Friday, February 8, 2008

Veterans and Work

This is a piece which focuses on the difficulty that some veterans are finding in getting jobs upon returning from duty in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The piece alludes to the idea that companies don't want to hire because of the "Wacko Vet myth", of course perpetuated by that evil liberal media.

There may be a some truth in that, or there may not, but it's always easy and safe to blame the liberal media, and the Liberal America hating, soldier hating people that oppose the war, instead of thinking about how to solve the problems.

The article also touches on what I believe are more correct theories of the difficulties:

"The report blamed the poor prospects partly on inadequate job networks and lack of mentors after extended periods in war."

I think this is a critical idea and thought. If you join the Army at age 18 or 19, and spend a few years there, usually you come out not knowing anyone, especially anyone who might be able to aid you in finding a job. Everyone knows that social networks are critical to not only finding jobs, but in learning how to properly look for a job.

I currently work in an industry which relies on semi-skilled and low skilled labor. It is getting tougher to find a job in this industry as the economy gets tighter and tighter. I read a lot of reports - this is happening in ALL sectors - manufacturing, construction, service. These entry level jobs are jobs which these veterans might be looking for to get their start upon returning from war.

Now, it is tough enough to find a job in an economy such as the present when all of your systems (health, psychological and spiritual) are in stasis.

But imagine that you are not sleeping at night because of horrific nightmares. Imagine that you are addicted to drugs and or alcohol to try to slow or stop those nightmares. Imagine that your family life is crashing down around you and people are leaving you (spouses and kids) because you haven't been able to adjust. Imagine that you are afflicted with PTSD, and it is a chore for you to even leave the house, much less get dressed up for an interview, and having to maintain and make it through the interview.

Imagine having all of those issues and having to present yourself as a hireable candidate.

Now, granted, some of these things happen to those who have not been to war as well, and those people need the help too. But that is not what I'm talking about here.

The article says that the government is going to have to fix it. I think the government can do some things, but I think it will take everyone to pull this one off - industry, education, government, churches and veterans organizations.

I don't believe these are unsolvable problems. One good idea has been talked about by Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (, and that is the idea of a New GI Bill:,com_/Itemid,66/option,content/task,view/id,2492/

As this article points out, the GI Bill simply: “reinvented America” after a half-decade of war.

It is not going to be easy, nor is it going to be cheap. We tried to do the war "on the cheap" and we see where that got us. We simply cannot do this "on the cheap"

Now, a lot will say that we "can't afford this" - it costs too much. But can we afford the results of what will happen if we DON'T do it?

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