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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/20/13

Nearly 600,000 Wounded Vets Claims for Disability Suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan Wars "backlogged" for Months

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Let's say you're an Iraq or Afghanistan war veteran and you were seriously wounded during your tour of duty and subsequently upon your return to the states filed a claim for disability compensation to the Department of Veterans Affairs but as yet haven't had your claim processed.

Most likely you're one of almost 600,000 wounded veterans whose claim is "backlogged", meaning it's been pending for over 125 days.

This apparently is not something new for the Veterans Affairs Department where delays in processing claims for disabilities have existed for years.

But now the criticism has grown louder, particularly from the "Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America", the largest group representing the veterans of these two wars.

Paul Rieckhoff, the Chief Executive and founder of the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans says, "For people in their 20's, the idea that we can't get the technology updated seems ridiculous." These young veterans are impatient for change, no longer willing to tolerate the Department's excuses for the delays.

And they are right on the money with their criticism. They don't want to hear it's the paper system that's blamed for the backlog, apparently an antiquated processing system now overwhelmed by the claims filed by these new veterans.

Well these veterans volunteered to join the military and fought in their country's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Whether these wars were legally justified or based on lies is not the point here. And who knows what if any political motives drove them to sign up to serve and go to war, (again not the point).

But consciously or not, they had the right to believe, if they were seriously wounded, their country would take care of them, process their claims for disability compensation swiftly and without red tape.

Of course we're all aware of the early triumphalism and hubris emanating from the corporate media at the start of these wars as well as the politicos, Congressional Republicans and Democrats ("armchair generals" and "chicken hawks" all) who voted to give Bush the authorization to after those who perpetrated 9/11 in October 2001 and one year later to give him the authority to invade Iraq.

Why didn't these Congressional "armchair generals" and "chicken hawks" also authorize the funds to immediately upgrade and modernize the antiquated processing system of the Veterans Affairs Department once these wars began? This should have been a top priority (or did they expect a "cake walk" [never having been personally involved in a fighting war] and so they never considered we'd have so many veterans seriously wounded as well as thousands killed in action).

That obviously didn't happen and many seriously wounded and disabled veterans of these two wars now must wait over four months before their disability claims for compensation are finally processed.

From here, what this clearly shows is the majority of our Congressional politicos are too ready to go to war, despite warnings from experts of disastrous consequences, regardless of its legality or the imminent threat to America posed by these "enemies," all supersedes the care and welfare of those fighting in those wars, particularly the seriously wounded veterans. These men and women warriors are just expendable pawns, (despite all the phony patriotic rhetoric by our politicos) used in our wars going all the way back to Viet Nam.

These politicos don't put it that way. They fall all over themselves extolling the men and women in uniform as if they were really defending our country. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our military is defending an unnecessary endless war on terror that goes to justify our bloated defense spending and only benefits the corporate blood sucking leeches getting obscenely rich from this endless war.

As to further indict these politicos you can bet on two sure things:

  1. If it were their kids fighting, dying and getting seriously wounded in our wars of choice there wouldn't be a controversy over the antiquated system at the Veterans Affairs Department that now delays disability compensation for wounded veterans.
  2. Then again we wouldn't be fighting these wars of choice in the first place, especially if their kids had to serve in the military and actually have to fight in these wars, because Congress wouldn't give the Executive the authority to initiate these wars.

So it's the rural and inner city kids that fight in our wars of choice while putting them in harms way unnecessarily is unforgiveable.

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