Saturday, February 2, 2013

Care for him who shall have borne the battle

Care for him who shall have borne the battle
by Kathie Costos
Wounded Times Blog
February 2, 2013

This morning I opened an email about the number of military suicides and in the email a friend named Les added the thoughts that it is our job to "care for him who shall have borne the battle" and I responded adding in that while we talk about those numbers, we never seem to talk about the families left behind.

Did you know that a lot of family members end up with PTSD because of veterans coming home from combat? Did you know that family members suffer from the trauma, not from war, but from what the war did? Don't feel ashamed you didn't know. As bad as it is that we don't talk about our veterans or the troops, we talk about the families even less. Veterans are committing suicide with an average of almost one every hour.

Why? Because politicians and political zealots have taken sides and neither side is standing by the side of those who risk their lives.

Some want to blame President Obama while some still blame President Bush. The truth is, while the person in the Oval Office sets the agenda, it is members of congress writing and funding the bills including the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs.

The other ugly truth is, while Republicans claim to be pro-military, they are pro-military-contrators and have done a lousy job of taking care of the men and women serving in the military. The Democrats have been more pro-servicemen and women and less pro-contractos, but even with that, they have not been much better at doing things that will come close to getting this right for the sake of those who serve.

VA won't say how many veterans die waiting for disability benefits

President Lincoln said on March 4, 1865
“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

In 2007 I put up this video onto YouTube. In 2009, I moved it onto Great Americans. I want you to watch it for a very important reason. The numbers. What we knew they were dealing with and then compare those numbers to what has been released recently as if any of his was new.

The truth is, many want to pretend this is all new. That way they can think something will actually be done to help all our veterans. The ugly truth is, nothing will really change until the Congress stops pretending they are doing something about all of this.

What did the news report on last month as if it was really "news" and new?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder cases overwhelm Veteran Affairs

There is yet another ugly truth no one seems to be tracking. When PTSD veterans are shot and killed by police. These are just some of the reports from January on Wounded Times.

Navy Medic Iraq veteran with PTSD shot by police in Arizona

Police shooting of PTSD soldier captured on video in Honolulu

While some get reported in newspapers around the country, some are kept quiet. That is the biggest thing we need to remember. For all the stories you read on Wounded Times, there are many, many more we do not read about. More suffering than you will ever know. Congress however knows more than any of us will know. After all, it is their job to know. The committees in the House and Senate cannot use the excuse they didn't know because it is their jobs to find out what is going on and figure out what to do about it.

These are the members of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee right now.

Bernard Sanders, VT

John D. Rockefeller IV, WV
Patty Murray, WA
Sherrod Brown, OH
Jon Tester, MT
Mark Begich, AK
Richard Blumenthal, CT
Mazie Hirono, HI

Richard Burr, NC
Ranking Member

Johnny Isakson, GA
Mike Johanns, NE
Jerry Moran, KS
John Boozman, AR
Dean Heller, NV

House Veterans Affairs Committee
Jeff Miller (FL), Chairman
Doug Lamborn (CO)
Gus M. Bilirakis (FL), Vice Chairman
David P. Roe (TN)
Bill Flores (TX)
Jeff Denham (CA)
Jon Runyan (NJ)
Dan Benishek (MI)
Tim Huelskamp (KS)
Mike Coffman (CO)
Mark E. Amodei (NV)
Brad Wenstrup (OH)
Paul Cook (CA)
Jackie Walorski (IN)

Michael H. Michaud (ME), Democratic Ranking Member
Corrine Brown ( FL)
Mark Takano (CA)
Julia Brownley (CA)
Dina Titus (NV)
Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ)
Raul Ruiz (CA)
Gloria Negrete McLeod (CA)
Ann McLane Kuster (NH)
Beto O'Rourke (TX)
Tim Walz (MN)

They are the people in charge during the 113th Congress and we need to hold them accountable because we didn't hold anyone accountable before this and that is how we ended up where we are when it comes to taking "care of of him who shall have borne the battle."