Friday, November 13, 2015

Congressional Americants

Congressional Americants
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
November 13, 2015

This is Friday the 13th, a day known to some for bad luck but it comes during the week when veterans are supposed to be honored for their service.  The reporters may have missed it but veterans don't blame the VA for what has been going on, they blame Congress.  They don't want to see private doctors, they want the VA fixed and expected it to have been decades ago.

When it came down to fixing it, Congress turned into a bunch of Americants instead of politicians with true gratitude for those who risked their lives for this nation.

Are they lacking information? No since every Congressional hearing is documented and every bill/law they pass is made public as well.

Are they lacking the ability to have expert advice? No. Considering the number of consultants they pay for are supposed to know what they're doing, that shouldn't be an issue.  Are they lacking vision or is it more the case of if they fix the VA, then they wouldn't be able to privatize it?

That is the direction most veterans are thinking right now.  If they fix the VA, then how could they send veterans into the private sector line so the government would pay more to take care of veterans while reducing what they get in return? Why would anyone in their right mind think that was a good idea?  Who would benefit from a stoop so low?  The healthcare industry!

Many cities and towns are holding their activities tomorrow, like in Orlando for the annual Veterans Day Parade.
The 2015 City of Orlando Veterans Day Parade is scheduled for Saturday, November 14 in Downtown Orlando. Hosted by Mayor Buddy Dyer and his Veterans Advisory Council each November, the parade honors the courageous men and women of the armed forces.

The parade includes more than 50 Central Florida veterans groups, the UCF Marching Knights and other marching bands, 13 ROTC and JROTC units, first responders, community groups and military vehicles.

This year’s parade is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. The parade’s five grand marshals all served honorably during the conflict in Vietnam: Sgt. Peter Tattersall (U.S. Army), Col. Bob Springer (U.S. Marine Corps), Corpsman Jon Yeitrakis (U.S. Navy), Capt. William Thomas (U.S. Coast Guard) and Col. Joe Kittinger (U.S. Air Force).

Right now I'm home with a sinus infection and bronchitis trying to make sure that tomorrow I'll be able to be in the parade this year instead of just walking it. If you are going to the parade or watching it, I'll be with the Seabees. You may remember some of them from the video Veterans Not Gonna Take It Anymore.
Apr 12, 2015
Saturday fed up veterans got into a dumpster to show how they feel. Congress has failed them and made them feel like they are disposable. Congress blames the VA only because they refuse to blame themselves! They write the rules, pass the budgets and are supposed to be in control over what the VA does. They had the power going back to 1946!
It is a great time to remind folks of exactly why veterans are so angry about all of this.

Dishonorable Discharges have been in the news lately, since there is a push on to review all of them including Vietnam veterans.

Seems like the right thing to do finally unless you look back and know that Congress was paying attention back in 2007.

St. Louis Dispatch reported that the Army was discharging 10 a day under "personality disorders" in Iraq and just as a reminder of Congressional action,
Working behind the scenes, Sens. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., have written and inserted into the defense authorization bill a provision that would make it harder for the Pentagon to discharge thousands of troops. The Post-Dispatch has learned that the measure has been accepted into the Senate defense bill and will probably become part of the Senate-House bill to be voted on this week.
Yet by 2015
Lawmakers Call For Army To Investigate Misconduct Discharges Of Service Members
NPR
NOVEMBER 04, 2015
"We are concerned that it may be easier to discharge service members for minor misconduct — possibly related to mental health issues — than to evaluate them for conditions that may warrant a medical discharge."

A group of 12 U.S. senators, led by Christopher Murphy, D-Conn., is calling for the Army inspector general to investigate the discharges of tens of thousands of service members diagnosed with mental health disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injuries.
They showed when it came to fixing this, Congress can't or won't. They held hearings and made speeches. Same thing with the number of military and veteran suicides going up.

