THE BLOG
12/21/2007 03:08 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Iraq And Our Veterans: A National Tragedy

Yesterday in Waterloo Iowa, I sat down and discussed two things that I hope people will pay a lot of attention to over the next two weeks: Iraq, and its devastating effect on our veterans and their families.

Based upon my experience in the region as United States Ambassador to the United Nations, and my conversations with military advisors, I know we have to get our troops out now. I have written about this position extensively here, here and here.

And here is the t.v. spot my campaign released this week on the core issue of the campaign. The first thing we need to do to help our veterans is to end the war in Iraq and bring our troops home to their families. We need to withdraw our troops to bring peace and stability to the region, and we need to withdraw our troops because our military is at its breaking point, stretched thin, under-supported when they serve overseas and too frequently abandoned when they return home. And if we don't end this war that is costing us almost $10 billion a month, we simply won't be able to afford to make the big changes we need here at home - including helping veterans and military families regroup. Yesterday, I was joined at the event by New Mexico Secretary of Veterans Affairs John Garcia, Vietnam veteran Rick Bolanos, Iraq veteran Sergeant Julie Gorman of Iowa, and Sue Dinsdale of Huxley, Iowa, the mother of an Iraq veteran. We discussed some of the issues facing veterans and what I will do about getting our veterans they care they need when they return home. But just as I promise to withdraw troops from Iraq in 2009 not 2013, let me make clear my pledge to our veterans and their families. When I am President, every single one of our veterans will have a Heroes Health Card so that they can get the high quality care they deserve wherever they need it, and without any bureaucratic hassle. I will guarantee full mandatory funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Guarantee it. It is essential that we fix Walter Reed and the rest of our military hospitals. Also, we are going to treat mental trauma, such as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) the same way that we treat physical wounds-- like the battlefield injuries that they are. As President, I will reduce the federal income tax on veterans by five percent for the rest of their lives. Senator Jim Webb is exactly right on this issue. I also will eliminate the federal income tax on all troops in their first year out of the military. We are going to do right by military families. But the first thing we need to do to help our veterans is to end this war and bring our troops back home to their families. There's much more here on my campaign site and be sure to check out the video below from our discussion on Iraq and Veterans.

Read several of the Governor's past posts on Iraq here, here and here.