For those who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and orphan — this is the phrase that greets you when you enter Veterans Affairs. We have now marked the 10-year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq and are into our 11th year in Afghanistan. The backlog of veterans awaiting action on their claims has now reached 900,000, with the average wait for adjudication at 500 days. What began as a small wave in the Bush administration has reached flood stage in the fifth year of the Obama administration.
Congressional hearings have resulted in vague explanations regarding computer problems and personnel issues. While it’s unstated, I would suspect that funding is an issue, and I have a suggestion. Many have decried the fact that we never paid for the wars and were asked take out our credit cards and avoid sacrifice. Perhaps now is the time for us to ante up, with a dedicated veterans tax on perhaps each box of cartridges for firearms or per gallon of gas. Call it a “shot or drive” for vets. I would urge our Minnesota congressional delegation to band together as Americans to support our veterans and replace platitudes with tangible action.
Russ Kaegebein, Plymouth
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