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In December 2004, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld lectured American troops worried about vital equipment shortages plaguing U.S. combat forces in Iraq. "You go to war with the army you have," Rumsfeld pontificated, "not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time."

That was a particularly galling statement for Rumsfeld of all people to make. After all, George W. Bush's Pentagon boss hadn't just contemplated slashing two Army divisions and two aircraft carriers mere weeks before the September 11 attacks and later mocked top Army General Eric Shinseki for presciently warning in early 2003 that the looming occupation of Iraq would require "several hundred thousand soldiers." As it turns out, the Bush administration Rumsfeld represented and its Republican allies in Congress ignored two other truisms of waging war:

  • You pay for the wars you fight.
  • And when their service is over, you take care of the men and women who fought, suffered and died for the United States of America.

Yet at no point after the slaughter of 3,000 people on 9/11 did Republicans call for even one penny in new tax revenue to pay the bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which may ultimately cost $6 trillion. As for the 2.6 million men and women who have worn the uniform since 9/11, many of the same GOP voices now demanding defense spending hikes voted to slash veterans' health care and filibustered increased VA funding just three months ago.

To be sure, the Chickenhawks and Deficit Hawks who routinely boast they most "support the troops" have an appalling way of showing it. By 2020, the twin wars and twin Bush tax cuts they so ardently advocated will have drained roughly $10 trillion from the United States Treasury.

Continue reading below to see how that grim mixture of red blood and red ink came to pass.

By 2011, the Congressional Research Services put the price tag on America's post-9/11 wars at $1.28 trillion. A 2013 Harvard study estimated that the total cost to the U.S. Treasury so far for the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq had reached $2 trillion. In keeping with another analysis from researchers at Brown University, the Harvard team forecast that in the years to come, the total figure including veterans' pensions and health care could balloon to as much as $6 trillion. As the Washington Post noted:

Spending borrowed money to pay for the wars has also made them more expensive, the study noted. The conflicts have added $2 trillion to America's debt, representing roughly 20 percent of the debt incurred between 2001 and 2012.
That's because after September 11, President Bush didn't follow FDR's example and ask Americans to pay higher taxes to defeat Al Qaeda. Instead, Bush cut them.

In the summer of 2001, as you'll recall, Bush signed his $1.4 trillion tax cut into law. But even as the World Trade Center site was still smoldering, Bush in the wake of the September 11 attacks told the American people not to sacrifice but to go shopping and get down to Disney World. And in 2003, George W. Bush became the first modern president to cut taxes during wartime. Bush and his Republican allies in Congress passed a second round of cuts forecast to cost another $550 billion over the ensuing decade. (In 2009, Barack Obama became the second tax-cutting commander in chief with his stimulus program that delivered the largest two-year tax cut in American history.) As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) previously explained in 2008 and 2011, the Bush tax cuts accounted for about half the deficits during his tenure and, if made permanent (as most ultimately were by President Obama), would produce more red ink than Iraq, Afghanistan, TARP and the recession combined.

And when most of the Bush wartime tax cuts were made permanent as part of the 2013 "fiscal cliff" deal, President Obama and Congress guaranteed that the hemorrhaging of red ink would continue for years to come. The American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA), which ended the fiscal cliff stand-off in January 2013, raised income and capital gains taxes on households earning over $450,000 a year, generating an estimated $770 billion over a decade. But the rest of the Bush tax cuts—over $3 trillion worth—were made perpetual. As the Washington Post calculated last September:
Despite multiple deficit-reduction deals during the past three years, the national debt is projected to swell to 100 percent of the economy by 2038, due primarily to the enormous cost of caring for an aging society. Making matters worse: tax cuts for the vast majority of Americans made permanent during last year's fiscal cliff showdown. If the tax cuts had been allowed to expire, projections showed the debt dropping to 52 percent of GDP during the next 25 years.
So much for "tax cuts pay for themselves."

But in the years ahead, another area of federal spending—taking care of our veterans who fought the nation's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq—will put additional stress on the federal budget, too. . Last year, Harvard researcher and veterans affairs expert Linda J. Bilmes explained why:

"Historically, the bill for these costs has come due many decades later," the report says, noting that the peak disbursement of disability payments for America's warriors in the last century came decades after the conflicts ended. "Payments to Vietnam and first Gulf War veterans are still climbing."
Or as Alec MacGillis explained in The New Republic, "Put simply: when you go to war, you get more wounded veterans."

