Sunday, March 05, 2006

Stop Talking Mark, Troops Need Action

I learned from Xoff on Friday that Congressman Mark Green was planning a photo opt crowing about his alleged "support for the troops." While this is fresh in Green's mind, I thought I'd recommend a new more meaningful cause for Green to take up. He should help make psychological help and counseling more available to our combat vets that need those services.

According to Paul Rieckoff of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America ,recent studies show that 1 in 5 troops show signs of psychological trauma and 1 in 3 seek out treatment within a year of service. Riekoff also states the following:

This study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, confirmed what the Troops who've been there have known for years: these modern wars are exacting a devastating psychological toll.

Compounding the problem is the VA health system's inability to handle the unprecedented demand for mental health services. Too many Veterans come home suffering the psychological wounds of these wars, only to be told they have to wait months before seeing a counselor at the VA hospitals.

Mark Green spends his time starting the "Victory in Iraq" Caucus and having photo ops, but where is his leadership in helping the troops when they come back and need treatment? If he has championed this cause, please someone direct me to the Congressional action that he has taken. Once again we can look to a previous Xoff post to learn about Green's "support" for the troops:
Green Opposed Expanding TRICARE to National Guard & Reserve Volunteers. Green voted against expanding access to the military’s TRICARE health insurance program to all reservist and National Guard members. The proposal would have expanded military health care to provide access to members of the Guard and Reserve and their families for a low fee. [HR 1815, Roll Call #221, 5/25/05.]

Green Opposed $150 Million Increase for Military Personnel. In 2005, Green voted against a budget proposal to increase funding for military health care by $100 million and transitional job training for military personnel by $50 million. [HR 1268, Roll Call #76, 3/16/05.]

Green Voted Against Additional Job Assistance to Veterans Returning from Overseas. Green opposed efforts to provide extra job training assistance to veterans who are returning from overseas. Four out of 10 members of the Guard and Reserve forces lose income when they leave their civilian jobs for active duty, and many are self-employed or run small businesses. This means they face the daunting task of reestablishing their businesses after their release from active duty. [HR 27, Roll Call #47, 3/2/05; 109th Congressional Record, pg. H915, 3/2/05;109th Congressional Record, pg. H2074, 4/14/05]

Green Refused To Consider $2.6 Billion Increase in VA Health Care Funding. Green repeatedly voted to block efforts to increase VA funding by about $2.5 billion. Republicans finally admitted that they had underfunded veterans’ health care by $3.7 billion over the next two years. [H.R.2528, #223,5/26/05; H CON RES 95, #82, 3/17/05; H.J.Res. 107, #478, 9/29/04; Washington Post 6/24/05; AP 6/28/05] [Earlier post, "Green voted for vets' health care -- after he voted against it." ]

While we are at it, where was Mark Green on making sure that our troops had body and vehicle armor? Where was the Congressional oversight? If we can't count on him with something so basic, can we trust that he will "support the troops" mental health needs? If he does not, then it will simply add to a growing list of evidence. Evidence that Mark Green is clearly pro-Iraq war but not neccesarily in the corner of those that must fight it.

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