[Buddha-l] What does it mean to support the troops?

Richard P. Hayes rhayes at unm.edu
Wed May 18 22:30:27 MDT 2005

The following editorial appeared in the most recent edition of 
Sojourners on-line magazine: http://www.sojo.net. If you read the 
article on line, there is a link that enables you to take action. Most 
Sojourners articles have opportunities to take some action, usually in 
the form of writing your state senator or congressional representative. 
(Poor Heather Wilson, Jeff Bingamen and Pete Domenici receive about ten 
letters from this household a week. Bingamen always responds with thanks 
for encouraging his position. Wilson always responds with an explanation 
for why she can't agree with my position. Domenici never responds at 
all. Perhaps I should subscribe him to buddha-l, eh?)

\begin{Sojourner article}
What does it mean to support the troops?

Memorial Day is approaching, and calls to support the troops echo across 
the national media. But how does the United States really treat its 
soldiers and its veterans?

Even those of us who advocate nonviolence must recognize the humanity of 
those who, for many reasons, made the hard choice to join the armed 
forces. As we protest a war and an occupation that has claimed as many 
as 100,000 Iraqi civilians' lives, we must have compassion for the 
suffering experienced on all sides.

Well over 1 million soldiers have served in Afghanistan and Iraq since 
September 11, 2001, according to the Pentagon. A full third of those 
million have served more than once. In addition to the 1,600-plus 
soldiers who have been killed in Iraq, more than 12,000 troops have been 
wounded and needed to seek medical treatment. Soldiers who have suffered 
psychologically are more difficult to count - and often more difficult 
to treat. A 2004 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine 
pointed out that 17 percent of Iraq veterans were exhibiting signs of 
major depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But 
according to that study, less than 40 percent of those soldiers sought 
treatment for PTSD, due to the stigma associated with its diagnosis. 
According to Steve Robinson at the National Gulf War Resource Center, 
the military needs to be doing much more to educate about and treat PTSD.

Once soldiers arrive home, they face new difficulties. According to the 
National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, although veterans compose only 
9 percent of the U.S. population, they represent 23 percent of our 
nation's homeless. More than 500,000 veterans experience homelessness 
each year.

The White House isn't getting kinder to vets, either. In January of 
2003, just prior to the March invasion of Iraq, President Bush suspended 
the health-care benefits of 200,000 veterans. The Bush administration's 
proposed 2006 budget would charge a new $250 enrollment fee to 2.2 
million veterans, and would double vets' prescription drug co-pay, which 
could limit access to those drugs for veterans living in poverty. The 
budget also proposes to cut $351 million from veterans' nursing homes, 
and $4 million from medical and prosthetic research.

This Memorial Day, join Sojourners in calling on our country to uphold 
its responsibilities to veterans, practice real compassion, and truly 
support the troops. With just a few clicks of your mouse, you can send a 
letter to the editor of your local newspaper and help us raise veterans' 
issues around the country.
\end{Sojourner article}

More information about the buddha-l mailing list