After a brief respite, I'm ready to "pontificate" (at least that's what I've been accused of) about what I believe to be the REAL NATIONAL ISSUES in the 2008 Election season. This is one of the most important ones, in my opinion. Our military personnel, active duty, retired, and veterans are significant national treasures to the United States of America. *Disclaimer time: I'm not saying this, just because I am a veteran of the United States Air Force. I TRULY believe what I am writing.
The debaucle at Walter Reed Medical Center in 2007 was only the uncovering of the iceberg this nation is about to encounter concerning our military personnel. If you remember the reports (and my question would be, "How could you possibly forget those reports?") of how seriously injured military men and women were being treated, non-treated, and down right abused by the very system that was in place to help them recover, and return to a sense of normality in their life and jobs. That system failed them, to a large degree.
We are fighting two different (yet, strangely similiar) battles right now. Those brave military men and women will be returning to the United States someday, and many of them will need "long-term" care. Very conservative estimates say that close to 250,000 of our military personnel are/will be suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I know that it is difficult to wrap our minds around such a large number, and particularly when they suffer with such a strange malady.
Contrary to the opinions of a few knuckleheads who don't believe that PTSD exists, it does indeed exist! And if not properly treated, it can be deadly. Very deadly
We also have marvelous men and women who have been severely injured in the line of duty (and I am not talking about self-inflicted injuries--that's another post for another time), and DESERVE the very best medical care that money can buy. These brave service members followed orders, put their very life on the line, and suffered injuries because of it. NOTHING, let me repeat that, NOTHING is too expensive for their care and quality of life, in my opinion.
Regardless of how one feels about the Bush Administration and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we must agree on this much: Our service personnel deserve the BEST this nation can buy...and NOTHING should come before our obligation to the men and women who bravely serve this nation's interest.
The Veterans' Administration must be fully funded, and must have leadership who truly, deeply, profoundly care about the service members, past, present, and future. Those traits will and must be reflected in the quality AND quantity of services and healthcare available to those who have served this nation honorably.
Anyone who does not have the best interests of our service personnel at heart should not be serving in the United States government, and should not be on the payrolls funded by the taxpayers of this nation.