Two important groups representing American war veterans charge the Bush administration is betraying the rights of those who have served in the armed forces and been wounded. The Disabled American Veterans and the Afghanistan Veterans of America sent letters to every member of Congress saying, “we need your immediate assistance to help end the deliberate, systemic betrayal of every brave American” who has fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. At issue is the definition of what constitutes “combat related” injuries. Kerry Baker of the Disabled American Veterans insists there are cases in which a veteran received $30,000 severance pay and used it for medical care and education only to be compelled to repay the money, even though he may have been awarded a 100% disability rating. The veteran groups claim the Pentagon is taking a narrow interpretation of the law and only classifying disability if the person was in a combat zone.
A soldier who is injured during training for combat does not fit the Pentagon definition of what constitutes being injured in the service of their nation. Baker cites the case of a female soldier who dove for cover into a pile of rocks during a mortar attack and was informed the injury was not combat related. A diagnosis of PSTD is now not classified as combat related. It is time for Americans to share the fury of those who served their nation and are now being denied medical treatment.