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Posted at 11:24 AM on Thursday, February 7, 2008 by post8333WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2008--The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is urging the leadership of four key congressional committees to block attempts to create a separate disability system that would have the Department of Veterans Affairs compensate veterans with similar wounds differently based on their age.
"There is no difference between a 22-year-old shot in the leg on Iwo Jima 63 years ago this month and a 22-year-old shot in the leg in Iraq yesterday," said VFW National Commander George Lisicki, a Vietnam veteran from Carteret, N.J. "To compensate them differently based solely on age, and using the rational that this new generation is more deserving than older veterans, is an injustice, and violates every fundamental rule of fairness that Americans hold dear."
The recommendation in contention was made by the President's Commission on Care for America's Wounded Warriors, which was co-chaired by retired Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) and former Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala. The Dole/Shalala Commission was chartered in March 2007 as the administration's response to the outpatient housing debacle at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Four months later, the commission published a 149-page report with six broad recommendations.
The VFW wants more attention paid to the Veterans' Disability Benefits Commission that Congress chartered in 2004 to study the benefits that compensate and assist veterans and their survivors for disabilities and deaths attributable to military service. After thousands of interviews and almost three years of research – including major studies by the Institute of Medicine and the Center for Naval Analysis – it published a 562-page report in October 2007 that included 113 detailed recommendations.