Unconscionable: On How Our Veterans Get Screwed

Cross-posted from Calitics: the progressive community blog for California.

John Doolittle is who he is.  He's not really going to change because he got a bit of a scare in the 2006 elections.  He still opposes labor regulations in the Mariana Islands.  His ethics are still, um, well, less than respectable.  And, oh yeah, he was extremely slow to support our veterans.  In fact, the Disabled American Veterans gives him a stellar rating of 50.  I call that failing.  Sure he'll send our troops to war, but support them when they come home, why bother?  Why bother to make an effort? Why give a portion of your campaign donations to veterans charities like Charlie Brown is doing this Monday (PDF)? I mean, you could give 15% to your wife for "fund raising", that'll help you buy a nicer house, dude! Golly, Democrats are so stupid, they could be doing so much more to pillage the government!

Follow me over the flip...

See, that's the thing about many of these hawks.  They are cool with authorizing money when it makes them look tough. But what are you prepared to do when these people come home. Or forty years later when those veterans need the medical care that comes with old age.  When you keep a standing army, you must make a commitment to those people. You owe them that much.

This brings me to the story of my friend, we shall call him Bill.  Bill was a veteran of the Korean War Days, and is getting up there in years. He's in great shape; he's had very few illnesses or injuries. Sometimes I marvel at how healthy he is considering the remarkable life that he has had.  He's not won any Nobel prizes, but he works hard every day. And I mean that.

So, Bill discovers that he needs to get surgery.  Now, it's nothing major, but causes pain and substantial discomfort.  Tolerable, but nothing that you would want to tolerate.  So, after a couple of appointments to make sure that they have everything diagnosed correctly, they schedule a surgery appointment for Bill.  EIGHT MONTHS AWAY! In November of this year.  It seems that the San Francisco Veterans Hospital, one of the larger VA hospitals, only has one day's worth of a surgeon. He works 4 days at UCSF.  One surgeon for the entirety of the Bay Area.  The situation was the same at the Sacramento VA Hospital.  

Of course, he is eligible for Medicare, but he can't afford the deductible.  He was promised by his country that he would receive health care, but his government has failed him.  When our soldiers came home in the past, they had a plethora of services.  Sure, those same services are still available, but what good are they if they are so ridiculously understaffed as to be a joke.

And so, the President lingers on, fighting a War of Choice, but not choosing to fight for Veterans.  And all the while Doolittle cheers him on in the background.  I can think of no more apt word than "unconscionable."

Tags: CA-04, California, Charlie Brown, Congress, George W. Bush, Health care, Joh Doolittle, VA, veterans (all tags)

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