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Old 07-05-2006, 12:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Homeless military vets...

http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/07/05/hom....ap/index.html

Quote:
Iraq vets face another battle -- homelessness
'This is not what I fought for'

NEW YORK (AP) -- Herold Noel had nowhere to call home after returning from military service in Iraq. He slept in his Jeep, taking care to find a parking space where he wouldn't get a ticket.

"Then the nightmares would start," says the 26-year-old former Army private first class, who drove a fuel truck in Iraq. "I saw a baby decapitated when it was run over by a truck -- I relived that every night."

Across America on any given evening, hundreds of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan like Noel are homeless, according to government estimates.

The reasons for their plight are many. For some, residual stress from daily insurgent attacks and roadside bombs makes it tough to adjust to civilian life; some can't navigate government assistance programs; others simply can't afford a house or apartment.

They are living on the edge in towns and cities big and small, from Washington state to California and Florida. Some of the hardest hit are in New York City, where housing costs "can be very tough," says Peter Dougherty, head of the federal government's Homeless Veterans Program. Studio apartments routinely exceed $1,000 a month -- no small sum for veterans trying to land on their feet.

As a member of the National Guard, Nadine Beckford patrolled New York train stations after the September 11 attacks then served a treacherous year in the Gulf region.

But when she returned home from Iraq, she found her storage locker had been emptied of all of her belongings, and her bank account had been depleted. She believes her boyfriend took everything and "just vanished."

Six months after her return to America, she lives in a homeless shelter in Brooklyn, sharing a room with eight other women and attending a job training program. Her parents live in Jamaica and are barely making ends meet, she says.

"I'm just an ordinary person who served. I'm not embarrassed about my homelessness, because the circumstances that created it were not my fault," says Beckford, 30. She was a military-supply specialist at a U.S. base in Iraq -- a sitting duck for around-the-clock attacks "where hell was your home."

It was a "hell" familiar to Noel during his eight months in Iraq. But it didn't stop when he returned home to New York last year and couldn't find a job to support his wife and three children. Without enough money to rent an apartment, he turned to the housing programs for vets, "but they were overbooked," Noel says.

While he was in Iraq, his family had lived in military housing in Georgia.

In New York, they ended up in a Bronx shelter "with people who were just out of prison, and with roaches," Noel says. "I'm a young black man from the ghetto, but this was culture shock. This is not what I fought for, what I almost died for. This is not what I was supposed to come home to."
Outreach falls short

There are about 200,000 homeless vets in the United States, according to government figures. About 10 percent are from either the 1991 Gulf War or the current one, about 40 percent are Vietnam veterans, and most of the others served when the country was not officially at war.

"In recent years, we've tried to reach out sooner to new veterans who are having problems with post-traumatic stress, depression or substance abuse, after seeing combat," says Dougherty. "These are the veterans who most often end up homeless."

About 350 nonprofit service organizations are working with the Department of Veterans Affairs to help veterans.

But the veterans still land on a hard bottom line: Almost half of America's 2.7 million disabled veterans receive $337 or less a month in benefits, according to the government. Fewer than one-tenth are rated 100 percent disabled, meaning they get $2,393 a month, tax free.

"And only those who receive that 100 percent benefit rating can survive in New York," says J.B. White, a 36-year-old former Marine who served with a National Guard unit in Iraq. His colon was removed after he was diagnosed with severe ulcerative colitis, which civilian medical experts believe started in Iraq under the stress of war.

"I'd be homeless if it weren't for the support of my family," says White, who is trying to win benefits from the VA. He also helps others, like Beckford, as head of a Manhattan-based social service agency that finds non-government housing for vets.
'Take care of the soldiers'

Noel now attends a program to get work in studio sound production. He was the protagonist of the documentary film "When I Came Home," which was named best New York-made documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival this year.

Just after the news reports about his plight, he learned the government was granting him the 100 percent disability compensation he sought -- after being turned down.

Noel doesn't blame the Army, which "helped make my dreams come true," he says, recalling the military base life in Georgia and in Korea that his family enjoyed before his deployment to Iraq.

"I had a house, a car -- they gave me everything they promised me," he says. "Now it's up to the government and the people we're defending to take care of their soldiers."

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
This makes me physically ill. George W. piece of shit Bush can sign away BILLIONS of dollars per month in another country, and can't sign more money to help those that fought in that country land on their feet back here in the Grand ol' United States? We spend more on our military than most countries have as a GNP, yet we can't provide social services for returning vets?

