Iraq and Afghanistan War Vets See Political Influence Grow

The number of veterans in Congress continues to dwindle each session, but a new report suggests that the power and influence of young war veterans in national office are growing rapidly.  Officials from the nonpartisan Veterans Campaign said the success of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans in recent election cycles indicates not only a stronger-than-expected pool of national candidates but also an affinity among many voters to back those candidates.

Read more at: http://bit.ly/1uYN9en

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Lawsuit on Iraq/Afghanistan Burn Pits reaches Supreme Court

Throughout the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, all kinds of things — batteries, paint, plastic, electronics, even whole vehicles — were disposed of in so-called “burn pits” by the U.S. military.  Some veterans have filed a class action lawsuit against a defense contractor claiming toxic smoke from burning waste caused lung disease and cancer.

See the PBS NEWSHOUR video and transcript at: http://to.pbs.org/1qkAohL

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Troops to be Checked for Chemical Exposures in Iraq

The Pentagon will offer medical examinations and long-term health monitoring to service members and veterans who were exposed to chemical warfare agents in Iraq, the Army and Navy said in separate statements this week, as part of a review of how the military handled encounters with thousands of abandoned chemical munitions during the American occupation.

Read More at:   http://nyti.ms/1Ed32nA

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Email Alert – 23 July 2014: How to Stop Burn Pits From Becoming the Next Agent Orange

As veterans complain of health impacts from toxic fumes, advocates warn that burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan may be the source of another health-damaging exposure like Agent Orange. Some bases in Iraq and Afghanistan burned as much as 240 tons of trash a day in an open pit. A new VA website allows anyone who believes he or she was exposed to fumes from trash burned in those pits, or to other toxins — such as metal, bacteria or particulate matter, inhaled with the dust …

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Email Alert – 28 APR 2014: More Support for Caregivers to Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Urged

A recently released study by the Rand Corporation indicates that the nation needs to do a better job of supporting caregivers, the “hidden heroes” who are helping wounded and disabled veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  Former Senator Elizabeth Dole, wife of former Senator Bob Dole, a severely wounded World War II veteran, strongly endorsed the study and hopes it will result in much needed help for military caregivers.

Read more at: http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-military-caregivers-20140401,0,6861799.story#axzz2xgbrqFX7

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Email Alert – 10 FEB 2014: Veterans Groups Disagree with Proposal to Formalize Disability Applications

By Kevin Freking – AP

For veterans seeking disability compensation, the application process is supposed to be so easy that a handwritten note on a napkin will initiate a claim or an appeal.

An Obama administration proposal would change that, and veterans groups are sounding the alarm.

The Department of Veterans Affairs says the many ways that requests for disability compensation arrive actually hamper its ability to administer benefits, and contribute to a claims backlog that has about 400,000 veterans waiting more than 125 days for a decision.

At …

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