Skip to main content

Yesterday another Class Action Lawsuit was presented this time at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the previous was presented a few months back in California federal court on complaints from Veterans of OIF and OEF, and others, as to disability payments delayed and or denied.

When we returned from Vietnam many of the Vietnam Vets, needing care at Veterans clinics and Veterans Hospitals as well as attempting to file and receive disability benefits of already diagnosed Occupation Theater physical and mental ailments went through much of the same treatment. Those coming back and developing very serious ailments from coming in contact with heavily sprayed area's of the Defoliants, mostly Agent Orange, were not only denied benefits and treatment the Government and Chemical Companies Denied they were hazardous to humans. We are going through the same All Over Again.

A hearing begins Wednesday, 12-17-08, in a lawsuit aimed at cutting the time that the Department of Veterans Affairs takes to process disability claims to no more than 90 days.

Vietnam Veterans of America and Veterans of Modern Warfare filed the lawsuit against VA after learning the department took as long as a year to come up with disability benefits decisions, and as long as four years to rule on appeals of those decisions. The average time for an initial decision is about six months.

VA has a benefits claims backlog of more than 400,000 cases.

Read Rest Here

Vietnam Veterans of America

Veterans of Modern Warfare

And once again those of us Veterans Advocates find ourselves battling not only the Government but the People that are served by the Military, the Country.

Veterans Sue Federal Government Over Disability Benefits

A group of military veterans filed a class-action against the federal government today, alleging that they were illegally denied disability benefits despite being diagnosed with severe cases of post-traumatic stress disorder that should have qualified them for free care.

This isn’t the first time the Army has come under fire for its handling of PTSD victims. In California last year, a group of former soldiers filed suit against the Veterans Administration in federal court demanding that the agency completely restructure the way it processes PTSD claims and clean up a bureaucratic mess that left many former soldiers without care for months.

PDF Copy of Complaint

NVLSP's Lawyers Serving Warriors project

As this Country Choose to wage War and Occupation in not one but Two Theaters of Opporations, sending Tens of Thousands of it's Soldiers into the Theaters, not once, not twice, but Multiple Times, many serving in Both Theaters. This all happened under the leadership of President George W. Bush, as Commander in Chief of the Military, and his Vice President Dick Cheney, and a Country Unwilling to Sacrifice and loosing interest in what was and still is happening in these Theaters after 7plus years!

So what happened yesterday, Wednesday 12-17-08:

Judge rejects bid to force quicker VA payments
A federal judge on Wednesday rejected a bid by veterans groups to force the Veterans Affairs Department to speed up handling of its disability claims, saying it was not the court's role to impose quicker deadlines.

Vietnam Veterans of America and Veterans of Modern Warfare, which represent roughly 60,000 military veterans, had filed the lawsuit asking the VA process initial disability claims within 90 days and resolve appeals within 180 days. If the VA failed to do so, the two groups were seeking interim payments of roughly $350 a month.

At a court hearing Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton said he was sympathetic to the plight of disabled veterans, many of whom he acknowledged might face unemployment and homelessness in a tightening economy. But Walton said that setting a blanket rule of 90 days for processing claims was a role for Congress and the VA secretary to decide.

Earlier in the hearing, Robert Cattanach, an attorney representing veterans, called the VA's delays "egregious and unacceptable." Noting that the backlogs have persisted for nearly a decade, Cattanach argued that the VA has no incentive or requirement to improve its practices without a clear deadline.

We all, or at least many of us, have read the reports, watched the congressional testimony, read the investigative journalists findings, Finally in these last couple of years.  All showing the Incompetence of not only the Administration but the Political Appointed Agency Heads and their Administrations and in the case of the Veterans and Military Care while those Two Occupation Theaters were started and continued to this day!

What will happen now? Will we see the changes needed in this area of our Government as well as the rest, that have been so damaged and ignored these last eight years? Will Veterans and Military Advocates have to continue the already long running battles, long ago started, well before these present two theaters of opporation and continuing through for the new generations of combat veterans?

Things may be looking much better, but we've been frustrated before when all that's come were words of "Support the Troops and the Veterans" than everyone reverts back to ignoring after they speak them. Hopefully with what has been said in the recent presidential campaigns, and now with the incoming next President, Barack Obama and VP Joe Biden, not only by the candidates but their wives as well, who traveled around the country meeting with military and veterans and their families.

