Saturday, March 01, 2014

When it comes to making war ...

…these guys love soldiers. They just wash their hands of taking care of them.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont brought forth a carefully crafted bill [last Thursday] to provide $21 billion in new veterans benefits over the next decade. These included medical benefits, education benefits, and job-training. It contained 26 provisions that came from the Republican members of the Veterans Affairs Committee, which Sanders chairs. It was so wide-ranging that it contained a provision that would eliminate a rule prohibiting the Veterans Administration from covering in vitro fertilization on behalf of veterans whose wounds prevent them from conceiving a child in the usual manner. …

It failed. Badly. Only two Republicans were willing to vote with Sanders, and the bill died a procedural death.

Charles P. Pierce, Esquire

Iraq Veterans against the War were outraged.

… A historic veterans omnibus bill (S.1982) that would have increased the quality of life for millions of veterans instead became a political stunt designed to push through dangerous and diplomatically irresponsible sanctions on Iran. When that stunt didn’t work the GOP blocked the passage of a bill that would have opened up 27 new VA health clinics, strengthened one of many health programs like sexual trauma care and gone far in reducing the benefits backlog. These are just a few of the many opportunities to improve the lives of veterans that political gamesmanship squandered.

“Why would Congressional members put Iran sanctions into a bill meant to care for veterans when they created so many of them needlessly? The answer is that in the end members of Congress like Mitch McConnell don’t actually care about healing veterans.” said Matt Howard, Marine veteran and Communications Director of IVAW.

… The fact that this bill would have paid for itself from funds originally designed to be used in Iraq and Afghanistan is vitally important because taking care of those who fight the nation’s wars is part of the wars’ total cost. This could have been an opportunity to divert funds from wars of choice and an opportunity to reinvest them in healing, education and reparations for all people impacted by these recent wars.

Use 'em up and throw 'em away, that's the Republican plan. It's hard to see how a political polity can long endure in which about half the ruling class has decided it has zero responsibility for the results of its decisions.

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