We finally reopened our government yesterday but, not before losing $24 billion of our hard earned tax money. Money that could have helped thousands of military veterans get the benefits they put their lives on the line to get, is lost forever.

This comes in the wake of a never-ending battle our veterans fight to get the benefits they, in many cases, wait years of impoverishment to get. These billions in lost revenue came on the heels of a huge cut the sequester made in the Veterans Administration budget.

Sixteen days before this shameful circus, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee pushed to shut down the government. They watched as military vets tore down barricades in front of one of their own memorials. Sarah Palin was using veterans as pawns against their commander in chief, President Obama. Palin’s lies had caused this small group of frustrated vets to turn against their own government.

Then after shouting about Obama’s impeachment, they carried the barricades from the World War II Memorial to the front of the White House. Once there, they held up banners calling for our president‘s impeachment. After exalting more lies the group tussled with Capitol Police. These police officers were trying to do their job even though Ted Cruz had made sure they did it without pay. It was an extension of the memorial circus gone violent.

On the Million Vet March homepage, the organizers suggested that a local organizer invite Tea Party and birther groups against the wishes of the veterans:

The political agenda put forth by a local organizer in Washington D.C. was not in alignment with our message.  The core principle is about all Americans honoring Veterans in a peaceful and apolitical manner.

Cruz and Palin were there to shift blame for the shutdown away from themselves onto President Obama, and they were using veterans to do it. Ironically, Palin said that she would “not be timid in calling out any who would use our military, our vets, as pawns in a political game.”

Veterans, with the exception of the few that showed up for the protest at the WWII memorial on Oct. 14, did not let this glitch sway their goal. The very next day, USA Today reported that “Veterans groups stage a demonstration against the partial government shutdown at the National World War II Memorial. . .   A coalition of 33 veteran and uniformed services organizations say the shutdown threatens military benefits.”

When Cruz used those vets to rail against the World War II memorial closure, it was not just an attack on the President. He and the other lunatics were out to defray the real issue, which is how they managed to steal $24 billion from the taxpayers.  What Cruz and his crazy “friends” really did, should be against the law.

Richard Andrew is a guest blogger for Ring of Fire.