Sunday, January 15, 2006

Discharged and Dishonored: Shortchanging America's Veterans

“Discharged and dishonored: Shortchanging America's veterans”

Just recently, “Mr.” James Mueller, national head of the Veterans of Foreign Wars announced that veterans would be happy to take a cut in their benefits to help resolve the screwed up economic disaster Bush/Cheney & Co., Inc. have created. He went on to further state that we wouldn’t mind a “little less on our plates” to help out. Behind that, I immediately withdrew my membership from that organization, and am requesting that all veterans that are currently VFW members to do likewise.

How much less does Mueller want veterans to take? How many more veterans does Mueller want to see die under a bridge? How many more veterans does Mueller want to see take their own lives due to lack of care, concern, commitment to those “who bore the brunt of battle”?

Veterans’ organizations are supposed to mouth pieces fighting on behalf of the veterans they serve and not to try and get veterans to acquiesce to those who could care less—our so-called national leaders. Maybe Mueller should read the following essay, “Discharged and Dishonored: Shortchanging America’s Veterans(below) as it is obvious to me he is completely out of touch with the reality veterans are faced with.

That Mueller is a veteran himself makes this all the worse in my book. It is an act of betrayal to all veterans. For Mueller and the VFW organization to come out
in full support of this illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq is ludicrous to say the least. Especially in lieu of the known outright lies and deceptions that led us into this mess which is creating so many more disabled veterans, and so much death upon the Iraqi people.

Remember April 25, 2006 and The March For Veterans 2006! -- Jack

“Veterans face lengthy delays if they appeal the VA's decisions. The average wait is nearly three years, and many veterans wait 10 years for a final ruling. In the past decade, several thousand veterans died before their cases were resolved, according to an analysis of VA data.”

Discharged and dishonored: Shortchanging America's veterans
By: Chris Adams and Alison Young
Jan 14, 2006

DRY RIDGE, Ky. - Like thousands of his fellow veterans of America's wars, Alfred Brown died waiting.

In 1945, when he was a 19-year-old soldier fighting in Italy, shrapnel from an enemy shell ripped into his abdomen. His wounds were so severe that he was twice administered last rites. When Brown came home, the government that had promised to care for its wounded veterans instead shorted him.

Not until 1981, however, did Brown realize that his monthly disability check didn't cover all the injuries he'd suffered. He launched what would become a 21-year battle.

"As a member of the so-called 'Greatest Generation,' I am well aware of the large numbers of us passing away," he wrote the nation's chief veterans judge in 2001. "I am prepared to meet our Creator. My fear is that your court will not make a decision in my case."

Brown was right. He died a year later, and his case died with him. As he closed the books on the case, Judge Kenneth Kramer acknowledged that Brown might have been right all along. Had Brown not died, the judge wrote, "I believe that the Court would likely have so held."

Tens of thousands of other veterans have returned from war only to find that they have to fight their own government to win the disability payments they're owed. A Knight Ridder investigation has found that injured soldiers who petition the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for those payments are often doomed by lengthy delays, hurt by inconsistent rulings and failed by the veteran’s representatives who try to help them.

The investigation was based on interviews with veterans and their families from around the country and on a review of internal VA documents and computerized databases that had never been released to the public. Many of the records were made available only after Knight Ridder sued the agency in federal court.


The VA is a mammoth agency that serves 25 million veterans with a far-flung health care system and a separate disability and pension operation. The agency spends over $60 billion a year, more than $20 billion of it on disability compensation.

But the Knight Ridder investigation found that the VA serves neither taxpayers nor veterans well. Some veterans never get what they're due; while antiquated regulations mean that others are paid for disabilities that have little effect on their ability to hold jobs or aren't related to their military service.

For America's veterans, plus the thousands of soldiers now returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, the investigation identified three points where cases often go wrong: the selection of a special representative called a veterans service officer, the review by a regional VA office and the filing of an appeal.

Among Knight Ridder's findings: This Must Read Full Report Is Here:

Also See:

Who’s Responsible?

Former Army Major Tammy Duckworth lost both her legs in Iraq. The helicopter pilot--a major in the Illinois Army National Guard--was flying a Blackhawk over hostile territory when a rocket-propelled grenade hit her aircraft. Duckworth spent the next 13 months in hospitals and rehab centers, in a wheelchair or on prosthetic limbs, trying to relearn the skills she'd once taken for granted. “It’s the very little things,” that can be the hardest, she says. “It’s something as mundane as trying to do your laundry. For me, it was changing the sheets on my bed. How do you do that if you have no legs?”

Read The Full Stroy Here:


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