To my fellow veterans…

Happy Veterans Day!

We didn’t start the wars or choose the enemies we were asked to fight, but we did what we had to do.

I’m pleased to see that Lt. Col. Allen West won his race for Congress.  I probably would disagree with him about the wisdom of going to war against Iraq, but I’m in 100 percent agreement with what he did in Taji on August 20, 2003 when he fired a shot past a detainee’s head in order to get him to reveal plans for an ambush against his unit. In doing so, he put the safety of the men under his command ahead of his own career. Although the detainee was not harmed, Col. West was charged with assault and put through an Article 32 hearing, which ended his career.

But this is what we do in war — we take care of each other. Col. West is the kind of officer most of us would be glad to serve under. I’m glad he has finally been vindicated. (And I hope the officers who ran him out of the Army will have to come before his committee to beg for funds…it will be fun watching them them squirm!)

So, to Colonel and now Congressman-elect West, and to all my other fellow veterans out there, celebrate your day!

One thought on “To my fellow veterans…”

  1. Phil,

    I thought of you on Veterans Day, as I thought of our parents and all of our family members who served and continue to serve in the military. And I was grateful and proud.

    But I wish more Americans understood what Veterans Day is all about.

    To me, it starts with the fact that fifteen more American service-members were killed in Afghanistan last week.

    On Thursday, millions of self-perceived patriotic Americans who have never served in the military dutifully put out their American flags and then went about their business without giving the significance of the day a second thought.

    Veterans, in general, and combat veterans, in particular, deserve a great deal more. In my mind, ending the war and bringing home our troops would be a great start.

    We have been at war for more than 10 years, and yet, most Americans are anesthetized to it because, for political reasons, they have not been asked to share the pain by the government. The real cost of these wars has been hidden from the public.

    House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Bob Filner (D-CA), at a recent committee hearing, stated: “Every vote that Congress has taken for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has failed to take into account the actual cost of these wars by ignoring what will be required to meet the needs of veterans. The Congress that sends them into harm’s way assumes no responsibility for the long-term consequences of their deployment. Each war authorization and appropriation kicks the proverbial can down the road. Whether or not the needs of soldiers injured or wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan will be met is totally dependent on the budget politics of a future Congress which includes two sets of rules – one for going to war and one for providing for our veterans who fight in that war.”

    A government that attempts to hide the cost of war and reneges on its promises to its veterans should not be acceptable to those who have benefitted so much from the sacrifices of those who have served. Let’s hope the people of this country come to do more to honor our veterans than put out the flag, pop open a beer and settle in to watch a football game on TV. Let’s hope they demand an end to the war and insist the government does right by our veterans.

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