I just can't even begin to remotely understand how things in this country are SO very ass backwards these days. WTF is wrong with everyone?
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Old 07-05-2006, 01:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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What about the portions of our homeless that are veterans of Vietnam? The first conflict in the Persian Gulf war?

The homeless, in general, are an enormous part of our population that we largely try to ignore. Many of them are mentally ill, but because of funding cuts and deinstitutionalization, they no longer have access to mental health systems that might have helped them once upon a time. Lots of them have substance abuse problems, but because they have no means to pay for treatment, they go untreated.

Many of these people could be contributing members of society--want to be contributing members of society--if they could get the help they needed, be it housing, treatment, or job search services. And some are incapable of being part of normal society--yet we have created a system where there is no longer any publicly funded place for them. We have created a system of adult foster homes that only work for the severely disabled--and so many people slip through the cracks.
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Old 07-05-2006, 01:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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xepherys, how much is too much?

When I got out of the military eight years ago. They sent me to a week long class, to adjust to civilian life. I sold back about one month's worth of vacation, and I collected unemployment for a few months, while I went to community college free of charge cause of my GI Bill.

Could more me done, sure. The more you give out however, the more that people will take advantage of it.
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Old 07-05-2006, 01:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Ample-

First of all, not everyone can adjust as well, classes or not. When I was in the Corp of Engineers we had a unit return from Afghanistan that had been doing heavy construction work. They lost nearly half their company during the 12 months they were deployed. They were a non-combat engineer unit primarily responsible for constructing public service buildings and helping teach some irrigation techniques. Several of those guys were not able to function very well for a LONG time after coming home. Luckily, other men and women in our regiment helped take care of them, gave them jobs and offered them a place to stay until they got back on their feet. IMO, that's what the military should be like. Don't just look after one another in the trenches, but also in the homeland upon your return. There are plenty of people in my regiment currently that I dislike on a personal level. If they came home traumatized, I'd help them just as fervently as I would if I was in the field with them under fire. LDRSHIP? Loyalty is not just to one's country, but to one's fellow countrymen. Honor? Integrity? Where is our honor and integrity if we stand idly by and let such things occur?

Yes, the down side of social programs is that some people (even with a military background) do not have honor and integrity and will abuse the system for personal gain. I'd rather have 5 abusers and 1 person who was helped, than to not help anyone that needs it at all.

Snowy-

I wasn't referring just to military personnel serving in OIF right now, but anyone of military service, even during times of peace. As a soldier, marine, airman or sailor, even during times of peace, you never know when you might be called to duty and lay out your life for your country. However, you know you have a greater chance of that than most civilians, yet you sign on the dotted line anyhow. I don't believe that the government should forsake you upon the end of your duty. Some military benefits (including retirement pay) are wonderful, but other programs are bad or non-existant. It's terribly sad, IMO.
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Old 07-05-2006, 02:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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homeless veterans has been an issue since WW1. Is it just by sheer coincidence that this is brought up in the MSM NOW!?!?!?!? because we have a republican president?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

partisanship will be the catalyst for the next civil war.
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Old 07-05-2006, 02:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Not at all coincidence. I've seen homeless Vietnam vets my whole life. I've always found it attrocious. But if we have billions to spend each month in Iraq, you'd think they could earmark a few million for vets. *shrug* Do I think GWB is an asshat? Yup, sure do. Is it because he's a Republican... nope! It's because he's a dumbass and his cabinet is full of dumbasses and they are using money to fight a war that we have no business fighting and shafting people here on the homefront that need assistance. Dems do it, too...
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Old 07-05-2006, 03:03 PM   #7 (permalink)
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we've always had billions to spend, but it's just strange, to me at least, that nobody cares about vets until there is a republican adminsitration AND there is a war going on. Then, it's all about vets.....most of america is so hypocritical about their issues.
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Old 07-05-2006, 03:15 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Vets get shafted in every way - from medical issues to housing issues to job training issues.

As a nation, we love to stick giant yellow magnets on our cars that read "I support our troops" and our government loves to masturbate to Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A." and brag about how they care about the military, but how we treat our veterans is the best indicator of how we as a nation truly feel about those in the military.

