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By Al Donohue
Meditations before writing or reading:
The 60,000 plus Americans killed, the 150,000 plus wounded.
The 3 to 5 million (approx.) Indochinese killed 1965-1973.
The 400 to 500 thousand Vietnam-era veterans who received less-than-honorable discharges, which denied them health care at the VA as well as educational or job benefits.
The tens of thousands that were imprisoned or were suicides.
The VA denial of a causal connection between Agent Orange/dioxin poisoning and illnesses until 1985.
The DOD's and the VA's refusal to be honest about the connection between the use of depleted uranium (DU) munitions and Gulf war Syndrome.
The 100,000 plus Iraq & Afghanistan war veterans who have received less-than-honorable discharges.
End of Meditations.
When President Obama was signing the bill for increased VA funding, he said, "If you engage in an unethical practice, if you cover up a serious problem, you should be fired. Period. If you blow the whistle on an unethical practice, or bring a problem to the attention of higher ups, you should be thanked." The wars against the Peoples of Indochina and Iraq were more than unethical. Vets that resisted those wars or the military should have their discharges upgraded. Period. The health claims process must be reviewed and the 100s of thousands of appeals of the denial of claim, must be quickly and justly answered.
The VA health care system, with improvement and expansion, could and should serve as a stepping stone to a national medicare for all provider, paid for out of our tax dollars. The inadequacies and failures in the news recently are not the fault of the doctors, nurses or the blue collar staff, but originate in the policies and bad politics at the highest levels of the government in Washington. There is a fundamental contradiction at the VA between the priorities, objectives and culture of the military whose job is to kill and the touch-stone of medicine, which is the Hippocratic Oath, "do no harm." For the VA to get better, the objectives of war and empire must be removed from the health care environment.
Al Donohue member VVAW 1971 til forever.