PeoplesWorld.org marks this Veterans Day with a question to the Republicans in Congress who are determined to block President Barack Obama’s American Jobs Act. Americans demand action on jobs. On this Veterans Day, how can you live with yourselves when you deny women and men who served this country some help in getting a job because you refuse to raise taxes on billionaires? Shameful.
Judging by the results of the 2011 elections, Americans are fed up with right-wing extremist policies and inaction on job creation.
This Veterans Day, call your elected officials and tell them to pass the American Jobs Act.
Here are a few selections from PeoplesWorld.org archives in honor of Veterans Day 2011.
Do right by veterans
Over 15 million Americans are jobless, and veterans are being hit even harder, says Paul Rieckhoff of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Young veterans are facing 20 percent unemployment, a big jump from 6.1 percent in 2007.
The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, citing Veterans Administration figures, says approximately 107,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. Over the course of a year, approximately twice that many experience homelessness. Veterans are about 8 percent of the general population, but they make up nearly 25 percent – one in four – of the nation’s homeless, says the group. About 1.5 million other veterans are considered at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing.
We are seeing a flood of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Occupy Oaklanders vigil for injured vet
OAKLAND, Calif. – The amphitheater in front of City Hall was alight with twinkling candle flames on the evening of Oct. 27, as over a thousand people held a vigil for Iraq veteran Scott Olsen, seriously hurt two days earlier when he was struck in the head by a police tear gas canister.
Clare Chadwick, 20, was near Olsen as police fired tear gas and “non-lethal projectiles” at demonstrators trying to take back the plaza from which they had been evicted the night before. Chadwick told the crowd she was near Olsen after he was struck, and ran to his aid. “He was bleeding from the mouth, his eyes were rolling in the back of his head. I screamed to the police for medical assistance. They did not give it to me.”
Over 75,000 veterans are homeless, VA report says
More than 75,000 veterans were homeless around the country on a single night in January 2009, and more than 130,000 veterans spent at least one night in a homeless shelter during that year, a new government report says.
The first-time report on homelessness among veterans was released Feb. 10 by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Among the report’s findings:
More than 3,000 cities and counties reported 75,609 homeless veterans on a single night in January 2009. Fifty-seven percent were in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program while the remaining 43 percent were “unsheltered” – out on the streets.
Chase forced to pay back military families over foreclosures
In a small victory for working-class military families whose homes were illegally foreclosed on, JPMorgan Chase Manhattan bank agreed to pay over $56 million in damages. The settlement came as a result of public pressure and a class action suit brought by Marine Corps Capt. Jonathon Rowles. Over 6,000 troops are covered in the legal action.
Chase and several other banks, including Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank, in addition to overcharging, forced military families out of their homes during the financial meltdown.
Federal laws explicitly forbid foreclosures involving women and men in uniform.
A common sense plan to end homelessness among veterans
LOS ANGELES – The other day, a military veteran told me he was just out of the service and was homeless. He asked how he could resolve this situation.
That started me thinking. It occurred to me that the government, specifically the Veterans Administration should make available to all veterans that are homeless, as well as their accompanying immediate family, temporary free housing on inactive military bases in the United States, until they are able to find a job and affordable housing. This is the least we can do for the men and women that have been in the service of the country. And for the new veterans, who are returning to find an unemployment crisis like never before. They could receive job training as well to help them transition.
A veteran reflects on the left and the peace movement
As a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and a veteran of sorts of the antiwar movement, I feel that the left as a whole has done a poor job of speaking to veterans. This is unfortunate considering they are an extremely important resource and could be great allies in our fight for democracy and freedom for the people of America and the world. We must find a way to communicate with them without parroting rhetoric that is frankly inapplicable to today’s military and today’s war.
When we protest war, do we protest the war itself, the warrior, or the people who truly started the war in the first place? Vets feel they are being protested as well as the war. How can we separate the war from the warrior? It’s like trying to dissociate a shoe from a shoemaker or an exterminator from their poison. Soldiering requires a high level of training and skill. It also requires a sense of honor, self-sacrifice, courage, duty and loyalty – noble values that we on the left hold in high esteem as we work for peace and justice. However, in our zeal for opposing war, we often have failed to recognize these positive traits in U.S. soldiers. We often generalize and dehumanize them.
GOP’s privatization of Social Security would hurt veterans
Republican Party plans to slash Social Security benefits and to privatize the program in order to pay for trillions in tax cuts for the rich will hurt the country’s veterans, according to a new report from Social Security Works, a coalition of labor, civil rights, and advocacy organizations.
Right now, 9 million veterans, or 40 percent of all former service members, get some Social Security benefits. According to the report, veterans receive an average of $1,289.
In fact, Social Security benefits extend to millions of spouses and children of veterans as well.
Almost 800,000 veterans receive Social Security disability benefits, with an additional 2 million or more spouses and children eligible as well.
The 6,000 service men and women killed in Iraq and Afghanistan have left behind over 4,000 children who are eligible for survivors’ benefits and life insurance through Social Security programs.
Open letter from Iraq Veterans Against the War
A newly released Wikileaks “Collateral Murder” video has made international headlines showing a July 2007 shooting incident outside of Baghdad in which U.S. forces wounded two children and killed over a dozen people, including the father of those children and two Reuters employees. Two soldiers from Bravo Company 2-16, the company depicted in the video, have written an open letter of apology to the Iraqis who were injured or lost loved ones during the attack that, these former soldiers say, is a regular occurrence in this war.
For more stories on veterans: