Category Archives: Veterans

1 out of 4 homeless are Vets

This disgusting fact is brought to you by a new report which will be released tomorrow. From the AP writeup:

Veterans make up one in four homeless people in the United States, though they are only 11 percent of the general adult population, according to a report to be released Thursday.

And homelessness is not just a problem among middle-age and elderly veterans. Younger veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are trickling into shelters and soup kitchens seeking services, treatment or help with finding a job.

The Veterans Affairs Department has identified 1,500 homeless veterans from the current wars and says 400 of them have participated in its programs specifically targeting homelessness.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness, a public education nonprofit, based the findings of its report on numbers from Veterans Affairs and the Census Bureau. 2005 data estimated that 194,254 homeless people out of 744,313 on any given night were veterans.

These numbers will most likely go up. Again, from the article:

Some advocates say the early presence of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan at shelters does not bode well for the future. It took roughly a decade for the lives of Vietnam veterans to unravel to the point that they started showing up among the homeless. Advocates worry that intense and repeated deployments leave newer veterans particularly vulnerable.

“We’re going to be having a tsunami of them eventually because the mental health toll from this war is enormous,” said Daniel Tooth, director of veterans affairs for Lancaster County, Pa.

So, we are not only killing more soldiers, those that manage to survive their multiple deployements to Iraq will have a harder time keeping themselves as part of the general population that works and supports themselves. They can survive the war, but can they survive back at home after multiple tours?

This is criminal to me. How about you?

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Happy Fathers Day, Army Spec Jeans Cruz

More horror from WaPo’s Dana Priest and Anne Hull on what our soldiers must deal with when they return mentally broken from Iraq. The full article can be read at the source linked above..and its worth every minute of your time.

Army Spec. Jeans Cruz helped capture Saddam Hussein. When he came home to the Bronx, important people called him a war hero and promised to help him start a new life. The mayor of New York, officials of his parents’ home town in Puerto Rico, the borough president and other local dignitaries honored him with plaques and silk parade sashes. They handed him their business cards and urged him to phone.

But a “black shadow” had followed Cruz home from Iraq, he confided to an Army counselor. He was hounded by recurring images of how war really was for him: not the triumphant scene of Hussein in handcuffs, but visions of dead Iraqi children.

In public, the former Army scout stood tall for the cameras and marched in the parades. In private, he slashed his forearms to provoke the pain and adrenaline of combat. He heard voices and smelled stale blood. Soon the offers of help evaporated and he found himself estranged and alone, struggling with financial collapse and a darkening depression.

At a low point, he went to the local Department of Veterans Affairs medical center for help. One VA psychologist diagnosed Cruz with post-traumatic stress disorder. His condition was labeled “severe and chronic.” In a letter supporting his request for PTSD-related disability pay, the psychologist wrote that Cruz was “in need of major help” and that he had provided “more than enough evidence” to back up his PTSD claim. His combat experiences, the letter said, “have been well documented.”

None of that seemed to matter when his case reached VA disability evaluators. They turned him down flat, ruling that he deserved no compensation because his psychological problems existed before he joined the Army. They also said that Cruz had not proved he was ever in combat. “The available evidence is insufficient to confirm that you actually engaged in combat,” his rejection letter stated.

Yet abundant evidence of his year in combat with the 4th Infantry Division covers his family’s living-room wall. The Army Commendation Medal With Valor for “meritorious actions . . . during strategic combat operations” to capture Hussein hangs not far from the combat spurs awarded for his work with the 10th Cavalry “Eye Deep” scouts, attached to an elite unit that caught the Iraqi leader on Dec. 13, 2003, at Ad Dawr.

Veterans Affairs will spend $2.8 billion this year on mental health. But the best it could offer Cruz was group therapy at the Bronx VA medical center. Not a single session is held on the weekends or late enough at night for him to attend. At age 25, Cruz is barely keeping his life together. He supports his disabled parents and 4-year-old son and cannot afford to take time off from his job repairing boilers. The rough, dirty work, with its heat and loud noises, gives him panic attacks and flesh burns but puts $96 in his pocket each day.

This is disgusting and it must stop now. The Military has recognized PTSD as an illness since 1980 for the love of GOD! May every bastard that denies these men and women care rot in hell. Support our troops, bring them home now!

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Kiley canned and other Walter Reed news.

