Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The VA Scandal: It's About Too Many Long 'wars', Not Enough Gov't Employees

 As the Republicans continue screeching outrage and pique  - now about the VA hospitals that left dozens of vets on "secret waiting lists"- it is important (as with most things the 'pukes scream about, like Benghazi) to get a perspective.  The Republicans and their vocal media mouthpieces (like Hannity, Beck and Limbaugh) are all about how Obama and his administration left those patriotic vets hanging waiting for care, until the bitter end.

But polls show people don't buy it, at least the sensible ones. One poll cited yesterday (by Bill Maher)  disclosed only 17% blame Obama for the fiasco at the VA, but truth be told this should even be lower. It is, in fact, the Republicans who dispatched the country into two, extended wars of choice - that were totally unnecessary. Bush, Cheney and their minions then are to blame for launching these wars, while also CUTTING taxes instead of raising them.

This budgetary myopia showed they were more interested in starting unnecessary conflicts than looking ahead to the formidable costs, in medical and psychological terms. They wanted the pseudo-glory and bravado, such as trotting Dumbya Bush out in his flight suit to the "Mission Accomplished" idiocy, as opposed to constructing all the hospitals and hiring the VA staff that would be needed to care for the maimed vets they dispatched into harm's way ......on false pretexts.

The Reeps never talk about having been able to vote on a $24b bill that would have opened 27 new VA hospitals but punted. They felt it was "too much money" going to fuel "big government". Well, you get what you pay for.  The Reepos have also overseen the downsizing of VA staff - in tandem with their yen to "sink government in a bathtub" .

 Currently then, only 20,000 VA workers are there to take care of 100 million appointments a year - which is an outrage. There ought to be at least double that number, as there ought to be more Social Security offices (and workers too), instead of shuttering hundreds of S.S. offices across the nation - to make it much more difficult for seniors to get benefits.

The moral of the story in all this? Don't instigate or incite wars where you don't belong, and keep them going for a decade (or more) if you're not willing to pay for the projected medical costs. Don't cut taxes and call what you're engaging in a "war" if you don't increase taxes so that all citizens share in the sacrifice. Don't tell 98% of the nation to "go shopping" and tell the others they must "fight for the 98 percent's freedoms" - unless you want to make an ass out of yourself.

Sadly, Obama, in his visit to Afghanistan over the weekend, still doesn't seem to have gotten the message - indicating the Afghan conflict "must end responsibly" - meaning troops will remain there in harm's way past this year. WHY? There is no reason to keep them there, and doing so will not secure Afghanistan's future any more than staying in 'Nam would have secured its future from the North Vietnamese. As Sun Tzu would have put it, that war was lost before even begun. (His actual statement in 'The Art of War' is "Wars are lost or won before they begin").

The wise move here, given the unfolding VA crisis in inadequate medical care, is to pull those troops - ALL of them - by year's end. Then, there is some smattering of a chance (not much!) that the VA personnel needs can catch up to the urgent care and waiting vets. But it is clueless to risk many more injured vets - from Afghanistan- when the under-staffed and underfunded system obviously can't handle them.

Mr. Obama, end the Afghan fiasco now! Take note of Thomas Friedmann's words that it makes no sense to do nation building overseas if we don't do nation building in our own country first.

Our own country cries out for repair (of its infrastructure) and also creation of millions of new jobs not affiliated with weapons manufacture or warring. Not to mention, healing its own citizens-  from students' inundated by debt, to families barely eking by on food stamps.

Let us take care of our own country now, and the existing vets awaiting care, as opposed to adding thousands more that the downsized (thanks to Reepos) government  and VA simply cannot handle.

Just my two cents!

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