I read letters to the editor that proclaim that we should “take care of our veterans before refugees.” I find these views troubling.
After returning from Vietnam in 1969, I went to work for the Seattle Police Department as a patrolman. One of my first observations was the very large number of homeless veterans living on the city’s streets. These individuals were generally self-medicating their mental health issues with alcohol and drugs. There were no shouts of concern for their well-being. The plight of our veterans has changed little over the last 45 years.
Now that the U.S. is beginning to take responsibility for the displacement of millions of people in the Middle East, many of our citizens are raising concerns about taking care of “our veterans before refugees.” Where were these citizens’ concerns during the last five decades? Are their concerns due to their true interest in “our veterans” or a method justifying their inhumanity toward refugees — a people of color, with different customs and different religions?
We need to take responsibility for the cost of our wars on both veterans and refugees and support them in a fair, humane way.
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Reuel Paradis, Prosser