Opinion about the VA Scandal

The current fervor in the news media over the U.S. Veterans Affairs’ inability to improve medical care for veterans is a good thing, in some ways. The attention increases the public’s knowledge of the deficiencies of medical care for veterans and demands action is taken. It is obvious that revision is needed for our veterans. However, this is nothing new, and it should surprise no one who has paid attention to procedural problems for our veterans over the course of the last few decades. The system has gotten worse for our veterans, as the slow processing has directly resulted in the deaths of several veterans who needed immediate attention. It’s about time that this has become a priority, and the news media should be lauded for fulfilling their ethical role here…finally.

There is the typical problem, however, as it is now politicized. Anything having to do with veterans becomes an easy method to discredit the President. Benghazi and the government shutdown are recent examples of how easy it is for politicians and political journalists to use our veterans as a platform to attack. Regular Fox News shill, Sean Hannity, continues to make the VA scandal a platform to attack Barack Obama. I wonder if he knows how many veterans might find his “support” distasteful. Hannity disrespects our veterans by assuming they want to represent his personal campaign against their Commander-in-Chief.

Since this has become a political issue, we can once again see how Republicans and their media representative, Fox News, think these problems become solved: fire the government official in charge. Calls for the dismissal of Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki abound, perhaps rightfully so. What I don’t see is a solution, even if Shinseki is removed from his cabinet position. It seems like this is the first and only suggestion for all problems with the government. Fire Kathleen Sebelius. Fire Lois Lerner. Fire Hillary Clinton. Fire Barack Obama. Now, we need to fire Eric Shinseki. I’m often confused by Republicans’ ideas, but apparently our government is supposed to work like an episode of Donald Trump’s The Apprentice…weird how that same philosophy was not utilized with the 2008 housing crash…in fact, the executives in charge of the banks were retained under the auspices that their dismissal would further damage the economy, as new appointees would not perform better than existing “leaders”…I suppose my confusion rests within the differences between public executives and private executives…I just don’t see much difference.

Collectively, we seem to have forgotten the past decade. We sent so many troops into Iraq and Afghanistan. How did we not anticipate there would be a need for expansion of our veterans’ healthcare? I suspect we did and chose to ignore it. I assume there was resistance to providing the necessary funding (see the Affordable Care Act if you don’t believe that politicians want to resist funding healthcare). There is one voice that has been missing from this discussion of the VA scandal, and his is a voice that has been sorely missing since Barack Obama was elected. George W. Bush needs to stop painting and start addressing some of the problems in this country that occurred during his presidency. He’s getting a pass for his mistakes, and his biggest mistake was the Iraqi War. We went to Iraq to sustain the American oil industry, and he needs to answer for this, especially to our veterans. Bush is less scrutinized than Richard Nixon, and Bush may have committed greater crimes than Nixon in the office of the President. He is certainly complicit in the current VA scandal, if Barack Obama is to be skewered because of it.

The problems in our government healthcare system meant to accommodate veterans should be addressed. In fact, medical care for currently enlisted soldiers should be improved also, as it’s well known that professional physical and mental care for soldiers often boils down to getting the soldier back to his or her unit, often at the expense of the individual soldier. It wouldn’t be a stretch to assume that mentality has found its way into our veterans’ hospitals. We fall all over ourselves to shake a soldier’s hand and thank them for their service, but we turn a blind eye when it comes to actual care and respect for our soldiers and veterans, whether it’s providing healthcare, education, or jobs for returning soldiers. We need to stop paying lip service to our troops, and provide to our veterans what they have earned.

{If you appreciated this writing and want to help support the continuation of this blog, please consider sending a donation to:

Scott C. Guffey
P.O. Box 53
Michigan City, IN 46360

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