How to help veterans while defining ‘choice’

Tue, 11/27/2007 - 4:21pm
By: Letters to the ...

In his Nov. 21, 2007, letter to the editor (“Questions for Ga. House Democrat candidate Madden”), Trey Hoffman raised the issue of “exactly how Mr. Madden or any Democrat will actually help veterans?”

I cannot speak for Mr. Madden, whom I have never met, but, as a proud lifelong “any” Democrat in a county in which approximately 70 percent of the registered voters are Republican, let me provide a suggestion for both Mr. Madden and Mr. Hoffman.

This concerns helping veterans requiring medical, both physical and psychological, care: Give those veterans who are now eligible for medical care by the Veterans Administration(VA) the option of being covered, at no cost, by Medicare and/or the VA.

There is no doubt that the care provided by the VA has improved since the inception of combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, but, it is still, to put it mildly, spotty for those who reside 50 or 100 or so miles from a VA facility.

Many of these veterans are not capable of driving and must find some individual to transport them to and from the VA facility; the reimbursement received is at a rate far below that for official government travel of 48.5 cents per mile.

The travel time is not the only negative factor as wait time to see a physician can run into well over an hour and multiple visits may be required. In other words, this is not what could be called a pleasant experience.

So, Mr. Hoffman and, for that matter, Mr. Madden, in your desire to “support the troops” are you willing to expend the necessary funds to see that our returning combat veterans receive the same level of medical care that is provided by Medicare?

Will it be expensive? To put it mildly, yes. Do these same combat veterans deserve the best care which is available? Likewise, a resounding yes.

As an aside, and a necessary one, put the Medicare costs for these veterans into the yearly federal budget and do not irresponsibly shove them off (as is the Bush administration practice for funding what is estimated to be in excess of a $1 trillion cost for the Iraq war) into a growing national debt, now at $9 trillion (70 percent of which is directly attributable to the administrations of Presidents Reagan and both Bushes) for our grandchildren to shoulder.

This Medicare option will undoubtedly involve higher taxes. Does your care for wounded veterans reach such a level that you, Mr. Hoffman, are willing to pay more to “support the troops” when they need it most?

I am, and I would hope that every Fayette County voter, Republican, Democrat or Independent, who utters the phrase, “I support the troops,” would also be willing to expend the necessary funds.

Yes, higher taxes would be incurred, but we would be clearly manifesting our desire to “support the troops” in a most patriotic, unselfish and effective manner. Our monetary sacrifice, regardless of cost in terms of higher taxes for quality medical care, will never compare with the physical and psychological sacrifices made by our service men and women.

I have no doubt that Mr. Hoffman is most sincere when he relates the issue of his support for the unborn with Mr. Madden’s advocacy of support for veterans and associated pro-choice stance concerning abortion.

Although the foregoing is somewhat of a strange comparison, I will accept the zeal with which Mr. Hoffman views what can only be described as the issue of the “sanctity of life.”

I further assume that Mr. Hoffman feels as passionate about the “sanctity of life” of the civilian residents of a non-hostile, invaded nation (Iraq) who, just as the unborn, to cite his words, “are truly innocent and blameless for their condition.”

If this be the case, Mr. Hoffman must be as extremely distressed by the loss of the “sanctity of life” of, by the most conservative of estimates (“Iraq Body Count,”, somewhere between 77,321 and 84,238 innocent, dead, Iraqi civilians (men, women and children) due, both directly and indirectly, to our unprovoked invasion and subsequent occupation, as of Nov. 7 2007.

If this is so, I would fully expect Mr. Hoffman to be just as outspoken an anti-war advocate concerning all “wars of choice” (Iraq) which involve the loss of innocent civilian life, as he is obviously passionate and heartfelt in regards to his anti-choice position on abortion and the loss of life of the unborn.

Otherwise, he will have to accept that his views on the “sanctity of life,” concerning both the living and the unborn, are as “irreconcilable” ( again citing his letter) as the ”irreconcilability” of which he accuses Mr. Madden relating to his being both a practicing Catholic and pro-choice advocate.

Wade J. Williams

Colonel, USA (Ret)

Peachtree City, Ga.

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