Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

October 6, 2012

We must help rebuild Afghanistan

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— Several letters have appeared in the paper advocating the construction of an outpatient clinic in this area for veterans. One such letter complained of money being spent for veterans conferences and infrastructure in Afghanistan.

The United States has waged war in Afghanistan for more than a decade. In that time we have done considerable damage to a country that did not have a very advanced infrastructure to begin with. Since the war began, the U.S. has shifted to relying ever more heavily on Afghan troops serving under the current Afghan government. It makes sense that we would construct a hospital for our allies in Afghanistan as they continue the fight against al-Qaida and other militants. If we wish to avoid similar problems from Afghanistan in the future, we need to leave them with the tools they need to be an economically developing country. This means reinforcing infrastructure such as the power grid and building schools and hospitals.

Our efforts there are geared toward stabilization in a region where instability is the norm.

As for the prospects of an outpatient veterans clinic in this area, I highly doubt that too many West Virginians or Virginians would be opposed to such a clinic. One of my closest friends is a combat-wounded veteran of the Iraq war, and I know the difficulties that he sometimes has in seeking medical treatment and dealing with the Veterans Administration.

Rather than spending our time complaining about where money is spent, let's work together to see if we can influence our lawmakers to help get a clinic built in our area. Congressman Nick Rahall has proven to be a friend of veterans in the past. I encourage you to contact your congressman, either by mail, email, or telephone call, and ask Mr. Rahall to lobby for an outpatient clinic that would serve our vets in our area.

If the vets in our area say that they need a clinic close to home, the least we can do is get behind them and show our support.

John McCormick