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Congress is looking at many ways to cut the deficit and the debt, but their most recent attempt would include cutting veterans benefits. According to the Congressional Budget Office, this would affect more than 1.3 million veterans. Unfortunately, this isn't a new strategy. In January of this year, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) proposed cutting $4.5 billion from the Department of Veterans Affairs that goes to disabled veterans.

Veterans benefits are not an entitlement program and should never be flippantly targeted for cuts, even when we are in a rough economy, and especially not while we are engaged in two prolonged wars. When a veteran takes the oath to "Support and Defend the Constitution of the United States," veterans benefits are essentially part of the government's oath in return for their service. This includes disability, healthcare, education and family benefits that we promise to them in exchange for their sacrifice of years, comfort, family, safety and even their lives.

We cannot allow cuts to the VA in order to keep giving tax credits to oil companies. As home to more than 300,000 veterans, Oklahoma should take a firm stand against any cuts to the promises our Great Nation makes to its heroes.

(Isaac M. O'Bannon is the president of the Oklahoma Democratic Party Veterans Committee - www.OKDemocrats.org/odpvc.)

Originally posted to imobannon on Wed Jun 08, 2011 at 09:04 PM PDT.

Also republished by Netroots For The Troops®, Military Community Members of Daily Kos, New York City, and New Diary Writers.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Not just Oklahoma; EVERY state and all of (8+ / 0-)

    each state's citizens should stand up and say an emphatic "NO" to any Republican efforts to cut Veterans' benefits so that things like tax cuts for the top 1% and tax credits for those oil companies who seem to be able to make obscene profits at our expense, no matter how punishing their profiteering is on us...

    It is really hard to listen to the whining of Exxon executives carrying on about the pain they would suffer at the loss of tax credits that would limit their yacht-buying options while thinking at the same time about what the proposed veteran benefit cuts would mean to Americans who did what their government asked them to do with no thought or hope of ever even seeing - much less seeing - a yacht or mega-mansion...

    "In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upward mobile..." - Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

    by Jack K on Wed Jun 08, 2011 at 09:56:48 PM PDT

    •  The real cost of these stupid wars (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      exlrrp, CA Berkeley WV, irishwitch

      has come due. Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush and Wolfowitz are not around to account for their 'miscalculations'.

      This was my horror on 9/11/01. When the first tower came crashing down, my immediate thought was: "All the money we need for health care reform is going to go to another unnecessary war. And more unnecessarily maimed and mentally destroyed soldiers." Viet Nam was plenty clear in the lesson of what unjust wars do to the people who fight them. Sure, all wars have vets with PTSD. I've had the ones from WWI, WWII as well. The percentage who killed themselves are different.

      I had seen it over and over, as an RN. The ones from my generation who were drafted and served. And came home so broken, they took their own lives. Because once they had made the sacrifices, the American Legislators weren't willing to risk their careers to make sure those debts were paid, first.

      As roseeriter pointed out in her Sunday post, the only thing that has changed at the VA for vets with PTSD, TBI and other disabilities, is the VA has put too much faith in psych drugs - which hadn't helped the Nam vets.

      It just fries me. This generation were volunteers. They signed up to keep America safe without being drafted. Many have really tried to keep it together, to support each other and hold on to their lives.

      What I will never forget is Al Qa'Qaa.

      The looting of 380 tons of conventional explosives.

      I distinctly remember the video footage of a reporter who had been embeded with a unit headed to Baghdad during the opening weeks of the war. They found the site and contacted command to find out what to do. They were told no personnel could be spared to guard the storage site.  Weeks or months later, the reporter returned with some troops who found the place virtually emptied.

      I can't find my source right now, but my understanding was that the IAEA had warned Rumsfeld and Bush, just before or at the begining of the invasion,  that the site needed to be secured. They sent a reminder several weeks or months later.