Make that a lot more. Over 2.5 million Americans have served since 9/11. According to polling from the Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than half "struggle with physical or mental health problems stemming from their service." While 6,800 service men and service women died in Iraq and Afghanistan, another 51,000 were wounded. By 2013, over 270,000 were being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). With ever-improving battlefield medical care saving more and more lives, the wounded who survive suffer from the most serious injuries. And with the IED the main weapon of the enemy, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are now horribly frequent. Over 30,000 were diagnosed by 2011.

While the VA has succeeded in reducing its backlog of claims by about half from 611,000 since last year, the caseload remains daunting. As the Washington Post recently detailed:
The longest stretch of fighting in American history is producing disability claims at rates that surpass those of any of the country's previous wars. Nearly half of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are filing for these benefits when they leave the military -- a flood of claims that has overwhelmed the VA and generated a backlog of 300,000 cases stuck in processing for more than 125 days. Some have languished for more than a year.
That's why the total budget for the VA has tripled between since 2001 (and still appears not be enough). But as Paul Waldman showed in the chart below, the growth in VA funding wasn't steady. The biggest jump in the VA budget didn't come until after the Iraq "surge," until after the Walter Reed Army Medical Center crisis of 2007 and until after Barack Obama took the oath of office.
And as Waldman also emphasized, the current scandal over secret VA waiting lists "isn't about the quality of care." As study after study has repeatedly shown, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and its network of 1,700 facilities that serve 8 million veterans a year is extremely popular, enjoys higher client satisfaction than private hospitals or Medicare and delivers care at least as good—and at lower cost—than the private sector. As Time recently explained ("It's Time for Some Perspective on the VA"):
The high-profile investigation into wait-times at VA facilities masks the good job most of its 230,000 daily visitors believes the agency is doing...

"Over the past two weeks, the American Legion has received over 500 calls, emails, and online contacts from veterans struggling with the healthcare system nationwide," Daniel Dellinger, the Legion's national commander, told the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee on Thursday. Over that same period, the VA saw a total of about 3.2 million patients. That works out to a complaint rate of 0.015%. Including a wider date range drops that share even lower.

But while grandstanding Republican leaders like Eric Cantor ("it is time for our president to come forward and take responsibility for this and do the right thing by these veterans and begin to show that he actually cares about getting it straight") is rightly outraged at the recent revelations regarding those phony waiting lists and potentially avoidable deaths at some VA hospitals, their Republican Party has a proven record of making things worse for veterans and their families. The 2012 version of Paul Ryan's House GOP budget (which garnered the support of 95 percent of Congressional Republicans) called for spending 13 percent less than the White House proposal. As the Veterans of Modern Warfare (VMW) cautioned, the care of 1.3 million vets was at risk because Ryan's plan "save $6 billion annually in VA health care costs by cancelling enrollment of any veteran who doesn't have a service-related medical condition and is not poor." As Gene Murphy, director of the South Dakota Disabled American Veterans, put it at the time:
"If they go and approve this, we will have some of the smaller VA facilities closing down in rural states. Then you're going to put these veterans...into the Medicare and Medicaid programs."
The indignities don't end there. While the VA escaped largely unscathed from the budget sequestration process, the January 2014 Ryan-Murray deal cut the pension benefits of 90 percent of military veterans. Adding insult to injury, GOP-led cuts to food stamps impacted 900,000 veterans, while the refusal of 24 Republican-controlled states to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act has left an estimated 258,000 vets needlessly without coverage. Unless Congress acts soon, a breakthrough pilot project assisting veterans suffering from traumatic brain injuries will come to an end. And now, with the chronically underfunded and overstretched Veterans Affairs Department under the microscope, some Republicans are once again proposing the one reform certain to make the situation worse: privatizing veterans' health care.

Back in February, 41 Republican Senators filibustered a Democratic bill designed to enhance health, education and job-training programs for the nation's 22 million veterans. Why?

Republicans complained that the bill was too expensive. And they were upset that Majority Leader Harry Reid prevented a vote on a GOP amendment cutting the bill and adding sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program.
Which brings us full circle. Whether it's returning to a Cold War footing versus Russia in Eastern Europe or launching a preventive war against the Iranian nuclear program, the folks who brought you the war in Iraq are getting the band back together.

