Heather Black

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The Cost of War

BOONEVILLE, Miss. (WCBI)-Wednesday makes the 10th year anniversary since the war started in Iraq AND if history is any indication, the U.S. Government will be paying for this war for the next century.

There’s nothing fair about war. Whether you are looking at the impact on families who’ve lost loved ones, or those who are returning from the front lines to a weak economy, the fight for freedom has been expensive. While the war in Iraq may be over, the federal government must now compensate our veterans.

The new veterans are filing for disabilities at historic rates with about 45 percent of those from Iraq and Afghanistan. James Richardson says he has seen an increase in compensation cases here in Lowndes county not by hundreds, but millions of dollars.

“In 2010 my office was bringing in 13 million dollars a year on veterans benefits and in 2011 it jumped to 17 million dollars in one year. That’s about a 5 million dollar increase,” says James Richardson.

Now, the federal government is struggling to keep up with the veteran related costs.

Richardson believes the spike in compensation cases could be because some soldiers are just now suffering the symptoms of illnesses that are connected to their tours of duty…

“With the Iraq and Afghanistan war we’re getting more PTSD, Post traumatic Stress syndrome and TBI. Many times these are IED’s where they were near by those and it shock their head injured the brain so that later on in life they started having problems, headaches, early signs of Alzheimer things of that nature,” says Richardson.

The U-S government shells out 12 billion dollars a year for the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, even the first Persian Gulf Conflict. Former Congressman Travis Childers says unfortunately this debt will continue to grow…

“When both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars began as I told you earlier the revenue had been decreased spending had been increased and then the wars on top of that all the way through the Bush administration the cost of the war was never included in the budget,” says Travis Childers.

Childers believes men and women deserve to receive benefits for their services, but the big question is… at what cost?

“The bottom line is we need to be paying for these wars as we go. If we’re going to send our men and women in uniform we’re going to send them to combat, we need to pay for it,” says Childers.

Veterans can receive 28 hundred dollars to one hundred and 30 dollars for compensation depending on the severity of the case.