Despite billing themselves as patriots, it’s no secret that the Republican Party has little sympathy for U.S. soldiers once they get home. While conservative lawmakers were practically giddy about sending troops in Afghanistan and Iraq during the Bush administration, they have no interest in making sure those men and women who sacrificed for those wars are well taken care – consistently voting against providing them medical or financial relief.
For Republicans, this is about as far as “respecting” the troops goes:
And certainly not as far as this:
Nor do Republicans seem to feel any inclination to help non-hypothetical POW Medal of Honor recipients. In fact, the average veteran faces a Congress that is working its hardest to give them as little support as possible.
Recently, a Facebook post made by a man named Jim Adams puts his finger on what a lot of veterans are probably feeling when they watch as politician use them as political props to help their poll numbers, but won’t “thank them for their service” by, say, ensuring veterans don’t go hungry, or go without access to mental health help, or even ensure that they have a roof over their heads at night.
In short: If you are one of tens of thousands of homeless veterans, actions speak far louder than empty words.
Sadly, when many Republicans talk about members of the armed services making a “sacrifice” for their country, they seem to think that part of the package is abandoning them when they get home. Rather than put even a single cent towards helping, they’d rather cut spending and kill programs. Especially if – like last year’s senate veteran bill – it was supported by President Obama. Political gamesmanship over human decency is the GOP default position.
That bill, for example, would have expanded medical, educational and other benefits for veterans, many of whom come back from war injured inside and out. It was so important that almost every major veterans group in America spoke out in favor of it. The Veterans of Foreign Wars even penned a letter to Congress and the public noting the benefits this bill would give soldiers:
If signed into law, this sweeping legislation would expand and improve health care and benefit services to all generations of veterans and their families. Most notably, it would expand the current caregiver law to include all generations of veterans and provide advance appropriations to ensure monthly compensation and pension as well as education payments are protected from future budget battles. The bill also offers in-state tuition protection for recently transitioned veterans, improves access to mental health and treatment for victims of sexual assault in the military, and authorizes construction of more than 20 Community Bases Outpatient Clinics to serve veterans in rural and remote communities.
It was shot down by Senate Republicans because Democrats wouldn’t allow them to add an amendment designed to derail Obama’s Iranian peace talks. If you’re wondering what Iran has to do with giving healthcare to veterans – it doesn’t. Just one more time the Republicans saw an opportunity to use the lives of soldiers as bargaining chips, to hell with the consequences.
Jim Adams, and other veterans like him, have a right to be fed up with Republican lawmakers. Being used is no fun for anyone, but to put yourself in danger to defend your country only to have politicians throw you under the bus while pretending to care – that’s an atrocity.