Treatment of Veterans

November 19, 2004 • Volume 14, Issue 41
Is the nation keeping its promises to veterans?
By William Triplett

Introduction

Former Army Spec. Robert Jackson lost his legs in an explosion while serving in Iraq with the Iowa National Guard. About 6,000 U.S. soldiers have been wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq, and almost 900 have suffered serious injuries, such as lost limbs or eyesight. The Department of Veterans Affairs has become a specialist in prosthetics.  (AP Photo/Charlie Niebergall)
Former Army Spec. Robert Jackson lost his legs in an explosion while serving in Iraq with the Iowa National Guard. About 6,000 U.S. soldiers have been wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq, and almost 900 have suffered serious injuries, such as lost limbs or eyesight. The Department of Veterans Affairs has become a specialist in prosthetics. (AP Photo/Charlie Niebergall)

America has always promised good care and benefits to veterans for their service to the nation. But an estimated 1.7 million uninsured veterans — including U.S. troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as veterans from the Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars — were unable to get the promised support last year. While the military and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provide state-of-the-art medical treatment, ex-warriors must often fight dispiriting bureaucratic battles to get their care and benefits. The Bush administration points to record VA budgets and new procedures to make VA services more accessible to veterans. But veterans say they are increasingly losing benefits because the VA is underfunded; they want veterans' health services to become a mandatory part of the federal budget. Meanwhile, today's GI Bill offers fewer benefits than the landmark 1944 legislation that helped millions of veterans go to college and establish comfortable civilian lives after World War II.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
U.S. Military
Sep. 23, 2011  Military Suicides
Sep. 05, 2008  Rise in Counterinsurgency
Aug. 31, 2007  Wounded Veterans
Nov. 19, 2004  Treatment of Veterans
Jun. 25, 2004  Privatizing the Military
May 30, 2003  Reforming the Corps
Apr. 26, 1996  New Military Culture
Jun. 08, 1990  Downsizing America's Armed Forces
Jul. 20, 1966  American Forces in Europe
Jan. 15, 1964  American Troops Abroad
May 21, 1958  Military Reorganization
Feb. 28, 1952  Benefits for Korean Veterans
May 12, 1948  Militarization
Nov. 06, 1946  Veterans' Bonus
Jul. 17, 1946  War Veterans in Civil Life
Nov. 27, 1941  Government Aid to Ex-Service Men
Sep. 27, 1932  The Bonus After the 1932 Elections
Oct. 06, 1930  Veteran-Aid Policies of the United States
Jan. 07, 1924  Congress and the Bonus
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Medical Research and Advocacy
U.S. at War: Afghanistan
Veterans' Services