Support our troops with more than ribbon on car

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Midland Daily News, Thursday March 17, 2005

 

It is very popular to sport a "Support Our Troops" ribbon on our cars. Some cars even have more than one ribbon. While that's laudable, how about supporting our troops in  more meaningful ways?

 

On a personal level

You can give a donation to a new Military Family Relief Fund merely by indicating so on your Michigan tax return. There is a local effort in Bay City to send all kinds of personal items to our troops. These range from toiletries to snacks to phone calling cards. Contact Sgt. Paul Burleigh at (989) 667-0648 for more information. Cash donations also are needed for postage. Make checks out to 182nd Family Support Group.

 

There is a military website created just for the purpose of supporting our troops. Go to http://www.americasupportsyou.mil/  Write letters to those in the military.

 

Urge the President to begin the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq.  Write letters to the local media and our government leaders demanding that the troops be brought home now.  Visit http://www.congress.org for Congressional contacts and media directory. Do not demean the intelligence and patriotism of those who object to this war - dissent is part of living and making democracy work!

 

At the government level

The government needs to support our troops by giving them the best equipment and materiel so they can wage a war effectively. It's questionable whether our government did that. When it becomes clear that the war was ill-conceived and ill-advised, it's time to plan an exit strategy, so no more lives are needlessly wasted or damaged.

 

Another way to support our troops is to give them financial benefits that show that we as a country appreciate the sacrifices they are making. According to Rush Limbaugh, a surviving family member of an American soldier killed in action gets a direct death benefit check for $6,000, half of which is taxable and $1,750 for burial costs. A surviving spouse gets $833 a month until remarriage and a payment of $211 per month for each child under 18. When the child hits 18, those payments come to a halt. This is an insult to our valiant men and women and their survivors.

 

We must provide substantial benefits to the families of those who die in combat or as a result of combat. This means increasing the death payout from the paltry amounts now paid. I support and applaud the President for recommending the death benefit be increased to $100,000, retroactive to October 7, 2001. He also recommends the amount of life insurance available to military personnel be increased from $150,000 to $400,000 and that the US would pay the premium on the extra $250,000 for those in combat.

 

Those who are disabled should receive lifetime benefits as well as their immediate families, especially those who have been called up from the Reserves and the inactive. Make sure they have adequate health care, including psychiatric care for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 6,400 have already been treated for PTSD and some estimate as many as 15% of those who served in Iraq will need some care for PTSD.

 

Supplement the income they receive in the military to a level they were making in civilian jobs, so their families don't suffer while their husbands or wives are away fighting a war.

 

Raise our troop strength so that our military personnel don't have multiple deployments. It is very demoralizing to tell them they have a one time tour of duty in Iraq and then send them back again and again.

 

Don't send our troops off to an ill-conceived and ill-planned war. Don't continue fighting such a war without an exit strategy.

 

Raise taxes to pay for this war instead of reducing taxes and passing on exorbitant debt to our children and grandchildren. Include the war in the budget instead of trying to hide it. Don't use the social security taxes to pay for this war.

 

I have opposed the war long before it started, but that doesn't mean I oppose our troops. I don't want a repeat of the treatment soldiers received at the end of the Vietnam War. How about supporting our troops with more than a ribbon on our car?
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