You want to honor and support the troops? Do it after the battle is over, when they most need it. Parades and cliche-ridden country songs don't pay the bills. I don't give a shit if they volunteered or not, if they were asked to put their lives in danger "for our country", then our country (read: government) should do everything it possibly can to ensure that they never have to want for anything.
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Old 07-05-2006, 03:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I think that all procedes from the "Support our Troops" bumper magnets and shirts and other merchendise, procedes that normally go to the compaines that sell them, go to vets to help them get back on their feet and reintegrate into society after they return from putting their lives on the line. And we should probalby put the people who make those magnets and such in jail for war profiteering.
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Old 07-05-2006, 04:12 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dksuddeth
we've always had billions to spend, but it's just strange, to me at least, that nobody cares about vets until there is a republican adminsitration AND there is a war going on. Then, it's all about vets.....most of america is so hypocritical about their issues.
Uhm... I don't see it. Sure, there are people who are partisan for partisan sake, and that will never change. Frankly, I think Dems are as bad as Republicans, and primarily any politician isn't worth their weight in cow shit. There are, of course, exceptions... on all sides of the spectrum. So, what you're saying is, this is suddenly a newsworthy problem because Bush is in office? He's been in office for 6 years, and really it's not been very newsworthy. By next week, it again won't be newsworthy, sadly enough. It doens't make it any less of an actual issue. *boggle*
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Old 07-05-2006, 05:56 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xepherys
Uhm... I don't see it. Sure, there are people who are partisan for partisan sake, and that will never change. Frankly, I think Dems are as bad as Republicans, and primarily any politician isn't worth their weight in cow shit. There are, of course, exceptions... on all sides of the spectrum. So, what you're saying is, this is suddenly a newsworthy problem because Bush is in office? He's been in office for 6 years, and really it's not been very newsworthy. By next week, it again won't be newsworthy, sadly enough. It doens't make it any less of an actual issue. *boggle*
He's saying (I guess, not to speak for him) that since we have had this problem the whole time, why is it only coming out in the media now, as opposed to when Clinton was President, or George H. W. Bush, or Reagan, or Carter, or Ford, or Nixon, or Johnson, etc. I don't know if there is a connection, but it does seem a little fishy.

I believe that it is absolutely shameful how veterans are still treated in many cases, it is an issue seperate from any war, and that anyone who tries to connect the two for any personal or political gain is journalist scum (coming from a future journalist).

We should be doing more to help veterans, for sure, but not at the expense of present troops.
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Old 07-05-2006, 06:26 PM   #12 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dksuddeth
we've always had billions to spend, but it's just strange, to me at least, that nobody cares about vets until there is a republican adminsitration AND there is a war going on. Then, it's all about vets.....most of america is so hypocritical about their issues.
It's the nature of the media (and human nature in general) to criticize whomever is in power. It's not like there was any shortage of Clinton bashing ... or Bush I ... or Reagan ...
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Old 07-05-2006, 06:39 PM   #13 (permalink)
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It's a shame when any person is homeless. I suspect that some of the problem might stem from the high amount of recruiting that occurs among high school students. They go in at 18, right out of high school, and come out with no more job skills to transfer to civilian life than they went in with.

Of course we should support them better. They need better training on their way out of the military, more support at finding a job, more access to job training. I'd say that the same goes for all homeless people for the last two categories.

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Old 07-05-2006, 06:45 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Gilda
I suspect that some of the problem might stem from the high amount of recruiting that occurs among high school students. They go in at 18, right out of high school, and come out with no more job skills to transfer to civilian life than they went in with.
That's what the GI Bill is for.
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Old 07-05-2006, 06:48 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Good point.

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Old 07-05-2006, 10:45 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xepherys
http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/07/05/hom....ap/index.html



This makes me physically ill. George W. piece of shit Bush can sign away BILLIONS of dollars per month in another country, and can't sign more money to help those that fought in that country land on their feet back here in the Grand ol' United States? We spend more on our military than most countries have as a GNP, yet we can't provide social services for returning vets?

I just can't even begin to remotely understand how things in this country are SO very ass backwards these days. WTF is wrong with everyone?
I just finished reading "Stolen Valor," a book in which the author meticulously documented the gross exaggerations, outright lies, and anecdotal "evidence" our media was only too anxious to make money from. For one thing, he demonstrated that the percentage of homelessness of Vietnam vets was the same, or less, than the percentage of non-vet males in general of the same age group.

This article seems long on anecdotes and short on verified data. I may be sensitized because this story so closely resembles the utterly inaccurate ones that are quoted in the book.

