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Bailey: We love the troops too much, fund them too little

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by the Collegian or its editorial board. 

Everyone respects the troops because everyone has to.

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It has come to the point that now there is a powerful outrage at even the perception of people disrespecting the troops. This reactionary stance limits how much anyone can question the American military. More and more, the idea of supporting the troops has been connected to the idea of supporting the American military and all its actions.

So, how can we disagree with the military’s actions without “disrespecting” the troops?

We need to separate ourselves from the idea that all soldiers are unquestionable heroes and focus on the actualities of taking care of those who sacrifice for us.

People are people at the end of the day, and none of us are perfect. Combat is about as high pressure as a situation can get — being in the military is no cakewalk.

I’m not saying any of the war effort should be blamed on soldiers — after all, they were doing what they were trained to do. They follow their orders and trust their officers, as they should.

While they do a service for us — a service that can not be overstated — they are not flawless, nor should they be put on this unquestionable pedestal. The way we should be thanking them for their service instead is by funding the programs they need to succeed back here in the homeland.

One thing the Donald Trump administration has been fairly good at is funding the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA builds programs to help soldiers move back into civilian life in many ways. One of those ways is by approving programs like Colorado State University’s Global program, which connects veterans with the school and makes it much easier for veterans to go here.

Our soldiers are being put on a golden pedestal and are used as justification for the argument that people who don’t like the war are unpatriotic — yet they aren’t being funded properly or correctly.

Under the Trump administration, the VA’s funding has gone up every year, and this year’s increase of 9.5% would be one of the biggest single-year increases over the last 20 years.

This isn’t the answer to all veterans’ prayers — with this increase has come cuts to other programs they use.

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According to the House Committee on the Budget, Trump’s big cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, the Affordable Care Act, food stamps and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families is leaving millions of veterans in far worse situations. The House Committee on the Budget also states that 7% of the veteran population lives below the poverty line. These programs that Trump is cutting are the ones that help those veterans survive.  

So, while the VA is getting much better funding, it’s also turning into one of the only ways for veterans to find medical care, which will lead to extremely long wait times for procedures and an immense backup of the VA’s systems.

Our soldiers are being put on a golden pedestal and are used as justification for the argument that people who don’t like the war are unpatriotic — yet they aren’t being funded properly or correctly. It’s time that we flip the narrative and treat our soldiers like the humans they are and give them the resources they deserve.

Fynn Bailey can be reached at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @FynnBailey.

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