The UFC’s Fight for the Troops event was a great idea that raised over 4 million bucks for a good cause. But the elephant in the room for many throughout the entire event was the question “Where the fuck is the American government here? Why the fuck does the UFC have to help raise money to help injured soldiers?” I kept an eye out for commentary on MMA blogs waiting for someone to ask these questions, and it only took about a week for someone to address the situation:
I’m going to get up on my political, non-MMA soapbox for a minute here, so skip to the next paragraph if you just want MMA from me. This event shouldn’t have existed. It’s ridiculous that we have to go to some third party to raise money to treat our injured troops. The government has assumed responsibility for choosing how to ‘spend’ the lives of our military, but it won’t deal with the consequences. Yet President Bush and the Republicans managed to pass massive tax cuts. Maybe they should have held onto some of that money to help out the soldiers they supposedly support. Of course, the Democrats don’t get a free ride on this either, since they have done very little to stand up for the veterans in the face of the “pro troop” party. It’s just sad and wrong that we have to turn to Dana White for this. Remember that in the next election, and maybe we can vote in some more help for these veterans. We may not be in Iraq any longer at that point, but these men’s lives will still be shattered.
I know most websites don’t want to get into politics and all that for fear of ruffling the feathers of their readers. Me personally, I don’t really care. If you’ve got an issue with me saying the US government fucking sucks for not bankrolling a gold plated TBI center, then you can go read Five Ounces of Vagina or something. I don’t want to get into an “Up here in Canada” rant … if you wanna hear that feel free to check out our Fight for the Troops radio show where we beat that horse nice and dead. But seriously … it’s shameful.
It is worth mentioning however that the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund does address the question of why they’re building this center and not the government. It turns out that the organization used to provide financial support for the families of soldiers who were KIA until new legislature upped the death benefits and insurance to a point where their help wasn’t necessary. So they then went to the Veterans Affairs office and asked what other areas needed help:
Why didn’t the Government build the Center for the Intrepid or National Intrepid Center of Excellence?
The government’s responsibility is to take care of the medical needs of service members and veterans. The mission of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund is to support our military community, specifically those who have been catastrophically disabled. We asked the military and the VA what we could do to help, and together we came up with the idea of the physical rehabilitation center. As a non-profit organization we were able to execute the project quickly and have it available for our service members and veterans in roughly 18 months. In addition, since the Center was privately funded, it provided a way for individual Americans to personally support those who have sacrificed so much in service to our nation. Likewise, the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund’s leadership will allow the new National Intrepid Center of Excellence to be ready quickly to serve our wounded warriors.
The long and short of it is that the IFHF does it’s best to fill in the gaps that exist in any country’s system. And while it’s shitty that the government isn’t capable of reacting quickly and effectively to deal with the needs of the troops they’re sending into battle, that’s life and life isn’t fair. If it was then kids would be getting a wii and a puppy for Christmas instead of a father who’s face has been half burned off in Iraq. It’s fucking shitty that citizens need to take over in this way because the US government isn’t doing enough. But I do see an awesome silver lining in that there are lots of people stepping up and taking care of the troops on their own.
So yes … be pissed and vocal that your troops aren’t being supported as well as they should be. The US government has already passed out 350 billion fucking dollars to fatcats on Wall Street while shit like Walter Reed goes down and Gulf War Syndrome is denied, denied, denied. But at the same time, be proud that there are organizations like the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund out there doing something proactive about the situation. There seems to be a mindset that these two opinions oppose each other, but in my opinion they fit together perfectly and are the best way to really ‘support the troops’.
Here’s where you can donate, if you’ve got some cash that you can spare.