Dec. 29: Veterans for Common Sense Denounces President Bush’s Veto of Defense Bill

Veterans for Common Sense Denounces President Bush’s Veto of Defense Bill

Legislation Contained Pay Raise for Soldiers and Benefits for Veterans

For Immediate Release: December 28, 2007 – Veterans for Common Sense, a non-profit non-partisan advocacy group based in Washington, DC, denounced today’s annoucement by President George W. Bush that he will veto the National Defense Authorization Act.  VCS, one of the main organizations fighting for the “Wounded Warriors with Dignity Act” that is part of the legislation, hopes Congress will quickly override the President’s veto in January 2008.

The Defense Bill, as it is commonly called, passed with overwhelming bi-partisan support in early December:

  * The House approved the bill by a vote of 370 – 49 on Dec. 12
  * The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 90 – 3 on Dec. 14. 

“With one stroke of his pen, President Bush ignored huge bi-partisan majorities in both the House and Senate who support our service members and veterans.  Bush is now on record as opposing a much-needed pay raise for our soldiers and Marines fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Bush opposes desperately needed legislative reforms prompted by the notorious Walter Reed fiasco,” said Paul Sullivan, a Gulf War veteran and executive director of Veterans for Common Sense.

“Our Nation has a proud tradition of caring for our military and our veterans.  President Bush has undermined that trust once again because he wants to block the right of a few of our Gulf War veterans to sue the Iraqi government.  Dozens of our Desert Storm veterans were prisoners of war in 1991, and they were brutally tortured by Saddam Hussein’s government.  These veterans earned the right to have their day in court.  Similarly, U.S. citizens and others waterboarded and otherwise brutalized under illegal Bush Administration torture policies should also have their day in court,” Sullivan said.

“When Congress returns in January, veterans expect that their first order of business will be to override President Bush’s disgraceful veto.  America and Congress support our troops and veterans, and President Bush should, too,” concluded Sullivan.

Additional  Background Information:

1. Dec. 26, 2007, Senator Webb keeps Senate in session: http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/26/senate.pro.forma/index.html

2. Mar. 19, 2003, Gulf War veteran describes torture as prisoner of war during Desert Storm in 1991: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4155/is_20030319/ai_n12495573

3. April 4, 2002, lawsuit against Iraq by former U.S. prisoners of war: http://www.pownetwork.org/gulf/us_district_court%20_suit.htm

4. Sep. 10, 1999, National Gulf War Resource Center statement in favor of allowing veterans to sue Iraq: http://www.idir.net/~krogers/adviso~1.html

5. Undated, Gulf War veteran lawsuit against Iraq for illnesses associated with chemical exposures: http://www.gulfwarvetlawsuit.com/gpitts.html

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