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The outsourced war

October 09, 2009

'Unappreciated patriots,' " Column One, Oct. 6

My father was a World War II vet. He suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder until he died at 91. He used to say: "I fought to put the VA out of business. War is hell." Meaning, he fought so no one else would have to. When he was placed in a hospice in 2006, I volunteered at the VA.

If every American spent just one week at the VA, just one week caring for the Reggie Lanes of our time, we would be a different country.

Where are all the people who supported this war? Are they visiting all the Reggie Lanes of America? And do the American people know that they are paying for these terrible, long wars?

Constance McKee

Woodside, Calif.

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My heart goes out to Lane. I also commend The Times for clarifying that the contract employees' medical and rehab coverage comes from the federal government -- the U.S. taxpayers. The huge profits that corporations are reaping from our wars are well known, but that these companies are not financially responsible for their injured employees is not.

It is an interesting use of the term "contract worker" throughout the article, instead of the blunter term for a privately hired soldier: mercenary.

If that word bothers us, the solution is to stop outsourcing tasks traditionally performed by soldiers (driving, food service, security), a budgetary sleight of hand to try to make unnecessary -- and thus unpopular -- wars more palatable.

Roberta Medford

Montrose

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