Leave the debate on Capitol Hill

With Congress and President Bush digging in hard in their standoff over Bush’s latest emergency supplemental spending request for the war in Iraq, our nation’s active-duty troops must be feeling like the rope in a game of tug-of-war.

The debate over the latest war-funding bill raises loaded political questions. Is it right for Congress to try and influence the direction of the war by attaching provisions to necessary funds? Why does Bush continue to fund the war through “emergency” requests rather than working it into our normal defense budget? We hope that Washington can find the answers and provide our troops with what they deserve: either the funds to fight the war to the best of their ability or a clear-cut plan to get out of it.

Meanwhile, this time of debate on Capitol Hill is a great time for all Americans to remember that our job is much easier than Congress’ or the President’s. No matter what our feelings about the direction of the war - which are best expressed by electing reprsentatives who share our views - it is incumbent on all Americans to support our troops while overseas and, perhaps more importantly, after they return home.

By all accounts, veterans in San Diego have received better than the sub-par care recently reported at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington. But the VA Medical Center in La Jolla is taking on 100 new patients every month, and relies heavily on volunteers to handle the increasing workload. If you’re a La Jollan with something to give, be it time or money, you can help ensure that our local veterans continue to receive quality care. Contact the Medical Center at (858) 642-3267.

Our disabled veterans have made sacrifices that will be with them their entire lives. Contact the local chapter of Disabled American Veterans at (619) 299-6916 to see how you can help support them. The Mount Soledad Memorial Association at (858) and 459-2314 and the local headquarters of the American Legion at (619) 584-0881 are two other organizations dedicated to supporting our troops that always welcome assistance.

Visit the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center in Balboa Park and reflect back on the sacrifices that Americans have made throughout our nation’s history. Better yet, find out how you can help support the museum’s mission by calling (619) 239-2300. Understanding the depth of the sacrifice made by our armed forces is the best way for average Americans to ensure that our troops are only asked to make that sacrifice when absolutely necessary, and that they can count on receiving the support they need once they do.