Braley, D-Iowa, said on a conference call with reporters Wednesday the wars are having an “enormous impact” on the national deficit but aren’t fully understood by the public and Congress.
The above is the opening to Ed Tibbetts' "True costs of Iraq, Afghanistan wars aren't being told" (Globe Gazette) and Iowa's The State quotes Braley stating, "In the last 10 years, Congress has appropriated over a trillion dollars for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But what we don’t account for in that figure is the more than 5,800 U.S. Service members who’ve been killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. Or the more than 40,000 who’ve been wounded and who will spend the rest of their lives treating injuries like PTSD, traumatic brain injury, severe burns and amputated limbs. These are not just costs that our troops and their families bear -- these are also significant costs for the Veterans Affairs department and all American taxpayers. As a nation, we have a right to know what these conflicts will actually cost us." US House Rep Bruce Braley's office released the following yesterday:
Braley Fights to Expose True Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan Wars
Introduces bi-partisan bill to require reporting on true cost of wars
Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) introduced a bill that would require a full accounting of the human and financial costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Earlier this week, Rep. Braley returned from a Congressional fact-finding mission in Afghanistan where he met with General David Petraeus and discussed the cost of the Afghanistan war with him. Rep. Braley also met with several top commanders on the ground and numerous Iowa National Guard troops – 3,500 of which are currently stationed in Afghanistan.
“These wars are incredibly personal for me and the people of my district,” said Rep. Braley. “I’ve met with dozens of my constituents – young men and women and their families – who have sacrificed a great deal in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And when I meet injured soldiers and I see the hardships – physical and financial – that they and their families will endure for the rest of their lives it becomes crystal clear that the true cost of the war is not being accurately reported. With this bill, we can change that.”
The bipartisan True Cost of War Act, co-sponsored by Republican Congressman Walter Jones (NC-03), requires the President to work with the Secretaries of Defense, State and Veterans Affairs to submit a written report to Congress on the long-term human and financial costs of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan through 2020.
“In the last 10 years, Congress has appropriated over a trillion dollars for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Rep. Braley. “But what we don’t account for in that figure is the more than 5,800 U.S. Service members who’ve been killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. Or the more than 40,000 who’ve been wounded and who will spend the rest of their lives treating injuries like PTSD, traumatic brain injury, severe burns and amputated limbs. These are not just costs that our troops and their families bear – these are also significant costs for the Veterans Affairs department and all American taxpayers. As a nation, we have a right to know what these conflicts will actually cost us.”
Rep. Braley has been fighting for a true accounting of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars since he came to Congress. He has introduced and passed similar language in several amendments to past House bills.
Billie Jean Grinder and Marcus R. Alford Sr. are two who paid the cost February 21, 2010. Hugh G. Willett (Knoxville News Sentinel) reports their loved ones have filed a suit as a result of the helicopter crash that claimed the lives of Grinder and Alford, "At the time of the crash, the Department of Defense said Grinder and Alford were trying to land their helicopter near Qayyarah Airfield West, about 30 miles south of Mosul, were not under fire and no enemy forces were nearby. Named as defendants in the suit, filed Feb. 18, are Bell Helicopter Textron, Rolls-Royce North America, Goodrich Pump and Engine Control Systems, Unison Industries and Honeywell International. According to the suit, the Kiowa's FADEC system failed on a Feb. 21, 2010, mission in Iraq, resulting in the crash that killed Alford and Grinder." In other news of costs, the VA is attempting to short veterans and their caregivers and leadership from the Senate and House Veterans Affairs Committee are calling on US President Barack Obama to prevent this from happening. The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee released the following yesterday:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Murray Press Office – (202) 224-2834
March, 9th 2011 Jon Clark (Miller) – (202) 225 – 3527
Chandler Smith (Burr) – (202) 224-2074
Meredith McFadden (Filner) - (202) 225-8045
Bipartisan Congressional Veterans Leaders Urge President to Block VA’s Plan to Limit Support for Caregivers of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans
Leaders of the Senate and House Veterans’ Affairs Committees call on President Obama to stop the VA from severely limiting a benefit for those who are forced to leave careers, health care behind to care for their loved ones
(Washington, D.C.) – Leaders of the Senate and House Veterans’ Affairs Committee sent a bi-partisan, bi-cameral letter to President Barack Obama yesterday calling on him to ensure that eligibility for a law Congress passed to support veterans caregivers is not limited and that the law is implemented in a timely manner. In the letter, the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Congressional Committees that oversee the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) expressed their frustration over VA and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) delays in moving forward with caregivers support, and with additional criteria that will severely limit the ability for some family caregivers to access the benefit. Specifically, the Congressional leaders asked the President to direct OMB to “ensure that the regulations or other elements of the program’s implementation comply with the specific eligibility criteria that are set out in the law.”
