The stress and toil of multiple deployments, the unprecedented use of the National Guard, the general economic hardship of the county, our new generation of veterans is not only facing enormous challenges but the need is growing every day.
Here’s what The Times got right:
No book will ever defeat a bureaucracy this large, but a book can help people to subdue it. Veterans and their families often praise the dedication of health-care providers, but at the same time express utter frustration over incomprehensible thickets of rules and the glacial pace at which benefits and appeals are decided.
Unless and until the government significantly improves its treatment of veterans — and our hopes are high for progress under Gen. Eric Shinseki, President-elect Barack Obama’s nominee to run Veterans Affairs — they will have to keep looking to one another for help, as they always have. This veterans’ guide looks like a powerful updating of that old tradition.
And this is also where they are wrong:
“they will have to keep looking to one another for help”
No, we need to help this time. We need to step up,
In speaking with Bobby Muller from Veterans For America, I learned that this book and its chapters have been downloaded thousands of times since it was virtually launched, I learned that veterans are asking for printed copies and they need those copies now.
Like all too many groups, VFA is seeing a drop in donations. And right now, they are looking for people to give $10 to help pay for a printed version to be sent to a requesting veteran.
Which is about the Christmas budget I have left this year. But think of it this way.
Next year, if a veteran gets that guide, maybe I won’t read about a young veteran committing suicide because he’ll get the help he needs. Maybe I won’t read about a young Iraq veteran on the street with her daughter.
Veterans are looking out for themselves, hats off to Veterans For America for doing the guide.
But we can look out for one too.