By Eliana Benador
True, we have one day in the year to celebrate veterans and, yet, it is so little.
Few realize what it entails to “join”, usually at a young age, early twenties or even younger.
Few know that leaving everything to go into an unknown world, with dangers inside and dangers outside, is only the beginning of an arduous path.
And even fewer see it, as it really is, a kind of slavery, where the person is no longer the same, and decisions will no longer be theirs but those of the people who will command them. Awake or asleep, for better or for worse, their lives are no longer theirs, they belong to their commanders.
Discipline and hardship are not longer just words. They are facts.
And, while worry free, the majority can shop for food at the supermarket, few take the time to imagine and thank soldiers in service.
Does anyone realize that they are free because someone else decided to given up their life, their loved ones and their family life, so that he, she, and millions of others could be free?
That is called sacrifice.
But that sacrifice is not only from one person, but also from those around who, innocently, shared the consequences of that choice, parents, spouses, kids.
It was a road to fight evil, putting one’s life at stake for what was right.
They suffered it alone. The wounds of battle and the wounds of military life. Silently, with no one to smile at them, with no one to give them their care and tender love while they, alone, had to weather life, day after day.
Letters come and go, but so few. They live out of memories and out of hope of one day returning to ‘normal’ life.
Deployment is usually to lands with foreign languages that the majority of troops do not understand, and yet they have to launch military actions.
When the time comes to return home, the big void fills their lives, for they are not here and not there… what a confusion it must be.
And, now, back and scarred by the “service”, they need time to get used to their families who, meanwhile are also not the same people they had left.
The path to become a veteran is a nightmare, filled with pain and sacrifice.
The way back is also filled with its own thorns.
Majority of veterans are wounded and their scars are visible but they may also be invisible.
When they enlist, they are promised that should a service-related injury happen, the American government will provide both care and financial compensation.
The bad news is that average wait time for a veteran to receive his or her benefits, takes one full year.
Obama, who by now every American knows how good and light he is at talking, may have sounded the alarm back in August 2010 with his pompous words that the country has the ‘moral obligation” to provide veterans with timely compensation.
Under VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, the Obama administration promised that all claims would be processed within 125 days and with a 98 percent accuracy rating by the year 2015. RIght.
Who would be surprised that nothing is farthest from the truth. Do “processing errors” sound familiar now? Indeed, reports of processing errors show, again, poor quality of work, with mistakes in 30% or more of claims they processed.
This, in turn, caused claims to reach a peak number of almost 900,000 pending, and as of March 2013, a 70% backlogged. By August 2013, numbers dipped slightly to 800,000 and pending claims had a 63% backlogged.
With over two million Americans deployed to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also in missions in Yemen, Libya and elsewhere, during the last 12 years since 9/11, thousands have returned home, injured, only to begin the most treacherous battle, with Obama’s Department of Veteran’s Affairs or VA.
And, while an innocent veteran waiting for assistance is yet another victim of the Obama Administration ineptitude, bordering ill will, the veteran must appeal.
When that appeal is filed, the veteran’s average waiting time is another four years.
In comparison, Obama’s Department of Defense, confirmed they continued paying Islamist terrorist Major Nidal Malik Hasan more than $278,000 since the Nov. 5, 2009 shooting that left 13 dead and 32 injured, according to a report from Dallas television station KXAS, from last May 2013.
Furthermore, The Army has not classified the wounds of the Fort Hood victims as “combat related” and declines to label the shooting a “terrorist attack.” The “combat related” designation is an important one, for without it shooting victims are not given combat-related pay, they are not eligible for Purple Heart retirement or medical benefits given to other soldiers wounded either at war or during the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the Pentagon.
It’s no surprise that, in Obama’s world, his priorities are well established.
And, the well-being of American veterans are not at the top of his list.
God bless the American Veterans and their families
Copyright ©Eliana Benador
Eliana Benador is a global strategist, a political operative and a human rights activist. She has been the founder of Benador Associates. She has represented dissidents abroad from Iraq, Iran, the Copts and others. Her blog is Eliana’s Choice. You may follow her on Twitter, join her fan page on Facebook and you may find her also on LinkedIn.