Thursday, April 24, 2008

VA Lies To Congress About Vets

If there's one thing the Bush administration has been consistent about, it is lying. They have lied about little things and big things, important things and unimportant things. They have lied to their friends and their enemies. They have lied to Congress and to the American people.

So I guess it shouldn't surprise us to see they plan to finish their 8-year stretch still lying. Maybe they've been lying so long they've forgotten how to tell the truth. This time, it's the Veteran's Administration (VA).

We all know that 4047 American soldiers have been killed in the Iraq War. It's hard to hide an obvious cost like the death statistics. But there are hidden costs to this unnecessary war -- like the psychological casualties among the soldiers who have returned home. It's much easier to lie and hide this cost.

According to the statistics released by the VA, 790 veterans of the war tried to commit suicide in 2007. That sounded bad enough, but now we find through VA internal e-mails that this was a lie. The actual number of attempted suicides among returning veterans was about 12,000 in 2007. That wasn't just a lie -- it was a gigantic whopper!

Over 300,000 of the returning veterans suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Major Depression. Only half of these have sought help, and of those, only half have received a "minimally adequate" treatment. This is a huge number of psychologically wounded veterans, and the Bush policy is creating more every day.

As Senator Patty Murray (D-Washington) pointed out, some of the more violent symptoms may not show up for many years. She said, "I think we ought to be worried. They can be walking time bombs for decades. I hope everyone in the VA understands this."

It's easy to see why the Bush administration is trying to hide these war casualties. This is a huge and growing problem that will affect our country for many years. We are paying a terrible price to soothe Bush's pride, control Iraqi oil and enrich a lot of giant corporations. It is time to end this nonsense.

We must pull our troops out of Iraq -- the sooner the better.

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