More on the Washington Times piece

 
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More on the Washington Times piece

The more I read that piece the angrier I get.  It's certainly one thing to advocate for a position, we all do that.  But reporters are supposed to report facts which are germane to whatever they are talking about.  I wouldn't interview someone about a crime they witnessed and NOT state that the person happens to be related to the alleged criminal, that would be unethical.  Right?  I mean, isn't that journalism 101?

So back to that piece, I was rereading this portion today:

Meanwhile, other organizations have stepped up to lobby for post-9/11 veterans.

Lt. Cmdr. Sean Foertsch, a Navy reservist who served in Afghanistan, said younger veterans typically don’t need service organizations to fight for the benefits they were promised. He said military personnel have largely been spared from the budget cuts that have hurt other parts of the federal government because of overwhelming public support for troops.

This has several problems that are apparent on the face of them.  When you see the words “military personnel have largely been spared from the budget cuts,” do you wonder why?  The Pentagon has been looking to cut those benefits for years and years and years, and Congress keeps telling them no.  The Pentagon responds that the budget for benefits is unmanageable into the future.  So if Congress is sparing us, why are they doing it?  Kindness?  No, they are doing it because of teams of lobbyists up there telling them the reasons they shouldn't.  Rather than be a point against VSOs, wouldn't this logically make the contrary argument: "Hey look, the VSOs just saved you a 100 percent increase on the cost of your copays."

Second, who is responsible for the public support of the troops?  Again, I give the credit to the former guys that said "not on my watch."  It may just be some sort of pendular movement and such, with WWII being a highpoint, Vietnam being the low, and us swinging back.  But what happens when the pendulum inevitably swings again? 

The article continues:

Lt. Cmdr. Foertsch, who decided not to renew his Legion membership this year, said older veterans groups are “more interested in being a political player than actually addressing the needs of vets.”

TAL, VFW and others have ALWAYS been active political players.  [One quick note of clarification, we are political, not partisan.  That difference is important.  We lobby for issues, not people or parties.]  That's why the Legion got the original GI Bill passed.  Have you ever read how that came to be?  Just this snippet from Wiki makes the case:

Harry W. Colmery, a former national commander of the American Legion and former Republican National Chairman, is credited for writing the first draft of the G.I. Bill.[7][8] He reportedly jotted down his ideas on stationery and a napkin at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.[8] U.S. Senator Ernest McFarland, D-Arizona, was actively involved in the bill's passage and is known, with Warren Atherton, as one of the "fathers of the G.I. Bill." One might then term Edith Nourse Rogers, R-Mass, who helped write and who co-sponsored the legislation, as the "mother of the G.I. Bill". Like Colmery, her contribution to writing and passing this legislation has been obscured by time.[9]


But, okay, you can say that was another generation.  But that's the whole point, it's not as if suddenly the Legion decided "We'll play a part in politics, working for our nation's veterans."  We've been doing that since 1919.  So what's the difference this time?

Well, the answer may lie with Lt. Cmdr. Foertsch's employer.......

What the Washington Times left out is that his job title is "Acting Executive Director, Veterans Health Administration Communications."

Let me see if I get this straight.  The Legion is out front pointing out the wait time fiasco and other problems in VA.  TAL then calls for Secretary Shinseki's resignation.  Eventually pretty much everyone (apparently including Shinseki) agree it is time to move on.  TAL invites the President of the United States and the New Secretary of VA to the Legion convention to address us, which they both do.  And they both state that the problems of the VA are best answered by a communal effort of VA employees, other government agencies, other stakeholders (i.e. veterans themselves) and the Veterans Service Organizations. 

And then we get this article where one former VA employee (Kate Hoit) bashes us in the first paragraph, and then later we get this random person on the street saying that we are superfluous and unneeded, and the author of the piece forgot to mention that they both worked for the organization that specifically and publicly asked for our help?

Really?

Not interested in the needs of vets?  We're doing things all across the country to address the deficiencies identified by the VA's own IG.  We're trying to help save the VA, trying to help it meet the needs of the people who have "borne the battle" (AGAIN, at the request of both VA and the President) and we're getting sniped by their communications guy?

No one thinks this was pertinent information?



Posted in the burner | 1 comment
 
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@Chuck Sherman. Yes, Chuck, there are still some Posts that discourage younger veterans; however, visit a Post that has an American Legion Rider group and see how many WWII veterans are still riding. You'll find a couple but mainly you'll find the younger veterans and some still on active duty. They get involved in the Post activities and enjoy listening to the "old timer" stories. There are no smoking Posts and bingo Posts (ours) and there are a lot of other activities to get involved in. I invite you to find a Post that has the qualities you need. Get involved and make changes.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.