Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Shame The Lame Dame of the Blame Game

Partial-term Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was not happy today when her interview on NBC deviated away from the topic of the Iowa caucuses and toward her son's recent arrest.

Palin's son Track, who was arrested two weeks ago on weapons and domestic violence charges, is a veteran of the Iraq War. Palin suggested shortly after the arrest that President Barack Obama may be to blame because he does not offer veterans the respect they deserve:
But my son, like so many others, they come back a bit different, they come back hardened, they come back wondering if there is that respect for what it is that their fellow soldiers and airmen and every other member of the military, so sacrificially have given to this country, and that starts from the top, it’s a shame that our military personnel even have to wonder, if they have to question if they’re respected anymore. It starts from the top, the question, though, that comes from our own president, where they have to look at him and wonder: do you know what we go through, do you know what we’re trying to do to secure America and to secure the freedoms that have been bequeathed us!

But veterans who know the damaging effects of PTSD quickly came down on Palin's rhetoric, making it clear that her son's domestic violence charge shouldn't be used as a platform to politicize a condition that affects more than 10 percent of the U.S. military.  "Palin is using PTSD as an excuse to shift blame away from her son's domestic violence," said Brandon Friedman, the former digital media director for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Matt Miller, the chief policy officer for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said Palin used PTSD as a "crutch" for her son's domestic violence. Instead of politicizing the suffering of veterans, Palin could have instead sought help for him.

As for Obama's alleged apathy on veterans' issues, Miller said that simply isn't true. Just last year, Obama signed a bipartisan bill to improve veterans' access to mental health resources. And the Veterans Affairs budget is at an all-time high.  "It's ironic that people like Sarah Palin are in the party of 'personal responsibility' but as soon as someone in her family is arrested for domestic violence, it's Obama's fault," Friedman said.

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