Are Today’s Vets Better Off?

  • Share
  • Read Later
Getty Images

On the 10th anniversary of the Iraq invasion, it’s time for some perspective on the path we have traveled. We went into Iraq looking for weapons of mass destruction, then to avenge September 11, then to build a foothold of freedom in the Arab world, none of which seemed to materialize. Our military, though the strongest force on earth, was challenged in ways we never thought possible. The front lines disintegrated into an asymmetric war. We realized the shortcomings of “shock and awe” and began pursuing “hearts and minds” instead. But for all the comparisons to the generation at war in Vietnam, today’s veterans have a lot more going in their favor than we may appreciate…

The truth is that despite calls to “support our troops,” our veterans today are in a far better place than they ever have been in any time in American history in terms of their healthcare and education benefits. There is a hawk-like manner in which our constituency — regardless of party affiliation — defends military benefits at seemingly all costs. For example, most of our pension and healthcare age targets were set in the 1950s when the life expectancy was significantly lower, as were healthcare costs. Yet to this day, military healthcare premiums haven’t risen since 1995 and a soldier who enlists at age 18 can still receive half his base pay for the rest of his life at age 38, during the prime of his working years.

Full thing here.