Deep-six­ing Amer­ica’s vet­er­ans

Un­car­ing bu­reau­crats let for­mer war­riors die while wait­ing for med­i­cal care

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Tammy Bruce

Would you be out­raged if I told you the fed­eral gov­ern­ment gath­ered 300,000 of our vet­er­ans, marched them onto 200 ocean lin­ers the size of Titanic, dis­patched them out into the mid­dle of the At­lantic Ocean, then sank ev­ery ship and sent all those Amer­i­cans to their deaths?

You and ev­ery­one else would be out­raged. It’s an un­think­able, ob­scene act, a crime against hu­man­ity, and yet we now know, ac­cord­ing to the Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs in­spec­tor gen­eral, that’s es­sen­tially what the fed­eral gov­ern­ment may have done.

Re­vealed in a shock­ing new re­port, the in­spec­tor gen­eral says at least 300,000 vet­er­ans died while wait­ing for their ap­pli­ca­tions for ben­e­fits to be ap­proved.

While the im­pact of a pas­sive-ag­gres­sive act is less dra­matic than ac­tu­ally set­ting up a killing cen­ter, we get the same re­sult. Re­gard­less if ac­tion sent them to a death panel or in­ac­tion was the method by sim­ply do­ing noth­ing to get them the help they re­quested, the re­sult is the same — a dead man or woman who served this na­tion.

Think about that: The in­com­pe­tence, in­ep­ti­tude and cor­rup­tion at the VA killed so many vet­er­ans it’s the equiv­a­lent of 200 Ti­tan­ics. The num­ber of dead vet­er­ans is also more than the 250,000 souls lost in the 2004 In­dian Ocean tsunami, ap­pro­pri­ately con­sid­ered one of the most hor­rific losses of life in hu­man history.

The Civil War’s Bat­tle at Get­tys­burg, the largest bat­tle ever fought in North Amer­ica, cost 51,000 sol­diers their lives. Now our own gov­ern­ment, un­der the guise of “health care” for our he­roes, has ap­par­ently de­liv­ered upon us the death equiv­a­lent of six bat­tles at Get­tys­burg.

I of­fer these per­spec­tives be­cause those who rely on legacy media wouldn’t nec­es­sar­ily know this has hap­pened. They’d know all about football quar­ter­back Tom Brady’s sus­pen­sion be­ing re­versed by a judge. They’d know about the county clerk in Ken­tucky re­fus­ing to is­sue gay mar­riage li­censes. Heck, that’s been the No. 1 story on the Google news lineup for days now. Ac­cord­ing to one news wire server, Pres­i­dent Obama ap­par­ently “stared down” a glacier in Alaska, be­cause of global warm­ing or some­thing. That was big news, too.

But the un­de­ni­able state­ment about how a mas­sive bu­reau­cracy has turned into a malev­o­lent and cor­rupt mes­sen­ger of mass death isn’t news. That fact alone re­minds us of po­lit­i­cal the­o­rist Han­nah Arendt’s in­tro­duc­tion of the con­cept of the “banal­ity of evil,” or how evil doesn’t ex­ist ex­clu­sively in so­ciopaths or mon­sters per se, but can man­i­fest in the most or­di­nary of peo­ple, depend­ing on the cir­cum­stance.

No one is fired, noth­ing is shut down. There are more ex­cuses, more pan­der­ing, more as­sur­ances. How many more need to die be­fore this dis­eased fed­eral gov­ern­ment and its hand­maid­ens ad­mit big gov­ern­ment not only doesn’t work, but in fact it’s a deadly ma­chine, so large it can no longer con­ceive of the hu­man­ity at­tached to a name, a So­cial Se­cu­rity num­ber or ser­vice record.

Our vets are peo­ple who were pre­pared to give their lives de­fend­ing the free­dom this na­tion not only rep­re­sents, but of­fers all of hu­man­ity. They fought for her and came home to a bu­reau­cracy that didn’t care and “deleted” them. Or ig­nored them. These in­di­vid­u­als were an ex­tra piece of pa­per, an ap­pli­ca­tion to hide, a num­ber on a sheet to throw away.

Ac­cord­ing to Fox News, the in­spec­tor gen­eral’s re­port came in re­sponse to a whistle­blower warn­ing of the like­li­hood that 200,000 vets died wait­ing for the bu­reau­cracy to get to them.

These num­bers are stag­ger­ing, but they’re the tip of the ice­berg. The 300,000 is part a mind­bog­gling 800,000 records (also known to us reg­u­lar peo­ple as in­di­vid­ual vets) stuck in the sys­tem, some for decades. On top of that, the in­spec­tor gen­eral found VA staffers likely deleted an ad­di­tional 10,000 or more ap­pli­ca­tions in just the last five years. Want more ev­i­dence of the mon­ster big gov­ern­ment be­comes? Try this from CNN: “The re­port said an in­ter­nal VA in­ves­ti­ga­tion in 2010 found staffers had hid­den vet­er­ans’ ap­pli­ca­tions in their desks so they could process them at a later time, but hu­man re­sources later rec­om­mended the staffers re­spon­si­ble not be dis­ci­plined. Scott Davis, a pro­gram spe­cial­ist at the VA Health El­i­gi­bil­ity Cen­ter, said thou­sands more vet­er­ans who have re­turned from com­bat in Iraq and Afghanistan have not re­ceived care be­cause of be­ing er­ro­neously placed in the en­roll­ment sys­tem’s back­log. He said many of these com­bat vet­er­ans have since lost their five-year el­i­gi­bil­ity for care due to the de­lay.”

Evil. Ba­nal in­deed.

Tammy Bruce is a ra­dio talk show host.

IL­LUS­TRA­TION BY GREG GROESCH/THE WASHINGTON TIMES

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