We are a nation that is better at creating veterans than it is taking care of veterans. If you ask Congress, 99% of them will say that they support and honor our veterans, but their lack of legislation says otherwise.
Veterans have a suicide rate of over 1.5 times the national average. Similarly, they have a life expectancy that is almost a decade lower than the national average. Couple that with a Veterans Affairs Department plagued with controversy, it starts to seem like our elected representatives don't really care about veterans. To add insult to injury, Congress had to be bullied by Comedian Jon Stewart just to get them to provide veterans with much needed healthcare due to exposure to toxic burn pits.
While the US struggles with caring for veterans, they are eager to create more. The United States has been at war for the vast majority of its time as a nation. It actively engages in conflicts across the world, regardless of the implications of national security. We have men and women who sign up to protect our country, then get sent overseas to play the world police and actively provoke countries that did not attack us, which ironically makes us less safe as a country and puts the lives of our servicemembers at risk.
One only needs to look at the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These wars occurred in response to the terrorist attacks on 9/11, which claimed the lives of 2,977 Americans. However, the costs of the subsequent wars was much higher. Over 7,000 servicemembers were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, with over 53,000 wounded. Over 280,000 civilians died in Iraq and 70,000 civilians have died in Afghanistan. Two wars that will cost this country over $8 trillion, the result of a terrorist attack in which 15 of the terrorists came from Saudi Arabia, two from the UAE, one from Egypt, and one from Lebanon.
Our elected officials need to be much less eager to create veterans, and more eager to take care of them. My campaign is one for the working class, a category in which veterans absolutely fall in. I support veterans not because it is politically advantageous, but because they served our country, enduring all sorts of hardships, while politicians stayed comfy in their DC offices and defense contractors like Boeing and Raytheon made billions of dollars off death and destruction. If we can spend $817 billion in "defense" every year, we can take care of the 18 million veterans in this country and ensure that they have everything that they need to live the best life, the same life that they were willing to risk for this country.
Happy Veterans Day.