Editorial: The price of war (Times Argus)
May 31, 2012
Over the years Sen. Bernard Sanders has been a consistent defender of the interests of military veterans, and on Memorial Day he appeared at a variety of parades and ceremonies where he asked Vermonters to remember those who have served their country.
Rep. Peter Welch was in Vermont this week promoting a program to help veterans launch new businesses. He hopes to expand a program run by the Vermont Small Business Development Center into a national program, offering guidance to returning veterans.
The focus on the interests of veterans is not just a crowd-pleasing gesture by our political leaders. The population of veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is considerable and the burdens they bear are significant. A recent story by The Associated Press described the toll these wars have taken.
Since the wars began more than 1.6 service men and women have left active duty and become veterans. Fifty-four percent of them are getting health care from the VA; following World War II and the Vietnam War, the number was 40 percent, which means that the Department of Veterans Affairs is facing extraordinary burdens.
Improvements in body army and battlefield care mean that many more service men and women survive injuries that in previous conflicts would have killed them. One consequence is that veterans are facing an array of medical problems stemming from their service.
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Tags: OpEd, Vermont, Veterans