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.
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.