Search This Blog


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Gates, Kennedy and Essayist Nancy Gibbs Got It Right. Anyone Listening?

"Wars are like icebergs: much of the cost remains hidden, and the near doubling of the defense budget since 2001 does not cover what lies ahead. Better body armor and trauma care mean new life for thousands of soldiers who would have died in any earlier war. But many are broken or burned or buried in pain from what they saw and did." This from Nancy Gibbs, Time Magazine, may 26, 2008, page 72.

Now here are the facts she quotes from a new Rand Corp study:

!. One in five suffers from major depression or postraumatic stress.
2. More than 300,000 have suffered traumatic brain injury.
3. The cost of treating our returning wounded is projected to double over the next 25 years.
4. Four hundred thousand veterans are waiting for cases to be processed.
5. The number of vets waiting of assistance for homelessness is up 600% in the last year.

After a particularly despicable event in living conditions at Fort Bragg came to light Robert Gates, Defense Secretary, said "Soldiers should never have to live in such squalor."

So, this is a post Memorial Day plea. The next time you are tempted to copy and paste and forward a tribute to our soldiers, instead write a letter to your congress person. Instead, go to the element on this blog (see it at the bottom of this blog page and find some way you can contribute to making things better for one soldier or many -- with your labor, or your donations. Copy and paste this call to action and send it to your sympathetic buddies instead. And, of course, vote your conscience.

Nancy Gibbs quoted what President Kennedy said during the Cuban missile crisis:

"This country does not forget God or the soldier. Upon both we now depend."

She also reminds us that a country of character cares for its returning soldiers. Once we were proud of what we did for both our returning soldiers and the people in the countries we defeated. We must find a way to be so again.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson wrote the foreword for Eric Dinyer's book of patriotic quotations, Support Our Troops, published by Andrews McMeel. Part of the proceeds for the book benefit Fisher House. Her chapbook of poetry won the Military Writers Society of America's award of excellence.

No comments: