July 3, 2008

VFW-Veterans for Welfare?

I was reading an article on the website VA Watchdog dot org, where it's founder Larry Scott slams an unknown supposedly "active duty military officer with multiple Iraq deployments and continuing active duty career." The anonymous author of the posting goes on to trash our veterans who have service-connected disabilities. Insisting that veteran benefits are a drain on our country and budget while ignoring the costs of the wars.

Here is my response to a fortunate person who should thank God that they do not know the meaning of being disabled and all that entails;

I feel compelled to say some really negative and harsh words to the person writing this post. But, I will not because I believe that is exactly what he or she wants. I am a Army veteran of the Gulf War, I was a driver of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle. My unit fought the Iraqi Republican Guard in three campaigns and my vehicle was point for the brigade. I drove for 172 hours straight, engaged in 100 hours of sustained combat and witnessed literally thousands of enemy combatants die in that short span of time.

Since being honorably discharged from the service of my country I have struggled with PTSD, depression, substance use disorder, homelessness, social and health issues. It took me 7 tries and 15 years to go through the VA bureaucracy to get the help that I needed. Nothing has been given to me that I have not fought for with my life, either in the Gulf War, with the VA or in the streets of despair. I gave freely of my time and service, the same was not done for me.

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