Letters to the Editor about Mitch McConnell and veterans, April 6

April 6, 2014 

If senator really wants to help, here is how

Why in the world would Sen. Mitch McConnell vote to block a veterans' benefits bill at a time when we are finally seeing the light at the end of a very long period of war?

The bill that would have provided medical, education and job-training benefits for veterans fell victim to disputes over spending priorities. McConnell led the Republican senators in voting against it.

With two large Army bases in Kentucky, thousands of National Guard and Reservists and countless retired veterans — many of whom supported McConnell in the past — isn't it about time he quit the petty bickering and used his leadership position to do what's right for our veterans? Or is it more important to continue giving tax breaks to billionaires and large corporations?

McConnell could use his political influence to look into expanding the TriCare system, which allows veterans to receive medical services in their hometowns. TriCare could reduce the time to begin receiving medical service when soldiers return from duty and without waiting for appointments at VA hospitals that are often far from home.

How about expanding the GI Bill so veterans, many of whom postponed higher education to serve, can complete courses? That will go a long way toward getting veterans back into the mainstream of civilian life, just as the GI Bill did for veterans from previous wars.

So how about really making a mark for our veterans instead of pushing them aside in an election year?

P. F. Johnson

Colonel (USAR, retired)

Lexington


Sen. Mitch McConnell is taking credit for helping workers at the Paducah gaseous diffusion plant diagnosed with cancer.

But in his first Senate term, in 1988, he voted against compensating World War II veterans suffering from radiation exposure who participated in nuclear tests or in occupying Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

McConnell has a terrible record on veteran's issues:

■ In 1991, he refused to cut funding for the space station and transfer $431 million to veterans programs.

■ In 1993, he voted against national service educational awards for veterans.

■ In 2004, he voted against reducing tax breaks for the wealthy to increase veteran's medical care.

■ In 2006, as service people returned from Iraq and Afghanistan, he voted against closing loopholes to increase funding for veterans medical services.

McConnell has opposed the interests of veterans such as myself. We should retire McConnell so he can't hurt us another six years.

Jan Culwell

Cadiz


The recent TV ads supporting Mitch McConnell should make most knowledgeable vets retch. You would think he was a champion of the military and not the Senate champion of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld policies that sent so many dedicated U.S. soldiers into harm's way in Iraq.

The Iraq War began with deception and Bush's crass efforts to privatize Iraq's resources sharply fueled the insurrection that cost our troops so dearly. His record would suggest that McConnell, rather than the champion of our troops, is more the champion of the private military contractors who ripped off American taxpayers with impunity in Iraq.

T. Kerby Neill

Lexington

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