Like many college campuses across the United States, USF is home to many Iraq War veterans. While they are enrolled as students and share classes with civilian students, many are dealing with issues that cannot be understood by those who have not seen war.
Veterans are asked to jump back into society, but that is a more difficult feat than many people realize.
The Bush administration encourages the public to continue living without paying much mind to the war and this mentality is damaging to those veterans who are coming home.
Unlike the past, the current war has been treated as a distant event. In World War II, massive losses and campaigns were waged and caused the landscape of the American workforce to change. During the Cold War, many people were required to hide in basements or under desks as the nation was, in a few places, on the precipice of nuclear war with the Soviet Union.
The national dialogue of Vietnam was rampant in the form of protests and reports of what was taking place. These events brought the reality of war to nearly everyone who lived in the US.
Now, war is held at arm’s length. In 2004, the Bush administration was upset that photographs of caskets covered by the American Flag were released out of fear of losing the polls-and-percentage-points popularity contest.
But there has always been something much greater at stake – American lives. Those that have been there and given a part of themselves, whether it was physical, emotional or mental, deserve a stronger commitment from the United States.
Veteransptsdclassaction.org is a Web site managed by a law firm representing veterans who are determined to force the government to provide the aid required to help those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The government filed for the case to be dismissed, but a U.S. District rejected them, allowing a class action lawsuit to be filed against the US Department of Veterans Affairs. This, in addition to the fiasco that took place at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C, suggests that the government has not stepped up to the plate regarding veteran healthcare.
President Bush continues to urge the American population to go back to business as usual as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue, but for veterans there is no such thing.
While there is no way to thoroughly ‘fix’ someone when they have been through war, there is only the hope that they will be properly helped.
The men and women who have served and are now suffering deserve more than patriotic songs, bumper stickers and lip service. They need an administration that is willing to take a stand and acknowledge what they experienced and take responsibility for exposing them to war.