Thursday, April 19, 2007

Standing Up for Soldiers


“Combat stress and its impact on our soldiers and their families is a serious problem that continues to grow. Reports that our military is unprepared or unwilling to deal with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome or other mental health problems are unacceptable. Being unprepared for these problems is no excuse for inaction. It is our duty to take care of the brave men and women who have answered the call to duty," Senator Kit Bond.

“Our men and women returning from war should receive mental health care equal to the physical medical care they are given, and anything less is unacceptable. It took this country 15 years after Vietnam to look at the mental health needs of veterans. We can’t do that to another generation of soldiers.” Senator Claire McCaskill

A bipartisan senate panel on Thursday sent a letter to the General Accountability Office (GAO) requesting a review of the mental health care afforded our veterans in light of a flood of damning reports on conditions at Walter Reed and Ft. Carson. (Since I mentioned Fort Carson, let me say: IG – Fort Carson. - NOW!)

The Senators who have stood up for our veterans by sending this letter are Kit Bond (R) and Claire McCaskill (D) of Missouri, Tom Harkin (D-IA), Barack Obama (D-IL), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Barbara Boxer, (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT).

Senators Bond, Boxer and Obama get credit for being ahead of the curve on this issue. They have consistently expressed their concerns on mental health and the returning soldier. I wish to thank them for taking up the issue, and also for their steadfast persistence in pursuing it and demanding it get the attention it deserves.

Kudos to all of the Senators of both parties for requesting the GAO review of mental health services. This is a vital and firm first step to rectifying a travesty of abuse, neglect and mistreatment of Veterans by the Department of Defense. Abuse of the 5-13 discharge needs special attention. Especially those issued at Fort Carson.

Remember, folks, I read the GAO reports so you don’t have too. This is definitely one I am looking forward to. (But the white paper I really want to see is an Inspector General’s report on Fort Carson…)

[Cross-posted from Watching Those We Chose]

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