It has been more than 10 years since the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the start of a war that still divides our nation. President Barack Obama pulled the final U.S. forces out, but the war is still taking a toll on veterans and their families, on our federal finances and on Iraqis. In the wake of 9/11 President George Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell made the case that Saddam Hussein was set to use weapons of mass destruction, which he did not possess. The war cost $2.2 trillion. 100,000 Iraqis died. Nearly 4,500 Americans lost their lives, many lost limbs and countless others returned from service suffering from PTSD and Depression.
Unfortunately, thousands of United States servicemen and women are still struggling to find work. Yes, unemployment remains high, but the rate of unemployment among our veterans of foreign wars is much higher than the national average. One cannot help but wonder to what extent American employers are holding our Nation’s veterans’ military service against them, possibly stereotyping them as psychologically damaged, unreliable or too costly to insure. Returning veterans who are experiencing difficulty finding work should understand that they are not the problem. Employers are not allowed to discriminate against applicants for employment on the basis of prior military service. Nor are they allowed to refuse to employ veterans who may require reasonable accommodations to re-integrate into the civilian workforce. See our pages on Military Service and USERRA and the Americans with Disabilities Act for more information.