The Washington Post

Veterans Day

Veterans Day is an inexcusably ignored holiday. It gets less attention than does Halloween. It is infrequently observed in schools and businesses. It is dwarfed by attention showered on holidays celebrating individuals (Washington, Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr.). In a country in which the military is consistently rated as the most respected institution, this is shameful.

The left tends to make Veterans Day (and any speech about veterans) about old and injured vets, a sort of infomercial for the Department of Veterans Affairs. The right doesn’t spend enough time on the sacrifices of fighting men and women or on the burdens imposed on their families.

In the election, Mitt Romney was right about the shabby state of the VA. This, however, is not merely President Obama’s fault. The system — creaky and bureaucratic — has bedeviled administrations of both parties. Imagine Medicaid with double the bureaucracy and half the quality.

Yet rather than attend to that task or revisit the equipment our military requires to carry out the missions we have assigned, we stand at the brink of what Obama’s defense secretary has himself described as “devastating” defense cuts — cuts that will lay off thousands of servicemen and women into a weak job market, cut production lines for equipment and make critical modernization in our Navy and Air Force impossible. This is what too-invisible fighting men and women get from a country that owes its freedom and prosperity to them.

The president and the Congress owe our vets just a smidgen of the security and peace of mind they provide to us. A political class that would use our military men and women to extract political gain is not worthy of our respect.

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.


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