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August 17th, 2009
06:53 PM ET

A Veteran's Take On Pres. Obama's VFW Speech

"It’s simple enough. Cut the waste. Save taxpayer dollars. Support the troops."

Those sentiments drew hearty applause from the crowd, when President Obama addressed the VFW's national convention today in Phoenix. But Mr. Obama's comments on some other topics - apparently earning just "polite" claps. After he wrapped up, Kyra brought in veterans advocate Steve Robinson for some reaction.



soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. James of Houston

    This response is for George in MD.... George, I agree with you completely!

    The current health care bill will, in one way or another, provide the illegal immigrants and their families with free health care. The reason they will qualify for free health care is because their wages are not reported by their employers and tracked on any W-2 Tax Statements. Consequently, these persons are considered “indigent” and in need of federal assistance.

    By classifying them as “indigent”, we will provide them with free benefits for which they and their unreported incomes do not qualify. Also, these benefits will became a “magnet” for people from other countries to come to the U. S. where they can gainfully work, receive good, unreported incomes and obtain free health care for their families. The new costs of providing these free benefits to our future non-citizens will grow beyond all proportions.

    Possible solution: The e-card system used for hospital admission and outpatient services must be designed so only U.S. citizens will have access to these cards! They must also be verifiable and tamper proof!

    August 17, 2009 at 7:47 pm |
  2. Charlie Erickson

    I'm glad you put this thread up Carrie A. I was waiting for it.

    I heard the speech and I liked what I heard. I'm glad the President publicly mentioned PTSD along with TBI. I'm also glad he mentioned "the dark cloud of depression". Depression is a consequence of PTSD & TBI, but it is also a mental/clinical problem of it's own, often not related to the aforementioned two. My depression comes from PTSD and a questionable (until I research it further) minor TBI.

    Depression is often misconstrued by the general public as equating with being sad. While this is often true, it is not always the case. Most of the time, I fell mostly neutral, and could go either way, depending on the surrounding environment. I love to laugh, and am witty, and I express that every chance I get. So, I'm not often sad. It's more often like being in a rut, where everything is boring and uninteresting. Sometimes it's like nothing appeals to you, and you have no motivation to do much of anything. At times the darkness and despair are so intense, that you just to want to hide from everything and everyone, for no apparent reason. At these times are when nerves are easily frayed, bad and sad memories seem to come at you from all angles, and your mind can become your worst enemy. This is the time when many resort to drinking or drugs, hoping to escape their own thoughts. Some just want to stay in bed and curl up under the covers. Sometimes the feelings are so bad that you just want to cry. For women that is fine and is accepted behavior. For men though, crying is looked upon as unacceptable and weak (except for mourning a loved one), especially for combat Veterans, who are hardened protectors, and not allowed to express such unmanly actions; so we bottle things up further, which only complicates matters.

    Depression coupled with the bad dreams and nightmares, which never seem to go away, and night after night (or day after day, or whatever) of interrupted sleep, just wears at you over the years and decades. Easily startled, and hyperaware, we walk the streets with radar that keeps us aware of our surroundings, much more than most people. Many times we try to sit with our backs to a wall, or facing most of those who are near us. to some of us it is second nature, to others it can be an obsession. Sometimes it is visible to others, and other times it is not. Living in the world of PTSD, is not something I would wish on anyone, except for maybe the worst of our species.

    I'm also glad that the President mentioned suicide and homelessness, as a big problem among Veterans. I've known a lot of homeless Vets and have done volunteer work to help them. I even hired two, when I had my small business. I've thankfully only known a couple, who have chosen to quickly end things. Many Veterans, on the other hand, commit suicide slowly, by just not caring for/about themselves any longer. Those are numbers you don't see published, probably because there's no real way to know of and record them.

    I agree with Steve Robinson's assessment of the speech and the contents. I'm also glad of the President's commitment to reform
    the Veterans Benefits Administration. Oh, the horror stories I've heard, and can tell. While the Veterans Healthcare Administration Is among the best in the world, and getting better, The Veterans Benefits Administration, is a nightmare which could be made into a horror movie.

    Anyway, I'm so glad that Kyra takes such an interest in Veterans. She should get a collective hug from all of us. We love ya Kyra!


    August 17, 2009 at 11:13 pm |
  3. Joe

    Plain and Simple, Mr. Obama is letting those down that put their lives on the line for this country – he probably can not understand that never having had to serve this country. The Veterans of this country are the ones that have, with their lives, protected our rights and Mr. Obama seems to ignore their contribution (as evident in his insults to our police force during the Gates issue). This administration is all about gaining control of our freedoms and I would be wary of any promises Mr. Obama makes to this group.

    August 18, 2009 at 7:15 am |
  4. Dennis

    Right now the major threat to veterans health is PTSD-brain trauma. However, the further these troops get from the battlefield in time and space, the next hurdle will be in the long term diseases they develop. I'm not sure the VA healthcare system is ready for that.

    August 18, 2009 at 10:01 pm |
  5. James of Houston

    We like and support President Obama; however, if he wants to better understand why America’s discomfort with end-of-life discussions threatens to derail his health-care reform, he might begin with his own Department of Veterans Affairs.

    Last year, bureaucrats at the VA’s National Center for Ethics in Health Care incorporated a 52-page end-of-life planning document, “Your Life, Your Choices.” It was first published in 1997 and later promoted as the VA’s preferred living will throughout its vast network of hospitals and nursing homes..The document lists various scenarios and asks our veterans to then decide whether their own life would be “not worth living.”

    When the government can steer our disabled veterans to conclude for themselves that life is not worth living, the conservatives will incorrectly say, "who needs a death panel when the new health care policies will do the same for the rest of us?”

    August 24, 2009 at 10:47 am |