Veterans…

November 11, 2015

539179_370Overcast a bit and cold this Wednesday morning on California’s north coast, sunshine showing itself often, but not enough.
A slight chance of rain (about 15 percent), but doesn’t really look it.

Today is Veterans Day, supposedly a time set aside to honor those who are serving/have served in the US armed forces. However, in an era of perpetual war — currently 14 years straight of non-ending conflict — the service is really just one-way.

(Illustration found here).

As a veteran, and someone who could really, really use a good dentist, this really pisses me the fuck-off (via USAToday):

The Department of Veterans Affairs doled out more than $142 million in bonuses to executives and employees for performance in 2014 even as scandals over veterans’ health care and other issues racked the agency.

In the scope of recent history — in 2007, we had nearly 200,000 American ‘Boots on the Ground’ in Iraq and Afghanistan, which also included a shitload of National Guard ‘weekend warriors,’ who really didn’t know what they were doing in a war zone — the required-need for services from an agency like the VA should have been a total no-brainer, but no.
Instead, a humanitarian disaster.
Seat of the trouble — self-serving assholes. Don Rumsfeld’s words in December 2004 kind of revealed the era of thinking with ‘Boots on the Ground’ being actual people: ‘“As you know, you go to war with the Army you have. They’re not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time.”
Pretty-much summed up the horror.

And even support/aid for enduring shitty war equipment — a VA just too shitty, too.
From US News & World Report this morning:

Despite investigations pointing to widespread mismanagement, the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, the installation of his successor, Robert McDonald, and the passage of a $16-billion law that promised to expand care and make it easier to fire errant employees, little has changed for veterans still forced to wait for months for care.

In Phoenix, where reports that at least 40 veterans died while waiting for care touched off the scandal, evidence of change is hard to come by.
Veterans staged a protest outside the beleaguered hospital on Monday, complaining that they still struggled with “delayed appointments, denied appointments and falsification of veterans’ medical records.”
“If you’re putting individuals in positions who are not concerned about the veterans, then veterans are going to continue to receive the lower level care that they’ve always been receiving,” Ricky Barnes, the protest organizer, told the local ABC affiliate.

Today as media-extract Veterans Day, the Obama White House is supposedly to announce ‘a series of new actions’ on cleaning up the VA and make veterans’ lives easier:

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Kristie Canegallo, the White House deputy chief of staff for implementation, acknowledged the gulf between the promises made and the pace of real reform.
“A lot of really important progress has been made with respect to delivering more care for the veterans,” she said.
“But gosh, we’ve got a lot more work to do.”

Yeah, right…gosh, and what about the suicides?
Every day, 22 veterans kill themselves, ‘more than double the civilian rate,’ and in the last three years, nearly 30,000 have died by suicide — and a total more than have been killed in combat.
Familiar similar:

But veterans experts estimate that 17 of the 22 daily suicides involve vets not enrolled in the VA’s health care system, suggesting more research — and far greater funding — will be necessary to get a handle on the problem.

War on veterans…

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