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Craig Newmark Headshot

Real Support for the Troops

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(or... A Nerd Stands up for Veterans)

Hey, Veterans returning from overseas, particularly wounded ones, are treated pretty badly by the Bush White House.

Here's where I document a lot of the details
, based on my work with the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. (They do great work.)

Veterans must not be forced to face these hurdles alone. It is our American duty to support them with the best resources possible when they return from war.

There are several veterans. advocacy groups that have made real progress on behalf of our soldiers, and their tenacity needs to be matched by the dedication of our politicians. The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America ( delivered a huge victory this year by helping to pass the new GI Bill, much like the World War II-related bill that helped restart our country.s economic engine decades ago. Most of the facts and issues I highlighted here are illustrated much more effectively on their website.

I see a lot of financial struggle in my day job as a customer service representative, and I want to find real economic support for those who need it the most. As a nerd from New Jersey, I could never begin to understand a soldier.s sacrifice, but I am committed to representing his or her needs.

Last May I began approaching both campaigns to request their commitment to the new GI Bill. While Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) supported the bill wholeheartedly and helped it pass through Congress, I was discouraged by Sen. John McCain.s (R-Ariz.) lack of support. Their debate last Thursday reinforced that this presidential race must hold candidates accountable for their actions and their voting records, not vague support of our soldiers.

It is time to get real about direct assistance to veterans and their families. We need to do more to support our troops with real, concrete benefits rather than leave them to fend for themselves when they return to their homeland.