Hundreds of Iraq Vets Are Homeless

How sad is this? Sure, many will say that this young man has to make his way like the rest of us. Some will say he isn’t due ahelping hand or any preferential treatment. I say they are wrong! Patriotism and love of country begin with respecting those who protect the counrty you love. Step it up for as many as you like. But start here.

Hundreds of Iraq Vets Are Homeless – Newsweek The War in Iraq –

Feb. 24, 2007 – Kevin Felty came back from Iraq in 2003 with nowhere to stay, and not enough money to rent an apartment. He and his wife of four years moved in with his sister in Florida, but the couple quickly overstayed their welcome. Jobless and wrestling with what he later learned was posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Felty suddenly found himself scrambling to find a place for himself and his wife, who was six-months pregnant. They found their way to a shelter for homeless veterans, which supported his wife during her pregnancy and helped Felty get counseling and find a job. A year later, he’s finally thinking his future. “I don’t want to say this is exactly where I want to be—it’s really not,” he says. “But it’s what I can get at the moment.”

Young, alienated and often living on their own for the first time, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans increasingly are coming home to find that they don’t have one. Already, nearly 200,000 veterans—many from the Vietnam War—sleep on the streets every night, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. But young warriors just back from the Mideast—estimated around 500 to 1,000—are beginning to struggle with homelessness too. Drinking or using drugs to cope with PTSD, they can lose their job and the support of family and friends, and start a downward spiral to the streets. Their tough military mentality can make them less likely to seek help. Advocates say it can take five to eight years for a veteran to exhaust their financial resources and housing options, so they expect the number to rise exponentially in a few years. “Rather than wait for the tsunami, we should be doing something now,” says Cheryl Beversdorf, president of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.

The problem is mainly a lack of resources, advocates say. There are only about 15,000 beds available in VA-funded shelters or hospitals nationwide, and nearly every one is taken. In some smaller cities there simply aren’t many places for a homeless veteran to go. And as affordable housing units shrink nationwide, veterans living on a disability check of, say, $700 a month, (which means a 50-percent disability rating from the VA), are hard-pressed to find a place to live. Most shelters require veterans to participate in a rehabilitation program, but a “fair amount” of veterans just go back to the streets once they leave, says Ed Quill, director of external affairs at Volunteers of America, the nonprofit housing group for veterans that helped Felty.

 Two homeless vets share their stories in the dorm at New Directions in L.A.

Charles Ommanney / Getty Images for Newsweek

Two homeless vets share their stories in the dorm at New Directions in L.A.

The VA says it’s making a concerted effort to reach out to vets before they hit bottom, says Pete Dougherty, the VA’s coordinator for homeless programs. Intake counselors are trained to ask questions, especially of newer veterans, to seek out mental health or other problems that could lead to homelessness. “We’re much more sensitive than we were 40 years ago for signs of problems,” he says. And they have expanded some services. Last week, the VA approved $24 million to boost aid for the homeless, which will allow them to add about 1,000 more beds and increase the number of grants to help the growing population of homeless women veterans and those with mental illnesses.

Much of the work with new veterans is being done one soldier at a time. At New Directions in Los Angeles, a center that rehabilitates homeless veterans, Anthony Belcher, a formerly homeless Vietnam vet who now works at the center, looks out for one particular Iraq veteran who shows up at the center about once a month, filthy, drugged out and tortured by PTSD. “He’s a baby,” Belcher says. “You can see it in his eyes.” So far, the young vet is too wary to accept more than a night’s bed or a hot meal. But as Belcher says, at least he has a place to go. That’s more than many of the thousands of vets on America’s streets can say tonight.

Anna Nicole Smith- Death of a Junkie

I like to think that I’m a reasonable person. That I can be tolerant of others diversions. But after 12 straight hours of non-stop coverage, I can’t take the Anna Nicole drama any longer without throwing in my two cents. So here goes…

Anna Nicole Smith was a stripper. Her only claim to fame. She died unceremoniously, a junkie and a whore, in a casino hotel. Junkie whores with illigitame children die every day in America without comment. So Smith’s death, while tragic and sad, is not very newsworthy once you remove the fact that she was one a thousands who are simply famous for being famous.

