Monday, November 12, 2007

Veteran's Day *Updated*


Bubblehead has another post up about veterans and statistics that I thought deserved a link. So here it is.

It was Veterans Day yesterday, and as always I wonder if it's really properly recognized. I mean, I realize banks are closed today, and some people might have the day off from work, but it still feels like something's missing (Yes, that's sarcasm). But at least now we know, just in time for Veterans Day, that 25% of veterans are homeless.

It's an interesting statistic. I understand the purpose of publishing it now, and certainly more can and should be done to welcome veterans home, and to sustain that support through the years. As the NY Times notes, today's veterans aren't met with the same kind of venom that they received during the Vietnam War, though I would argue that the toned down anti-war movement of today has the same objective and same consequences of those in the past. The Times does make a good point that little to no sacrifice has been required of the general public in the current war, though by that they mean raising taxes.

The Stupid Shall be Punished is an Idaho blog on my blogroll that is run by a retired submariner calling himself Bubblehead. He has a post up for Veterans Day that also tackles the homeless vet stats a bit, and the comment section has some really interesting commentary - more so due to the fact that he and his readers are vets themselves.

FYI Department:

Two links concerning veteran homelessness,

NY Times article on a few of the non-profit resources for homeless vets.
The US Department of Veterans Affairs website concerned strictly with homeless vets:

"VA is the only Federal agency that provides substantial hands-on assistance directly to homeless persons. Although limited to veterans and their dependents, VA's major homeless-specific programs constitute the largest integrated network of homeless treatment and assistance services in the country."


Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Thank you for highlighting this outrage. Not only are they a disproportionate percentage of the homeless population, but according to a report I heard on NPR Monday morning, they are subject to various employment discriminations, despite a federal law providing employment set-asides for veterans. There is most likely a link here - a person who doesn't have a job is not likely to be able to afford a home. The entire thing stinks, a slap in the face to the men and women who, in an age of the all-volunteer military, end up sacrificing much time, energy, and personal freedom for their country, only to be treated like dog food by an ungrateful nation.

I do not believe this is a partisan political issue. I am much farther to the left than you on pretty much everything, Cameron, but I believe this to be not just an outrage, but an affront to some very core principles of this country. We carry on about how much we honor our military and those who have finished their service - and then we toss them aside as so much refuse once that service is done.

None said...

I'll second that. Its fair to say the small percentage of US that actually commit to the military should be provided any assistance they require. Our political leaders seem to conveniently ignore the people on this one.

As for the toned down anti-war movement. I guess its all about baby steps. I did hear a story about a vet. having difficulty getting work. When he finally does get a job, his boss tells him she doesnt want to hear about Iraq because she is a pacifist (perhaps passive-aggressive pacifist is more accurate). It was upsetting to me to hear this. I cant imagine what the actual vet. must have felt. To flat out tell any individual that such a life changing experience should not be discussed.. Well. Troubling to say the least.

PS: My poor poor Warriors.. At least we dont play Utah (again) 'till Feb. :)

Shan said...

Glad to see your still posting. I have to admit that the 'holiday' passed without much thought. It is really sad to think how much lack of support those who gave their lives for our freedom get from our government, let alone its civilians. You've made a change just by giving them a shout out and helping me to remember to honor what they've done for our country. Shan

Bubblehead said...

I know it's a typo, but I feel compelled to point out that the actual statistic is that 25% of the homeless are veterans, not that 25% of veterans are homeless.

Cameron said...

Ah crap. That was in your post that I linked to, and I still typed it wrong. Sorry Bubblehead.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

I think Bubblehead's interpretation of both the homelessness statistic and the suicide report on CBS News is wrong. I read both as indictments of the Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the abject neglect of both active duty and former military service personnel. I do not read it as a slam at veterans who are "unstable". If they are "unstable", it is because there has been a systematic neglect of their psychological and emotional needs (kind of like the way they were sent over to Iraq without body armor or properly armored vehicles . . .).

That's all I want to say about that. Perhaps it's just a difference of opinion.

Anonymous said...

I listened to the NPR report and seemed to get something else. They asked an "expert" (sorry I didn't pay attention to the who or how) why the number of homeless vets was more than double the 11% of the US population that are vets. It was interesting to hear that it isn't statitically tied to the fact that they are veterans, but more the recruiting pool of the armed forces. Traditionally the armed forces recruit from the poor and the racial minorities. These are groups that are more likely to be homeless. I felt like this information clarified the statistic.
All of this being said, I support MUCH more being done to assist the US Vets.

Charles D said...

I had the moving experience on Veterans Day of being in Philadelphia where a veteran's group had filled the park in front of the Constitution Center with headstones containing the names and pictures of some 1800 of our brave fellow citizens who have died in Iraq. There was no space for the other 2000 headstones.

We do need to realize that we have a government that sends soldiers into harm's way as pawns in a war crime; that forbids the media from showing us the coffins of those who die; and that cuts funding for veteran's benefits for those who survive.

The best way we can remember the sacrifices of veteran's past and aid those who are sacrificing their lives today is to stop this war and hold the criminals who started it responsible for their actions. Then we can spend our money on helping the veterans instead of sending more of them to die.