Americans not doing enough to challenge treatment of veterans
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was released from five years of Taliban captivity as a prisoner of war (POW) in exchange for five hardened terrorists from Guantanamo Bay. It is a deal that has sparked fury within the United States, mainly because some are alleging Bergdahl is not a POW, but rather a deserter.
As is usual in America, citizens and politicians alike are pointing fingers, fighting about how the Bergdahl situation has been handled. They see it as another fault of the Obama administration. Others contend it is just another leftover mess from the Bush administration.
Some Americans are trying to prove their love of country by attempting to turn Bergdahl into a traitor before producing evidence; yet they have shown little emotion over how our veterans are being treated here at home.
Veterans Affairs (VA) is conducting a system-wide investigation after it was found that the Phoenix VA Health Care System had about 1,700 veterans in need of care on secret waiting lists, and another that had 1,400 waited over 90 days for primary care appointments. The scandal led to the resignation last week of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.
The problems with delayed care and unauthorized wait lists also caused a furor at Midwest, but in much smaller numbers, VA officials said in letters to two U.S. senators this week.
The Department of Veterans Affairs maintained 10 such “secret waiting lists” of military veterans in need of care at facilities in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana, the letters said. They also said at least 96 veterans waited more than 90 days for treatment at seven facilities in those states, including 26 in St. Louis and 19 in Columbia, Missouri.
The letters said that eight of the 10 lists “served to complement authorized lists to more fully support Veteran care and access.” But the two other lists, including one at the Wichita facility, “placed Veterans at risk.”
The people reading this probably do not have the power, alone, to change how our government refuses our veterans what they rightly deserve. But there does not appear to be many Americans rallying to see the VA situation rectified, or to see deserving veterans receive proper medical care.
And maybe most are sitting back and doing nothing because it would take work to hold the government accountable for mishandling the VA and its clients. It’s easier, after all, to shout in outrage over the exchange of a supposed traitor for five violent men than actually start confronting your elected leaders about the treatment of our veterans.
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