Here’s what else happened yesterday…The US and North Korea moved closer to an agreement over Nuclear Power, The Palestinians agreed in principle to move toward a unity governmemt, Violence Erupted at Temple Mount as Muslims protested repair work near the Dome of the Rock. That’s just world politics.

What does it say about our populace that their voracious appetite for a peek into the lives of junkies, prostitutes, drunkards and morons is so strong that it can drive the media to provide this fare ad nausem in leiu of actual news?

A NOTE TO LIBERALS: Many of you like to claim that Islamic hatred of the west is seeded in the interventionist policies of the Republican Admistration. Here’s some food for thought. Perhaps Muslims, devoutly religious, are deeply offended by the debauchery routinely beamed to them by your friends in the media and Hollywood. Simply consider that their attitude toward us may, at least in part, not be based on what we do ‘over there’ but how we live ‘over here’.

NOTE TO CONSERVATIVES: Over the past few years, scores of you have called on ‘everyday’ Muslims to denounce the actions of a few as not representing their beliefs or lifestyle. Anytime someone attempts to defend Islam as not fully radicalized, the cry of “Then why don’t the moderates stand up for what THEY believe, are they cowards?” is resounded. Well, here’s the deal. The perception of the US is perpetuated throughout the world in the images of our lifestyle that the new electronic globalism promulgates. It is a false perception, IMO. So drop the the double standard and do what you challenge others to do. Stand up and declare “This lionization of the ammoral does not represent me.”

Say what you mean and mean what you say!

Air America Fire Sale

God I love free market economics. Let’s face it, if it’s lousy people won’t buy it. And listening to angry liberals whining is pretty damn lousy. Happy Valentine’s Day, Al, you insufferable hack. You’re a Sweetheart.

FEBRUARY 7–Bankrupt and about to lose Al Franken, its marquee star, Air America Radio is set to change hands for the bargain price of $4.25 million, according to new court documents. The sales figure was disclosed in a purchase agreement filed yesterday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York. According to the agreement, the deal between Air America’s owner, Piquant LLC, and a firm controlled by Stephen L. Green, a New York realtor, calls for Green’s firm to repay up to $3.25 million in loans provided to Air America after the liberal radio network filed for Chapter 11 protection last October (the company listed debts of $20.2 million). Green’s company will also give Piquant LLC $500,000 and pay off up to $500,000 in network debts (the bulk of which, $349,000, is owed to the network’s Manhattan landlord). Green’s bid topped by more than $1.25 million the nearest offer received by Air America, according to a motion filed along with the purchase agreement. An excerpt from that motion can be found below. Court documents do not specify how many bids were received for the network, though a filing notes that “more than ten interested parties” signed nondisclosure agreements and were allowed to review confidential network financial and corporate records. While Green controls the corporation purchasing Air America, two of the firms that were pre-bankruptcy investors in the radio network will “collectively own a minority interest” in the Green company. The Air America purchase is expected to be finalized at a court hearing in the next week. Franken, who is planning to run next year for a U.S. Senate seat from Minnesota, is scheduled to do his final Air America show on February 14.

Hating America- Lawrence Henry

My wife came back from a week’s business trip to Europe recently. Some of her new business associates, hearing where she was from, said, “Massachusetts? That’s a much more tolerant place than the rest of America, isn’t it?” “It is if you’re not a conservative,” Sally said. She reported that her listeners simply did not understand this.

As well, Sally said, some of her conversants complained that Americans were calling them bad names. “Cheese-eating surrender monkeys,” the phrase from The Simpsons, sent into political orbit by National Review‘s Jonah Goldberg, seemed to get particularly under their skins.