Here's a link to one website that quotes a very small portion of Stolen Valor:

http://www.pownetwork.org/phonies/phonies15.htm

And a very brief exerpt:

Quote:
--A corollary to the prison myth is the belief that substantial numbers of Vietnam veterans are unemployed. But a study by the Labor Department in 1994 showed that the unemployment rate for Vietnam veterans was 3.9 percent, significantly lower for male veterans of all eras (4.9 percent) and the overall unemployment rate for males (6 percent). 95Since the war, the stereotype of the homeless Vietnam vet has been buttressed by panhandlers with signs like "Vietnam Vet: Will Work for Food." But the few studies using military records show that the percentage of Vietnam veterans among the homeless is very small.
-- The same is true for the belief that Vietnam vets have high rates of suicide. More Vietnam veterans, it is often reported, have died by their own hand than did in combat. Not true. A 1988 study by the Centers for Disease Control found that the suicide rates of Vietnam veterans aren't any different than those of the general population.
Contrary to these perceptions, Vietnam veterans as a group have higher achievement levels than their peers who did not serve in the military. Those who remained in uniform reshaped the American military after the Southeast Asian disaster and mobilized to win the Gulf War with lightning speed. Disproportionate numbers of Vietnam veterans--such as Dallas' own Sam Johnson and Arizona's John McCain, both POWs--serve in Congress. Florida's former congressman (and POW) Pete Peterson is now U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam. Vice President Al Gore is a Vietnam veteran,
as is Gen. Colin Powell, former head of the joint chiefs of staff. Dallas City Manager John Ware is a Vietnam veteran, as is civic leader Roger Staubach, along with scores of our top corporate CEOs. The
stereotypes may persist, but meanwhile, real Vietnam vets are helping to run the country.
My conclusion? I'm going to need a much better source, with better documentation of the assertions, than this CNN piece. There are too many nearly identical, but false, reports I've seen before.
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Old 07-06-2006, 06:30 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JumpinJesus
As a nation, we love to stick giant yellow magnets on our cars that read "I support our troops" and our government loves to masturbate to Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A." and brag about how they care about the military, but how we treat our veterans is the best indicator of how we as a nation truly feel about those in the military.
Couldn't have said it better myself. Thank you, JJ.
I would rather have seen $4.95, that people spent on those ridiculous yellow ribbon magnets, donated to the American Legion or to the VFW. These two organizations are the biggest ally a veteran can have. They help cut through all of the bureaucratic red tape and get the veteran the assistance that he/she has earned.
But, I suppose that it's more fun to have a completely meaningless decal on your car, than it is to do something that actually backs that sentiment up and can do some real good.
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Old 07-06-2006, 07:18 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Yeah, the yellow ribbons are basically to "keep up with the Jones'", so to speak. Oh well...

As for job training, most soldiers get a LOT of training in the military. I'm not sure why people think the only thing the Army trains you to do is to kill people. In fact, MOST people are not trained to kill (any more than standard basic training). The vast majority of soldiers are trained in non-combat skills, including medicine, supply-chain management, communications, electronics repair, mechanical repair (from jeeps to Blackhawks). None of these provide valid jobs in the civilian world? That's funny becuase in the real world, those ALL provide job opportunities. The problem isn't job skills, it's LIFE skills, to some degree, and OTHER issues to another. It's not just an issue with combat vets, undestandable, though that's a largeish portion. Some people just never adjusted well to the combat zone and they come home with a disability. Many aren't given ample opportunity to come to terms with what happened, and when released back into society, they don't know or remember how to function. You have some guy with a serious case of PTSD, maybe he saw his platoon get blown up or saw a bunch of children die in an explosion. You expect him to come home, demobilize for a few weeks then go to college? WTF? You can't all honestly believe that's a good plan?!

