Bets on Vets

Whilst in the work break room, post-discussion about the VA “re-evaluating” the benefits of someone’s husband who’d been blown up several times in Iraq, I couldn’t help but wonder how many more benefits will soon be taken away or reduced. Remember those driver’s license things they offered us? The ones that say some shit like “Veteran” or whatever on it. Around the time they completely did away with Federal Tuition Assistance for school?

People were so excited about being able to have “Veteran” on a driver’s license, but it only made me angry. It took balls really, and I think it still does. To consistently offer very public, overly visible incentives to veterans while congress walks in circles, repeatedly stomping out useful or necessary incentives. It’s truly masterful subterfuge that has the nation’s conscience soothed into thinking that we care at least a little about veterans. While some of us grift through the streets all year. While some of us linger awake at night in supreme loathing of everything that we cannot identify. While some of us die waiting on appointments at the VA. While some of us, incapable of forming relationships outside of each other or dogs are tricked into thinking that “veteran” on our driver’s license is appropriate compensation.

I remember when I sent in my paperwork for REAP (reserve educational assistance program), which I was to use for at least my first year of graduate study. I’d known plenty of people to use it before and factored it into my budget for the coming term. A few days before school started however, I received a notice that I would get no such benefit, because like most veterans benefits, congress or the president (it’s immaterial at this point) decided to terminate it. Just like that, end it.

Funny how things like that tend to end. Unlike… I don’t know, these damn wars.

Funny how funding, even for advancing ones career within the military is perpetually unavailable. Even for required courses which could make a soldier more of an “asset.”

This is the same country, where in 2013 we needed 436 million dollars to upgrade 70-ton Abram tanks. An amount that I can only assume included turtle waxes and mounts to display them properly, since that’s about the only thing they’d be good for. Because of course, “the one area where we are supposed to spend taxpayer money is in defense of the country,” said some old white man who likes tanks and stuff.

Since we spent 400 billion dollars on those F-35s that have yet to be used in combat, would such a grand endorsement of the humans we use really be too much?


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