Actions speak louder than words and a first action was naming a respected forced retired General Shinseki to head the Veterans Administration, another took place after the Lawsuit was tossed by a judge who really didn't seem to want to, and that is this:

Obama's transition team met with Veterans of Modern Warfare

After losing an attempt to sue the VA to speed up veterans disability claims, leaders of a party to the suit, who represent veterans from the 1991 Gulf War to present, were buoyed by a meeting with President-elect Barack Obama's transition team.

Julie Mock, from the Seattle area and president of Veterans of Modern Warfare Inc., and VMW executive director David Overton met privately Wednesday in Washington, D.C. with a retired military member from Obama's transition team.

Though Obama won't take office for just over a month, Mock, a 1991 Gulf War veteran with service-connected multiple scleroris, said Obama is the first chief executive to reach out to meet with them, she said.

While the incoming President, as well as the new congress, have now placed on their laps Eight Years of not only Total Mismanagement of our Government, but also Two Occupations still raging, a Collapsing Economy that has hit bottom yet, wait till after the holidays and watch as retail companies and more collapse, and a Huge Loss of Leadership on the World Stage as our Countries Morality has been Destroyed and the creation of more who now hate us not only our governments policies but us!

The following came to my attention this morning, though unrelated to the lawsuit, I had caught a few reports about this but have seen nothing nationally. it shows another suspected incident of failed incompetent leadership under the present administration as to our present military and veteran personal.

VA may cut Austin brain-injury research

Decision on program housed at UT expected in January.

An Austin-based, multimillion-dollar program studying brain injuries among veterans might be canceled next month.

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison , R-Texas, and Department of Veterans Affairs officials confirmed this week that there is talk of shutting down the Brain Imaging and Recovery Laboratory. Diana Struski, a VA spokeswoman in Fort Worth, said a VA deputy secretary in Washington will make the final decision.

Shortly after taking over the program in June 2007, Van Boven said his bosses had authorized the misuse of program dollars before he arrived and then ignored his complaints and began engaging in petty retribution. He has asked for several investigations.

Two veterans advocacy groups called for Congress to intervene and ensure that the program's money is not used for other types of research.

"Closure of the {lab} would amount to a terrible injustice for our veterans," according to a letter to congressional offices from Rick Weidman, director of government relations for Vietnam Veterans of America, and Paul Sullivan, executive director of Veterans for Common Sense.

"Conventional brain imaging is not sufficient to detect subtle injuries," the letter says.

There has been another Huge Problem which has not only been ignored but like us Vietnam Veterans and the Defoliants of 'Nam has been stonewalled and denied by the Government as well as Chemical Companies that might have been involved adding to what else may have happened In-Theater during the 1st Gulf War. Below you find some of what I had previously posted as another Report Serviced. It's been ignored and denied for far too long!

Gulf War Syndrom/Illness Is Real

New Federal Report Says

An extensive federal report released Monday concludes that roughly one in four of the 697,000 U.S. veterans of the 1990-91 Gulf War suffer from Gulf War illness.

CNN Video Report

The Gulf War Syndrom Report

RAC Report This link takes you to the site page with the two below.

RAC-GWVI media release, Nov. 17, 2008 DOC

Full report of RAC-GWVI -- Nov. 17, 2008 PDF {The PDF is abit over 6MB download}

The PBS News Hour, on tuesday the 18th of November 08, held a discussion on the recently released report.

PBS News Hour: Gulf War Syndrome

Report Concludes Gulf War Syndrome Is Legitimate Illness - Transcript

Download MP3 to just Listen

A report released Monday revealed that the mysterious illness affecting veterans exposed to toxins during the 1991 Gulf War is real, making it easier for military personnel to seek federal aid. Research advisory committee chairman James Binns details the findings.

It has been 17 years since the first Gulf War ended. A new report now finds that at least one in four veterans of that conflict have been suffering ever since.

Congress started paying attention some 10 to 11 years after the conflict.

In 2002, a congressionally mandated panel set out to get to the bottom of conflicting reports about the veterans' health complaints. Its 450-page report concludes that Gulf War illness, memory loss, digestive and neurological problems, fatigue and pain is a real disease.

More than 175,000 veterans of the war were affected, but not effectively treated.

The two most likely causes: drugs administered to guard against nerve agents and pesticides used in the battlefield.

For a closer look at what these findings mean, we turn to James Binns, the chairman of the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses.

JAMES BINNS: Well, the Gulf War had its own set of unique exposures. As Vietnam veterans were exposed to Agent Orange, so Gulf War veterans were exposed to a number of toxic exposures that were unique to that war.

