Veterans' Struggles

October 4, 2019 • Volume 29, Issue 35
Is government doing enough to help former warriors?
By Susan Ladika


Nearly 20 years of constant U.S. military engagement abroad have put unprecedented strains on veterans and their families. More than 2.7 million service members have been deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan — some multiple times — since terrorists attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. As a result, many veterans are struggling with physical and mental wounds, suicide, addiction and homelessness, often at higher rates than their predecessors. Veterans' advocates want more government funds and broader access to public and private assistance to meet veterans' social, educational, employment and health needs. The influx of veterans from the post-9/11 wars is occurring as the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is also providing care for aging vets from the Vietnam War and earlier conflicts. Medical facilities have become overtaxed, leading to scandals about lengthy delays for treatment. But some veterans fear that congressionally mandated changes, implemented in response to the scandals, will lead to privatization of the VA health care system and lower quality of care.

A man identifying himself as a homeless Army veteran (Getty Images/Robert Alexander)
A man identifying himself as a homeless Army veteran asks for money in New York City in 2017. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is under scrutiny for how it provides mental and physical health care to struggling veterans. (Getty Images/Robert Alexander)
ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
U.S. Military
Oct. 04, 2019  Veterans' Struggles
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
Data and Statistics
Defense Personnel
Equal Employment Opportunity & Discrimination
Fair Housing and Housing for Special Groups
Investigations and Discipline
Iraq War
Marijuana Legalization
Medical Profession and Personnel
Medical Research and Advocacy
Mental Health
Middle East Conflicts
Party Politics
People with Mental Disabilities
Protest Movements
Unemployment and Employment Programs
Veterans' Services
Women in the Military
Women's Health Issues
World War II