Sunday, February 25, 2007

Oh, what a lovely war

Stories of abused and forgotten vets, this time coming from Iraq, are coming in fast and furiously lately and, though we knew vets were having domestic difficulties upon returning from a hellish war zone, many are finding that they don't even have a domestic life left. Jobless and usually suffering some level of PTSD, hundreds of vets are now homeless, with more -- many more -- expected.
...young warriors just back from the Mideast—estimated around 500 to 1,000—are beginning to struggle with homelessness too. Drinking or using drugs to cope with PTSD, they can lose their job and the support of family and friends, and start a downward spiral to the streets. Their tough military mentality can make them less likely to seek help. Advocates say it can take five to eight years for a veteran to exhaust their financial resources and housing options, so they expect the number to rise exponentially in a few years.
As unpleasant as this reality is, it can certainly be expected that these struggling vets will be joining ranks with the ever-expanding rolls of the poor and "deeply poor." The marvelous Bush economy is now full-throttle, creating a pool of new recruits for the war machine.
The gulf between rich and poor in the United States is yawning wider than ever, and the number of extremely impoverished is at a three-decade high, a report out Saturday found.

Based on the latest available U.S. census data from 2005, the McClatchy Newspapers analysis found that almost 16 million Americans live in "deep or severe poverty" defined as a family of four with two children earning less than 9,903 dollars — one half the federal poverty line figure.
In fact, between 2000 and 2005, the ratio of moderate poverty to deep poverty is falling rapidly, as deep poverty rates grew "56% faster than the overall poverty population grew in the same period."

Under Republican rule, the United States now has, in place, a marvelous policy for creating military recruits. I've said it before but after seeing these grim statistics, it needs reiteration: the deprecation of public education, led by the GOP, leads to an ever-increasing number of already marginalized citizens being deprived of a "decent education," which in turn drives those people into dissolution and economic desperation. As good paying jobs evaporate, economic choice becomes stark; join the Wal*mart economy or the military, which, more and more, simply represent two sides of the same coin. Military recruiters target the disenfranchised, those youth who may not be too keen to stock shelves but whose options are limited to just that. As demand for more bodies for more wars increases under this agenda, this demand is neatly met by lowered standards and "moral waivers" designed to capture these wayward souls. Once expended, the military discharges these fodder back into society. They are nearly if not completely spent. With no social net, most of these erstwhile, broken soldiers disappear quietly. A few speak out but, in the main, the corporate media and Congress chooses to ignore them or castigate them as whiners.

And no one is the wiser for what has been done and will continue to be done. It's time to wake up.


Blogger Nita Martin said...

Just discovered your blog after seeing your article on Edwards/Israel/etc. on oped news.I've bookmarked you, and I'll be back. You are so right about the economic understory of returning vets. I, like many others, have been focusing on the obvious --through organizations like Veterans and Military Families for Progress, and the fact that my two sons are Iraq Marine veterans, one currently deployed --the immediate problems of PTSD and lack of care, both mental and physical for these people we are destroying in Bush's war of ego. Thank you for another perspective. One that very cogently links Iraq with the "other problems", like poverty, generated by this greedy, arrogant and totally amoral (and yet strangely immoral)administration

4:45 AM  
Blogger theBhc said...

Hi nita

Thanks for stopping in. I'm sorry to hear of your sons' problems and I do hope the one deployed comes back safely.

The story of the treatment vets are receiving under this administration seems especially egregious because of their "support the troops" mantra. Bush has done nothing but propose cuts to the VA budget and did so even before the invasion of Iraq. Congress, for the most part, has prevented these cuts but that still doesn't mitigate his administration's callous misuse and abuse of the military men and women of this country.

Good luck to you and to your sons.

11:47 AM  

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