Tommy, step aside

Posted: December 2, 2007 in america, Bush, veterans, war

It seems the Iraq war has resulted in yet another national disgrace. Estimates indicate that many OIF veterans, most with traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, or other physical or psychological injuries, are returning home to find that there is no home for them to return to.

This is nothing new. The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans and the VA have estimated that as many as 200,000 veterans are homeless on any given night, and of those 400 or more are Iraq war veterans. In fact, it’s also estimated that approximately 33% of all homeless people are veterans. Most are male, and 47% fought in the Vietnam War.

This is a disgrace. No one who served our country by risking life and limb should be without shelter. But that’s the reality of life in America. We support our troops while they’re doing their job, or at least we wear the t-shirts and bumper stickers, but once they come home we don’t want to hear from them again. We want them to “get on with life” and “forget” what they saw and did.

Well, many of them can’t forget. They’re traumatized by nightmares, wracked by physical pain, and for them the war is still going on. They fight it every day, and many turn to drugs to escape the pain of daily life. Some even start before they leave the military. This often contributes to their eventual discharge and downward spiral.

Of course, a significant part of the problem lies with the administration’s radical, thoughtless and unprincipled budget cuts. The VA, as I have previously reported, has had its budget slashed in recent years, and is now buckling under the strain of nearly a million new veterans in need of care and treatment. The DoD’s budget was cut to the bone by Rumsfeld during the earlier years of the Bush administration and is now nearly unable to provide even basic services to soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines at home, much less to those in need of post-war care and rehabilitation.

The VA and other veterans’ programs are desperately in need of more money, and that can only come from taxpayers like you and me. But Bush & Co. steadfastly refuse to do the right thing and raise taxes. And so the country continues to short-change its heroes, leaving them to fend for themselves after they’ve been used, broken and cast aside.

No veteran should ever have to live on the streets. This is a national disgrace.

I have a solution. Actually, it’s a multi-part plan. First, we double the tax rate for the wealthiest Americans. Currently 85% of the wealth in this country is controlled by less than 1% of the population, and these are the people least likely to send their own sons off to die (just ask Shit Romney). Given that 100% of the war burden is currently being borne by only 1% of the population, and those tend overwhelmingly to come from the lower and middle classes, I think it’s only fair that the wealthy pay for the upkeep of the war they’re not fighting. After all, wealth is power, and with power comes responsibility.

Second, a house for every wounded veteran. I’ve noticed that George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld ain’t hurtin’ for cash. They’re all three multi-millionaires, if not billionaires. Surely they can pony up the greenbacks to buy a house for every wounded veteran returning home from Iraq. And one for the families of those killed. If they already own a home, then Bush & Co. should personally pay off their mortgage. They started this thing, they should have to pay for its consequences.

Third, we canvass all the other Republican chickenhawks and make them pay a share of the cost. Maybe Rush Limbaugh would like to donate some of his vast personal wealth to helping treat vets with drug problems.

This isn’t about retribution. It’s about justice, and doing what’s right for our nation’s heroes. It’s time the beneficiaries of their sacrifice shouldered their share of the burden.

  1. Dennis Thorp says:

    Veterans: The captive population for PTSD Studies in Syracuse .NY
    Central New York Research Corporation (CNYRC)

    Central New York Research Corporation (CNYRC) is a not-for-profit research corporation that was established to facilitate the conduct of approved medical research at the VA Medical Center in Syracuse. CNYRC has an administrative staff of 3 to support the approximately 35 full and part time employees conducting numerous research projects. CNYRC is one of a very small group of not-for-profits affiliated with VA medical centers that has developed its own indirect cost rate with the National Institute of Health (NIH) allowing it to administer this type of grant. CNYRC has been a very willing partner and continues to support medical research at the Syracuse VA Medical Center. This support is facilitated through the receipt and distribution of research funds origination from non-Department of Veterans Affairs. CNYRC administers all phases of research and related educational activities supported by its holdings.

    CNYRC may purchase, own and dispose of equipment and supplies of approved research activities. All purchase requests must be submitted using the appropriate purchase order form and approved by the appropriate approving official. CNYRC also supports travel both domestic and foreign to scientific meetings, seminars and conferences if such travel is related to the investigator’s research.

    Funds received by CNYRC from such sources as but are not limited to, federal or private non-profit agencies, charitable foundations, professional societies, commercial organizations such as pharmaceutical companies, and personal contributions origination from individuals or groups. These funds can only be accepted if they meet the following criteria, that the investigator has an appointment with the VA Medical Center Syracuse and that the Research and Development Committee and all appropriate Subcommittees have approved the investigator’s project and related funding. All funds accepted by CNYRC are subject to a 20% administrative assessment, which are used in support of research at the Syracuse VA Medical Center. Vulnerable patients are often enrolled in experiments not designed to protect their welfare or to serve their best interest after all we have an endless supply of veterans that we can use in our testing, right Mr. Cody. That why I, believe that Mr. Jim Cody should tendered his resignation for the good of our veterans. Dennis Thorp is a native of Frankfort and served as a U.S. Army medic during the Vietnam War. He is co-founder of Agent Orange Victims

