Medical Problems impact Veterans for the Rest of their Lives

During the May 19, 2005 hearing on the serious problems facing returning war veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reported more than 85,000 Iraq War and Afghanistan War veterans have already sought medical care from VA.

Out of the 360,000 discharged veterans from Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), nearly one in four had already visited VA for physical injuries or mental health counseling by February 2005. This number far exceeds the 12,000 wounded reported by the Department of Defense (DoD).


The count of veterans reporting medical problems was buried on page 10 of the prepared statement submitted today by VA’s John Brown, Director, Seamless Transition Office, before the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. However, Brown didn’t share the statistic during his oral testimony. For a copy of the testimony, please go to:


Citizens, elected officials, and reporters should be asking the tough questions: Now that VA confirms more than 85,000 OIF and OEF veterans have sought VA healthcare, VA should tell the people and Congress how much this costs taxpayers each year. Reporters should also ask how many recent war veterans have filed VA disability claims and how much that will cost taxpayers each year. Reporters should also ask how much VA paid out in life insurance payments to surviving spouses, children, and parents for the more than 1,800 service members who have died in either OEF or OIF.

The bottom line is that the consequences of the current wars appear far larger than DoD reports. More veterans have medical problems, and many of those problems will adversely impact those veterans for the rest of their lives. However, the U.S. Senate voted against providing VA with any additional funding to care for recent war veterans.


Please ask your Congressional representatives to take action today to ensure veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan get the medical care they have earned.

Click here to take action today.

Iraq War Update: Have we become our own worst enemy?

Knight-Ridder newspapers reported this week on the recently concluded offensive in Qaim on the Syrian border. On one note, there was a positive development. When the local villages and towns were overtaken by foreign jihadists and insurgents, the Sunni tribesmen in the area fought to evict them. Though not sympathetic with the U.S. occupation or the new Iraqi government, the leaders in this region of Iraq were sick of their homes being used for ongoing violence. Consequently, they approached the Iraqi defense ministry and the U.S. military for help.

The result: Operation Matador, an U.S. marine offensive which netted over one hundred killed insurgents and nine U.S. killed-in-action. The operation also resulted in the destruction of much of the town of Qaim, and an unknown number of civilian casualties.

In short, the leadership of U.S. forces in Iraq, faced with the opportunity to provide security for local villagers who desperately needed help, instead have created yet another pool of rage and despair in Iraq, and yet another recruiting opportunity for the growing Iraqi insurgency.

As long as counter-insurgency operations take priority over protecting civilians, the war in Iraq will continue to get worse.



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