Yellow magnets and homeless vets

Yellow ribbon car magnets sold in department stores, gas stations, and websites, adorn nearly every vehicle in the country. "Support our troops" or "Pray for our Troops" they say. A token gesture by a disengaged, sheltered public. Some of the more reputable magnet dealers give portions of their profits to troop-oriented funds, while many of the dealers pocket every cent. Where the money goes is mostly irrelevant. For gas station customers, impulse-buying the magnets while filling up their SUVs with the same petroleum the troops they support are dying for, it's the cool thing to do.

Proclaiming the words, "I support our troops," is close to meaningless without accompanying activism. Does trendy public sloganeering actually help our soldiers?

Evidently not if they're living in boxes and begging for food. UPI is reporting that veterans from Iraq are showing up in homeless shelters.

"When we already have people from Iraq on the streets, my God," said Linda Boone, executive director of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. "I have talked to enough (shelters) to know we are getting them. It is happening and this nation is not prepared for that."

This should NEVER be a problem in the first place. Those who are profiting from the thankless, deadly labor of these men and women should be mandated to fully finance the complete abolition of veteran homelessness. Now. Meanwhile, the boys need body armor, dammit. Slogans aren't shielding any tanks from insurgent RPGs in the Sunni Triangle, and $4 for a magnet is better spent on a donation to a homeless veterans organization.

Start here. Then write to your representative in Congress.