receptionist, but I’ve fielded calls from Medicare and I’ve been in the breakroom to hear discussions of how the whole system works. What is happening to that poor soldier is what seems to happen all the time. First, the government acts like your friend. Then, they stop returning your calls. Then something seems to be missing or was filled out wrong, but the paperwork never seems to be on anyone’s desk so they can never give you details.

Stall, stall, stall, until the person who needs the coverage just… gives… up.

Only this guy isn’t giving up, and good for him.

I really feel like I need to say something. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. It’s one thing to say leave no one behind on the battlefield- but what happens when they come home? There’s been a lot of stories about veterans in homeless shelters and veterans being refused benefits, and somehow people persist in thinking that the only veterans that bad things happen to are, well, bad veterans. Drunkards, drug addicts, convicts… Only, that’s not the truth. Sometimes they are good people to whom bad things have happened, and they shouldn’t be treated like they are somehow not worthy of our care.
Part of the expense of waging a war and maintaining an occupation is the expense of properly caring for the engines of war- and in this case the engines are HUMAN BEINGS. Real people with emotions, needs, families, and bodies that must be kept fit if they are to keep fighting. These people should not be treated so carelessly. They should be treated with honor and respect.
I’m sick and tired of hearing people say that the Democrats don’t care for the troops because they want the occupation to end. That’s not true. The Democrats, like many Republicans, realize that the expense of war does not stop on the battlefield, and the simple truth is there isn’t enough money to maintain the troops on the battlefield in the numbers they are now and also care for the ones who are unable to return. Every day, every month, every year we maintain the occupation more soldiers run the risk of injury. How will we care for them? How?
Things have to change. The stalling tactics have got to end. The missing paperwork had better be found. Here in Indiana, there are three beautiful children who want their daddy to be better and their mommy to not have to feel so tired all the time.
Lets not forget that people aren’t statistics. They are people.

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3 thoughts on “Caring for our Soldiers

  1. Shush, if I may make a suggestion here (as a lawyer). I’d suggest that this gentleman get in contact with his Congressional Rep’s office. He’ll want to call the local office. I am also former military (and liberal imagine that?). In the past I’ve had problems with paperwork related to my time in service. My congressional rep’s office hooked me up.

    As for the which party cares for the troops? I don’t honestly know, but I will say this, it seems like most of the conservative talking heads (Limbaugh, O’Reilly & Hannity, etc.) either dodged the draft or never consider military service. Same holds true for many conservative political leaders (Cheney, Lott, DeLay, Romney, etc.). I can only come to one conclusion, they think that they are or were too good to serve and that military service is best left to the working classes and the poor. I’m sorry, but everytime I hear Rush Limbaugh give lip service to our brave men and women in the military, I want to barf. Here’s a guy who dodged the draft claiming that he couldn’t go to Vietnam because of pimple on his butt. I’m not making this up. As a veteran, I get sick and tired of hearing that the GOP is the party for the military. No, they’re the party for USING THE MILITARY. There’s a difference.

  2. I couldnt agree with you more. These men and women give their lives for our safety. We owe it to them to take care of them in at least modest fashion. They deserve to be able to be comfortable. Their children deserve educations. They deserve healthcare. My god, what is it that we are thinking? Who would want to volunteer when no one will care about you when you come home limbless and sick. Its just disgusting!

  3. PolitiP: I will certainly pass that suggestion along. I know that since the news broadcast, they’ve had far greater success in communication.

    Amber: Thank you. It’s just so horrifying, to see people give of their best in good faith, only to be ignored. I’m hoping that more soldiers will take their stories to the news and raise awareness of what is happening, and I for one will be sending strongly worded letters to my representatives asking to have this stalling looked into.

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