Government should follow ‘support our troops’ slogan

Chris Kok

Uncle Sam wants you . to have substandard health care after being injured in war.

The Washington Post recently reported that the medical facilities at Walter Reed Army Medical Center were in horrible condition. There were molds, cockroaches and mice. Soldiers are forced to fill out volumes of paperwork and cut miles of red tape before they get the help they need.

Support our troops!


By now it should be obvious that this was merely a chant of propaganda. “Support our troops” really means support the government’s illegal war in Iraq. If this were a serious slogan, soldiers would have received proper armor and wounded veterans would be receiving the greatest health care available.

This war has been disastrous to the majority of Americans. Spending for social services is cut year after year. That money is being redirected into the military budget. But it isn’t used to ensure that soldiers are safe and well taken care of.

No, instead it is going to large weapons development projects and illegal wars that put the soldiers in harm’s way in the first place. As far as this imperialist government is concerned, the No. 1 priority is expanding the American empire. Anything else is irrelevant and subject to funding cuts.

Wounded soldiers are irrelevant when it comes to expanding the empire. They have already done their job; they are spent. So the government throws them away like garbage.

Many soldiers in Iraq are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. For the most part, the military is reluctant to diagnose PTSD. So on the bright side of a pitch-black issue, at least these soldiers were not exposed to the horrible conditions of Walter Reed.

PTSD is just another problem soldiers have had to face without any help from the military. It follows health problems caused by Agent Orange and Gulf War Syndrome in that effect.

Symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks, hypertension, irritability and sleeplessness, and many soldiers do not seek help.

This is a problem that tears apart families. How are children supposed to react when their veteran parent has random bursts of anger? How are the spouses supposed to react to the detachment and self-imposed isolation of the person suffering from PTSD? What about the whole host of related problems, from health problems to substance abuse? PTSD has the power to destroy families, and the government is not doing enough to combat it.

Fortunately resources exist outside the military. Veterans should check out groups such as Vets 4 Vets, which has chapters in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. This is a non-partisan group of veterans trying to help each other deal with the grim consequences of having fought in war.

Soldiers deserve the best of care after their time in the military. They deserve top-of-the-line health care when wounded, whether physically or mentally. Sadly, the government is failing in its duty to its veterans.

So we must pressure the government to take care of its veterans. Although groups like Vets 4 Vets are important, it is a shame that veterans have to look outside the government for help.

Chris Kok is a senior political science major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].