Lt. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley, the Army’s surgeon general jumped before someone tossed him under the bus. Can I get an amen? The Army has appointed Kiley’s deputy, Maj. Gen. Gale S. Pollock, as the acting surgeon general while an advisory board is formed to evaluate candidates for Kiley’s replacement. Army officials said today that the board is likely to meet for the first time in April and will then choose an officer from within the Army Medical Command. President Bush would then have to approve the officer, and the Senate would hold confirmation hearings.

The Army has figured out it needs to check ALL it’s hospitals and outpatient services at other locations:

The VA is ordering its 1,400 hospitals and clinics to report on the quality of their facilities to determine if squalid conditions found at Walter Reed exist elsewhere.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson issued the directive in an internal memorandum sent last week to the VA’s medical center directors. He said “recent events” compelled him to redouble efforts to improve the physical environment at outpatient center and medical facilities.

Walter Reed Medical Chief relieved of duty


WASHINGTON – The Army said Thursday that the two-star general in charge of Walter Reed Army Medical Center has been relieved of command following disclosures about inadequate treatment of wounded soldiers.

Maj. Gen. George W. Weightman, who was commanding general of the North Atlantic Regional Medical Command as well as Walter Reed hospital, was relieved of command by Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey.

In a brief announcement, the Army said service leaders had “lost trust and confidence” in Weightman’s leadership abilities “to address needed solutions for soldier outpatient care” at Walter Reed.

This man isn’t the reason the bureaucratic bs overwhelms our wounded soldiers. That crap has been going on for decades, back to the Korean War. But a Sacrificial Lamb he is…

Bldg. 18 has been rundown for ages as well. Its the amount of injured coming back that is bogging down the system and overwhelming it.

Another issue is the military’s clampdown on service personnel speaking to reporters. They have shut the door very quickly and locked it, canceling the previously approved visits of the Discovery Channel and CNN who were going to do pieces on the military which had nothing to do with the W.R. fiasco:

“I wanted to spend some time with the trainers there and show how they instill core values and integrity in these troops,” said Christenson. “They refused me access because Michelle Manhart was part of the story. They did not want to support another story that had Michelle Manhart in it.”

If you can’t say something can’t say anything apparently..or else they are afraid of what other skeletons will be flying out of the closet.

“This is troublesome because it keeps the average person from learning the real facts here,” he said. “They are trying to censor the news, in this case it is bad news. The military has gone into a bunker mentality.” He also had heard reports from some reporters that casualty numbers were not being released as freely as in the past. “They are trying to manage the news,” he said. “There has to be some middle ground and in the past there has been middle ground.”

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Small U.S. towns bear scars from Iraq

This AP article is quite depressing. It made me seriously mad. It shows, once again, that the poor are the ones paying the bulk of the price for Bush’s War in Iraq and there is a ‘backdoor draft’. Small towns are never ‘middle class’, they are very seldom self-sufficient.

“Across the nation, small towns are quietly bearing a disproportionate burden of war. Nearly half of the more than 3,100 U.S. military casualties in Iraq have come from towns like McKeesport, where fewer than 25,000 people live, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. One in five hailed from hometowns of less than 5,000.”

“The AP analysis found that nearly three quarters of those killed in Iraq came from towns where the per capita income was below the national average. More than half came from towns where the percentage of people living in poverty topped the national average.”

Many of these soldiers believed in what they were doing. I do not question that. What I question is how the military offers opportunities for advancement and education as an enticement to these young men and women. When an individual lives in a dying steel town for instance, the opportunities for a decent life are far and few between. College is too expensive for even middle class families, and student loans will eat you alive after you graduate. Many of our best and brightest minds went into the war to pay off their student loans…ask tammara about that.

The AP article also brings up the financial burden of being a member of the National Guard or Reserves in the War in Iraq. Soldiers who were previously entrepreneurs are going bankrupt or losing their businesses. Families that were dependent on one spouse as sole income provider are experiencing a nightmare all their own.

The final blow is how the military delivers the bodies of military personnel killed in Iraq only to the nearest major airport. This is also a burden felt by the rural or small town inhabitants. It’s not only cruel, it is immoral to expect these grieving families to get the soldiers remains back to their hometown AND bear the cost of doing so. A bill has been introduced to cure this disgusting habit by a Democrat. Yes, I said a Democrat. Where are the Republican representatives on this issue? Will they fight this extra cost being added to the military budget?

Bastards better not. Our fallen soldiers and their families deserve better.