Carroll County Times

Letter: GOP turns its back on veterans

As a Navy Vietnam veteran, I occasionally get a "thank you for your service" from local residents in my travels through Carroll County. A thank you is great, but many veterans need more than a "thanks for your service."

Senate Republicans recently killed a bill that would have provided better health and educational benefits to veterans. Republicans seem to have an unlimited amount of money to spend on war. When it comes to caring for severely injured veterans returning from war, Republicans turn a blind eye.

The Senate's $22 billion bill would have expanded educational benefits for survivors and new veterans. It would have helped reduce the Veterans Affairs backlog of open claims. The bill would have been paid for primarily from reductions in funding needed for the Afghanistan war. The Republicans considered this a gimmick. They also wanted to tie the bill to new sanctions against Iran that the Democrats rightly rejected.

Republicans never gave a second thought about paying for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. It seems Republicans are more willing to commit unfunded billions of taxpayer dollars to the wars they love, but they have a problem caring for the returning veterans who fight those wars.

When it comes to helping veterans, the Republican Party is all talk and no walk, or what I call "armchair patriots." Many veterans returning from war need more than a thank you, a parade or a memorial. These veterans need medical/rehabilitative care and educational assistance. They need meaningful work with a living wage.

It's sad that the Republican Party has turned its back on veterans. Even the American Legion is upset by this cold and callous vote by Senate Republicans. In addition to the Republican war on women's rights, civil rights, voting rights, minorities, seniors, the poor, public education, science and average working Americans, they are now waging a war on veterans.

Say thanks to veterans by voting for candidates who provide real assistance to veterans and not just empty talk.

David J. Iacono