If you watched last night’s debate, there was a lot of talk about war in places like Iraq and Syria, but very little about how to care for the men and women who serve after they return home.
Today is Veterans Day — a fact that went unmentioned during the Republican debate. And that’s important, because the truth is that while planes and tanks and guns are a cost of war, so too is taking care of the service members who use those weapons and fight our battles.
Last year, as chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I authored and passed the most comprehensive veterans’ legislation in decades, reaching across the aisle to team up with Sen. John McCain. Amid reports of unacceptable wait times and calls to dangerously privatize veterans health care, we actually authorized funding for 27 new medical facilities and hired more doctors and nurses to care for the surging number of veterans returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
After two wars over 14 years, never before have so few been asked to do so much for our country. I voted against the Iraq War, which I think will go down as one of the worst foreign policy blunders we have ever seen, but I have never wavered from my commitment to caring for the women and men who served, and continue to serve, in that conflict.
You may not have heard much about it from the Republican candidates last night, but how we care for our veterans is going to be a central issue this election. The Koch-connected Concerned Veterans for America is prepared to spend untold millions of dollars supporting the privatization of veterans’ health care. And almost every Republican candidate running for president supports their plan to place the profits of private corporations over the promise made to our veterans.
I believe we should take a different approach — that we should stand with the majority of veterans who believe we should continue strengthening the VA. Now I want to know that you’re with us.
Sign mypetition if I can count on you to help me continue fighting against theKoch-connected plans to privatize veterans’ health care.
This issue is very important to me and it’s why I am so happy to receive so many letters from veterans who appreciate my work on their behalf.
People like Hilary from Polk County, Iowa who wrote to our campaign saying, “Bernie Sanders is the only candidate with a track record of fighting for veterans and veterans' rights. I know as president he won't send my brothers and sisters in arms into needless wars and for those that have served our country, he will ensure that they have access to the benefits and health care they earned through their service.”
And Peter from San Diego, “Retired Navy. Like [Bernie’s] stand on taking care of veterans. If you can't afford to take care of veterans you can't afford to fight a war.”
And also Jack from Massachusetts, “I'm a disabled Marine combat veteran, Bernie has always supported veterans with deeds and not just hot air. I'd love to have a President like that.”
I will always fight for Hilary, Peter, and Jack. And if we all stand together, we can protect and strengthen the care we provide for everyone who has served our country.
The United States has spent trillions of dollars sending our young men and women to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. Surely we can come together to ensure the Department of Veterans Affairs has the resources needed to care for them when they return.