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MILITARY: Put veterans ahead of unneeded weapons systems

Letter by Anthony T. Hawkins, Washington, D.C. on Feb. 28, 2013 at 11:23 am | No Comments »
February 28, 2013 1:26 pm

Re: “Younger veterans struggle to find jobs” (TNT, 2-24).

As they face challenges finding a job, many young veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan struggle with disabilities; nearly half have filed some kind of claim. Yet the budget cuts now being proposed in Congress could actually make it harder for veterans to get the care they need.

The federal government has threatened to triple veterans’ health care premiums to help pay down the deficit while discharging more than 100,000 troops, effectively sending them straight to the unemployment line.

Veterans understand just as well as anyone that the government needs to control federal spending. They don’t understand why veterans’ benefits must take the brunt of the cuts when the military is spending enormous sums on new fighter jets like the Joint Strike Fighter, a struggling defense program that will cost nearly twice as much as expected at $1.5 trillion.

By promising to sacrifice broken defense programs in order to save veterans programs, leaders in Washington can show a serious commitment to the men and women who’ve served.

(Hawkins is the national coordinator of the Congressional Black Caucus Veterans Braintrust in Washington, D.C.)

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