Veterans for Common Sense

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Deeds not Words    Support Our Troops and Veterans Campaign    from Veterans for Common Sense    “As veterans, we can tell you what it means to receive letters from concerned Americans when you are far from home and uncertain about ...
Deeds not Words

Support Our Troops and Veterans Campaign

from Veterans for Common Sense

“As veterans, we can tell you what it means to receive letters from concerned Americans when you are far from home and uncertain about what tomorrow will bring. Regardless of the fact that many of us supported continued weapons inspections and question the need to go to war with Iraq, we are all in this together and we want our service members to come home safe.” - “Support the Troops” Statement, Veterans for Common Sense

On Thursday, Veterans for Common Sense (VCS) launched a campaign to provide direct support for our service members and veterans who have been asked to sacrifice so much for our country. Only an administration led by civilians who have never themselves served in the armed forces could continue to demonstrate such lack of concern for the welfare of the very people they call on to fight their wars.

Early this morning, the House of Representatives voted on a fiscal 2004 budget that cuts funding for veterans health care and benefit programs by nearly $25 billion over the next ten years. Narrowly passing by a vote of 215 to 212, the budget accommodates the president’s $726 billion tax.

Coming only a day after Congress passed a resolution to “Support Our Troops”, Veterans for Common Sense views this action as anything but. The $25 billion cut passed by the House of Representatives will slash healthcare and benefits for disabled veterans and beneficiaries, and significantly reduce VA’s ability to care for casualties resulting from the current U.S.-led military conflict in Iraq. It also cuts $204 million from Impact Aid, a program that supports the education of service members' children.

To make matters worse, the Bush Administration has ordered VA medical centers to stop publicizing available benefits to veterans seeking care. And as of January 2003, the Bush administration ceased enrolling some eligible veterans for healthcare benefits.

In stark contrast to the words of “support” from the Congress and the Bush administration, Veterans for Common Sense calls for specific actions of support - Deeds not Words. We encourage veterans and true supporters of our troops support this important campaign which will include:

Intensified public and government advocacy in coordination with leading veterans organizations, including the National Gulf War Resource Center and the Disabled American Veterans, to support a fully-funded budget for veterans healthcare and “force health protection” to safeguard our troops.
VCS is committed to ensure the safe return of our troops and to protect their future and the healthcare needs of all of our veterans by stopping the budget cuts.
Direct contact to deployed service members with messages of support, peace and hope. VCS is doing so by highlighting opportunities, such as Operation Dear Abby, to send letters and care packages to deployed service members.
Continued education and public awareness of the role combat veterans must play in the national debate regarding the judicious use of military force.
Veterans for Common Sense is a proud member of the Win Without War Coalition. Veterans have always led the way in supporting troops at war and we do so now although we continue to question the decision that has put our fellow soldiers into harm's way. Despite the repeated cries for Common Sense, the Bush administration has launched its war and in response we are focusing our immediate efforts on safeguarding veterans healthcare and supporting the needs of our men and women in the Gulf. We continue to work towards a foreign policy that respects the sacrifices made by the women and men who volunteer to serve their country and place their ultimate trust in their leaders.

VCS u 504 Eleventh St. SE, Washington, DC 20003 u 703-668-0353 u http://www.VeteransForCommonSense.org