This week’s VCS update focuses on five pieces of news you will want to share with your friends on Veterans Day.
First, PTSD News. In a bold and courageous step, a high-ranking officer took a sledge hammer to the wall of silence that prevents many combat veterans from seeking mental healthcare. Army Major General David Blackledge came forward to say he has post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and that he sought psychiatric care. If you have concerns about your mental health, it is OK to seek VA care. Thank you General Blackledge, you are saving veterans’ lives.
Second, More PTSD News. Two veterans’ groups sued VA due to long delays in processing PTSD disability compensation claims. VA currently takes more than six months to process a PTSD claim, and appeals drag on for years, while veterans and their families can’t pay the rent, buy food, or cover the costs of utilities. The lawsuit is a blunt and honest reminder of the abject failure of the current Administration to address the needs of our Nation’s veterans.
Third, Hope for VA in 2009. VCS released our “Vision for a Vibrant VA in 2009,” a report detailing VA’s serious problems as well as pragmatic solutions to fix them. VCS sent our report to President-Elect Barack Obama. VA remains in crisis, yet there is hope on the way. How bitterly ironic it is to learn that last month President George W. Bush gave a stealth $140 billion dollar tax break to banks while hundreds of thousands of veterans remain homeless, while hundreds of thousands more veterans wait forever for VA assistance, and millions foreclosures rock our Nation.
Fourth, How Did Veterans Vote? Everyone wants to know how veterans voted for President. Here are the facts. In a huge surprise, younger veterans favored Senator Obama over Senator McCain. The national Edison/Mitofsky exit poll included the following question: “Have you ever served in the U.S. military?” Veterans made up 15 percent of the voters, and among all veterans, 54 percent backed John McCain and 44 percent supported Barack Obama.
There was a tremendous difference in voting based on age, with younger voters supporting Obama, and older veterans supporting McCain:
– 24 percent of veterans were under 45: 51 percent voted for Obama and 49 percent for McCain.
– 24 percent of veterans were aged 45 to 59: 53 percent voted for Obama and 45 percent for McCain.
– 53 percent of veterans were age 60 and older: 61 percent voted for McCain and 37 percent voted for Obama.
And, Fifth, Let’s Close Gitmo. Our service members and veterans swore an oath to protect and defend our Constitution. That’s what Veterans Day is all about. That’s why VCS urges you to join several groups in calling for President-Elect Obama to close the prisoner of war camp and torture facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
We ask you to assist VCS this Veterans Day by making a generous contribution so we can continue to hold our next President and Congress responsible for taking care of our troops, our veterans, and our Constitution.
Paul Sullivan, Executive Director
Veterans for Common Sense
VCS provides advocacy and publicity for issues related to veterans, national security, and civil liberties. VCS is registered with the IRS as a non-profit 501(c)(3) charity, and donations are tax deductible.