Veterans Day

Thank you to all who have served in America’s wars, living and dead.

Thank you to the ones who came back in one piece, and the ones who did not.

Thank you to all who bear wounds, visible and invisible.

Thank you to the families of all who served.

Thank you to all serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places around the world today.

God bless America.


Scene from Black Hawk Down where Gary Gordon and Randy Shugart die in their attempt to rescue Michael Durant and the others on his downed helicopter:


UPDATE 2: Here is the story of a French woman who appreciates America’s veterans better than most of its citizens do.

9 thoughts on “Veterans Day”

  1. We have betrayed our vets! VA hospital budgets slashed! one in 4 homeless is a war vet. Drug and drink problems not attneded to, nor PTSD sufficiently handled because of budget cuts and on and on…
    and, yes: I served a few times in our military and in 2 wars

  2. Joseph Hill,

    I swear, is there not a single trope you won’t regurgitate. You really should do some research on your own. This internet thingy makes it relatively easy.

    VA hospital budgets slashed!

    VA spending has increased steadily just like all other spending. Congress members like VA pork in their districts and complain loudly when the VA closes old hospitals or relocates them.

    one in 4 homeless is a war vet.

    This is complete myth based on self-serving self-reports of the homeless themselves. Studies that actually try to confirm the service records of the homeless show that vets are under represented in the homeless population. Had you actually spent anytime with the homeless you would soon learn that the vast majority of them are alcohol and drug addicts who will spin any story to con others in support of their addiction. Claiming status as a vet is a easy way for an adult male to tug on the heart strings.

    Drug and drink problems not attneded to, nor PTSD sufficiently handled

    Vets do not suffer from addiction or other mental health problems at higher rates than the general population. There is also the not insignificant problem that no matter how much money you spend, no current drug or alcohol treatment program works better receiving no treatment at all. Look it up if you don’t believe me.

    The real problem with the VA is that it is overwhelming devoted to treating millions of the elderly who served a couple of years decades ago and now need help soothing the pains of old age. By comparison, a few thousand vets in their twenties simply get lost in the shuffle.

    If we’re serious about reform, we should restrict the VA to treating those actively injured in line of duty. That would create a smaller, more focused system that would be well funded due to public sentiment. People who served briefly 40 years ago should be transitioned to medicaid. Career military retirees with no service related health complaints should be provided with payments/vouchers to buy private insurance.

    Large government bureaucracies are always a disaster waiting to happen. My son-in-law is on active service and an Army hospital bungled the treatment of a minor knee injury leaving him crippled. My daughter says repeatedly that anyone who likes socialized medicine should spend sometime in the Army.

    Shoveling money at a dysfunctional and misdirected system will only make things worse.

  3. […]How many homeless veterans are there?

    Although accurate numbers are impossible to come by — no one keeps national records on homeless veterans — the VA estimates that nearly 200,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. And nearly 400,000 experience homelessness over the course of a year. Conservatively, one out of every three homeless men who is sleeping in a doorway, alley or box in our cities and rural communities has put on a uniform and served this country. According to the National Survey of Homeless Assistance Providers and Clients (U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and the Urban Institute, 1999), veterans account for 23% of all homeless people in America. […]
    from your government
    […]true it is that under Clinton less was spent. But then there was no Iraq invasion. And last year? the new budget proposal is to make up for the lapses that had taken place:
    “The Department of Veterans Affairs would see one of the biggest increases in discretionary spending for any agency: a boost of $2.6 billion to $35.7 billion. Most of the spending goes to health care — the department expects to treat 5.3 million veterans next year.

    Once again the VA budget calls for increasing prescription drug co-payments for non-disabled, higher-income veterans from $8 to $15. It would require them to pay an annual enrollment fee of $250. Congress has rejected this in the past.

    Overall, the VA budget would rise to $80.6 billion, including $42.1 billion for entitlements, such as disability payments and rehabilitation programs. Officials hope to avoid a repeat of last year, when the VA received $1.2 billion in emergency funding after it had underestimated the number of personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who would seek VA medical treatment.

    the VA was set up to care for
    ALL vets…not just those wounded in combat…your want it to change? But why not then have military fpay also for their own clothing etc?

  4. socializd medicine? where do you think military doctors come from? down the corner? they are trained and licensed people who are serving our military. I am all too familiar with many vets who are being treated at VA hospitals and without those places, there would be almost no treatment available. Is the GI. Bill socialized education? if so, thankk the good lord for it!

    and the near futrue will see a bigh surge in homelss vet…
    and that is from the VA itself, not from The nation magazine.

  5. Joseph…

    I am a veteran and I *have* been treated by the VA..and you have no clue.

    As for the GI bill….it is not socialized education..because it is payment for services…see that’s how it’s not socialized. Sort of the way when you buy and ice cream cone it’s not a socialized dessert. get it?

  6. You don’t know me and yet you say that since you have been to a hospital I have no clue?
    I have been to VA hospitals but not as patient. I have any number of vet friends who go regularly to FA hospitals. Why give GI Bill to people because they did their patriotic duty and served their nation? Are’nt they supposed to? The govt paying for my education (yes: I got it two times having been in two wars)is not socialized education but then neither is govt ilnsurance for private doctors. Here is some material on homelessness and hospitals and budgets:


  7. Joseph Hill,

    where do you think military doctors come from? down the corner? they are trained and licensed people who are serving our military.

    That investment in their training and the lack of empirical market forces means that incompetent military doctors get shuffled around the system instead of being canned. The facility that virtually crippled my son-in-law was so bad that they reassigned every doctor and administrator in the place. None of the got canned, they just spread the incompetence around more evenly.

    As to homeless vets, I don’t suppose you have considered that using statistics generated by institutions seeking money based on reports of large numbers of homeless vets might not give you the best picture?

    Conservatively, one out of every three homeless men who is sleeping in a doorway, alley or box in our cities and rural communities has put on a uniform and served this country.

    When I worked with the homeless, at least 1 in 3 would service but I think only 1 out the hundreds I dealt with could ever answer the most basic questions about their rank, unit or commanders, something real vets never forget alcoholic dementia or no. I suppose that there maybe a lot of older “vets” wandering around who came of age during the 50’s and 60’s during the era of universal service who did there two years just like virtually every other male of their generation.

    Even if there are actually 200,000 homeless vets, there are 24.5 million living vets so homeless vets represent 0.81% of all vets. Since the vast majority of homeless are homeless due to addiction or mental illness, what exactly are supposed to do for them. Dealing with the homeless has never been a matter of money, its always been a matter of law. Homeless people don’t need money, medical care or housing, they need legal supervision to make sure they do indulge their additions or don’t take their meds. If you can’t do that, you can spend all the money you want and you won’t get people off the streets.

    Again. spending more money on unfocused and dysfunctional institutions helps no one.

    I do think that the VA system does a good job of caring for the 9.6 million vets older than 65 but that is a bug not a feature. The VA system is nearly completely focused on caring for elderly people who have been civilians for decades and not on those injured in the line of duty. A specialized VA hospital system made sense in the pre-WWII era but today we have other options.

    My grandfather ended up going to the VA hospitals because his private insurance required it but he never felt good about. He didn’t believe that his 3 years of service during WWII granted him the right to demand decades of medical care 40 years later. Going to war was something he did out of a citizens duty. It was nothing special and he came out of it hale and hearty. He felt guilty because he still thought of the VA system as place that treated those wounded in war and not a system for taking care of retirees.

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