Soldiers > Back in the Day

Lorain County’s Opportunity to Change the Presidential Debate

by Delbert Spurlock



The most immoral, cynical and malignant use of the American soldier in history took place during the administration of George W. Bush. His wars have decimated the life chances of hundreds of thousands of American veterans and their families. President Obama has been somewhat better at responding to the immediate needs of our returning veterans, but his Administration's efforts have not been nearly enough to address the Nation's obligations to those veterans. Now, each presidential candidate, our political parties and our national media are in lockstep silence on the plight of our veterans and their families.

But, the communities and veterans organizations of Lorain County, at the center of the national public discussion in this election, have a unique capacity to challenge that ignorance. They can do so first by acknowledging our national obligation to our young volunteers but, more importantly, by challenging every Presidential candidate or surrogate who campaigns in Lorain County, to state his plan to restore our veterans to the potential they sacrificed on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. While our obligation to our veterans should transcend budgetary considerations, our political leadership seems no longer to have the capacity to quantify public policy in any way without resorting to dollars and cents. The dollars and cents questions of every candidate who steps on a podium in Lorain County during this election season should be: How Much are the restorative costs for our veterans; From Where in our broken national budgetary process will the required resources come?

The writer was Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, 1983-1988.