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November 16th, 2009
Freethought San Marcos: Sen. Cornyn continues to lie about his ‘support’ for veterans

Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.

–- Mark Twain

Freethought San Marcos: A column

If Sen. John Cornyn would stop trying to convince his constituents of his unswerving support for our veterans, I would stop writing about him. There are more important issues to cover than continuing to point out his mendacity about supporting veterans, but his hypocrisy is so extreme it needs to be exposed. Cornyn seldom gives any facts about his alleged support for veterans–he merely lies about his support in a general way.

Two days after Veterans Day, Cornyn wrote: “Although it would be impossible to ever fully repay our nation’s veterans for the countless sacrifices they have made for this country, it is our solemn obligation to support and provide for them and their families. It has been my pleasure to represent a state as supportive and as proud of its troops – past and present – as Texas. For that reason I consider it my highest duty to ensure that the Federal Government does everything it can to take care of our veterans and military personnel.”

These are noble sentiments, but Cornyn’s votes in the Senate belie them. I’ve learned from seeing how my son-in-law was treated after his service in Iraq that it is important not to accept the word of politicians about their support for veterans, but to look at how they vote on veteran’s issues to judge their support. Cornyn’s voting record refutes the jingoistic words quoted above.

Here is how Cornyn has ensured “that the Federal Government does everything it can to take care of our veterans and military personnel”:

In 2003, Cornyn voted against a proposal to provide pay protection for members of the reserve and the National Guard; voted against an amendment to increase TRICARE funding by $20.3 billion over ten years to allow more members and their families to benefit; voted against providing an additional $1.047 billion for the procurement of National Guard and reserve equipment; voted against providing an additional $322 million for safety equipment including body armor to troops in Iraq.

In 2005, Cornyn voted against increasing veterans’ health care funding by $2.8 billion; voted TWICE against increasing veterans’ health care funding by $1,975,183,000; voted against providing an additional $213 million for the procurement of up-armored high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles; voted against an increase by $360.8 million to the defense appropriations to provide armored vehicles to American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan; voted against providing an additional $10,000,000 for the readjustment counseling service and decreased the HealtheVet Technology by the same amount; voted against establishing a funding formula for veterans’ health care that would keep pace with inflation and population growth; voted against an increase in mental health care funding for veterans’ by $500 million.

In 2006, Cornyn voted against authorizing $21.9 billion for the VA for compensation and pensions, medical care and hospital improvements; voted against increasing funding for military and veterans’ health care in lieu of tax breaks for millionaires; voted against $50 million to repair military equipment; voted against increasing veterans’ health care funding by $1.5 billion; voted against making veterans’ health benefits a mandatory program spending $104 billion over five years; voted against eliminating a proposed tripling of TRICARE fees for veterans in the TRICARE health program.

In 2007, Cornyn voted against an amendment to specify the minimum periods between deployment of units and members of the armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, and voted against an amendment to reaffirm strong support for all the men and women of the US Armed Forces.

In 2008, Cornyn voted against an amendment to the GI Bill that improved educational assistance for members of the Armed Forces and veterans.

These votes are of particular significance because we are engaged in two major wars and hundreds of other missions around the world, at over 1000 military installations. The facts are that 30 percent of returning veterans from our two wars are diagnosed with mental health problems and/or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). According to Empowering Veterans–

  • 82 percent of New Patients need intensive PTSD treatment.
  • 20 percent of VA PTSD treatment programs are full.
  • 40 percent of VA PTSD treatment programs are near full capacity.
  • 42 percent of VA primary care clinics have NO mental health staff.

As far back as February, 2006, the VA Advisory Board stated: “VA cannot meet the ongoing needs of veterans of past deployments while also reaching out to new combat veterans (Iraq / Afghanistan) … within current resources.”

Since 2002, demand for VA Services has increased:

  • Enrollment since 2002 is up 48 percent due to the Iraq War.
  • The VA patient load since 2002 is up 28 percent due to the Iraq War.
  • Veterans are experiencing increasing delays for earned services.
  • Veterans waiting for their first appointment for VA services doubled for the second year in a row.
  • Since January 2006, 500,000 Veterans are awaiting decisions granting benefits
  • 368,000 of these Veterans are awaiting disability determinations.
  • 151,000 appeals of denials of benefits are backlogged.

From his earliest votes in the Senate to his most recent, Cornyn has shown that veterans can count on him, at most, 30 percent of the time. He is such an extreme, partisan Republican leader that he rejects most efforts of Democrats to support veterans, which accounts for some of his “no” votes.

If we are going to put our miltary in harm’s way, we have a moral duty both to protect them fully and to pay for the harm that befalls them. Texas needs two senators who do more than talk about honoring the values of most Texans and Americans–values that include providing the support veterans and their families need. As John Cornyn might say, “they deserve all the support we can muster.” Of course, Cornyn would only say this.

© Freethought San Marcos, Lamar W. Hankins

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3 thoughts on “Freethought San Marcos: Sen. Cornyn continues to lie about his ‘support’ for veterans

  1. Lamar,

    How are Sen. Cornyn’s words ‘jingoistic’? My understanding of the term, and confirmed by Wikipedia, is that it refers to extreme nationalism in regards to foreign policy.

    According to wiki, jingoism in practice, “refers to the advocation of the use of threats or actual force against other countries in order to safeguard what they perceive as their country’s national interests, and colloquially to excessive bias in judging one’s own country as superior to others – an extreme type of nationalism.”

    Seems to me that you are misusing the term. What’s your take?

  2. That’s why I tend to use real dictionaries and similar references, rather than Wiki for understanding words. Rodale’s “The Synonym Finder,” recommended by the late William Safire, uses numerous words as synonyms for jingoism. The ones I had in mind were blind patriotism, flag-waving, and wrapping oneself in the flag, which Cornyn loves to do by associating himself with support of our troops, which in his case is hypocritical at best.

    The Oxford English Dictionary defines jingoism as “extreme patriotism in the form of aggressive foreign policy.” Cornyn likes to associate himself with an aggressive foreign policy that always requires the use of military force or the threat of it, which is always carried out by our military, the members of which he always supports to the hilt, if you believe him.

    The word has a range of connotations, some of which apply and some which are not on point in this context.

    However, the point of my column was to expose Cornyn’s mendacity regarding veterans, not argue about the usage of one word.

  3. That’s a funny response, Lamar. As I recall, you have cut and pasted entire wiki entries for your responses on other articles. Here’s a refresher:

    [Lamar Hankins (author) said:

    To Shane Scribner:

    Wikipedia has a very thoroughly footnoted entry…]

    – from:

    So, Lamar – what you are saying is wiki is a good source when it fits your needs, but sub-par when it doesn’t? Where’s the consistency? The funny thing about your response, Lamar, is that wiki cites ‘real dictionaries and similar references’ for it’s definition – the Oxford Dictionary being one of them.

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