Taking Care of Veterans

I linked yesterday to a story about PTSD related discharges, and today I found this Newsweek article on problems with the [tag]Veterans Administration[/tag].

I believe people from all across the political spectrum should be able to agree that we must take good care of our troops and our veterans.

But I want to point out something else. The figure given in the Newsweek article is that [tag]veterans[/tag] care resulting from the wars in [tag]Afghanistan[/tag] and [tag]Iraq[/tag] will be at least six times the official estimates. I can’t confirm the accuracy of those figures, but it does fit in with a constant refrain from these wars–they cost more than is projected, and the actual cost is extremely high.

Jesus used preparation for war as an example of the need to count the cost (Luke 14:31-32). I’m not using this as a call to cowardice, but rather as a call to use such resources as we have effectively and wisely. Just looking at the costs of the two wars we are in right now should let us know that a strategy of attacking and occupying every country that promotes terrorism in any way is not going to be cost effective. Continuing even further to reform their governments into an image that we prefer is well outside any range.

I’ve heard Iraq advocated as a base to fight terrorism elsewhere. But what sane strategist would suggest a base that costs more resources to maintain than those that can be projected from it?

One of these costs that must be counted is the care of veterans. It’s a moral duty. But even more it’s a practical duty. If people come to understand that if they sacrifice themselves for their country they and/or their loved ones will not be cared for properly, it will become harder and harder to find the necessary quality of troops. Loyalty will only carry people so far when it is not reciprocated.

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One Comment

  1. Henry,
    Good post! The one thing that I have said from the beginning is that if we did what we were asked to do in terms of the Gospel message, we would remove the causes for terrorism. As long we do nothing to feed the hungry, heal the sick, clothe the naked, and free the oppressed, terrorism will grow. When we remove the causes, then we will find what we seek.

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