Friday, March 2, 2007

How About Funding for Vets?

The Washington Post expose of the horrible conditions for wounded GIs in “outpatient” treatment at Walter Reed Hospital has called attention to serious problems and cost some do-nothing brass their careers. The mold and vermin in patient quarters will be cleaned up. That’s good.

What’s been overlooked is the fact that Reed and other military facilities have simply been overwhelmed. A combination of body armor, advanced trauma medicine, and improved transport, has saved the lives of many who formerly would have died on the battlefield. But the flip side of this is that the ratio of wounded soldiers is the highest in living memory–currently running about 2,000 a month.

Most agree that the wounded are getting good medical attention now. But many of them will require expensive treatment, and disability payments for decades to come. A Harvard study estimates a liability of over 600 billion dollars to meet these most basic obligations. Clearly the military and the VA are nowhere near prepared to handle this little discussed cost of war. A compelling material supplement to the human arguments for demanding not one more day of this bloody, unjust war.

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