Supporting the Troops?

According to the latest statistics from the Dept. of Veteran’s Affairs, 18 veterans are committing suicide each day. That’s more than 6,500 deaths per year, and 21% of all suicides in this country, despite the fact that veterans make up only 8% of our population.

Most people hate the war, but they’re always quick to remind each other that we have to support the troops. Really? Is this the way that we support our troops? The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have now lasted longer than WW II. Advances in medical technology have allowed doctors to save the lives of many soldiers who would have died on battlefields in earlier wars, resulting in thousands coming home maimed and disabled, physically and emotionally.

The VA apparently has decided that they are not going to deal in any substantial way with PTSD. Veterans are reporting that they are being offered pills, but not much in terms of personal counseling. We all recall the scandalous conditions that were exposed at Walter Reade Hospital in Washington.

Apparently saying that we support our troops is just empty rhetoric that makes us, but not them, feel better. And we’re all guilty. Yes, we can laid it at the feet of the government, but like so many other things, we let them get away with it. The guilt belongs to all of us. It’s a national shame.


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