Bond visits Cape Girardeau veterans home

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

The Bush administration did the right thing in taking the battle to the terrorists and toppling a ruthless dictator in Iraq, U.S. Sen. Kit Bond told veterans Monday in Cape Girardeau.

"There is no way you can reason with these despicable terrorists," Bond told about 30 area veterans as well as staff and volunteers at the Missouri Veterans Home.

Bond said the war hasn't been in vain. "We have captured and killed thousands of terrorists," he said.

The United States has the finest fighting force in the world, he said, one Islamic terrorists can't defeat on the battlefield.

"Their only hope is to break our will," he said. "In the months ahead, we cannot lose our resolve."

During his visit, Bond touted his efforts to increase federal health-care funding for veterans.

As chairman of a Senate appropriations subcommittee, Bond helped write the spending bill that funds the Department of Veterans Affairs. The House has a similar but not identical appropriations measure. Congress still has to resolve those differences, he said.

But Bond said the Veterans Health Administration will receive about $28.35 billion in funds, a $19.6 billion increase over fiscal year 2004 and a $1.22 billion increase over the Bush administration spending plan.

The appropriations bill also provides an additional $21 million to the VA medical and prosthetic research program and $75 million for operating expenses to prevent staff reductions in processing VA disability claims, Bond said.

The Missouri Republican said the funding is vital as more soldiers return from the war with serious injuries.

The soldiers are getting first-class medical treatment, he said. "The good news is that modern medicine has brought them back," Bond said.

Like Bond, Air Force veteran and American Legion member Charles Woodford of Cape Girardeau believes the United States was right in going to war in Iraq. But Woodford, one of the veterans who attended the meeting with Bond, said he thinks American troops should be more aggressive in battling terrorists and terror groups in Iraq.

mbliss@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 123

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