$6 Million for Vets
It was in all the papers. Cable news carried every sound bite second . It was during the Iowa primaries and Donald Trump threw a hissy fit about debate rules. So he decided to have a fund raiser for veterans and the donations would be huge. His campaign reported that the event raised $6 million. So far, about half of that total can be accounted for, and most veterans organizations that I am aware of have reported receiving zilch from the Trump extravaganza.
I would love to be made to eat crow when the full amount is accounted for and veterans’ coffers are better stocked. I just don’t see that day coming. The Daily Kos reports that “Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski says that, guess what? They didn’t raise $6 million.” Is this just another Trump lie that will be shrugged off as Trump being Trump? This was Lewandowski’s explanation. He
blamed the shortfall on Trump’s own wealthy acquaintances. He said some of them had promised big donations that Trump was counting on when he said he’d raised $6 million. But Lewandowski said these donors backed out and gave nothing.
“There were some individuals who he’d spoken to, who were going to write large checks, [who] for whatever reason . . . didn’t do it” …
This bothers me on so many levels. Lies. I hate lying. Blaming. Imagine, some “donors backed out and gave nothing.” Then they were never donors at all. Blaming his shortfall on potential-but-never-seen largesse of the rich and powerful is too easy an excuse. I wonder if these magnates remain “friends” with Trump. What else have they promised Trump, and what is he promising them? Unfulfilled promises. Veterans had no reason to expect charity from Trump. The promise came out of the blue. But it came, and it raised hopes, and it dashed those hopes.
The Bigger Picture
The military is lied to all the time. By “military” here I mean the rank and file soldier and, by extension, veterans. Too often generals and admirals pass along the lies themselves, wittingly or unwittingly. Soldiers are lied into wars that politicians blame each other for involving the U.S. in. They are told they have the best equipment in the world and then their wives have to run bake sales at home to buy body armor. They are told their tour in War Zone X will be NN months at the end of which they are told they have to extend their tour because there are not enough troops to replace them. It’s called by the innocuous name “Stop Loss.” Maybe DoD could look into why such a crappy program exists and ask why does the U.S. not have enough troops to replace those who have held up their part of the tour commitment?
Government Sends Troops to War; Government Must Spend Whatever It Takes to Rehabilitate them upon their Return
My personal experience with the Veterans Administration is superb. No complaints. But there are so many stories out there about long waits for appointments, proper medication, mile high paperwork, etc. there must be truth to them. That counts for another lie. ‘we,” America, will take care of all you brave men and women. And then organizations like “Wounded Warriors Project” prop up. I am for the organization because of the good will it has. However, I am against the concept that veterans have to rely on public charity when they leave the battlefield maimed.
Government sends soldiers to war. Government is responsible, totally responsible, for their care and treatment when they come home. The American public pretty much swept Vietnam veterans under the rug for a while. That has changed, but we are mostly in our 70s now. Actuarial tables show we will naturally be dying at higher rates than our modern counterparts. It’s the young bucks from conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq and all those other places they are in who will need long-term assistance of all kinds. That assistance for everything from physical therapy to PTSD treatment will be needed for a very long time.
Government, don’t lie to these Americans. Give them their due for as long as they require it. Do not look to public charities to fulfill your role. Do not count on Donald Trump to do the right thing..