A FEW SUMMERS AGO, WE MET three German medical students, who visited friends of ours at a summer cottage on the north shore of Massachusetts. After-dinner conversation turned to cultural topics. I recounted an anecdote told me by a female Baptist minister, originally from Alabama, now living in Boston, who had met a black man on a bus. The black man, who was also from Alabama, was drawn to her by her accent, and complained that Boston was a racially chilly city, that he missed the easy ways blacks and whites got along down South.

This anecdote caused an absolute explosion of fury in our summer conversation. It could not be true. Alabama? Bull Conner, fire hoses, police dogs? No, no African-American could possibly express fondness for Alabama. One of the med students, Indian by background, but now thoroughly assimilated to Germany, began a tirade of condemnation of race relations in the United States, a condemnation more suited to the conditions of the Jim Crow 1950s than the-21st century. His impression of us was frozen in the images of brutal old black and white newsreels.

And there was not an American topic immune from his attacks. Somehow we eased back on the conversation by turning to sports. I stepped in it again by saying I wished there were some way I could watch cricket.

“Cricket!” our Indian visitor snorted in triumph. “Baseball is absolute baby talk next to cricket!”

THE GERMAN NEWSPAPER DIE ZEIT published a survey in 2003 indicating that 20 percent of all Germans, and 31 percent of Germans under 30, believed that the United States had perpetrated the 9/11 attacks. The Pew Global Attitudes Project reports that America’s “favorable” ratings have dropped steadily since the year 2000. European Ryder Cup golfer Paul Casey blithely said a few years back, “I hate Americans.” The statement got covered up and blanketed over in the reserved world of golf. But he said it, no doubt.

Certainly, Americans harbor some anti-European feelings. But there is a contrast between our rather bemused making-fun-of attitudes toward Europeans, and Europeans’ often vicious attitudes towards us. I don’t think they really hate us. What these feelings express is a kind of self-fear and self-hatred projected outward.

After World War I, Europe was lost. The great monarchic lights had been snuffed out, the map re-drawn, and an entire generation bled of a significant portion of its young men. Depression and inflation made for hard times. Then in Germany arose a triumphalist nationalist movement, and a man, Adolf Hitler. From the very bosom of the most civilized nation in Europe, the nation of Goethe and Schiller and Beethoven, burst a monster, like in the movie Alien. This monster consumed Europe from the heart and soul outward.

Europeans still feel the shame and horror of that monstrous bursting. And they are terribly afraid it may happen again. So they have turned against every aspect of the Nazi movement, throwing the cultural baby out with the rotten bathwater: Pride, patriotism, religious fervor, the confident projection of power.

Where in the world today do you find pride, patriotism, religious fervor, and the confident projection of power? In the United States. Ergo, America-hating. And those qualities, indeed, are the ones of ours they hate the most.

OTHER ELEMENTS FIGURE IN THE EQUATION. The long march through the institutions of leftist politics proceeds apace, faster in Europe than in the U.S. That has a lot to do with European attitudes, as the popular media reinforce negative images of America, as the academy teaches the same doctrines. Prosperity contributes to America-hating. Europeans, like Americans, are very comfortable, and resent anything that might impinge on that comfort.

The contrast of a Europhile good-time-Charlie Bill Clinton and the American Gothic grimness of George W. Bush kicked up the America-bashing indices. American policies are also to blame, if not in the ways that Europeans choose to see them. America used to have a deal with the world. We’d prop up all kinds of corrupt regimes as long as they did business with us and didn’t hurt us. Nine-eleven made that kind of deal impossible, and George W. Bush had to revoke it. He had to come up with a new foreign and defense policy, the first really new foreign policy in the United States since Dean Acheson created the Cold War.

The European establishment didn’t like that. They had had an easy ride along with America for a long time, and no political figure who declares that good times are over will find himself much liked.

But mostly, America-hating is an emotional reaction to shortcomings in the European soul itself. I hope it does not last. I hope Europeans come to their senses about the present crises in the world. I, for one, would welcome back our confident, quirky, European cousins of yore.

Lawrence Henry writes every week from North Andover, Massachusetts.