Election 2012: Military (war) veterans slanting towards Obama
Casualty Statistics Are Personal
In a squat building on a rutted street in West Columbia, three dozen former soldiers gathered around hot dogs and sodas for the Disabled Veterans of America’s monthly meeting. Colorful military banners festooned the walls. The talk was somber.
Could someone volunteer to help care for “a fellow living in a dilapidated roach-infested trailer?” asked Chapter Commander John Ashmore. Could people contribute funds to an ex-Marine whose hospital bills were “overwhelming”?
Ashmore thanked everyone for distributing canned goods to the needy. And he had some news: “Veterans healthcare will be exempt from federal budget cuts,” he said. “President Obama has signed a 3.6 percent cost of living increase to your benefits.”
“I’ve already got it spent,” shouted one of the group.
At the back, John Rush, 44, sat with a brace on an injured leg. He suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after two tours in Iraq. “The explosions, the bombs going off. You’re scared, you’re mad. The stress wears you out.”
Rush got out of the Army in 2008, but it took three years for the government to approve his paperwork for psychiatric treatment. He is unemployed, and much of the time he says he feels “confused.”