We recently launched our series on the 21st Century Warrior Veteran Health Service, and have gotten good exposure and commentary. Today we’ll touch on a couple of aspects of the next installment.
The nature of military service has changed significantly since the VA laws were developed in the 1950s. Many of these laws, and importantly their many amendments and regulations changes, fail to account for these changed conditions and changed assumptions about veteran casualty care. In the 1950s, the nation envisioned infrequent declared wars, with significant gaps of armed peace in between; the start and end of wars bound by the declaration of the U.S. Congress, as provided for in the U.S. Constitution. Then everyone would go home to resume their civilian lives, with the unfortunate minority who’d been legitimately injured or become ill in battle, being cared for by the VA health system.
Today, we are almost in a permanent state of war, declared not by the U.S. Congress, in accordance with the US Constitution, but by the Executive Branch, under the Presidential War Powers Act. Therefore, the 21st-century veteran scenario is much closer to that envisioned by Robert Heinlein in his classic sci-fi novel, Starship Trooper. Until that is changed, the virtual permanent state of war is going to produce a continuous stream of veterans needing extensive and complex long-term treatment and care.
Indeed, the assured multiple exposures to combat over a career increase the odds of disabilities among the all-volunteer military. Today’s military battlefield medicine produces survivors, requiring a lengthy and complex recovery and care scenario.
The trauma of war is, therefore, concentrated in the point-six percent of the U.S. population that pledge their military oaths to defend, day-to-day, the other 99.6 percent of the U.S. populace. (Note: That figure does not account for the millions of illegals living cost-free under our defense umbrella while milking American largess.)
The new 21st Century Warrior Veteran Health Service (VHS) legislation must account for the new world under which American instruments of national power are sustained, with the military being a key element in that requisite power equation of Diplomacy, Information, Military and Economy. We are building a case here that the standard U.S. Government cookie-cutter approach, wrought of mediocrity in the way of doing business, is not—and should not be—the same for this point-six percent, who lay it on the line…and without whom Hollywood and Seattle moms would see their sons, and likely their daughters, dragooned into this permanent state of war, that we now call normal.
The new way of American warfighting demands a new approach to caring for its veterans.