Crisis in Veterans’ Healthcare

DeJa-Vu Vietnam Era All Over Again!!

For an Arrogant, Apathedic, Wealthy country, that loves it’s Conflicts and Occupations, we truely show our colors with our short term memories.

This all went on before, We Didn’t Learn.

Now this time we have the cute little phrase, with magnetic car ribbons {though they must weight abit too much, don’t see them anymore especially on the gas guzzling SUV’s, save gas you know, get rid of excess weight.}, “Support The Troops”, but like all the past times the reality of the feel good phrases quickly disappears when they return, “Forget The Veterans!”!

So the ‘Troops’, fresh from the battles and occupations we send them to, this time after Multiple Tours some now of their fifth, have to face the reality of the new battles, with little help, against the country that sent them but Refuses to Pony Up The Monies Needed to Care for them, funny how they Ignore the Costs of waging the Occupations and Destruction of Others, and the War Profitteers who reap from those monies!

Class-action suit against Veterans Affairs opens

E-mails noting high rate of veteran suicide are shown, but agency says it is doing its best to provide healthcare.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs may paint a rosy picture of improving healthcare for veterans, but the agency has systematically denied benefits to sick veterans and delayed claims so long that many of them commit suicide, a lawyer for two advocacy groups argued in federal court Monday.

VA stalling on care, judge told at S.F. trial

More than 120 veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq commit suicide every week while the government stalls in granting returning troops the mental health treatment and benefits to which they are entitled, veterans advocates told a federal judge Monday in San Francisco.

This afternoon, for those able to tune in online:

On Tuesday, April 22nd, KPFA/ Pacifica Radio will broadcast a three-hour live national special delving into the crisis in the VA health care system. The special broadcast will include live updates from the San Francisco Federal Courthouse, interviews with veterans’ attorney Gordon Erspamer, advocates from Veterans for Common Sense and Veterans for America, as well as interviews with veterans and their families, including Joyce and Kevin Lucey who are suing the VA claiming their son Jeffrey committed suicide after being turned away from the VA.

KPFA host and former Army medic Aimee Allison and award-winning journalist Aaron Glantz will anchor the broadcast and take calls from listeners. Listeners can also participate in a blog on KPFA’s interactive warcomeshome.org website, which highlights the human costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan occupations for those in the United States. The special airs on KPFA from 10am PDT (1pm EDT) to 1pm PDT (4pm EDT) on 94.1 FM in Northern California and online at kpfa.org and warcomeshome.org, as well as on Pacifica stations and affiliates around the country.

( Click here to visit KPFA to listen live }

The broadcast comes on the heels of KPFA/ Pacifica’s broadcast of the Winter Soldier hearings last month in Silver Springs, Maryland, where scores of US veterans spoke out about war crimes perpetrated by the US government in Iraq and Afghanistan, including crimes they had witnessed or participated in.

3 comments

    • jimstaro on April 22, 2008 at 12:51 pm
      Author

    Veterans Families Speak Out

    “Only On The Web”: Chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian speaks to the families of five soldiers who, allegedly suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, took their own lives.

  1. and i rarely have anything constructive to add…but i always appreciate your work.

    thanks for keeping a light on this national disgrace.

  2. Bill Moyers’ speech at West Point, November 15, 2006:

    The Armed Services are no longer stepchildren in budgetary terms. Appropriations for defense and defense-related activities (like veterans’ care, pensions, and debt service) remind us that the costs of war continue long after the fighting ends. Objections to ever-swelling defensive expenditures are, except in rare cases, a greased slide to political suicide. It should be troublesome to you as professional soldiers that elevation to the pantheon of untouchable icons – right there alongside motherhood, apple pie and the flag – permits a great deal of political lip service to replace genuine efforts to improve the lives and working conditions – in combat and out – of those who serve.

    Let me cut closer to the bone. The chickenhawks in Washington, who at this very moment are busily defending you against supposed “insults” or betrayals by the opponents of the war in Iraq, are likewise those who have cut budgets for medical and psychiatric care; who have been so skimpy and late with pay and with provision of necessities that military families in the United States have had to apply for food stamps; who sent the men and women whom you may soon be commanding into Iraq understrength, underequipped, and unprepared for dealing with a kind of war fought in streets and homes full of civilians against enemies undistinguishable from non-combatants; who have time and again broken promises to the civilian National Guardsmen bearing much of the burden by canceling their redeployment orders and extending their tours.

    You may or may not agree on the justice and necessity of the war itself, but I hope that you will agree that flattery and adulation are no substitute for genuine support. Much of the money that could be directed to that support has gone into high-tech weapons systems that were supposed to produce a new, mobile, compact “professional” army that could easily defeat the armies of any other two nations combined, but is useless in a war against nationalist or religious guerrilla uprisings that, like it or not, have some support, coerced or otherwise, among the local population. We learned this lesson in Vietnam, only to see it forgotten or ignored by the time this administration invaded Iraq, creating the conditions for a savage sectarian and civil war with our soldiers trapped in the middle, unable to discern civilian from combatant, where it is impossible to kill your enemy faster than rage makes new ones.

    And who has been the real beneficiary of creating this high-tech army called to fight a war conceived and commissioned and cheered on by politicians and pundits not one of whom ever entered a combat zone? One of your boys answered that: Dwight Eisenhower, class of 1915, who told us that the real winners of the anything at any price philosophy would be “the military-industrial complex.”

    . . .

    There is yet another way the chickenhawks are failing you. In the October issue of the magazine of the California Nurses Association, you can read a long report on “The Battle at Home.” In veterans’ hospitals across the country – and in a growing number of ill-prepared, under-funded psych and primary care clinics as well – the report says that nurses “have witnessed the guilt, rage, emotional numbness, and tormented flashbacks of GIs just back from Iraq.” Yet “a returning vet must wait an average of 165 days for a VA decision on initial disability benefits,” and an appeal can take up to three years. Just in the first quarter of this year, the VA treated 20,638 Iraq veterans for post-traumatic stress disorder, and faces a backlog of 400,000 cases. This is reprehensible.

    I repeat: These are not palatable topics for soldiers about to go to war; I would like to speak of sweeter things. But freedom means we must face reality: “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” Free enough, surely, to think for yourselves about these breaches of contract that crudely undercut the traditions of an army of free men and women who have bound themselves voluntarily to serve the nation even unto death.

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