As Americans, we can disagree politically about the merits of going to war in a given situation. But I do believe that as a society, we have a duty to provide for the men and women who, under our American Constitutional system, answer the call to duty whether they agree or not with the underying justification for going to war. (Of course, that is one of the great pillars of our democratic society -- that the decisions about whether to go to war or not are in the hands of elected leaders answerable to the people.)
I have visited with young soldiers who are returning from the war -- young soldiers who have been severely and permanently wounded. I have seen the faces of loved ones as the soldiers are leaving for war. That the President would abandon these people and the older generations who have gone through this as well is inexcusable.
Today, the Bush Administration announced that veterans health care is short this year by $1 billion. This after the Bush Administration fought every effort by those of us who have been saying that veterans programs are underfunded.
This, of course, should come as a surprise from an Administration that has been trying to impose a $250 annual enrollment fee on so-called "wealthy veterans" -- a category that includes veterans who earn as little as $25,000 a year. Veterans in this category who are not already enrolled have been barred from signing up for VA health care by the Bush Administration. Estimates are this bar affects over 160,000 veterans.
Perhaps it is an irony that those of us who voted against the war in Iraq are some of the most vocal supporters of veterans and their families and that many of those who are quickest to go to war are the first to cut veteran programs. But in my view the Bush Administration's slashing of veterans programs really exposes the true character of this presidency.
Thanks again for reading and I hope to see you all again in the blogosphere.