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Columns

May 29, 2014

VA scandal tip of military abuse iceberg

President Obama held a press conference last week to express his outrage over reports that the Veterans Administration was routinely delaying treatment to veterans, with some veterans even dying while on alleged secret waiting lists. The president said that, “if these allegations prove to be true, it is dishonorable, it is disgraceful, and I will not tolerate it, period.” He vowed that, together with Congress, he would “make sure we’re doing right by our veterans across the board.”

The president is right to be upset over the mistreatment of US military veterans, especially those who return home with so many physical and mental injuries. Veterans should not be abused when they seek the treatment promised them when they enlisted. But his outrage over military abuse is selective. He ignores the most egregious abuse of the US armed forces: sending them off to fight, become maimed, and die in endless conflicts overseas that have no connection to US national security.

It is ironic that the same week the president condemned the alleged mistreatment of veterans by the VA, he announced that he was sending 80 armed troops to Chad to help look for a group of girls kidnapped by the Nigerian Islamist organization Boko Haram. Is there any mistreatment worse than sending the US military into a violent and unstable part of the world to conduct a search operation that is in no way connected to the defense of the United States?

As Judge Andrew Napolitano said last week, “Feeling sorry for somebody is not a sufficient basis for sending American men and women into harm’s way.”

We are naturally upset over reports that Nigerian girls have been kidnapped by this armed Islamist organization. Unfortunately, cruel and unjust acts are committed worldwide on a regular basis. What the media is not reporting about this terrible situation, however, is that it was US interventionism itself that strengthened Boko Haram, and inadvertently may have even helped the kidnappers commit their crime.

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