Saturday, May 31, 2014

Recent Furor Over Our Vets Masks the Problem's Long History

...Dialing all the way back to our nation's founding. Our military
men and women have never been treated well by our government,
with ongoing respect and care, beginning with the Revolutionary
War, 1776-1783. (-!) Those who forget George Washington's
pleas for soldiers' supplies, such as basic food and winter clothing
must be shocked when hearing the current day's VA neglect news,
which has recently identified many hospitals in that beleaguered
system, not just in Arizona.

Consistently, with one exception, the immediate post WWII
period, vets are forgotten, the hospitals have known inadequacies
and deficiencies for decades; in Chicago, in the 80s, I was at the
now defunct Lakeside VA, 333 E. Huron, in the waiting area,
talking with vets. Their complaints were the same then as now:
slow and/or poor care--the only item missing mention was news
of the "doctored" lists, a sunny prescription providing proof of
great care, engendering bonuses for the reporting institutions.

Every enterprise CANNOT successfully model the identical
missions and practices employed by for profit businesses--
especially not municipalities, hospitals, schools and charitable
organizations, but God knows they've been trying--and failing.
This mistake also applies to major transit systems like Chicago's,
which has been troubled for decades after it was transformed
into an unholy, ultimately unworkable political/business entity.

The U.S. throws big, splashy parties/memorials about three days
a year for our military service about TRULY
honoring them EVERY DAY??  That would mean better
health care, better salaries and supplies for the front line troops,
etc. That would also mean more taxpayer dollars required from
everyone else...

Or is the recent furor fodder for the chattering classes and
attendees at backyard barbeques, merely?  Talk is cheap
and easy. Only action proves sincerity in simply caring.

Who cares? I want to know.


  1. This entire thing I feel is sad and shocking even in these times. I feel it never had to be this way. Lady Amber If not for health issues I was born with I may have at one time in my live volunteered for military service Like my LATE great Dad did. Maybe this horror exposed regarding VA HOSPITALS should make us all realize perhaps it is time to evaluate every aspect of every branch of our military.

    I find it hard to believe the horrible situations with the VA HOSPITALS the alleged cover ups only exist in VA HOSPITALS.

  2. One more thing.

    I personally know of military service AMERICAN veterans that have told me of how hard it is to see VA doctors, get treatment. I have heard this for well over ten years. Also of vets that found they were not entitled to certain benefits BECAUSE of technicalities or due to the fact declarations of war were not made, etc.

  3. You're right, Amber. We have a long, bearded history of denying vets the services they often desperately need. It's not as if the Department of Defense gets short-changed. Private contractors have made out like bandits for years, with cost-plus contracts and needless weapons programs being the norm.

    As you've stated, it's the vets who get short-changed. Additionally, during our misadventure in Iraq, front-line troops were denied adequate body armor. Remember Donald Rumsfeld's snarky comment? "You go to war with the army you have, not the army you want."

    However, the vets have a true friend in the Senate: Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Chairman of the Veteran Affairs Committee. He recently sponsored a $21 billion funding allocation specifically designed to target veterans' health care. It received 54 votes and got filibustered. Only two Republicans voted for the bill: neither was named John McCain or Lindsey Graham (among the Senate's loudest military hawks). Nor was it supported by many of the so-called "moderates" such as Susan Collins, Rob Portman, or our own Mark Kirk. The two Republican "yea" votes were cast by Dean Heller of Nevada and the junior senator from Kansas, Pat(?) Moran.

    In the meantime, Senator Sanders isn't giving up. He has crafted a new bill which will enable vets to be compensated for medical treatment outside the VA network. He really does care!