VETS

The Idaho Statesman (Sunday) - - OPIN­ION -

ties, peer-to-peer en­gage­ment, and group-cen­tric men­tal health pro­grams that uti­lize in­jured vet­er­ans’ great­est tool for over­com­ing bat­tle-born trauma: each other.

Of course, non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions like the Wounded War­rior Project have been of­fer­ing these life-af­firm­ing tools for well over a decade. But why should it be up to pri­vate char­i­ties to take care of those who bat­tled and bled for their coun­try?

In a po­lit­i­cal land­scape where we can’t seem to agree on any­thing, it’s likely that any­one - Demo­crat or Repub­li­ca­tion would be chal­lenged to find a sin­gle ser­vice pro­vided by char­i­ties like the Wounded War­rior Project that doesn’t de­serve the full fi­nan­cial back­ing of the U.S. gov­ern­ment.

We shouldn’t have to pull on the heart­strings, and purse strings, of strangers to care for wounded war vet­er­ans in the United States. Their care should be pro­vided, in full, by the Amer­i­can peo­ple.

The VA Mis­sion Act is a step in the right di­rec­tion, but we can - and should go fur­ther by ex­pand­ing the def­i­ni­tion of what car­ing for in­jured vet­er­ans means. Our wounded vet­er­ans de­serve not only ex­em­plary health­care, but all the tools they need to re-as­sim­i­late into civil­ian life de­spite miss­ing limbs or shat­tered psy­ches. And to pro­vide them what they are so ob­vi­ously owed, the wealth­i­est coun­try in the world should be re­ly­ing on fund­ing, not fundrais­ing.

Christo­pher Dale, of Lit­tle Falls, New Jersey, writes on so­ci­ety, pol­i­tics and other is­sues. This col­umn was writ­ten for the Pro­gres­sive Me­dia Project, which is run by The Pro­gres­sive mag­a­zine.

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