“It’s simply unacceptable that the VA would limit a program Congress designed to support family members of veterans who have left behind careers, lives, and responsibilities to see that their loved one can recover at home,” said Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Patty Murray. “We are calling on the President to make sure that the will of Congress and the needs of these veterans are not being ignored. Caring for our veterans is part of the cost of war. This program is part of the cost of war.”
“When he signed the Caregiver Law, President Obama stood with wounded veterans and caregivers in promising that they’d be getting the help they needed,” said House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller. “We’re now calling on him to fulfill that pledge and direct his administration to hear the will of Congress, veterans, and caregivers to get this program right.”
“This legislation was originally designed to provide a path forward for caregivers who are already sacrificing their own aspirations in order to make the lives of severely wounded veterans easier to bear,” said Senator Richard Burr, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “I urge the President to work with VA to get this bill right so that caregivers in dire need of assistance can receive the benefits promised to them,”
“VA’s continued delay in the implementation of such a vital program is inexcusable. Many of these caregivers have wiped out their savings, have had to forego their own health care coverage and have given up their careers in order to care for their loved one,” said Rep. Bob Filner Ranking Member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “Last year, Congress saw fit to extend critical benefits to the Caregivers of our nation’s veterans and we will not stand idly by as VA prolongs the process. Too much time has passed already.”
The full text of the letter follows:
March 8, 2011
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
We are writing regarding the family caregivers assistance program established in Public Law 111-163, the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010, which you signed into law on May 5, 2010. To date, implementation of this program is significantly behind the schedule mandated in law. The statutory deadline for the full implementation of this program was January 30, 2011. Our concerns were raised with you about this previously, and after conversations with members of your senior staff, we understand that you are directing your Administration to get this program back on track such that services should commence early this summer.
We ask that you direct the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Office of Management and Budget to implement the necessary interim-final regulations for this program within 60 days of the date of this letter. We also ask that you direct OMB to ensure that the regulations and other elements of the program’s implementation comply with the specific eligibility criteria that are set out in the law. VA’s reluctance to work with Congress and veterans advocates has led to a situation where caregivers remain unclear if they will receive the support Congress intended for them.
Further delay of this program hurts veterans and caregivers in need of these critical benefits and services. Further, limiting eligibility to arbitrary and stringent criteria, contrary to the intent of the law, creates undue hardship for veterans and family caregivers meant to be helped by the new program. Instruction and training in the provision of care, respite, technical assistance, counseling, and a living stipend for those who are forced to leave their jobs or work fewer hours to provide care to their loved ones are all being withheld as some in VA attempt to stymie this program. VA and OMB need your leadership to implement this program.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chairman, Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee
Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL 1st), Chairman, House Veterans’ Affairs Committee
Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), Ranking Member, Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee
Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA 51st), Ranking Member, House Veterans’ Affairs Committee
Meanwhile Gary Daily (Terre Haute Tribune Star) uses his column to cover the wars in Iraq and Afghanistant. We'll note the opening:
It's the same old, same old when I read the newspaper. Republicans believe (or pretend to believe) that the 7 percent of union members in America’s workforce caused the Bush Depression. Charlie Sheen again demonstrates which part of “Two and Half Men” he is. And college sports scandals continue to blossom and smell stronger than the sweat in a crowded locker room or the money in a big booster’s off-shore bank account.
Not getting as much attention is the same old news on America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I guess the expiration date on interest in these costly wars (trillions and counting) and deadly (thousands and counting) has run out.
The following community sites -- plus Antiwar.com -- updated last night and this morning:
Okay, David Bacon's latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) which won the CLR James Award. Bacon noted Women's International Day and we included that yesterday but I couldn't find a link. If you click here, you'll be at Political Affairs and can see the photos accompanying his essay.
The California Domestic Worker Bill of Rights would provide domestic workers with:
* Equal overtime pay.
* Equal right to a safe and healthy workplace.
* Equal right to worker's compensation.
* Equal right to reporting time pay.
* Equal right to notice before termination.
* Right to 5 hours uninterrupted sleep under adequate conditions.
* Right to cook one's own food.
* Right to annual cost of living wage increase.
* Right to paid vacations.
* Right to paid sick days.
The e-mail address for this site is email@example.com.
the globe gazette
hugh g. willett
the knoxville news service