Nov. 29 Update: VCS on ABC’s ’20/20′ This Friday
Dear VCS Friends:
Veterans for Common Sense has two items for you in this week’s update.
First, VCS will be featured on the news program ’20/20′ this Friday, Nov. 30. ABC News investigative reporter Brian Ross interviewed VCS’s Paul Sullivan about the growing drug abuse problem in our military and among our veterans, especially our returning Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.
Second, we are launching our End of Year fundraising drive. Your generous tax deductible donations to VCS make a big difference in the lives of the 1.7 million U.S. service members deployed into combat for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
With your financial support, this year VCS scored several major policy and public relations victories. Here is a partial list of our VCS accomplishments:
On the policy side:
* In May, our VCS expertise helped add $1.8 billion in new funds so VA could hire thousands of more doctors and claims processors that our veterans desperately need.
* VCS helped craft and push for S 1606, the Wounded Warrior bill that will streamline healthcare and benefits for veterans, approved by both the House and Senate. Final passage of a revised bill is expected soon.
* VCS fought hard to remove VA Secretary Jim Nicholson, who eventually quit in July as VA’s funding, planning, and capacity crises became public and America became outraged at the Walter Reed and VA scandals.
* All year, VCS used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain VA documents that were used by Harvard University to estimate the human and financial costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars: 700,000 patients with a price tag of $700 billion.
* In July VCS filed a major class action law suit against VA to force VA to provide prompt medical care and benefits, especially for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
* VCS testified twice before Congress. We called for an end to the illegal military practice of discharging wounded soldiers suffering from traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder on trumped-up claims of a personality disorder. VCS called for the automatic approval of PSTD claims by VA, and for a national anti-stigma campaign so veterans want to seek VA treatment.
On the public relations side, VCS put a human face on the difficulties facing our veterans by working with both local and national reporters:
* In February, in a major cover story, Newsweek magazine and VCS highlighted VA’s failure to plan for the 264,000 new Afghanistan and Iraq War veterans already treated at VA.
* In February, ABC Evening News anchor Bob Woodruff interviewed VCS Executive Director Paul Sullivan about the hundreds of thousands of veterans already being treated at VA – the first time the public knew about the enormous scope of battlefield casualties.
* In March, the Boston Globe profiled our VCS efforts to publicize the growing casualties from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
* In October, the Charlotte Observer, working with VCS, highlighted the endless wait for many veterans to see doctors at some VA hospitals – 93 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans with traumatic brain injury waited longer than 30 days to see a VA doctor.
* Two weeks ago, CBS News interviewed VCS and publicized the growing epidemic of veteran suicides. Working with the University of Georgia, CBS News reported that veterans aged 20 to 24 are four times more likely to commit suicide than non-veterans of the same age group.
* This Friday, ABC News interviews VCS and highlights the growing drug abuse crisis among our veterans. Left without screening and treatment, combat veterans turn to self-medication for the physical and mental pain from war.
Because of your support, the world knows that the alarms are sounding and the lights are flashing red for our veterans. The impact of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars is devastating. Record divorces and broken homes. Unemployment and job discrimination. Rising alcoholism and drug abuse. Homelessness. Suicides.
We are a Nation at war. That means we have a collective duty to care for our service members, our veterans, and our freedoms. VCS asks you to please make a donation so that we can continue our publicity efforts to highlight veterans’ needs and concerns and our policy efforts that bring real change at the national level.
Next year Congress and the press will be focused on elections, and VCS will work hard to make sure that national security, civil liberties, and veterans needs remain front and center in the discussion. Will you help VCS today?
Veterans for Common Sense
Veterans for Common Sense November 2007 Fundraising Campaign Goal: $10,000
Multiple Ways to Support Veterans for Common Sense
Send a check to:
Veterans for Common Sense
1101 Pennsylvania Ave., SE, Suite 203
Washington, DC 20003