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No homes or jobs for US vets

Published time: November 05, 2011 00:53
Edited time: November 05, 2011 04:53

John Moore / Getty Images / AFP

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America’s veterans are returning home from wars to staggering unemployment and homelessness rates. RT reports on what life post-war is like for thousands of US servicemen.

­Their job is to defend their country’s interests, but once that job wraps up, their country has no interest in them any longer. Tens of thousands of American war veterans are simply being discarded.

“They are coming home to a disproportionate rate of homelessness, of foreclosures and evictions. In 2010 a whopping 75,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in the United States were homeless; were sleeping on the streets,” said Iraq war veteran Michael Prysner to RT.

War veterans include 55-year-old Joe Mangione. After 16 years of military duty, he is homeless on the streets of New York with health problems he can’t afford to take care of and no job. 

“Just to sit here like this, it’s not easy. It’s degrading! It’s just demoralizing. I had no resources. I can’t collect unemployment because I was hurt and was working cash. And that unemployment runs out anyhow,” said the veteran.

Mangionesays all the US military machine cares about is money, while the people who risked life and limb are disposed of once they’ve served the purposes of politicians.

“It’s a bunch of deceptions. It’s about numbers. As long as they keep the numbers up, the recruiter gets his money; he gets his promotions; his bonuses. They care for themselves. They don’t care about us. They care about their own bank notes,” said Mangione. 

The US is winding down its operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the damage to the people who fought in those wars remains.

“We have a VA system that is unable to provide us with the services that we need, the services that we are entitled to as a result of us signing a contract and putting our lives on the line for our country,” said war veteran Eli Wright.

Unemployment rates among war veterans are staggering.

“They are coming home to an unemployment rate of about 30 percent for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. This is triple the national average,” said Michael Prysner.

Joining the military used to be considered a great career step that led to a life of honor; these days this couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Joining the U.S. military is probably one of the stupidest retirement or career moves you can make as a human being,” said Ted Rall.

The editorial columnist and author believes military service is one of the biggest hoaxes in American history.

“They’re defending the borders, they’re expanding the empire – we owe them. They’ve lost their minds, and they lost limbs, they’ve lost their time and they took risks, they deserve it. Somehow, generation after generation, America keeps screwing its vets,” said Rall.

There are said to be 18 suicide attempts a day among veterans in America, hundreds each month – handling the realities of being forgotten at home is tough.

“When you come home, you’re foreclosed on, your job is gone, and then they want you to go to shelters. And shelters pretty much housing criminals, drug addicts, and a lot of us can’t tolerate that lifestyle,” said homeless U.S. army veteran Joe Mangione.

The hardest truth is that many believe forgotten vets back at home is a permanent stain on America’s image.

“This reality is set to continue indefinitely, with no end in sight. Despite the Iraq war supposedly ending, of course that’s yet to be seen, reality for soldiers with these constant deployments, to wars we don’t want to fight, that is not going to change,” said Michael Prysner.

After nearly nine years of war in Iraq, the US Government plans to bring American soldiers back home by the winter holidays. But with joblessness, homelessness and official neglect an undeniable reality for many of America’s veterans – after the cruelty of war, thousands more may be faced with the cruelty of life after it.

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