We need to do better by our veterans

Keywords: Durango Herald,

Thank you for your heartbreaking article on the woman who enlisted in the Army National Guard to help support her young daughter, yet is still on food stamps. It puts a human face on the statistics of how we are failing to take care of veterans, whether from the National Guard or the active duty forces.

Nearly 400,000 veterans’ benefits claims are delayed in a long backlog at the VA, which is struggling to keep up. Homelessness among Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans has nearly tripled since 2011 – something the VA is also trying to combat.

But instead of increasing VA resources, Congress is cutting funding for veterans. For instance, Congress just cut veterans’ pensions to make up for a budget shortfall.

Yet spending on other programs continues like money grew on trees. The Pentagon’s Joint Strike Fighter is one of the worst examples: it’s 75 percent over budget, yet test pilots say it has blind spots that will get it shot down in combat.

We need to do better by our veterans.

Lieut. Col. Thomas C. Gurule

Santa Fe