I posted last night for help, in haste and breaking convention (using all caps, etc), and I was accused of being a Republican or not a bona fide dKos member. We worked it out last night BUT let me explain for anyone new:
I am an active duty military spouse. I have two sons, 4 and 6, at home during the day. My husband has less than a year in between tours and before you think poorly of him, he is a medevac pilot. If you look at my first posts, my issue was war policy. Some experiences opened my eyes... for the military and vet communities, there are issues even greater than Iraq.
I only recently realized that my activism is how I cope with what my husband does and his pending redeployment in April (he will have been gone more than TWO of THREE YEARS by 2009). My activism, btw, creates tension in my home and with our chain of command and those familiar with the military will understand this. So why do I do this? Because it is too important not to--for our military AND our country...
* * *
MSC is inviting the candidates from both parties to Texas to participate in this Forum at the end of January/no later than Feb. 3, 2008. We have been joined by Veterans for Common Sense, Veteran's Village, Empowering Veterans, Veterans and Military Families for Progress, Veterans United for Truth, Not This Time Vetsand the Veterans-Farmers Coalition.
We will most likely have two separate forums, one for each party.
As much as individual presidential candidates talk about health care plans or personal values, the fact remains that we are electing a war president. We are electing a president who will probably spend the bulk of his or her first term managing military conflicts and performing extensive foreign policy damage control.
In 2008, the next President will inherit at least two wars and the costs of those wars, internally as well as internationally, will continue to grow long after the last service member comes home.
Fort Hood is the largest military installation in the United States. There are almost 46,000 soldiers assigned to Fort Hood and more than 24,000 spouses. On any given day, at least a third of these soldiers are deployed to Iraq and every week at least two soldiers from Fort Hood (on average) are killed in Iraq. (I am 34 and I know more widows than my mother knows.)
This kind of event has never been done before and it needs to be done now. Not only because Americans on both side of the aisle need to be reminded (before Super Tuesday) that we are electing the next Commander-in-Chief, but also because our service members and their families deserve to be addressed and heard by the people who wish to be elected in that position.
We also think this country’s large veteran community should know which candidates truly value the military and veteran vote (if not for moral reasons, then for practical reasons).
There are approximately 1.4 million active duty service members in America and 1.2 million in the National Guard/Reserves. If you include the spouses, that comes to a total of 4.1 million votes.
Meanwhile, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 1 in 8 adults were veterans (26.4 million) in 2003. If we assume that at least half of those adults were married, then we have approximately 39 million vet couples giving us a total of almost 43 million American adults who are currently serving in the military, have served in the military, or are married to someone serving or who had served. That is not an insignificant number.
As an organization and as military spouses, clearly U.S. foreign policy is important to us. But the American public has an interest in this as well, not only for fiscal reasons (e.g., we have spent 447 billion dollars on the war in Iraq alone), but for national security reasons.
Furthermore, what about the depletion of our states' National Guard and reserve units? How are we going to replenish those units so that individual states can respond to a natural disaster or, heaven forbid, another 9/11?
So far 1.5 million service members have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. What are the candidates’ positions on the possibility of reinstating the draft if, for example, we become engaged with Iran before he or she enters office?
Since September 11, 2001, the Department of Defense has reported more than 64,000 wounded and 4,000 killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. The Department of Veterans Affairs, however, has reported treating 200,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, including 95,000 for mental health conditions.
Meanwhile, an estimated 700,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are expected to seek care from the VA within the next ten years, at a projected short-term cost of 7 to 9 billion dollars and long term cost of 660 BILLION dollars. A recent DoD taskforce assessing the mental health capabilities of the military announced:
"The system of care for psychological health that has evolved over recent decades is insufficient to meet the needs of today's forces and their beneficiaries, and will not be sufficient to meet their needs in the future." http://www.ha.osd.mil/...
What do the candidates propose to do for our returning wounded warriors and their families? How do we effectively identify their mental, physical, social, and financial needs and how do we effectively meet those needs?
The suicide rate is the highest in almost 30 years and the propensity to serve is at a 20 year low. Consequently, the Army and Marine Corps are relying on reenlistment and recruiting bonuses that will cost nearly 2.5
billion dollars next year.
Iraq is the defining electoral issue of 2008. Unfortunately, the war in Iraq does not end when the service member comes home and most people do not realize this.
How do we help our military and veteran families receive the help they need emotionally, medically, and/or financially? What are our obligations and responsibilities to them as a nation once they have fulfilled their obligations and responsibilities to us?
What can and/or should we be doing to help our returning warriors successfully reintegrate into peacetime society?
If we don't take adequate care of our veterans and military families, this voluntary force upon which EVERY American today RELIES and ASSUMES will continue, will dry up.
Isn't this a conversation EVERY AMERICAN needs to be having?
The networks hesitate to commit to covering this event b/c they think Americans are not interested. Help us prove that they are wrong...
Please share this with your friends via email, messageboards, etc...
AND PLEASE RECOMMEND THIS DIARY FOR OTHERS TO SEE.
News Clip About The Forum
Comments are closed on this story.