As for it being now with W... you don't think after the Vietnam War people were upset? You don't think it made the news after Gulf War I? Hell,*I* remember it being in the news in the early 90's and I was in Junior High School. Why in the world do people like to jump to conclusions about motives? W wasn't mentioned in the article I linked at all. I personally flamed him because I think that his budget and his military positions are bullshit. While, as a soldier, I will go willingly where I must, as a citizen it is my right and my DUTY to call out our leaders when they are doing a poor job. I could care less if he's a republican, a democrat, a libertarian or green party. He, personally, himself is not fit to lead a nation. Sadly, his cabinet members do nothing to bolster his abilities. Clinton was a dumbass, too. Maybe if everyone stopped voting party tickets, or stopped voting to STOP someone else from getting in, and just voted their conscience, we'd have good leaders. Unfortunately most Americans can't seem to see the wisdom in that.
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Old 07-06-2006, 07:43 AM   #19 (permalink)
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They go in at 18, right out of high school, and come out with no more job skills to transfer to civilian life than they went in with.
Only if they're standard Infantry. Many people go in to be communications, logistics, mechanics, medics, engineers, or nuclear technicians. They have VERY good job training which are in high demand in civilian world.
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Old 07-10-2006, 05:41 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Seaver
Only if they're standard Infantry. Many people go in to be communications, logistics, mechanics, medics, engineers, or nuclear technicians. They have VERY good job training which are in high demand in civilian world.
I know MANY people that have seperated and retired from the military. Very few use ANY of the skills taught. While it may seem that the skill learned in the military will transfer to the civilian world, many more do not. My personal experience is very limited in its civilian use. I do not know of any civilian airliners that that utilize infrared/laser or carry bombs. I also recall a time when the military members would be able to take some college courses and prepare for their future employment. This diminished greatly when Clinton created the "Do More With Less" military. 12 hour shifts, deployments, and exercises left many wondering whether to remain in the military until retirement. I know people that had 17 years in that reluctantly seperated. Just 3 years left until retirement and their families urged them to throw away all that they had earned. Just how bad can it get?

Not that I am bitter. I just dealt with the VA. What a fucking crew that they have down there. They don't listen, they don't even return your calls. They do schedule you for appointments and when you show up, they have no idea why you are there. Hours of pay lost, with no vocational benefit.
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Old 07-10-2006, 06:50 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I didn't say all of them came out with no job training skills. I qualified my statement with "I suspect that some of the problem might" be lack of job skills coming out.

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Old 07-11-2006, 09:05 AM   #22 (permalink)
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I remember when we called these people bums.

Get a fucking job for christs sake and learn to save the money you do make. So some guy is in the army and makes no plans for his future outside of the army and we are all suppose to feel bad for him? Is there a reason he couldn't reup? I thought we were told there was a recruiting shortage.

I'm all for supporting vets who get disabled in the line of duty, but that doesn't mean being a vet is a life long meal ticket.

Nice pointless tie in with GWB there too xepherys.

Edit: I thought I'd add this bit.

Quote:
"I had a house, a car -- they gave me everything they promised me," he says. "Now it's up to the government and the people we're defending to take care of their soldiers."
I see so he had 'everything' as a soldier as offered and now that he is out he should still have everything paid for by other peoples money even though he isn't doing anything anymore.

Almost all of those sob stories have nothing to do with being in Iraq but a lot to do with not planning very well. What did he do to support himself and three children prior to joining the army? What does her boyfriend robbing her have to do with Iraq? Also saying ulcerative colitis was caused by the stress of Iraq is wild speculation on the part of the doctors, being we don't know the exact cause of it, and you have to have a predisposition to it, oh and it normally affects people ages 15-30.
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Old 07-11-2006, 04:56 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Ustwo
I remember when we called these people bums.

Get a fucking job for christs sake and learn to save the money you do make. So some guy is in the army and makes no plans for his future outside of the army and we are all suppose to feel bad for him? Is there a reason he couldn't reup? I thought we were told there was a recruiting shortage.

I'm all for supporting vets who get disabled in the line of duty, but that doesn't mean being a vet is a life long meal ticket.

Nice pointless tie in with GWB there too xepherys.

Edit: I thought I'd add this bit.



I see so he had 'everything' as a soldier as offered and now that he is out he should still have everything paid for by other peoples money even though he isn't doing anything anymore.

Almost all of those sob stories have nothing to do with being in Iraq but a lot to do with not planning very well. What did he do to support himself and three children prior to joining the army? What does her boyfriend robbing her have to do with Iraq? Also saying ulcerative colitis was caused by the stress of Iraq is wild speculation on the part of the doctors, being we don't know the exact cause of it, and you have to have a predisposition to it, oh and it normally affects people ages 15-30.
Points like the ones you make were what motivated "Stolen Valor's" author to write his book.

I read somewhere that there are more "Vietnam Vets" on streetcorners in the US than the total number of men who served there.

I'm sure it's not true, but it makes the point--if you've done a poor job of managing your life, the easiest way to garner sympathy, money, and government benefits is to blame it on your military service.

Especially if you never served.
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