To be sure, the threats from Republican leaders like Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to blow up the delicate negotiations with Tehran make war much more likely. Aided by many Democrats, demands for Congress to participate in the deal-making, increase current sanctions and even mandate U.S. support for unilateral Israeli strikes against Iranian nuclear targets leave little hope for a peaceful resolution. (For more on the possible costs of a conflict Robert Gates and Michael Hayden warned would be "disastrous," visit here.)

Bill Kristol, one of the original cheerleaders for regime change in Iraq, has only one response for Americans opposed to launching a preventive war against Iran, bombing Syria and committing U.S. resources to regions historically within Russia's sphere of influence. "War-weariness," he charged, is not an excuse.

Are Americans today war-weary? Sure. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have been frustrating and tiring. Are Americans today unusually war-weary? No. They were wearier after the much larger and even more frustrating conflicts in Korea and Vietnam. And even though the two world wars of the last century had more satisfactory outcomes, their magnitude was such that they couldn't help but induce a significant sense of war-weariness. And history shows that they did.

So American war-weariness isn't new. Using it as an excuse to avoid maintaining our defenses or shouldering our responsibilities isn't new, either. But that doesn't make it admirable.

But Americans aren't suffering from war-weariness as much as fiasco fatigue. Egged on by the likes of Kristol, George Bush, Dick Cheney, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Donald Rumsfeld and so many more of their ilk, Americans waged war on Iraq in one of the greatest national security and foreign policy blunders of this or any other era. They've seen the toll it has taken on our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, coast guardsmen and National Guard. They understand the suffering and sacrifice of their families. And they can count up the trillions of dollars run up on the national credit card.
U.S. defense spending, impact of sequestration.
Meanwhile in Congress, the same Republicans accusing President Obama of every sin in the book over his administration's handling of the VA revelations have another cause. Despite having voted overwhelmingly for the 2011 Budget Control Act, about which House Speaker John Boehner crowed, "I got 98 percent of what I wanted," Republicans decry the defense spending caps the BCA's sequestration put in place. And on Thursday, the House approved a $601 billion defense appropriation that rejected many of the cost-saving proposals that Secretary Hagel and the Joint Chiefs of Staff proposed. The A10 "Warthog," the U-2 spy plane and several Navy cruisers the Pentagon sought to ax are back. While Armed Service Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) proclaimed, "We had to make too many cuts, too many hard trade-offs, and too many reductions to bring this bill in with $30 billion less than we gave DoD last year," Democratic Representative Adam Smith (D-WA) lamented, "We ducked every single one of them."
"We are going to have substantially less money over the next 10 years for defense than we thought," he said.

"How are we going to restructure our defense plans to deal with the fact? ... The answer in this bill is we're not going to deal with it this year. We're going to hope things get better and maybe deal with it next year."

There's no mystery as to how congressional Republicans want to deal with the Pentagon's budget caps: the same way they always do. They'll just get rid of them and raise defense outlays, either by slashing non-defense discretionary spending (already at a 50-year low as a percentage of the U.S. economy) or by running bigger deficits. They will cry, as Donald Rumsfeld once sneered, "Henny penny, the sky is falling." But what conservatives won't do is raise taxes to pay for either a bigger military or to care for those who previously served in it.

That, as Rumsfeld might also say, is "a known known." Because as their recent history sadly shows, when Republicans make war and make promises, they only end up making more debt and more wounded warriors.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The Military Officer Corps is largely Republican.. (6+ / 0-)

    and a large portion of those in need of food stamps also vote GOP.

    People have a right to be masochists. I suggest we let them be.

    •  Wait what? (0+ / 0-)

      Majority yes. Largely?  Absolutely not.  I find it runs about 70/30 across the board.  At the field grade and above its about 60/40.  Many of us attempt to be apolitical.  I have good friends who even refuse to vote on principle.  

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Sun May 25, 2014 at 07:43:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Our military budget is disgusting and a national (9+ / 0-)

    shame. ~$700b for equiping future wars and not enough to past for the past ones.

    The MIC has perfected the system, just make us spend like we are at war, without an actual war so there is no need to end it.

    Cutting our MIC welfare checks by half would still leave us above China and Russia combined with an extra almost $350b/y to use for us.

    Its such the right thing to do that our politicians would never even think of mentioning it in fear people would see the wisdom in it.

