America talks a good game when it comes to caring for our veterans, but talk is cheap. Horror stories like the Legionella outbreak in Pittsburgh, subject of the editorial “The VA report: Failing our vets” (April 25 and TribLIVE.com), are routine. The disability claims backlog is a national disgrace — 600,000 claims are more than 125 days old. Washington gridlock has yielded budget “sequestration” that will slash services for vets, such as the “transition assistance program” that helps with re-entry to civilian life.
Instead of balancing the budget on the exhausted backs of our veterans, our leaders should go line by line through the budget and eliminate the real cost drivers. How can we justify spending hundreds of billions of dollars on a new stealth fighter jet, for example, when our current fighters are better than anything our enemies can fly? Allies like Canada question whether this new F-35 is a wise investment, with its high costs and limited firepower compared to the more affordable aircraft it would replace. At a minimum, it's a luxury we can't afford, certainly not at the expense of caring for our vets.
It's fashionable to say we've learned the lessons of the Vietnam era, because we've grown better at acknowledging and appreciating our returning servicemen and women. Kind words are fine, but fair treatment is what matters.
Joseph F. Morgan
The writer is president and CEO of Veterans of Modern Warfare (vmwusa.org).
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.