I talked with a Viet Nam veteran last week. He had recently attended a reunion of his old outfit and said he was shocked by how many of his former comrades supported John McCain for President, without knowing anything about his record on veteran issues. Obviously, they have been listening to what McCain says, instead of watching what he does.
To hear McCain tell it, he is the veteran’s best friend.
· “I take a backseat to no one in my affection, respect and devotion to veterans.”--Memorial Day, 2008
· “... I pledge to you that as president I will lead--from the front--to reform our VA system and make sure that veterans receive the respect and care they have earned.”--VFW Convention, 8/18/08
· “... I have a perfect voting record from organizations like the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion and all the other veterans service organizations is because of my support of them.”--Denver, CO, 7/8/08
· “...I know the veterans. I know them well. And I know that they know that I'll take care of them. And I've been proud of their support and their recognition of my service to the veterans. And I love them. And I'll take care of them. And they know that I'll take care of them.”--First Presidential Debate, 9/26/08
This is how John McCain takes care of veterans (and active duty personnel):
Shortly after the invasion of Iraq, McCain voted against an emergency appropriation of $1 billion in equipment for the National Guard and reserves to alleviate a shortage of helmets, bullet-proof armor and other gear. McCain said the equipment would be “nice to have”, but “... is neither the appropriate nor, I believe, fiscally the responsible thing to do at this time.” (The Washington Independent, 8/17/08)
That same year, McCain voted against reallocating $322 million of Iraqi reconstruction funds to pay for much-needed safety equipment for our military forces in Iraq. I guess it would have diverted too much money away from the no-bid war profiteers in Iraq.
The Democratic National Committee website has a comparison of McCain’s rhetoric vs. his record. Since his election to the Senate in 1987:
· ...McCain has voted at least 30 times against ensuring important benefits for America's veterans, including providing adequate healthcare.
· ...McCain has voted at least 15 times in favor of keeping tax cuts and various tax loopholes for America's top earners, instead of providing valuable funding for United States veterans. (A listing of the Senate Vote numbers is available at www.democrats.org/a/2008/08/mccain_watch_mc_6.php .)