Respect for the Troops = Benefits Now

Bilmes & Stiglitz’s book The Three Trillion Dollar War explains in depth how aggressively the Administration has denied benefits to many returning veterans. It’s a natural consequence of going to war while cutting taxes–and given Jonathan Chait’s work, I’m not terribly surprised to see the Social Darwinist wing of the Administration trump the military on this issue. I’m happy to see that some are now starting to challenge these policies in court:

Berkeley-based Disability Rights Advocates filed a lawsuit that could affect thousands of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. They allege that the Department of Veterans Affairs is unable to provide timely mental health treatment for returning veterans.

Bipartisan resistance to courts’ evisceration of the ADA may also benefit a large number of veterans:

Advocates for people with disabilities say that recent court rulings have made the employment protections of the disability civil rights law almost meaningless, especially to people with diabetes, epilepsy, cancer, and mental illness. . . . Last year, a version of [the ADA Restoration Act] quickly got support from more than half of the House of Representatives. That forced the business community to negotiate. [Now the] bill’s backers hope to give President Bush something he can sign by the end of July.

As any viewer of Iraq: Alive Day Memories knows, many returning veterans will appreciate these developments.

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