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Thanks to Our Nation's Veterans,

and our allies', too. War so rarely comes to our own shores -- even counting the 9/11 attacks -- that it's easy for us not to fully grasp how much we owe them.

VanMorganJr. (mail):
In my experience, veterans have been recognized more often in the past five or so years than in the entire prior stretch since I was discharged from the army in 1972. The renewed respect for our active duty personnel and military veterans is very encouraging and your kind words are much appreciated. Thank you.
11.12.2007 12:03pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
When I recently flew back into Tucson, there was a soldier aboard who'd come back from Iraq. We all stood around, giving him enough time to hug wife and son, and then applauded him.
11.12.2007 12:08pm
Aultimer:
Hear, hear.
11.12.2007 1:02pm
PLR:
In the holiday spirit and in honor of those who were used faithfully served, I'll overlook the conflation.
11.12.2007 1:08pm
NatSecLawGuy:
I second that wholeheartedly. Thanks Veterans!
11.12.2007 1:17pm
CrazyTrain (mail):
In particular, Russia deserves our thanks (seriously) for WWII. Although their government was very bad and their army/government committed some very bad atrocities, they faced a worse government and an army/government that committed atrocities that were far greater. Putting aside the Russian government, moreover, the Russian people and army took the worst of Hitler and Germany and refused to give up (err, like, France), and without their sacrifices, that war would have lasted a lot, lot longer (though I think the British and Americans would have still won).
11.12.2007 1:29pm
CrazyTrain (mail):
And the British too. 1. For sticking it alone against Germany for about a year in WWII; and 2. for not forgetting the help we gave them by being our best ally and consistently standing by us even when we are wrong (like Iraq). They have been an invaluable ally and deserve our thanks.
11.12.2007 1:31pm
Libertarian1 (mail):
I live on the upper west side of NYC. I had occasion last month to go to Atlanta Georgia. As I deplaned at the airport some soldiers arrived at a different gate. As they walked into the main lobby area dozens of travelers spontaneously stood and applauded. There was actually a palpable feeling of patriotism. That is not the reaction I sense at home in NYC. I ascribed the difference to red state-blue state but am open to suggestions.
11.12.2007 1:32pm
Drake (mail) (www):
And let's not forget to thank our wise politicians. Surely they too deserve credit for keeping war at such a blissful distance.
11.12.2007 1:41pm
Randy R. (mail):
I wish the applause extended to veteran's benefits. Why does the budget for the VA keep getting cut?

Our vets need more than just applause. My uncle (a vet) goes to the VA hospital quite often, and sees a lot of guys coming back from this war, and he can see that they need serious help in readjusting to civilian life. Suicides are way up, and the VA refuses to address it. Instead, we get Walter Reed hospital situations, where there is not enough care for our soldiers.
11.12.2007 3:32pm
Randy R. (mail):
Sorry to get on my high horse, but one thing that really really bugs me is the total lack of concern on the part of our entire government (both parties) for our armed forces and the vets. Many military families are losing their apartments or homes because they can't afford the rent when the breadwinner keeps getting extended duties.

Why can't Laura Bush organize a fund drive amoung her rich women friends to raise money to help the families pay the rent? Why can't Laura Bush do ANYTHING to raise money or awareness for our troops or their families? Why can Jenna and Barbara do just a little tiny bit of volunteer work for the Red Cross, or do a book drive, or something, even if it's symbolic? Cheney has a few hundred million from his stock in Halliburton -- few people have benefited as much as he has from this war. Why can't he donate some money to the kids of dads who died in the war? Or create a fund to do that?

I blame the Dems just as much, but this really should start at the top. If Laura just once asked us for a small sacrifice of $10, I'm sure tons of Americans would do it.

But no -- this is billed as a no-sacrifice war. We can't raise taxes, and we can't do anything that might call attention to the sacrifices of our military personnel. Might be bad propaganda. I've written to many columnists and the White House about this, but no one will listen.
11.12.2007 3:38pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Randy.
The VA was suppposed to care for indigent vets with service-connected disabilities. In the usual way of government programs, that expanded until a non-indigent vet whose problems were not service-connected could get services.
Some of the "reductions" involve asking the latter to seek elsewhere first, like their own insurance or assets. If the the VA had been started as something other than a fallback for the indigent, it would be different.
I figure the recently wounded and the actually indigent deserve more than they're getting and the affluent less. But, as is the case in our society, the affluent are capable of substantial complaining even without professional whiners (an update of the professional mourners) who advocate for a living. That's where some of the "cut" complaints come from.

BTW. Does PL402, Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act, still apply to a volunteer force?
11.12.2007 4:21pm
CrazyTrain (mail):
Does PL402, Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act, still apply to a volunteer force?

Yes it does. Why wouldn't it?
11.12.2007 4:46pm
Randy R. (mail):
"Some of the "reductions" involve asking the latter to seek elsewhere first, like their own insurance or assets."

