For years, some have suggested that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars would be costly not just because of the wars themselves, but because of the condition of our returning veterans. This recent AP study shows that the numbers are staggering. The GOP is always eager to fight wars, but less keen to pay for expenses like this for vets.
This is a staggering number that will be very costly for many years to come. Is Washington prepared to stand up for veterans?
A staggering 45 percent of the 1.6 million veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now seeking compensation for injuries they say are service-related. That is more than double the estimate of 21 percent who filed such claims after the Gulf War in the early 1990s, top government officials told The Associated Press.
What's more, these new veterans are claiming eight to nine ailments on average, and the most recent ones over the last year are claiming 11 to 14. By comparison, Vietnam veterans are currently receiving compensation for fewer than four, on average, and those from World War II and Korea, just two.
It's unclear how much worse off these new veterans are than their predecessors. Many factors are driving the dramatic increase in claims — the weak economy, more troops surviving wounds, and more awareness of problems such as concussions and PTSD. Almost one-third have been granted disability so far.