Vets suffer unemployment, foreclosures, homelessness and disabilities

Matt McColl, combat-wounded Iraq war veteran who experienced homelessness after being discharged for his wounds.

In 2010, over 20 percent of young Iraq and Afghanistan U.S. war veterans were unemployed, while over 75,000 were homeless. In addition, the Department of Veterans Affairs reported a spike in suicides last year of vets between the ages of 18 and 29. This is because of multiple deployments, time away from families, the brutality we witness inflicted on the occupied peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan and the complete neglect of our mental health when we return.

When we come back from fighting for a lie that only benefits Wall Street and the banks, we enter a different kind of war. After deploying and dodging bullets, IEDs and indirect fire, we find ourselves dodging unemployment lines, foreclosures and a dysfunctional Veterans Affairs system where it takes endless amounts of time to access the care that we have earned.

The same banks that profit off the wars, that profit off our deaths, wounds, suffering and time away from our families, target us when we return home. USA Today reported Feb. 4 that more than 20,000 veterans, active-duty troops and reservists who took out “special” government-backed mortgages had their homes taken away last year—the highest number since 2003.

We can clearly see in the wake of the destruction wreaked upon the people of Iraq and Afghanistan the effects that these wars and occupations are having on us at home. We can clearly see that this government does not care about its own vets. So why are we still in a love affair with the idea that it ever cared about liberating the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan?

Just imagine the price we pay for the wars—$700 million a day—being pumped back into programs to fund real human needs, not the profit drive of big banks, weapons contractors and oil giants.


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