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View Diary: This is my last case as Veteran’s advocate – and it’s the worst I’ve ever seen (228 comments)

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  •  actually, llbear, this comment was not meant (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    llbear

    in support.  I'm not anti-veteran, but what if this guy was just prone to alcoholism and panic attacks prior to enlisting?

    Your diary doesn't really delineate what, exactly, the nature of his service in Germany was.  What did he do there?  Was he a Cold Warrior staged on the Berlin Wall, facing off against East Germans?  Was he just an enlisted man, punching the clock while stationed there along with thousands and thousands of other servicemen?  

    What exactly did he experience, as a result of his being stationed in Germany, that contributed to his inability to cope?

    I can't tell from this diary.  Could the adjuticants tell from whatever testimony and evidence that was provided?

    Does everyone who serves in the military get a pension based upon whatever problems they may suffer, based upon the a priori service?  Or must a casual link be proven?

    I have two cousins who joined the army who were both, looking back, probably suffering from depression prior to their decision to enlist.  Was that depression grandfathered by the US Armed Forces?  

    I'm not trying to be a dick here.  This is a big ticket item, and threatens to consume a significant portion of the Defense Appropriations over the next 30 years.

    Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

    by Keith930 on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 05:14:15 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Keith here is where you are spot on: (16+ / 0-)
      This is a big ticket item, and threatens to consume a significant portion of the Defense Appropriations over the next 30 years.
      It is. Every Veteran will tell you the best way to reduce the government's obligation to Veterans is don't create any. We are expensive. But the deal is this:
      If we don't kill you, we'll take care of you for the rest of your life. It's a mantra repeated everytime you are asked to risk your life.
      As far as the rest of your questions here is the answer: When you raise your hand and pledge your life to defend this country, the military takes you as you are - lock, stock, and barrel. It doesn't matter what his rank was, nor what he was required to do. He did what was asked to the best of his ability and for that got an honorable discharge.

      We - you and I - owe Tom. Period. Full stop.

      Those who fought the war in Afghanistan won it. Get them out of Afghanistan NOW . . . It's long past time. Those who want to wage the next war in Afghanistan are condemned to lose it.

      by llbear on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 05:28:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  thanks for responding as you did (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        llbear, glescagal, nancelot

        because I am just asking questions here.  It is a big ticket item, as I'm sure you know.  I don't have a link, but I can find it if anyone demands...I read an article about a year ago that quoted Panetta as saying that if Veterans benefits keep growing at the level they have been over the past 10 years, they will consume 50% of the entire Defense Budget within a few short years.

        Considering that we spend about ten times as much as anyone else on Defense, that means we could completely dismantle our military and still be spending 5 times as much as the next country, solely upon veterans benefits.

        That is not a healthy scenario.

        Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

        by Keith930 on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 05:36:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's not a healthy scenario and we all agree. (11+ / 0-)

          Politicians who send us into wars do as much damage to this country as we are asked to do others. But, as long as the deal is in effect, taking care of Veterans isn't charity, nor it is an option. It's an obligation.

          Those who fought the war in Afghanistan won it. Get them out of Afghanistan NOW . . . It's long past time. Those who want to wage the next war in Afghanistan are condemned to lose it.

          by llbear on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 05:42:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  See...here's where I think the all voluntary Army (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            llbear, 43north

            serves to undercut your argument.  At least on some level.

            I could work on an offshore oil rig, or, like those guys who were recently taken hostage in Algeria, I could take a job as a foreign worker in a hostile country, with hazard pay, knowing that some bad shit might happen, but taking the risk.  But those are personal choices.

            I simply don't believe that everyone who joins the military does so to protect me and the Constitution and Mom and apple pie.

            I think a lot of people join the military simply because they don't have a lot of other options that are apparent to them.  It looks like a career path that, for a short term of obligation, might afford them a cash bonus upon signing and some educational opportunities later, as well as other bene's.  

            I think it is much more of a decision that is based upon self interest, not national interest.  That they get sent off somewhere during their enlistment term is a risk that they either gave much or little thought to.  But it was always there.

            That was not the case when we had the draft.  The country called upon you, not the other way around.

            I wouldn't trade places with anyone who has served in either Iraq or Afghanistan...but I am completely serious when I say this...the guy who picks up the neighborhood's trash each week does more to make my life better than the vet who served in Iraq.

            Why would I say that?  Not to diss the Iraq vet.  It's just that Saddam Hussein never was a detriment to my existence.  Whereas...if the garbage went uncollected for 4 weeks, my neighborhood would be a mess.   One could make similar analogies.

            There hasn't been a war of self defense since WWII.  And there hasn't been a person who was sent into a foreign misadventure against his or her will since 1975.

            Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

            by Keith930 on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 05:58:24 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm OK with that - but a contract is a contract. (10+ / 0-)

              To do what you suggest is to retroactively change our contract.

              That's not going to happen. We've been to court with the VA over this during the Bush years, and they have upheld our claims & contract every time.