    Join the DeRevolution: We are not trying to take the country, we are trying to take the country back. Get the money out of politics with public financed campaigns so 'Of the People, By the People and For the People' rings true again.

    by fToRrEeEsSt on Sun May 25, 2014 at 04:12:46 PM PDT

    •  Cutting the military budget is something that the (13+ / 0-)

      GOP should be for.   Doesn't the GOP always call for cuts in "Government spending"?   Since the military is the single biggest line item on the budget, it should be critically examined first.

      An illusion can never be destroyed directly... SK.

      by Thomas Twinnings on Sun May 25, 2014 at 04:25:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Republicans are anything but consistent (10+ / 0-)

        They also say they are against abortions but are also against access to sex education and family planning systems that will most certainly reduce the need for abortions. They are not even trying to be consistent at all. Republicans are really only about protecting the profits and income of the large corporations and uber-wealthy individuals that support their campaigns.

        Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

        by RMForbes on Sun May 25, 2014 at 05:28:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Republicans are perfectly consistent on this (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BusyinCA, RMForbes

          The far right are perfectly consistent on this, if you understand the twisted perspective that is used to evaluate it.

          Soldiers are sla...ahem employees, just like in industry.  In industry, you have to have employees, but they must work-work-work while you pay them as little as you can get by with. When they get sick or old or for any other reason can't do the work required to earn their pittance, you discard them.

          The far right see soldiers the same way: A soldier is someone who can shoot at the enemy.  A man that can't do that any longer is just a burden on society, to be discarded as quickly as we can find out a way to do that.

          Armor? Why get armor when we can so easily find another soldier. If need be, draft them; especially let's draft those pinko liberals. Death benefit? Why waste the money for the dead man's family? Let them go out and get jobs like all the other sla...ahem responsible citizens. Healthcare? You're kidding, right? If they can't fight anymore, then healthcare is just a burden on society. Pension? Hee hee haw haw...

          See? Perfectly consistent.

    •  It's a great place to steal money (6+ / 0-)

      I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

      by a2nite on Sun May 25, 2014 at 05:16:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bravo!!! (4+ / 0-)

    Well said!

    War beats down, and sows with salt, the hearts and minds of soldiers." Brecht

    by DaNang65 on Sun May 25, 2014 at 04:20:33 PM PDT

  •  mainly red-state (8+ / 0-)


    The indignities don't end there. While the VA escaped largely unscathed from the budget sequestration process, the January 2014 Ryan-Murray deal cut the pension benefits of 90 percent of military veterans. Adding insult to injury, GOP-led cuts to food stamps impacted 900,000 veterans, while the refusal of 24 Republican-controlled states to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act has left an estimated 258,000 vets needlessly without coverage. Unless Congress acts soon, a breakthrough pilot project assisting veterans suffering from traumatic brain injuries will come to an end. And now, with the chronically underfunded and overstretched Veterans Affairs Department under the microscope, some Republicans are once again proposing the one reform certain to make the situation worse: privatizing veterans' health care.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "If we appear to seek the unattainable, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable." (@eState4Column5)

    by annieli on Sun May 25, 2014 at 04:20:42 PM PDT

  •  BUT, BUT, BUT... (7+ / 0-)

    At least we were greeted with open arms.
    This is how we end, with a whimper.
    History will wonder why we failed to punish the Bush war cabal, instead we enriched them.
    Shame...

    "the northern lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see. Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee". - Robert Service, Bard of the Yukon

    by Joe Jackson on Sun May 25, 2014 at 04:24:07 PM PDT

    •  They will twist and lie (8+ / 0-)

      They will continue their lies for eternity as they are in Bush's library.  They will hire Biographers who will expound the glory of Dubya and his administration.  They've lied since day 1 and they will continue to lie.  The right is totally lacking in moral fortitude.  They lied us into a war,they lied about the outcome,they lied about the cost,they did not include it in the budget and they are still lying and will continue to lie.  They will blame O'Bama and persecute every action he has because they all are Born Again Liars.  They are all living Devils in their,own right.  Bush is no Pastor Pres. As the referred to him,he is a Devils Desciple just like they are.  Hope everyone who can vote against the right does so. Too much is at stake.  They use and abuse the Veterans because all they have in mind are keeping themselves in office and enriching their war buddies coffers.

  •  Damn good thing (10+ / 0-)

    We have Obama in office to stop this nonsense!

    Great diary, just one problem….the Dems are just as complicit.