  2. Dennis Thorp says:

    Veterans: The captive population for Human Research

    Repeated and extended deployments to war zones have driven a rise in post-traumatic stress among troops. It may be good to support your troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, but it is much better to demand accountability from those responsible for the lack of their care. The legal case against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) seeks widespread changes in the agency. The VA has difficulty in the preparation, processing and analysis of veterans information to support the effective and efficient preparation of the VA’s hundreds of thousands of veterans claims.120 War Vets Commit Suicide Each Week ,and I, keep hearing that this is the 21st century, Can Congress please make the VA join it, make the claims process digital !!!!!!!!
    Because of this, the DVA has deliberately cheated some traumatized war veterans out of benefits owed to them. The case was filed in a federal court in San Francisco, much like the case filed in federal court for Agent Orange in 1979. Suing on behalf of hundreds of thousands of veterans, the coalition claims they have been let down on several fronts. These include the provision of prompt disability benefits and additional staff to reduce waiting times for medical care and services to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. The coalition says the DVA worked with the Pentagon to misclassify post-traumatic stress disorder claims as pre-existing personality disorders. The cost to veterans, their families and the nation will be incalculable, it says, unless systematic and drastic measures are instituted immediately. There has been no reaction to the legal action from the Department of Veterans Affairs, because the Department of Veterans Affairs really could care less about the concerns or the plight of these veterans. Veterans at the Syacuse VA facility are pretty much a captive population, having no alternative treatment options outside the system. The case, however, is a demonstration of systemic failure–not only at VA facilities. Patients at prestigious academic medical centers are also not protected from experiments that expose them to undisclosed risks–their welfare and best interest are often disregarded, as local institutional review boards (IRBs) rubber stamped their approval. Vulnerable patients are often enrolled in experiments not designed to protect their welfare or to serve their best interest. For example, critically ill patients in intensive care units at some of the nation’s most prestigious hospitals were recruited into a federally funded, multi-site experiment conducted by the ARDSNet affiliated hospitals. The subjects of the experiment were withdrawn from the individualized treatment prescribed by critical care specialists, and randomly assigned to one of two extreme treatment methods for pumping oxygen into their lungs. The patients’ condition, in most cases, precluded their ability to give or withhold informed consent. They were conscripted without consent, without full disclosure of the risks or alternative treatment available – the number of patients who may have died who might have lived had they remained on the individually selected treated outside of the research protocol, is in disputeThey will ask that more studies be done and ask Congress for more funding. The Human Research VA foundations and VA enterprise centers see the veterans as cash cows for financial grants, etc. Senator Bruno, tell the American public who your biggest supporters are. Could it be Central Research Corp. located in the Syracuse VA? I’ve asked for a meeting to talk to James Cody for the last FOUR years so we could start some programs to address these problems, to this day we haven’t met. I think it’s long over due that Mr. Cody tendered his resignation and joined VA Secretary Jim Nicholson for the good of our veterans. Dennis Thorp is a native of Frankfort and served as a U.S. Army medic during the Vietnam War. He is co-founder of Agent Orange Victims

  3. Dennis Thorp says:

    As a member of The Sons of the American Revolution, with a strong and proud military family, I feel Our government has been playing games with our veterans ever since the Oneida Indian Nation fought in the Revolutionary War. They were among our first American Solders and took up arms against the British to help our nation earn its independence after our Revolution. Our new government used land seized from the British to compensate our veterans and the Oneida veterans were stripped of much of their original territory, by having 10 million acres of land taken from them. Look how they have been treated by our government ever since.

    The Oneida Nation is one of the area’s largest employers and every time they try, economically, to improve this area, they need to fight the State and the Federal Government. You realize they have two citizenships, one for being a veteran of the Revolutionary war, and one through their mother’s bloodline. I am concerned with the injustice that was done to the Oneidas by an ungrateful country.

    Presently our current service members have who have had repeated and extended deployments to war zones, have shown a rise in post-traumatic stress and other war-related wounds among troops. While it is good to support your troops that are serving our interest it is better to demand accountability from those responsible for the lack of their care in these injuries. It is utterly disgusting that VA hospitals are turning away those most in need. Those in charge of VA hospitals need to take responsibility for their lack of actions. I believe the whole VA system needs an overhaul and very soon. More and more wounded troops coming home and they need both physical and mental health care.

    Our troops deserve the best of all aspects of care! Wake up, America! We fail to take care of our own as we should and I think it’s time that we start.

    This will surprise nobody who has ever encountered the VA medical system. The entire operation is a horror show mostly run by lazy, self-important, arrogant and self-satisfied bureaucrats. This kind of treatment has been going on for years and years and years. VA hospitals are in hopeless situations. This type of treatment is the rule and not the exception for those who are closely associated with regular active duty military. It’s sad, but true.

    If certain services cannot be provided for a veteran or military patient then they are suppose to be referred to a civilian facility with no cost to the service member or veteran. Many of our own go without and this shouldn’t be a surprise for the VA system when it comes to treating any new service related condition. In this situation, the Iraq veteran is in the same boat as the Vietnam veteran in the 1970’s. At least now, they have a name for it, PTSD, and Agent Orange has been proven, but the VA doesn’t take it seriously!

    It’s terrible that our country is ignoring the cries of our vets. It’s no surprise what is happening with the Syracuse Veterans Hospital if similar acts are occurring around the country. I’ve have made many attempts in the last four years to talk with Mr. Cody, the head of the VA hospital in Syracuse NY, about these conditions He is self-important, arrogant, with a “don’t call me I’ll call you” attitude and there has been no dialog. I believe that Mr. Jim Cody should tender his resignation for the good of our veterans.

    Dennis Thorp is a native of Frankfort and served as an U.S. Army medic during the Vietnam War. He is co-founder of Agent Orange Victims International.


  4. lou anna harman says:

    I am looking for anyone that can help a Vietnam vet. that has the
    Agent Orange Cancer effect.
    Where can a person find a Dr. that will Help with this terrible problem.
    The whole body is affected with , well you would have to see to beleive this persons pain.
    What can be done to help. I have been told by one cancer patient, his Dr. gave him a shot of SOMETHING, cost $1700.00. That is a small price to pay for life to be a lot better than fighting with no answers and no Dr. seems to want to help, they just turn and say “There is nothing that can be done.