      Irony does not describe it. They went looking for WMD and refused to secure a huge stash (not to mention others in the country) of known conventional weapons explosives. Anyone who had been following the multitude of wars all over the planet for decades knew that conventional weapons had killed far more people than WMD. They are quite effective without the pesky problems of poisoning the land, air, water, plants and animals with radiation, toxins or germs.

      The arrogance, immorality and total lack of empathy in that scenario is breathtaking. To view the lack of medical care and disability support through that lens, is to understand what pure evil is.

      I had never really believed in that concept before BushCo.

      Too much sanity may be madness. The maddest of all is to see the world as it is and not as it should be. Don Quixote "Man of La Mancha"

      by Ginny in CO on Wed Jun 08, 2011 at 11:45:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Veteran's benefits are a right. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jacey, exlrrp, CA Berkeley WV, irishwitch

    Non-negotiable.  Every man and women in this country who has served should be honored and cared for in the highest possible way.

    •  Unfortunately, that's not true. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CA Berkeley WV, irishwitch

      Veteran's benefits, like all military benefits, are at the control of Congress and can be taken away at any point in time. That was proven when free health care was taken from retirees back in the 1990's. Went to court and everything. No such such thing as a right when it comes to military service benefits.

      •  I understand that legally. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CA Berkeley WV, irishwitch, TexDem

        I'm speaking about a moral position.  It speaks to the same issue as health care -- many would say quality health care for all is a right.  Obviously we're not there yet.  I should have said 'I believe that....' for clarity's sake.  

        •  Unfortunately not everyone understands that (4+ / 0-)

          legally. So when we have these conversations with non-military folks, it's important that they realize public service is exactly that. We serve at the will of the public. And congress, the public's elected officials, in turn make the laws. If the public wants to see it's veterans better served, the public needs to be more vocal.

          Sorry, I don't mean to sound frustrated at you. I'm frustrated because I see military benefits going down the tubes and I see very few people caring about the matter.

          •  Agreed. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            irishwitch, TexDem

            And I didn't think you were at all frustrated with me :).  The idea of reducing vets benefits is despicable and the people that don't care have no skin in the game.  Now if everyone had to give service to their country, I bet the conversation would be totally different.  People would care if their children, mothers, fathers, brothers, etc.,  were put in harm's way.

            Right now these men and women are disposable in a political sense because the majority of the country has no vested interest.  That has to change.  My hope is that all of the various vet's groups can collectively raise their voices and be heard.

            •  I doubt we're 1% of the membership here any (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              irishwitch, TexDem

              more than we are in the broader population.

              Occasionally, I can write a diary that will garner some attention but it's become easy to ignore us. People who disagree have learned to stay away because they are quickly told that they need to respect the troops. Not a bad thing necessarily, but it means that a lot of what keeps DailyKos front page material on the front page, on the recommend list, never gets there because we're not engaging in conversations and arguments about the topic. When everyone agrees, it's easy to just let the issue lie.

              Or I can write a rant and that will make a difference. But rants take extreme amounts of energy that are draining on the psyche. At least, a rant for me does. I have to write them when I'm in the right mood.

              We'll all keep writing and hope that someone other than our dedicated Kossacks start to listen.

  •  I've also republished where I could. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CA Berkeley WV, irishwitch
  •  And it's not just veteran's benefits on the table. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CA Berkeley WV, irishwitch, TexDem

    According to McMullen it's also active duty benefits as well.

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    And our diaries about the subjects get little attention on DKos. It's even worse outside our small world.

    Things aren't looking good folks.

    •  Put a swear word in the title (0+ / 0-)

      Seriously, it pulls eyes. Don't give away the topic right away.

      Something like; It's A F#*king Shame!!

      H*ll No!

      No D#mned Way!!!

      They Can't Be That F^@king Callous, Can They?

      It'll draw the eyes. It's just like Wienergate, it's eye porn that'll draw them to it. Then it's has to be some really good visceral writing to keep them.

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