I am currently deep in the heart of Texas. I’m in Dallas, my hometown. I just ran out of the store to get something and I saw a sign in the store window, asking us to donate $.70 to get a Christmas card for servicemember overseas. That sounds nice, doesn’t it? Send a Christmas card to someone who can’t be home for Christmas. Of course, there was the obligatory, “support your troops.” I then glanced across the street and noticed that on the lamppost there was a small flag in patriotic colors featuring a saluting soldier. Underneath the soldier was the slogan, “We Support the Troops.”
I have nothing against slogans or Christmas cards. As a matter of fact, I like Christmas Cards. I prefer real support, though, as opposed to this faux support. Real support means spending the money to get the troops the equipment they need. This means even supporting a tax increase if needed in order to buy the equipment needed to protect our troops. It means that we would buy war bonds if necessary to support our troops. In addition to making sure they have the necessary equipment, we need to increase the salaries of our troops. I’m not talking about the salaries of the generals and other top brass. I’m talking about the salaries of those who are being shot at and are doing the grunt work on a daily basis – the privates and the corporals and the sergeants. Finally, we must support our troops when they get home. They need adequate psychiatric care. They need adequate medical care. We need to upgrade our VA facilities. They need job training. The bottom line is we need to do more or we’re not truly supporting our troops.
According to an analysis by the nonpartisan Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America Action Fund, Republicans in Congress have dramatically failed to support our troops after they come home. IAVA’s 2010 Veteran Report Card, based on the key veterans’ legislation that came to a vote during the 111th Congress, exposed a sharp partisan divide on the level of support for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, as MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow tabulated yesterday. Of the 94 elected officials that earned an A or A+ rating from IAVA, 91 were Democrats. Of the 154 officials who received a D or F, 142 were Republicans:
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Maddow also noted that U.S. Senate candidates Sharron Angle (R-NV) and Ken Buck (R-CO) have called for the privatization of the Veterans Affairs hospital system, even though it provides the best quality of care in America, as our veterans deserve.