Trent Lott's War Against Veterans
Trent Lott shows his true stripes (they're yellow).
©2007, Bob Beeman
Posted 2007-05-28
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Perhaps you heard the interview with Trent Lott, Senate Minority Whip, on NPR's Morning Edition a few weeks ago, or maybe you didn't. I did, and never have I been more ashamed of a supposed US leader. Senator Lott's comment that the US spends too much money on veteran's benefits is one of the most shameful and cowardly things I have ever heard, at least from an elected US official.

Apparently, Senator Lott believes that it is OK that disabled veterans are housed in rat and roach infested quarters while awaiting treatment at Walter Reed, that veterans ruled less than 30% disabled are "cashed out" with a paltry lump-sum settlement, that they are not given assistance with transportation to their medical appointments, and are often left to the care of their already over-burdened families, who receive nothing to help with unemployment of their veteran or their veteran's extra treatment bills.

In fact, the US government has a long record of outright lies and dishonesty in its shameful mistreatment of disabled veterans.

In my lifetime, returning WWII vets had to put up with inferior artificial limbs, atomic test veterans were left to die of cancer without treatment, those exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam (thanks Dow) were left to deal with cancer and birth defects in their children on their own. More recently, Desert Storm veterans were never properly treated for ailments acquired there (or for inhaled uranium dust), and veterans of our ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are routinely humiliated and demeaned when they seek psychological help.

National Guard people are treated even worse. My wife's niece lost most of her promised educational benefits because she was guarding airports for over a year and then spent over 15 months in Iraq during her eligibility period. "Sorry", she was told, "You are no longer in the Guard, and so you are not eligible - too bad you were in Iraq during your eligibility". Legislators in Illinois added a year of eligibility, but that was far less than what was originally promised, as the timing of her deployments interrupted her studies just before final exams on several occasions.

Given the US government's record of dishonesty in this matter, I have a modest proposal. Give all veterans who have ever served on active duty in a war zone a full 100% coverage lifetime medical policy, good at any doctor of hospital of the veteran's choice, not just at some second-rate government hospital. And throw in transportation costs. The families of veterans shouldn't have to quit their jobs to drive veterans around to their treatments.

Only this way will our shameful record of mistreatment of veterans be partially corrected. Write your representatives.

Oh, and don't vote for cowardly "Chicken Hawks" like Senator Lott, who sat out Vietnam, Desert Storm, and Iraqi Freedom yet is a military "Hawk", willing to send others to their deaths.

Trent Lott: liar, coward, and fool!


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