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The Biggest Scandal Surrounding The VA Is The GOP

Just like to follow-up on an excellent commentary by Ashby this past Friday.

When president Obama took office, there were 180,000 troops in Iraq– a war which he, like the now-resigned General Eric Shinseki, were both outspoken against in terms of reasoning and execution.

Currently there are 33, 500 troops in Afghanistan, with the president calling for more reductions by year’s end, leaving us with about 5,000 troops in a support role by 2015, our country is in the celebration-worthy process of transitioning away from the bloody and costly war(s) bequeathed to this administration by its Mission-Accomplished predecessor.

This didn’t happen because Republicans wanted it to happen. It happened because Barack Obama and Democrats made it happen.

Remember Donald Rumsfeld once said that “you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.” He was responding to a question by Army Spc. Thomas Wilson of the 278th Regimental Combat Team who “complained that military vehicles are not properly armored.”

The same people who were lying us into war and sending the military into combat without proper gear, accounting, an exit strategy, or how we’re going to care for those returning injured and suffering from PTSD– are the same people today trying to convince the layperson that the president is weak, feckless, and covering up for high crimes.

The same president who extended VA treatment for Agent Orange sickness, overturned Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell, signed the Post-9/11 GI Bill, promoted the hiring of returning vets through Joining Forces so maybe they don’t end up homeless like the estimated 200,000 veterans being neglected in this country, while making mental health services possible. Oh yeah, and he’s presiding over the withdrawal of nearly 200,000 troops from combat.

At the State Of The Union address this year, to show the ‘idiot-electorate’ what the returning face of war looks like, President Obama introduced Army Ranger Cory Remsburg.

US Army Ranger Cory Remsburg, wounded in Afghanistan, with First Lady Michelle Obama. Photo: AFP

US Army Ranger Cory Remsburg, wounded in Afghanistan, with First Lady Michelle Obama. Photo: AFP

A month later, Sen. Bernie Sanders brought his bill, S. 1982 to the floor for a vote.

Sen. Jeff Sessions(R-AL) said:

“I don’t think our veterans want their programs to be enhanced if every penny of the money that’s going to enhance those programs is added to the debt of the United States of America.”

Sen. minority leader Mitch McConnell said of the bill,

it “Greatly expands spending without any realistic off-set…”

Sen. Richard Burr(R-NC):

“I think the decision we’ve got here as we debate this legislation is whether we’re gonna commit to a promises that’s what bigger than our kids can fulfill. That costs more than our kids can afford.”

Sen. Dry Mouth Marco Rubio:

“As far as the bill that the chairman here has offered, this bill’s already been debated, and there are problems with this bill, it is an extensive piece of legislation that has many good elements in it, it also has a cost issue at a time when our nation owes 18 close to 18 trillion dollars. And that was the reason so many colleagues on my side of the aisle objected to it. And that’s why I would object to the motion made here today by the senator from Vermont.”

The bill was defeated 56-41, with all but two Republicans voting against its passage.

You see, there’s just no money for caring for our returning veterans, according to the Republican party, but there’s always plenty of extra loot to pass trillion dollar tax breaks off to millionaires and billionaires who’ve profited richly from years-long warring.

The do-nothing/obstructionist Republicans managed to get H.R. 4031 passed in the fog of civil war with overwhelming pitch-fork support this week– a bill that does next to nothing to fix the problems at the VA, merely allowing for the firing of staff and management overseeing the VA, and without due process.

They write, “H.R. 4031 will ensure that those who made veterans wait and suffer will be held accountable.”

When will Republicans be held accountable?

According to CBO estimates, “there is no cost associated with the bill.”

That should totally provide the VA with adequate personnel in place to deal with the influx of wounded resulting from the GOP’s unexceptional adventures in war-making.

While the GOP uses this opportunity, or “gift from god,” to further their goals of turning the military against the Obama administration for their American Liberty League/Smedley Butler coup– clinging to their little, petalless daisy of foreign policy strength–  it helps to remember that after the wars, the lies that led to wars, the blood and treasury squandered for false bravado– this is what Republican concern for the troops looks like:

World War II memorial– government shutdown 2013. John Shinkle/POLITICO


And this is President Obama’s:

Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times

  • Draxiar

    Wow. Bravo sir.

  • drspittle

    Nailed it as usual. Appreciate the GOP/American Liberty League/Smedley Butler analogy. So true.

  • nathkatun7

    Thank you Mr. Brink for speaking TRUTH! Sadly the vast majority of Americans who rely on corporate media, a.k.a. the mainstream media, never get to hear/read the truth. Instead, all they get is hype, sensationalism, and GOP propaganda. As far as I am concerned, the current corporate media, which for the most part act as the GOP propaganda organ, are the biggest threat to our democracy.

  • gescove

    Excellent article, Brink.

  • Brutlyhonest

    Nice work, as usual. I tried for years to explain to people that being pro-defense industry was not the same as pro-military. Very few were willing to look at the way republican’s voted instead of following the party line. Doing what you’re told without question makes for good grunts, but it has a downside. Having faux news on in almost every waiting room I was ever in made me want to almost cry.

    People are expensive. That’s why rummy wanted to cut force levels and replace as many people as possible with technology. Silly 9/11 got in the way though. Especially after that ridiculous foray into Iraq on their personal vendetta.

    It’s kind of funny (not haha) that a lot of cuts and changes to benefits will likely finally happen now because of the teabaggers. These changes have been proposed by bean counters for as long as I can remember, but never had a real chance of getting implemented until now.

    But I digress.

  • muselet

    I’m at a loss to understand why anyone buys into the GOP’s claim that it is the party that Supports Our Troops! and Honors Our Veterans! If it ever was, it ceased to be so when the Republican Catechism was modified to begin:

    Q: What is the greatest evil in the world?
    A: Government, which is wicked and wasteful and gives money to icky people who aren’t just like us.

    Q: What is the greatest good in the world?
    A: The military equipment of the United States, which is good and pure and blessed by our very specific version of the Sky Bully*, and which shall rain righteousness onto our manifold enemies.

    Q: And what of the flesh-and-blood people who enlist in the military and operate that equipment?
    A: They’re a bunch of uneducated losers who mooch off of taxpayers. If they were smart, they’d have chosen their parents more carefully and become legacy admissions to Ivy League universities, then gone on to write for the National Review.

    Throwing tens of thousands of people into meat-grinder wars and then fillibustering increases in the Veterans Health Administration to care for those wounded in those wars is not Supporting Our Troops! or Honoring Our Veterans!, and yet the rat bastards get away with claiming it is, over and over and over.

    (Goodness, I’m in a mood today. Apologies for the vented spleen.)

    * Tim Minear via Joss Whedon


    • *bows down*
      An extraordinary rant, sir.

  • rob black

    Thank you again for the truth mr. brink. It is in short supply these days…