Veterans

Our nation has seen its share of wars in the last twenty years or so. You've recently made the comment that President Trump has us on a war footing, so obviously those leaving military service will need a lot of care, potentially.  How would you handle the growing number of veterans that need help?

A:

First, I am a Vietnam era veteran, having served in the United States Air Force.  

In my day, nobody thanked us for the work we did... for putting our lives on the line.  In fact, I'll never forget the time, that a Colorado State Patrolman threw my badge at me like it was dirt.  We knew nothing but disrespect in those days.  Today, many folks will actually take the time to thank our nation's veterans for their service.  I know I do. 

Today's veterans have another problem that I can't seem to wrap my mind around; the large number of veterans that rely upon food assistance.  I met a veteran about ten years ago who was a sniper in Iraq.  During his tour of duty he was wounded and had to fight just to get treatment for his injuries, injuries which resulted in his honorable discharge from service.  

On top of that, he was living in a cheap hotel in Grand Prairie, Texas.  That was all he and his wife could afford.  The United States of America does not do nearly enough to at least partially recompense our veterans for what they've sacrificed for us.  Not even close!

No US veteran should ever be homeless or hungry.  Another issue which is close to me; many veterans have to fight to receive their compensatory benefits, sometime for many, many years. My dad fought and was badly wounded in the Battle of the Bulge. It took about twenty years to receive the 100% disability status that his injuries warranted. I was injured during my time of service and processors found a way to circumvent their own rules to avoid paying me the approximately $1 million in back compensation, that they owe me.

The system is slow and inefficient. So, I have a few ideas of how to address those problems. 

We need to provide retraining (if necessary) and priority employment for US veterans at the Veterans Administration facilities as well as at other government agencies and contractors. This is a largely untapped resource of experience and professionalism. As I stated before, no honorably discharged veteran should ever be homeless or hungry. No veteran or service member should ever have to suffer the indignity of having to rely on food benefits to feed his or her family. I will work with the United States Congress for an annual COLA, for all enlisted and non-commissioned personnel.

We also need to spend more resources to address the mental health of our nation's heroes. We've trained them to serve America without question. Now, its time for America to serve one of our greatest resources.

One final point to your question. Americans are weary of war after war. America is not the world's police officer. I see an America whose armed forces are the most highly trained and best equipped on the planet, not to provoke war but to sustain peace.

Lastly, I see a world where nuclear weapons are a thing of the past.

My administration will work with the United States Congress and with other nations who are in the nuclear family, to establish and ratify a treaty that bans the possession of all nuclear warheads worldwide with the exception of a small percentage, which would be jointly controlled by those nations. The intent would be to build cooperation and to guard against rogue nations in the future developing nuclear weapons for themselves and again threatening the world with annihilation.

The deterrent of nuclear weapons is mutually assured destruction. If the weapons are "possessed" or controlled jointly, this may work to bring the world back from the 12:00 hour on the "doomsday clock".

It's bold and may not occur in the foreseeable future but that is what I envision. Thanks for the question.

 


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