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The Boston Globe

Opinion

JULIETTE KAYYEM

Take burden off Veterans Affairs

Under the Constitution, only Congress has the power to “declare” war. In practice, presidents have initiated military interventions, both large and small, on their own. The “declare” power is clearly open to interpretation. But maybe rather than Congress or the president, we should give some “declare” authority to the Department of Veterans Affairs. After all, its ability to manage the burdens of any new war should be taken into account. There are many reasons not to go to war, but surely our inability to care for those who fought should be one of them.

Just as the 10th anniversary of the Iraq war came and passed, a series of congressional hearings into the Department of Veterans Affairs exposed just how bad the backlogs are for those seeking compensation and care. On average, the claims of first-time filers from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars take over 300 days to process. That’s shocking, and obviously leaves many veterans alone and frustrated.

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