Mid-week open thread, with belated Veterans Day links

Iowa wildflower Wednesday is on hiatus, but here’s an open thread. What’s on your mind, Bleeding Heartland readers?

I didn’t manage to post a Veterans Day linkfest on Monday, but I was interested in this article about the “long decline of veterans in Congress.”

Military service was once almost a prerequisite for service in Congress. Veterans comprised more than three-fourths of both the House and Senate at one point last century. Since then, their membership has declined to about 20 percent of both chambers.

Of the Iowans now serving in Congress, only Senator Tom Harkin is a veteran. Several Iowa candidates for federal office have served in the military, though, including Steve King’s Democratic challenger Jim Mowrer and Republican U.S. Senate hopefuls Sam Clovis and Joni Ernst.

The suicide rate among U.S. veterans has long been a national disgrace. The Military Suicide Research Consortium provides information on the problem and resources for those needing help.

Speaking of national disgraces, roughly 900,000 veterans who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps) saw their food assistance benefits cut at the beginning of November. The SNAP cuts King and other House Republicans are demanding in conference committee negotiations over the farm bill would deny federal food assistance to approximately 170,000 low-income veterans.

Representative Tom Latham fell for some Veterans Day-themed satire about MSNBC host Chris Hayes. A good reminder that deleted tweets and Facebook posts never truly disappear.  

  • Foreign policy

    I think interventionism has fallen out of style in both major political parties.  We’ve lost good people like Ike Skelton and Gene Taylor who could explain a military mission well.  

    Too many people automatically label interventionists as neocons as well.  We’ve intervened in Bosnia and Libya for example and I don’t see any serious push to realistically force an economic or governmental system down the throats of the citizens there.

    I think many vets don’t want to be thrown in there with some of the foreign policy idealists and that is why they don’t seek political office.  The stuff that Bradley Manning rightly or wrongly uncovered has given a black eye to the United States military.  It becomes harder to justify what I view as a genuine humanitarian effort in Syria when there are people within the ranks who obviously are doing the wrong thing and killing innocent civilians.  

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