              Those who fought the war in Afghanistan won it. Get them out of Afghanistan NOW . . . It's long past time. Those who want to wage the next war in Afghanistan are condemned to lose it.

              by llbear on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 06:03:35 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  what are the terms of the contract? (0+ / 0-)

                is it something that you could post a link to?  What, exactly, has the govt contractually obligated itself to when someone enlists?

                I think this would be fascinating reading for everyone here.

                Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

                by Keith930 on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 06:20:38 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm not being flip when I say this: (4+ / 0-)

                  Try enlisting. Really. You aren't oligated to serve until you sign up, but take the contract home and read it. Think about it. I haven't looked online for an enlistment contract but my guess is that you would have to see a military recruiter to get one. I agree - that would be interesting.

                  Those who fought the war in Afghanistan won it. Get them out of Afghanistan NOW . . . It's long past time. Those who want to wage the next war in Afghanistan are condemned to lose it.

                  by llbear on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 06:29:00 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Keith, you earlier stated you didn't want to be (5+ / 0-)

                  a dick, right?

                  Well, you are being a dick.

                  Your comments aren't questions. You're being argumentative and you're attacking the author of the diary.

                  If you disagree with the premise of the diary post your own.

                  Please don't hang here and harangue the author for your own personal pleasure.

                  Thank you, dick!

                  What, sir, would the people of the earth be without woman? They would be scarce, sir, almighty scarce. Mark Twain

                  by Gordon20024 on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 06:55:31 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  The contract is specific in terms (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  llbear, 43north, CA wildwoman

                  of those who borne the battle and how this country will exchange medical service and compensation  for services rendered.  ESPECALLY those who have sacrficed  health and life for serving their country in uniform.    It has everything to do with sacrafice and becoming a part of the US government.. ( one is actually considered property of ) until the contract is complete.  
                  It is a breach of contract not to honor the terms.   Every man or woman holds up their hand and swears to fufil their obligation and uphold the consitution and for that, there is specific obligations that the party receiving their warm bodies and their will HAS to fulfill.

                  We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

                  by Vetwife on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:18:28 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Keith, I can't tell where it's best add this (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              llbear, CA wildwoman

              So let me put a dick comment in here.

              "Too goddamn much" is what the First World War Veterans asked for.  Just their contracted "bonus" paid during the Great Depression (1932), not when scheduled in 1945.
              The Government could have said:  "It's an annuity, and the money hasn't come to maturity, so it's going to be x, not X in value."  You could apply for a "loan" against your service certificate, but that's not the same as a payout.

              Instead,  a different course of action was adopted.

              Now we just bury you in paperwork, and hope you die before disbursement.

              As LLbear said:  Stop foreign adventures and stop needing to pay so many people for injuries and disabilities.
              Agent Orange (Dioxin) and Gulf War Syndrome (which I have my theories on) still riddle families with death and disease.
              The maxim was:  If the Army wanted you to have a family, they'd issue you one.

              Nice, eh?

          •  Absolutely (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            llbear, CA wildwoman

            We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

            by Vetwife on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:11:56 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  I am kinda jumping in here but that is covered (5+ / 0-)

          as under title 38.   If a condition is worsened during military service, they are responsible.   Service connection means that if it was pre existing or some aspect of it and the military made it worse then the claim is adjudicated or should be as a service connection.  He may have been prone to drink but self medicating due to military service is part of the rating effect.  In other words ..THEY MADE IT WORSE.  

          I have no clue what is gonna happen on these new war vets as they know they have ptsd and still redeploying.
          Every one of these vets have a claim.

          We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

          by Vetwife on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:01:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  You didn't really mean that? (11+ / 0-)
      but what if this guy was just prone to alcoholism and panic attacks prior to enlisting?
      Generally people are pretty young when they enlist, like 18-19. Anxiety disorder is as serious as it gets . The symptoms seem to always show up sometime after the first real bout of stress that a person goes through. A Panic attack for many looks like and is treated like a Heart Attack in a ER. Chest Pains, tunneling vision, sweats, pains in the arm, feelings of impending doom  are just a few of the effects. They really didn't understand it until the 80s.

      Treatments varied until around the 90s when more and more research was done on it. Many people who didn't understand it ( including Doctors) treated it badly. Drinking until drunk and ready to pass out was used during full on panic attacks.  

      The type of stress cold war warriors were under   was incredibly high. A Causal relationship is easily established and drinking is what happens when people are trying to self medicate when other people are telling them to "suck it up"

      This man is a United States Army Veteran and should  be afforded all the benefits of having served his country  when it's time for him or her to be treated. There is no excuse for the VA to be backed up 295 days right now with Shinseki only able to promise to bring the backlog down to 125 days in 2 years. They are chronically underfunded and they don't have a rigorous review process for a minority of the civil servants who shouldn't be within miles of a VA center but end up there and   not serving these Vets.

      Lets not be blaming the victim here. K?

    •  presumed to be healthy when enlisting (7+ / 0-)

      any disability occurring during service can be service connected with few exceptions.  Even disease processes that would in all likelihood occur whether they were in service or not can and are service connectable as long as they are first diagnosed in service.

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