When I tuned in to O’Reilly last night, I caught the tail end of an interview with a guy making the case to O’Reilly that many of our nation’s veterans end up on the street after coming back from war.Â O’Reilly seemed to disagree with this idea, telling the guy to call him up if he actually finds anybody “sleeping under a bridge.”Â Now, this shocking lack of respect for the troops didn’t phase me then, because I didn’t actually notice the story much.Â Since I tuned in toward the end of that segment, it didn’t impact me as much as it would if I’d seen the whole thing.Â I was also running on 4 hours of sleep.
Then I watched Keith Olbermann tonight.Â He had on a veteran, and a member of a group that tracks, and tries to help, homeless veterans.Â I got to see some of the clips of the interview again, and thought it made O’Reilly look read bad, what he said about there not being very many homeless troops.
According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, there are about 200,000 veterans homeless on any given night in this country, or about 1/3 of all homeless veterans.Â Now, I understand that in relation to all the veterans in this country, that may not be a lot.Â But, consider that this is about 23,000 more people than the amount of soldiers we have in Iraq right now, and 2/3 of what we had at the invasion.Â That’s a lot of homeless veterans!
Notice that I gave a direct link to the VA’s website.Â There can now be no arguing over sources, since the facts are coming from the horse’s mouth itself.Â I know it says 195,000, but I’m guessing the number has been updated since then.Â Regardless, it’s close enough for me to make my point.
Come on, O’Reilly.Â Even you can’t deny that source.Â I’m hoping what might have happened was that he assumed that the figures were specifically for people “sleeping under bridges”.Â That’s be reasonable, if that were the case.Â But, I don’t know.Â O’Reilly has a pattern of vehemently disagreeing with people when he considers their opinions to be part of the “secular progressive” movement.Â I think the representative from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans for America group thought right when he said he guessed O’Reilly was disputing the number of people under bridges.Â I also agreed when he noted that some veterans are worse off, sometimes only having cardboard boxes to sleep under.
I’m surprised that nobody on his mail segment was featured calling him out on that.Â Perhaps people did send in mail, but he didn’t choose it.Â I hope that he sets the record, because for a man who pounces on people who disrespect the troops, saying what he said sounds pretty disrespectful.Â It’s ironic, since today he had a whole segment blasting a New York Times story about veterans coming back from Iraq being more likely to commit murders.
Our veterans sacrifice a lot to fight for us, and the idea that they can go homeless when they come back from fighting is disgraceful.