Jim Nicholson, VA Secretary Republican political appointee; Steve Buyer, R-IN, chairman House VA Committee; Larry Craig, R-ID, chairman Senate VA Committee --these three men hold the lives of veterans in their "hands. " These three men are the "axis of evil " for veterans; and these three are moving forward with their plans of eliminating disabled veterans who receive disability payments for combat related PTSD, among other things.
There is a lot I could "say " here about them; the V.A.; congress who for 40 years has never properly funded the VA --both "Parties " are guilty on that point; and the Bush/Cheney cabal who are out to eliminate the VA by privatizing it; but, for now, I will let the V.A. Watchdog and Vets for Justice do most of my "talking for me; but not all.
Over the past couple of years I have come to rely on both to keep me up with those issues that directly affect and impact all of us that are veterans, their families and friends. That which has direct impact on us veterans affects not only us, but family and friends, directly, as well. We all pay the cost of a screwed up and under-funded VA as it is not only veterans who pay that cost but everyone around us pays the cost also.
The VA system was already a mess, but since Bush/Cheney captured, or stole this nation thru hijacked "elections " (and I use the term elections loosely) what has been happening to the VA in terms of funding has gone past simply being an outrage --it 's criminal!
Bush had appointed Anthony Principi to head up the VA. When Principi started trying to get things done on behalf of veterans Bush replaced him with good "party loyalist " Jim Nicholson. (Side Bar Note: ...the Moret study may be the reason behind Veterans Administration Secretary Anthony Principi's recent and sudden departure. Bernklau says Principi was "aware that DU was causing illness and death as far back as 2000. He and the Bush administration has (sic) been hiding these facts, but now, thanks to [Lauren] Moret's report, is far too big to hide or to cover up. ")
Twin killers --PTSD and Depleted Uranium, which is a weapon, and this government is in total denial about both. In fact, a disinformation and misinformation campaign about both is at the top of the Department of War and Pentagon 's "hit " list.
Nicholson 's only qualification for the position he now holds: Nicholson, like David Chu at the Department of War, thinks that continued payments to service connected disabled veterans poses a "threat to national security " as it takes away money needed for the current Bush/Cheney & Co., Inc war machine --which is creating more disabled veterans at an alarming rate, physical and mental --in short, Nicholson is a good party loyalist, period.
How do those "men " respond to this increase of PTSD imbued veterans from pervious wars, and those coming back from this "war of aggression " in Iraq seeking help for their PTSD? They claim "fraud " and start "reviewing " tens of thousands of disabled veterans, 72,000 to be exact, who are currently receiving compensation for combat related PTSD. And they do this at a time when by all accounts PTSD is on a marked increase as a direct result of the invasion and continued occupation of Iraq. But then what do you expect when this government, from top to bottom, is headed up by a bunch of "bean-counters " that can 't see past "cost-benefit " analysis?
Just in the last three years, since Bush/Cheney unleashed the "Dogs of War " on Iraq and Afghanistan the payouts to veterans with PTSD has shot up from a little over $1 billion a year to over $4 billion per year. That 's not fraud, that is a direct result of combat and war. But the three men who make the determinations about the VA and veterans, instead of realizing the madness Bush/Cheney created by their "war against the peace " and the untenable position they have put those in uniform in has been more than enough to generate even more people with PTSD (those of us that spent any time in Vietnam are very familiar with being put in an untenable position by politicians who try their hand at running a war, and an illegal war at that).
For these people, Nicholson, Buyer and Craig, to recognize cause and effect in terms of combat and PTSD would mean they would have to counter the reigning ideology of "perpetual war for perpetual peace " and this not one of the three will do. They are after all part of the Bush/Cheney cabal. Their answer to the self-generating mess their boss has created, simple, use the time "honored and tested " tactic of pitting one group of veterans against another group of veterans, and then pit all the veterans against active duty military.
Keep in mind that it was not that far back that the VA "budget " was placed in the hands of David Chu at the Department of War. The VA now not only has to fight year after year to even have a budget, but it must now compete internally with active duty military family housing; active duty military health-care; and the list goes on.
In the mean time, while this wanna-be Emperor (Bush, Cheney, take your pick) wags his finger at the world, the disabled veterans being created by the war of aggression in Iraq will in the end, not fair any better than those of us from pervious wars, period. It is already happening. Even those that the Bush/Cheney cabal pontificate about being "heroes " who are fighting to spread "freedom and democracy " are being tossed aside when they come home a physical and mental basket case.
The essay, "Behind the Walls of Ward 54 " is but one of many examples of how those coming home from Iraq are being treated --in this case it drove a man to commit suicide at Walter Reed. This is not a singular event as the suicide rate in the military today is on an exponential increase; as are people being killed by those returning from Iraq. 58, 195 soldiers and Marines were killed in Vietnam and suicides as a result of untreated PTSD have claimed the lives of more Vietnam veterans than did the war. Is that what we will allow to happen to the people Bush/Cheney are sending to Iraq? Apparently so as the VA is out to eliminate up to a third of all PTSD disabled vets from the disability rolls. Like I stated earlier, this goes way past just outrageous --this is criminal, period, end of story.
So much for yellow ribbons and supporting the troops.
Who can forget Henry Kissinger when he was the so-called "National Security Advisor " when he stated that, " ...people in uniform are dumb animals to be used for our purposes ... " Take a hard look around you; look at all the available information about how the VA is not taking care of veterans; take a hard look at how one congress after another has refused to not only properly fund the VA but has refused to make the VA budget a mandatory item; take a hard look at the VA Appeals Court and all the Bush appointed judges that now control it --all but two of the appeals "judges " were appointed by Bush 1 and Bush 2 and how ever since almost no vet wins on appeal.
For this congress and Bush/Cheney to do anything but what they are doing, in terms of continuing this onslaught against this nation 's veterans, would mean they would have to acknowledge they screwed up and that their "war " is in fact nothing more or less than one great big corporate/investor cash cow. Bush/Cheney have just about bankrupted this nation because of what they are doing in Iraq, and they are willing to sacrifice veterans and their own active duty military and their families in the attempt to pay for their "perpetual wars. "