Wednesday, December 29, 2004

More on the troubles of returning troops, PLUS a legislative idea that needs your help
Via Alternet, John Tarleton of the Indypendent tells the story of Herold Noel:
While Noel was trapped in a war zone, the army mistakenly listed him as AWOL and cut off his pay, causing him to lose his home in Fort Stewart, Georgia. Upon returning, he moved into a trailer off-base with his wife, Tamara, and their three young children. When their car died and he was no longer able to get to work, they decided to move back to New York.
Noel still struggles with his rage, but now he disappears when he feels like he is going to explode. "I don't know where he goes," Tamara says. "He tells me sometimes he has to get away from it all." "I have an anger problem. I still got that war mentality," Noel says. "You got that anger in you being around all that death. I still have nightmares. I'm still paranoid sometimes to walk the street, thinking something is going to happen... It's hard to be in a working situation. You're always on your guard."

While Herold sleeps outside and crisscrosses the city looking for assistance, Tamara is temping as a clerk at a hospital and staying at her sister's home with the kids. Both Tamara and Herold are uncertain of what to do next or even if their marriage will survive. Both refuse to have their children stay in the city's squalid shelter system. "We're willing to work," Tamara says. "We just need something temporary so we can get on our feet."
So, the idea is this: Democrats should offer a constitutional amendment guaranteeing certain rights to veterans of combat. Republicans do this to us all the time. We will call it the "Support our Troops" amendment and dare any Republican to vote against it. The question is, what rights can we include? Health care? Housing? There's a good idea in there somewhere, politicaly and substantively. How would it work? Ideas?

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