    Honolulu, along with DC, never saw a recession in 08. Why? Just like DC, it benefited from massive gov't spending.

    "Inouye brings home the Bacon!" was a recurring headline.

    $1.3B for new sub pen
    $.8B for new naval paint shed
    10,000 new military housing units

    That was just one month!

    Bring the troops home. Stop imperialism. The solution is simple.

    Blame the R's all you want. But it's not just those crazies.

    The MIC must be splitting a gut watching the Dems have power for 8 years and seeing its budget rise during the greatest recession since the great depression.

    There are no excuses for Democrats. The table was set in 08 and nobody showed up to eat, preferring to do business as usual down the hall in corporate headquarters with their congressional Rethuglican buddies.

  •  Excellent writeup, Jon. (12+ / 0-)

    Lost in the current imbroglio is the fact that veterans using the VHA healthcare system (such as I do) are mostly very satisfied with the quality and availability of services.  Are there issues?  Yes.  But I can tell  you from first hand experience that everyone - literally, everyone - that I've dealt with at the Department of Veterans Affairs is hyperfocused on their jobs, and serving veterans.  General Shinseki has been a godsend to the agency.

    The VA witch hunt that started a couple of weeks ago was primarily generated by Dan Dellinger, commander of the  American Legion.  To say that Dellinger is a right wing asshole of the first magnitude would be generous.  I resigned from the American Legion last year after he was elected.  The organization was always a right wing hotbed, but Dellinger has taken it to a whole 'nother level.  

  •  There are host of other problems here. (3+ / 0-)

    The DOD's procurement process still tends towards acquisition of both increasingly-expensive legacy systems and continuous R-and-D for next-generation equipment, neither of which serve much purpose in this day and age and all of which is little more than gravy trains for the big-name contractors.  

    And even when its clear that what's been issued to the troops isn't working, like their body armor at the start of the Iraqi occupation, the Pentagon can't issue a course correction in any timely fashion.  

    I'm convinced we're seeing the inevitable and inexorable decline of US military primacy.  I wonder if Afghanistan and Iraq will be viewed as our country's "Teutoburg Wald"?  

    •  Afghanistan (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ssgbryan, Zinman, BusyinCA
      I'm convinced we're seeing the inevitable and inexorable decline of US military primacy.  I wonder if Afghanistan and Iraq will be viewed as our country's "Teutoburg Wald"?  
      No, it will be viewed as our Afghanistan.

      Like Russia's Afghanistan before it. Or Britain's before that.

      "Afghanistan: where empires go to die!"

      "It's high time (and then some) that we put an end to the exceptionalistic nonsense floating around in our culture and face the fact that either the economy works for all, or it doesn't work AT all." -- Sean McCullough (DailyKos user thanatokephaloides)

      by thanatokephaloides on Sun May 25, 2014 at 06:24:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  1993 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thanatokephaloides

    I can tell you, as a person who had a relative volunteer and serve in WWII, there has never been a care for our fighting folks, or anyone really, in terms of health.

    I will also not that Clinton tried to push health care for everyone, and the conservatives destroyed it.  Does anyone believe that if everyone in the country was funding and had health care, and if veterans had full access to the VA hospitals and private hospitals(though private or work insurance), that we would have these problems?  Do you think if we had universal insurance during Clinton, instead of the optional insurance that conservative forced into the ACA, that employers would be reluctant to hire veterans?

    I am increasingly convinced that our health care problems result of building infrastructure that keeps people from getting health care rather than using those funds to build infrastructure to maximize people who have access.  How much money by spent by states and federal governement to build systems that essentially limit health care?  How much at the VA?  Why are so concerned that someone might get care that does not deserve it?

  •  i prefer actual budget numbers (0+ / 0-)

    i am no expert, but showing all past spending in terms of 2013 dollars obviously flattens the chart, does it not? here is one with un-adjusted numbers.

    http://www.usfederalbudget.us/...

    drones are a cost effective way of generating enough new terrorists that calls to cut military spending will fail.

    by just want to comment on Sun May 25, 2014 at 04:54:30 PM PDT

  •  This would end if we outlawed war profiteering (4+ / 0-)

    and taxed all profits made by the executives of military contractors above $3 million a year back up around 90%.

    Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

    by RMForbes on Sun May 25, 2014 at 05:01:00 PM PDT

  •  The VA scandal is not about funding (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thanatokephaloides

    Although everything said in this diary is spot on, the VA scandal that has the country so up in arms about is not about funding.  It is about secret waiting lists that caused people to die waiting for care and about a cover up with regard to that and other improper activities within the Veteran's Administration.

    Being a war veteran and a member of both the VFW and the American Legion, this isn't going to go away for the administration because the majority of the members and leadership of these organization are extremely upset about the revelations.

    •  The VA "scandal" is about attacking Democrats (4+ / 0-)

      I'm a Vietnam War veteran, and I am not a member of the American Legion largely because they have been cheerleaders or apologists for unnecessary wars far too many times. I am a member of the Disabled American Veterans, which is totally devoted to helping those of us (I'm one) who have service connected disabilities.

      I urge you, and anyone else reading this, to wait until the investigations of the allegations against the VA are completed and filed. I suspect that this most recent rabid attack on the VA is mostly BS being fed to the public by the usual corporate right-wing assholes. I know for a fact that the Republicans in DC have been systematically underfunding the VA, resulting as it was predicted to do, in causing reduced care than the patients of the VA deserved, but is was not because there was nefarious conduct in the VA, it was because the asshole Republicans wanted to create a scandal and trouble for Democrats, and didn't give a shit how much their partisan politics hurt wounded veterans.

      Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is now 401.25 ppm. That is "Climate Cluster Chaos". (hat tip to JeffW for CCC)

      by Zinman on Sun May 25, 2014 at 08:49:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not sure you've looked at funding closely (0+ / 0-)

        The VA has received increased funding throughout the years.  It got a pretty big increase last year and in 2012.  

        I am not here to say republicans are not blocking needed funding or that republicans aren't part of the problem...don't get that from me. But, I think you might want to look at the funding and then look at what the REAL issue is today with lack of care of some of our vets.

        Note this site:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/...

        •  Tell us "what the REAL isssue is today" (0+ / 0-)

          Looking at a budget for 2013 before actual numbers were available for 2012 is meaningless in this context.

          Calling the increase in VA funding for 2012 and 2013 "pretty big" without noting that the need for VA services out-stripped the funding is disingenuous.

          Please begin with what you think the REAL issue is today.

          Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is now 401.25 ppm. That is "Climate Cluster Chaos". (hat tip to JeffW for CCC)

          by Zinman on Mon May 26, 2014 at 11:29:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Real issue (0+ / 0-)

            The real issue in the VA scandal is the secret lists that kept vets from getting care and so forth.....NOT the funding.  

            Those people involved must be dealt with and an investigation into all of the other allegations going on within the VA Health Care structure should be investigated also.  I heard Obama say that's going to happen....I hope it truly does.

            Everything is NOT about funding and money.  Poor administration practices and outright wrongdoing is a BIG part of this.

  •  If I were king (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thanatokephaloides, ssgbryan, Zinman

    1) I'd make the VA first priority in the Defense Budget, fund them completely for all these projected veterans, then the rest of it following.
    2)  Point out that with better and faster triage, more war casualties are surviving, but these need more long term medical and rehab care.
    3)  Point out that with those increased head trauma injuries, we should be at least be looking at the Israeli military's research into and deployment of medicinal cannabinoids in the field and hospital for brain trauma.

    So be forewarned if I am king.

    "Woe to those who make unjust laws,
    to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights
    and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, 
making widows their prey
    and robbing the fatherless."

    by Snarky McAngus on Sun May 25, 2014 at 05:36:17 PM PDT

  •  Good question (7+ / 0-)
    "Why does the Air Force need expensive new bombers? Have the people we've been bombing over the years been complaining?"

    George Wallace

    The answer
    "War is a racket."

    General Smedley D. Butler

    "The good Earth — we could have saved it, but we were too damn cheap and lazy." Kurt Vonnegut - "A Man Without a Country", 2005.

    by BOHICA on Sun May 25, 2014 at 05:52:07 PM PDT

    •  Smedley D. Butler is a true hero to me (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      waiono, BOHICA, flavor411, AllanTBG, BusyinCA

      Here is man who earned two Congressional Medals of Honor in two different combat incidents. He has combat credentials nobody alive can match, and he literally wrote the book on how "War is a Racket".

      Maybe, just maybe, we should pay some attention to what he has to say about war and politics.

      Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is now 401.25 ppm. That is "Climate Cluster Chaos". (hat tip to JeffW for CCC)

      by Zinman on Sun May 25, 2014 at 09:05:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good grief, enough already with (0+ / 0-)

    the "red ink" and household budget analogies. Don't you know what fiat money is? How can anyone write about economics and not know even the most basic things such as the difference between being a currency user (everyone else) and the currency issuer (the federal Govt)?

    What does it mean to have red ink when you have the monopoly on US Dollars?

    Its possible to criticize the iraq war and tax cuts for the wealthy without making up a spreading a bunch of deficit and debt hysteria and myths around.

    "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it. If we can afford full employment killing Germans, we can afford full employment during peace-time.

    by Auburn Parks on Sun May 25, 2014 at 07:11:42 PM PDT

  •  In what way did Congress not.... (0+ / 0-)

    "You pay for the wars you fight."?

    Thats what it means when Congress passes appropriation bills, it spends money, it legally pays for things. There is no such thing as our grandchildren paying for the war and other such right wing nonsense.

    "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it. If we can afford full employment killing Germans, we can afford full employment during peace-time.

    by Auburn Parks on Sun May 25, 2014 at 07:16:43 PM PDT

  •  A mile wide and an inch deep. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Zadatz, Zinman

    Doesn't a flag lapel pin and a little flag  to wave at the parade cover the vets?  Yes if you are a Republican.

  •  If I could make one correction (0+ / 0-)

    the reduction in retirement by the Ryan-Murray deal were reversed for CURRENT members but made "permanent" for anyone joining the service after 1 January 14.  In theory it won't impact anyone until 2034.  I suspect that like the previous cut under Reagan it will be reversed in the future.

    It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

    by ksuwildkat on Sun May 25, 2014 at 07:52:09 PM PDT

  •  I just listeneed to that CD (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BusyinCA

    and felt like a dang fortune teller.....  The writing was on the wall.. It was screaming.. GET BUSH, the warwhawks and all these crazy republicans  outta there.
    The whole thing in real time from the VA cutbacks, closing of VA's, downsizing, puring billions into the war, the cost of the Iraq war  second by second, the patriot act, the special interest, the billions wasted and the jobs declining.   The middle class disappearing, the top 10 percent as reported at that time instead of one percent and the beginning of war on women, the inequality of pay and no from republicans on minimum wage increases.
    the no separation of church and state and the bigotry.....the cheating, the lying and the beginning of where we are today........It was downright eerie.  I had not listened to it in years and years... That was recorded in 2004 before the election and even before the C-span interview......that CD is as true today as it was then only more so.....They were the beginning of the downfall of veterans, the pivacy, and even to my theme Take it Back , the damn Tea party I feel stole.  I bet I said hope quite a few times in there and had never heard of Barack Obama.
    What a trip I just took but Doc Zombie and some others on here have that CD ..I know John Lewis and the DNC got it...I just don't know why it was not pushed harder because I see a different America had we stopped this nonsense in 04.

    Just how much Koch do Right Wingers want in their life? . United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Sun May 25, 2014 at 09:32:25 PM PDT

  •  As long as indifferent, uninformed voters, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flavor411

    mostly in 'red' states, act on their underlying insecurities, biases and — in too many cases — their own arrested social development and insist upon electing frat-house pretenders and panderers, the downward spiral will continue unabated.

    "To be sure, the Chickenhawks and Deficit Hawks who routinely boast they most "support the troops" have an appalling way of showing it. By 2020, the twin wars and twin Bush tax cuts they so ardently advocated will have drained roughly $10 trillion from the United States Treasury."

    Indeed... and anyone who was paying even a modicum of attention was witness to an entire cadre if those pretenders and panderers — reinforced by a literal strike-force of PNAC lunatics — jumping all over the horrible events of September 11, 2001 to realize their lunacy.

    One would like to think that, in moments of national trauma, only the most sober and thoughtful reasoning would capture the imagination and support of the American people.

    The truth appears to be the exact opposite.

    ... but — Oh! — the writhing and wailing when the bill comes due, both economically and in terms of unnecessary human death and suffering.

    We love us those flag-waving crazies and unevolved ideologues.

  •  nice,sad story (0+ / 0-)

    lots of research went into this

    I heard Jeb Bush is running for President in 2016. The only Bush I want in the White House in 2016 is Hillarys!

    by surfdog on Mon May 26, 2014 at 09:29:53 AM PDT

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