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Keller @ Large: We Owe Veterans The Help They Need

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Homeless U.S. military veterans stand in line to receive free clothing and medical care in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Homeless U.S. military veterans stand in line to receive free clothing and medical care in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

WBZ-TV's Jon Keller Jon Keller
Jon Keller is WBZ-TV News' Political Analyst, and his "Keller A...
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BOSTON (CBS) – It’s good to know that local civic and business leaders are looking into the possibility of bringing a future Olympic games to Boston.

Anything that boosts tourism and our international image is worth looking at.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

But if and when we publicly debate whether or not to risk millions of tax dollars on a big, shiny new stadium and the other Olympic trimmings, I hope we’ll think of this day, Veterans Day, the people it is meant to honor, and the priority their unmet and ongoing needs should take over splurging on fun and games.

Just in the last few days, there’s been bipartisan outrage in Congress at the Department of Veterans Affairs over their failure to correct or even fully acknowledge major problems in their treatment of veterans, everything from avoidable patient deaths at VA hospitals to the huge backlog in processing veteran disability claims, a bureaucratic nightmare that has some veterans describing the VA motto as: “Delay, Deny and Hope That I Die.”

In fairness to the incompetent bureaucrats at the VA, they have been swamped by claims from veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.

That’s what happens when you send people off to war; those who do return alive are often seriously wounded, physically, psychologically or both.

“War is Hell” is not the slogan for a video game.

It’s reality.

Taking proper care of all the vets who need help is going to cost a lot of money, far more than we currently spend.

Yes, it’s an outrage that VA executives have squandered tens of thousands on foolish corporate junkets, and fraud should never be tolerated.

But we owe these men and women the help they need, and if putting them at the head of the line for it means we have to pass on the Olympics or make a bunch of other good ideas wait, then that’s what we have to do.

Unless you want to make a sham of the gratitude we’re expressing to our veterans today.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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