Military Spouses for Change are attempting to do what no one before them has ever done, get a Bipartisian Presidential Debate about issues that pertain to military families and veterans. So we can seek answers to "our problems" that have become legendary over the past 50 years. Answers on how they will change the status quo and let DOD keep manipulating funding for base housing, dependent programs, barracks etc and how many of the issues families depend on are seem to be ignored by Congress and the administration.
We are electing a president who will probably spend the bulk of his or her first term managing military conflicts and performing extensive foreign policy damage control. In 2008, the next President will inherit at least two wars and the costs of those wars, internally as well as internationally, will continue to grow long after the last service member comes home.
Consequently, Military Spouses for Change is inviting the presidential candidates from both parties to Fort Hood, Texas (Killeen), on February 1st, to talk about foreign policy, our military, our veterans, our wounded warriors, and our military families.
Fort Hood is the largest military installation in the United States. There are almost 46,000 soldiers assigned to Fort Hood and more than 24,000 spouses. On any given day, at least a third of these soldiers are deployed to Iraq and every week at least two soldiers from Fort Hood (on average) are killed in Iraq. (I am 34 and I know more widows than my mother knows.)
This kind of event has never been done before and it needs to be done now. Not only because Americans on both side of the aisle need to be reminded (before Super Tuesday) that we are electing the next Commander-in-Chief, but also because our service members and their families deserve to be addressed and heard by the people who wish to be elected in that position.
We also think this country’s large veteran community should know which candidates truly value the military and veteran vote (if not for moral reasons, then for practical reasons). There are approximately 1.4 million active duty service members in America and 1.2 million in the National Guard/Reserves. If you include the spouses, that comes to a total of 4.1 million votes.
Meanwhile, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 1 in 8 adults were veterans (26.4 million) in 2003. If we assume that at least half of those adults were married, then we have approximately 39 million vet couples giving us a total of almost 43 million American adults who are currently serving in the military, have served in the military, or are married to someone serving or who had served. That is not an insignificant number.
As an organization and as military spouses, clearly U.S. foreign policy is important to us. But the American public has an interest in this as well, not only for fiscal reasons (e.g., we have spent 447 billion dollars on the war in Iraq alone), but for national security reasons.
Furthermore, what about the depletion of our states' National Guard and reserve units? How are we going to replenish those units so that individual states can respond to a natural disaster or, heaven forbid, another 9/11?
So far 1.5 million service members have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. What are the candidates’ positions on the possibility of reinstating the draft if, for example, we become engaged with Iran before he or she enters office?
Since September 11, 2001, the Department of Defense has reported more than 64,000 wounded and 4,000 killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. The Department of Veterans Affairs, however, has reported treating 250,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, including 95,000 for mental health conditions.
Meanwhile, an estimated 700,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are expected to seek care from the VA within the next ten years, at a projected cost of 7 to 9 BILLION dollars. A recent DoD taskforce assessing the mental health capabilities of the military announced: "The system of care for psychological health that has evolved over recent decades is insufficient to meet the needs of today's forces and their beneficiaries, and will not be sufficient to meet their needs in the future." (http://www.ha.osd.mil/dhb/mhtf/MHTF-Report-Final.pdf)
What do the candidates propose to do for our returning wounded warriors and their families? How do we effectively identify their mental, physical, social, and financial needs and how do we effectively meet those needs?
The suicide rate is the highest in almost 30 years and the propensity to serve is at a 20 year low. Consequently, the Army and Marine Corps are relying on reenlistment and recruiting bonuses that will cost nearly 2.5 billion dollars next year.
I support this idea 100% sounds like a great idea to me.....Sphere: Related Content