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Military recruitment is down. I wonder why? Well, maybe young men have finally noticed that VA hospitals are closing, a means test is now being used for veterans applying for benefits and fees have almost doubled for those receiving benefits.

Or maybe they noticed that combat veterans, such as Sens. John McCain and John Kerry, lost their bid for higher office after attacks from the likes of Karl Rove. Or maybe they noticed the route of our fearless leader, who uses the word patriotism like he owns it but failed to find it himself in Vietnam.

Or maybe they read of the electrician who came back from Iraq with hooks for hands and now watches his wife shop at the food pantry because they can't afford to go to the supermarket.

Or just maybe they noticed all the widows and children of those who have made the supreme sacrifice in this stupid war. Yes, there has been talk of more insurance and larger benefits, but for now all they receive is a pittance, a prayer and a neatly folded flag -- and a tin cup.

Pat Sullivan