So if you get sick as a vet, you should spend your assets first, then exhaust your insurance, THEN you can come to the VA for help? In other words, you have to become indigent first, and only then do we help our servicement.

Got it. And finally, all those millionaire vets can shut up about their whining!
11.12.2007 4:47pm
Libertarian1 (mail):
So if you get sick as a vet, you should spend your assets first, then exhaust your insurance, THEN you can come to the VA for help? In other words, you have to become indigent first, and only then do we help our servicement.



Same rules as Medicaid. If you have assets or insurance you are not eligible. And if you think this is bad, wait until we get government funded universal one payer health insurance. I just don't understand why so many feel this will solve our health care problem. Instead of kvetching about veterans or medicaid patients everyone will scream to their congressman for more funding.
11.12.2007 5:23pm
CrazyTrain (mail):
But no -- this is billed as a no-sacrifice war. We can't raise taxes, and we can't do anything that might call attention to the sacrifices of our military personnel. Might be bad propaganda.

Exactly. And the country as a whole just doesn't have an appreciation for what our veterans have given up. Veteran's Day and Memorial Day are treated as holidays where we get a day off school and work (well, as to work, us lawyers generally don't). They should not be festive occasions. We should have a moment of silence on both days to commemorate the losses and sacrifices of our soldiers. This is not a partisan issue. Unfortunately, veterans who come home injured (especially those with real and devastating mental illnesses) are ignored, or in some cases derided as weak or even "fakers" by the pundit class. Indeed, just today, we saw the most popular righty blogger endorsing the view that memorials that point out the grave losses we have suffered are making us "wimpy." It's outrageous.
11.12.2007 5:40pm
KeithK (mail):
Bad link CT. Glemm's post is here . First off, when Glenn links a story without comment he isn't necessarily endorsing the view expressed at the link - he's stated this many times. Second, the point of the article was not that memorials are wimpy in and of themselves. The point was that modern memorials don't sufficiently honor what the honored fought and died for.
11.12.2007 6:34pm
veteran:
Actually I would appreciate seeing more Americans politically engaged, learning about the Constitution and the responsiblities that citizens have as members of this country. That would be a thanks we could all share.

I have political preferences but we who served did so that others could have theirs.

Lets not waste it.
11.12.2007 7:02pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Crazy.
When I was in, the 402 applied to, among other things, debts incurred before being drafted. The idea was that you'd done one thing with a plan in mind about the future and then Uncle changed your plans for you and changed the resources you had for accomplishing them. Stuff like keeping a roof over your family's head.
It did not apply to debts incurred afterwards, when you should have known better.
There are other aspects, as well.
We had some fun, once in a while, with local vets showing up to counsel with a debt collector until he got his mind right.
The difference here is that, everybody having volunteered, nobody's been coerced into changing his plans. The thrust of the law, looking after the folks inadvertently in a position of cash flow embarrassment through no fault of theirs, would seem not to apply.
If it does, I'm glad to hear it.
There were, probably still are, some real sharks out there.
11.12.2007 9:13pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Randy. If the VA were set up as an ATM with one end in the office of currency printing, you'd have a case.
But it was set up to help indigent vets with service-connected disabilities.
If you want to go the ATM route, change the law.
11.12.2007 9:15pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
I'm taking a wild guess that both the total compensation of military personnel and the budget of the VA have increased dramatically over the last 10 years.
11.12.2007 9:53pm
AnonLawStudent:
Richard,

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) (P.L. 108-189) was signed into law on 19 December 2003, updating and superseding the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act of 1940. While applicable to all active duty forces, the statute is most commonly used to protect activated reservists. To at least a certain degree, they fall into the category of "inadvertently in a position of cash flow embarrassment through no fault" of their own, i.e. a National Guard member generally isn't expected to structure his civilian life around the military pay scale. IIR, I've read about programs where law students volunteer at U.S. attorney's offices to help "inform" problem debt-collectors.

The Coast Guard has more information:
http://www.uscg.mil/legal/la/topics/sscra/sscra_guide.htm
11.12.2007 9:54pm
AnonLawStudent:
Also, re: the VA. When I was discharged (April 2005), the transition assistance folks strongly "encouraged" everyone to have the flight doc record every ache and pain during the discharge exam, so that VA coverage of "service-connected" injuries was maximized. I found the whole process to be a somewhat dishonest game.
11.12.2007 10:00pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
anon. Good news. Thanks.
Nice to see the debt collectors are still being monitored.

My father was offered a 20% disability due to hearing loss in the ETO. However, as they mentioned, there were thousands of guys with worse problems who would be processed first and he'd have to stay at Camp Miles Standish until his case was heard.
He got the message.

Since being discharged about a third of a century before you, I can tell you that any ache and pain can come back and bite you. I'm quite well known at the physical therapists' clinic. Some of it goes back, I'm sure. So don't feel bad just because youth and fortune are giving you a temporary reprieve.
11.12.2007 10:11pm