Global Politics

Obama's promise to veterans

(Are you a veteran yourself?) I spent 20 years in the military. (Veterans such as you, or veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan War, what are they getting in terms of benefits compared to World War I veterans?) There's a vast amount of difference: there was very little offered in 1919 and the VA health care system of today did not exist. The benefits really began in 1944 with the GI Bill of Rights which the American Legion helped write. (Senator Obama, what has he promised for veterans and do you think he'll deliver?) He served on the Veteran's Affairs Committee when he was in Congress and solved many problems. He addressed how veterans coming back from war and going to military hospitals were being treated and this was before the Walter Reed scandals, this was dealing with the money being charged to them for their meals while they were in the hospitals. (Is there something you will be looking for in terms of a delivery from Obama?) The biggest thing is fixing the claims process. There's a tremendous backlog. When a veteran is disabled in service, there's a process they have to go through to be awarded their VA disability rating and right now there's a backlog in a timely delivery of those services. It can take as much as a year for services to be delivered, an appeals can take up to five years. We're hoping Obama will help rectify those problems. (Right now there are real world needs, so is there any merit to the argument that we cannot afford the same kind of benefits now that we did after WWII?) First of all, we're an all volunteer military and WWII still had the draft. My opinion is if you're going to maintain a professional military you will have to treat them like professionals and you have to take care of them and offer them benefits to compensate for their and their family's sacrifices.

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.)

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