Washington Post asks veterans to just kill themselves already
"The best fiscal move for this country?...The data says yes.”
WASHINGTON — In an op-ed published this week, The Washington Post suggested that military veterans should "just kill themselves already” in an effort to reduce the government’s budget for VA healthcare programs.
"If we owe our veterans every support, we also owe them a measure of fiscal responsibility," the editorial reads. "Which is why it is fair to consider — is asking our men and women in uniform to kill themselves the best fiscal move for this country right now? The data says yes.”
Among the arguments the paper’s Editorial Board makes for increased veteran suicide include the “reduction of waste” at local VA facilities, meaning those individuals who manage to successfully off themselves would no longer be eligible for surgeries or treatment, which would “clear out hella space” in the system’s never-ending backlog.
“Think about it, 22 veterans kill themselves every day, right? And each human life is worth about $10 million? That’s 220 million right there this country saves every day on federal spending, thanks to those brave souls,” The Post argues. “But what if that number were to hit, say, 100 suicides a day? That’s 100 million dollars, and a heck of a lot of it probably going back to John Q. Taxpayer. You could kiss the recession goodbye tomorrow. That’s all we’re asking for…#78More.”
The #78More campaign has caused outrage among veterans' organizations, publications, and anyone with a pulse, with many calling for a formal apology from the Post.
"I am not sure if the op-ed or the hashtag is worse, to be quite honest," said one spokesperson for a veteran's group. "Nope, the hashtag is definitely worse than veteran suicide.”
The editorial is a follow-up to another piece The Post published earlier this week, which advocated for cutting disability benefits from Post-9/11 veterans to reduce the VA’s annual budget, which has grown to $300 billion this past year from $45 billion in 2001.
A reduction in benefits could result in thousands of prior service members being unable to access basic needs, including food, shelter, and even the rope to eventually hang themselves with while waiting for their next appointment at the VA.
The Post has since issued a statement that both editorials were meant to “inspire discussion,” clarifying that both pieces are opinions and not the official stance of the longstanding publication.
"We obviously support our troops and would never seriously advocate for cutting their benefits," the statement read. "We’re a major advocate for our nation’s service members. In fact, our Editorial Board published close to 30 different pieces advocating for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last two decades, leading to all-time web traffic and clicks. We wouldn’t be a publication without our troops and cannot thank them for their service enough.”
Clay Beyersdorfer is a writer and comedian in St. Louis. He also manages the social media accounts for Duffel Blog and is the Editor in Chief of End of the Bench, a satirical sports publication on Substack. He does not have an OnlyFans account but aspires to be good-looking enough to start one day.