First Major Print Ad by Such a Group, Critical of Admin's Vet Health Care Budget
Ad Text: 'Mr. President, You're Either With Us or Against Us'
By Brad Friedman on 7/18/2005, 3:23pm PT  

As if Dubya didn't have enough (self-inflicted) problems...OpTruth.org, a coalition of U.S. veterans of the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars whose slogan is "Really Support the Troops - Listen to Them!", is taking out an ad in tomorrow's Washington Post critical of the Bush Administration and calling on Bush to "provide leadership" by meeting the needs of healthcare for returning vets.

In their ad, the group generously attributes the $1 Billion shortfall in Bush's 2005 budget for "Veterans of the War on Terror" to a "miscalculation".

In 2006, the ad claims, the budget shortfall will be a full $3 billion short of what our returning veterans need to cover health care costs at Veterans Administration hospitals. OpTruth covers this issue in more detail on their website.

OpTruth.org founder Paul Reickhoff --- who we've previously covered here and more recently here, quit his Wall Street job after 9/11 to fight in Afghanistan and has been critical of Bush's level of support for troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Reickhoff tells The BRAD BLOG that this ad represents the "first time an Iraq vets group has taken out a major print ad."

The text from the OpTruth ad is as follows...

THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION recently admitted that they miscalculated the health care costs for Veterans of the War on Terror this year by at least $1 billion. In 2006, the shortfall will be $3 billion.

WITHOUT IMMEDIATE CHANGES, four out of five returning Veterans could be turned away from care at VA hospitals. That's a raw deal the American people will not tolerate.

A UNANIMOUS, BIPARTISAN SENATE has moved quickly to cover this year's outrageous budget gap with a $1.5 billion emergency supplemental. Congress should adopt the Senate's plan, and should make up the 2006 budget gap as well.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, President Bush needs to act immediately and provide the leadership that will prevent Veterans from being shortchanged now and in the future.

A graphic version is below (click to see full PDF version):