New Op-Ed: Afghan, Iraqi Interpreters Rebuild Lives With Help of US Vets

Afghan, Iraqi Interpreters Left Behind by the US Government, Rebuild Lives With Help of US Vets

http://www.truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/afghan-iraqi-interpreters-left-behind-by-the-us-government-rebuild-lives-with-help-of-us-vets

EMILY YATES FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

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Imagine you’re being forced to flee your home. Not just your home, but your country, and not just for now, but forever.

Imagine you can only pack one carry-on sized bag, weighing no more than 50 pounds, from which you must rebuild your entire life. Everything else stays behind.

Imagine getting to your new, foreign home, only to discover that your funds are nowhere near enough to live on, your education and work skills don’t translate into a local job, and you’re immediately in debt to the government for the flight that brought you to safety. You have no health care, the culture you’re now immersed in is entirely unfamiliar to you and every day is a struggle to adjust to a life you never thought you’d be living.

Now imagine the reason you must do this is because the United States military … Read More

Op/Ed | Thanks for Your Service, but Don’t Tell the Kids About It (We Need Them to Enlist)

The question came over my right shoulder, from a well-dressed woman whose nametag proclaimed her to be a member of the Chamber of Commerce in Pittsburg, California. We were in the Pittsburg High School gymnasium, the location of an end-of-year career fair for graduating seniors. Two other veterans and I, along with a civilian friend, were tabling there with the Full Picture Coalition, a network of individuals dedicated to bringing students the truth about military recruitment, and we’d been conversing with students for nearly two hours before the woman interrupted us to demand, with eyes narrowed, what kind of negativity we might be spreading. Alex, one of the veterans in our group (and a former Army recruiter himself), smiled at her. …

[Read the full article at http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/36397-thanks-for-your-service-but-don-t-tell-the-kids-about-it-we-need-them-to-enlist]

Op/Ed | A Veteran’s Affair: How Dealing With The VA Is Like Dating A Douchebag

After nearly 15 continuous years of war, you’d think more Americans would be aware of the ordeal veterans go through to get the benefits promised to us by the military. Unfortunately, because only one percent (roughly) of Americans serve in the military at any given time, there’s a massive cognitive disconnect between veterans and, as we lovingly call the rest of the population, civilians. But there is hope for us yet to bridge the communication divide.

What is the Department of Veterans Affairs to a veteran? It’s a relationship – with the douchiest person we’ve ever dated. And who has dated a douchey person? *Peers out at sea of raised hands* So, maybe it’s time for us veterans to start referring to the VA in more relatable terms – let’s say, as that douchebag we’ve all gone out with. There are, after all, striking similarities. …

[Read the full article at: http://brokeassstuart.com/blog/2016/02/08/a-veterans-affair-how-dealing-with-the-va-is-like-dating-a-douchebag/]

Op/Ed | American Propagander: Six Ways Paul Rieckhoff’s “American Sniper” Column Deeply Bothers This US Veteran

When I first laid eyes on the guest column Paul Rieckhoff wrote about “American Sniper,” I thought I’d read the byline wrong. This has to have been written by the Department of Defense, I thought, before scrolling back up. When I saw that the founder and chief executive officer of America’s largest corporately-sponsored veterans’ organization did indeed pen this post, it concerned me on a deep level. How could a veteran of his stature speak this favorably about a movie that many of my fellow veterans found completely disgusting, even propaganda-like in nature? The only unifying factor I found was that Rieckhoff and the DoD both seem to share a propensity for cleverly exploiting veterans. Here are six ways in which Rieckhoff, like the DoD, supports the oversimplification of the Iraq War and its effects on veterans and Iraqis. …

[Read the full article at http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/28698-american-propagander-six-ways-paul-reickhoff-s-american-sniper-column-deeply-bothers-this-american-veteran]

Op/Ed | Who Am I, Really?: The Identity Crisis of the Woman Veteran Returning Home

I just read Raul Felix’s article about the division of Generation Y (which is drawn, the author asserts, between those who are Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, and those who aren’t), and although I thought Felix made some extremely salient points, I am of the opinion that another, more specific division needs to be made. I’m referring to the particularly awkward division between women veterans and women who have never been in the military – the division that leads to women like me getting out of the Army and finding it nearly impossible to relate to 99% of other American women. You might think that’s an exaggeration, but when one considers that only 1% of Americans serve in the U.S. military at any given time, and that an even smaller percentage of us are women, it seems fairly accurate. …

[Read the full article at http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/19823-who-am-i-really-the-identity-crisis-of-the-woman-veteran-returning-home]