The Elephant In The Room
by James Glaser
April 21, 2011
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In Washington today all the talk is about how we cut our deficit spending and do something to get our national debt down. The Republicans want to cut spending, and the Democrats want to increase taxes.

It is pretty obvious that both political parties want to go right on killing brown people on the other side of the world, because neither party will talk seriously about cutting defense spending.

Yes, we are going to keep all of our troops in Europe (80,000), even if WW II has been over for 66 years. And you know we have to keep those troops in Korea (28,500), and that war ended is 1953. It is a good thing we lost in Vietnam or we would have thousands of troops there, too. However we still have over 30,000 troops occupying Japan.

Those troops and the other thousands of troops we have in in Africa, the Middle East, and South America (25,000), plus the 950,000 troops here at home, and we can't forget the 150,000 combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are the Elephant in the Room when our government talks about budget cuts.

Some how though, they never seem to notice that elephant.


A Short Vet Story

So, I was at the Tallahassee VA Clinic yesterday waiting for my appointment. Sitting across from me, a little to the left, was a young man. He was waiting, too, and I swear he looked like he was 16 to me, but I knew he was a Vet, after all we were at the VA.

We were talking, and in a little while he said to me, "I'm no good to talk to; they have me on all these drugs." He then turned his head, and he had a hole in the back of his head the size of half of a baseball. It was literally like you cut a baseball in half and scooped that size out of his head.

He went on to say, "I wish they would let me see a real doctor." They then called his name, and he walked away with a bad limp.

Over the years I have heard many Veterans express that same desire. "I wish they would let me see a real doctor."

The VA has real doctors, and many of them are top notch, but the setting at a VA Hospital or Clinic many times makes you think you just got back from WWII. The facilities are old, and they look old. A wall with thirty coats of paint, even if it was just painted again, still looks old. Sometimes the wait for your appointment is long, and other times you get told your appointment has been canceled. When they make you a follow up appointment, it can be months later.

On top of all of that, it seems that no matter how screwed up you are, you will see other Vets way worse off than you are, and then you feel bad for thinking what you were thinking.

I have to admit that whenever I see one of those "Support the Troops" yellow ribbons on a car or a bumper sticker, I wince. The American public and Washington do not honor our troops, and for sure they don't support our troops. Don't get patriotic and self-righteous on me for saying that. All you have to do is spend a day at the VA and you will know it, too.

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