Congress yet again turned into Americants when the numbers went up just as the number of enlisted went down, but hey, they wouldn't point that out since no one was looking at two sets of numbers. (Unless you read Wounded Times)

They started to "address" reducing suicides when there were 99 Army suicides in 2006.
The report, obtained by The Associated Press ahead of its scheduled release Thursday, found there were 99 confirmed suicides among active duty soldiers during 2006, up from 88 the previous year and the highest number since the 102 suicides in 1991 at the time of the Persian Gulf War.
About twice as many women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan committed suicide as did women not sent to war, the report said.

The Washington Post went to state that many were due to "relationship problems" yet if you happen to be in a relationship with a PTSD veteran, you know what kind of problems come with it. Relationships don't cause PTSD but PTSD does cause problems in even the best relationship. Yet even more reports followed to show that there were more than the 99.
The total of 121 suicides last year, if all are confirmed, would be more than double the 52 reported in 2001, before the Sept. 11 attacks prompted the Bush administration to launch its counter-terror war. The toll was 87 by 2005 and 102 in 2006.
The report also shows an increase in the number of attempted suicides and self-injuries - some 2,100 in 2007 compared to less than 1,500 the previous year and less than 500 in 2002.
And another report came out with this piece of information. Soldier Suicides at Record Level reported by Dana Priest of the Washington Post in 2008.
At the same time, the number of attempted suicides or self-inflicted injuries in the Army has jumped sixfold since the Iraq war began. Last year, about 2,100 soldiers injured themselves or attempted suicide, compared with about 350 in 2002, according to the U.S. Army Medical Command Suicide Prevention Action Plan.
Anyway, what did Congress do about it? They wrote bills, over and over and over again. What was the result?
In the first quarter of 2015, there were 57 suicides among service members in the active component, 15 suicides among service members in the reserve component and 27 suicides among service members in the National Guard.
And Second Quarter
Suicides among active-duty service members rose by 20 percent in the second quarter of this year to 71, according to a new report released Wednesday by the Defense Department.

The Marine Corps had the highest increase differential, 12 suicides, up from three the previous quarter.

The Army had 28 active-duty suicides, the Air Force, 17, and the Navy, 14, according to the report.

Over the first six months of 2015, 130 active-duty troops took their own lives, along with 89 reserve members, including National Guardsmen.
As for what was happening to veterans, it wasn't much better then then again Congress planned on sending troops but never planned on them coming home.

With 2 wars going on, there were less to care for them in the VA.
According to the American Federation of Government Employees, the VA employed 1,392 Veterans Service Representatives in June 2007 compared to 1,516 in January 2003.
But yet again, as outreach efforts were getting veterans to seek help, there was already a waiting line that had been there for decades before. What made it worse for our veterans was that with the reluctance of Congress to actually fix the VA, 148,000 Vietnam veterans joined the line of those waiting the same year.

Two-tiered system of healthcare puts veterans of the war on terror at the top and makes everyone else -- from World War I to the first Gulf War -- "second-class veterans" by Chris Roberts, El Paso Times
In the past 18 months, 148,000 Vietnam veterans have gone to VA centers reporting symptoms of PTSD "30 years after the war," said Brig. Gen. Michael S. Tucker, deputy commanding general of the North Atlantic Regional Medical Command and Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He recently visited El Paso.
An internal directive from a high-ranking Veterans Affairs official creates a two-tiered system of veterans health care, putting veterans of the global war on terror at the top and making every one else -- from World War I to the first Gulf War -- "second-class veterans," according to some veterans advocates.

"I think they're ever pushing us to the side," said former Marine Ron Holmes, an El Paso resident who founded Veterans Advocates. "We are still in need. We still have our problems, and our cases are being handled more slowly."
So as we "honor" Vietnam veteran remember they started the fight for everything done on PTSD and they are the last to receive what they need to heal. They are the majority of the suicides, attempted suicides, backlog of claims, homeless veterans and they are the least reported on.

After they came home, they said "Never again will one generation of veterans leave another behind" but while they kept that promise, I bet they never thought they'd actually be left behind again.