JAMES BINNS: Now, that's what's -- I heard one of the veterans yesterday call this a bittersweet moment for them, because in large measure all of this work simply confirms what they know, that they are ill and have been for 17 years.

And it's true what you say that actually very little of the research that has been done up to date has been oriented toward treatments, and none of it has found effective treatments.

Here are a few opinion pieces that followed the release of the report.

Our view: Gulf War illness

Government finally admits vets suffer from a real condition

The official U.S. government response to claims of Gulf War illness has run from skepticism to outright denial.

With one in four of the 697,000 Gulf War vets reporting some level of the same symptoms, the lights should have gone on a long time ago in the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.

So now veterans have rigorous support for what they have contended all along -- it's not just in our heads, we're not making it up. We're sick.

Thousands of our Gulf War vets are sick. Let's help them.

BOTTOM LINE: Gulf War illness is real, and few vets who suffer the disease are getting better. It's past time for serious work on a cure.

VCS Urges Research into Gulf War Exposures and Gulf War Illness Treatments

November 17, 2008, Washington, DC

Veterans for Common Sense released the following statement:

Veterans for Common Sense is pleased with the thorough report prepared by the RAC.  We commend the veterans and scientists who have worked for the last six years reviewing the work on Gulf War illnesses conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Department of Defense (DoD).  The RAC report repudiates years of delays and denials caused by a group of VA and DoD staff who ignored the eyewitness accounts of veterans and scientific research.

VCS believes action is needed today to make sure the RAC’s recommendations are implemented soon.

VCS urges Congress to fund new research recommended by the RAC into why up to 210,000 Gulf War veterans are ill as well as fund research into desperately needed medical treatments for our veterans.

VCS also urges top VA officials to review the conduct of VA Central Office staff who blocked scientific research into toxic exposures, especially VA's contracts with the Institute of Medicine (IOM) that improperly excluded animal studies from scientific review.  The VA Central Office staff who needlessly delayed research, treatment, and disability benefits for hundreds of thousands of Gulf War veterans should be held accountable for their actions.

The facts presented by the RAC reveal how a handful of key VA and DoD officials failed to assist Gulf War veterans by clinging to the discredited myth that Gulf War illnesses were only related to stress for nearly 17 years.  The DoD neglected to consider the many toxic exposures as potential causes of Gulf War illnesses, even after Gulf War veterans and scientists raised these as serious possibilities.

We look forward to working with Chairman Daniel Akaka (D-HI) and Chairman Bob Filner (D-CA) as they conduct oversight into VA’s failure to enter into proper contracts with IOM that may have blocked access to healthcare and disability benefits for hundreds of thousands of ill and disabled Gulf War veterans.

VCS thanks Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV), Senator Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Representative Chris Shays (R-CT), and former Representative Lane Evans (D-IL) for their diligent leadership in passing the landmark "Persian Gulf Veterans Act of 1998" that created the RAC.

Panel: Gulf War vet health research lacking

Even as possibly hundreds of thousands of veterans suffer from a collection of symptoms commonly called Gulf War illness, the government has done too little to find treatments for their health problems nearly two decades after the war ended, a panel commissioned by Congress said.

The advisory panel of medical experts and veterans wants at least $60 million spent annually for research, calling it a "national obligation," according to its report, obtained by The Associated Press.

Gulf War troops poisoned, neglected

A new government study backs up veterans of the 1991 Gulf War who said they were literally, and physically, sickened during their service there. The American people have an obligation to help them.

One of the most dangerous threats to the health of American troops in combat might be the United States government. That conclusion can reasonably be drawn after a government panel reported that one in four U.S. veterans of the 1991 Gulf War — about 172,000 troops — is ill from exposure to toxic chemicals, most of them administered by the U.S. government.

The two bibliographies below were compiled by FRONTLINE to aid those who want to dig deeper into Gulf War Syndrome. The first shows many of the most informative and compelling websites on the subject. The second contains citations to books, journal articles and other printed materials.

Visit the above link, there's a host of links leading to further information, study, and research!

What will the government do to make veterans with Gulf War syndrome whole?

The question has new urgency in the aftermath of a report, released Monday, concluding that nearly 200,000 soldiers suffer from the syndrome.

The 452-page report is the first to affirm that Gulf War illness is valid and widespread, affecting as many as one-quarter of veterans from the 1990-1991 conflict.

"The extensive body of scientific research now available consistently indicates that Gulf War illness is real...and that few veterans have recovered of substantially improved with time," says the comprehensive overview, prepared by the government's Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses.

Now we have once again sent our military into occupation, not one but two, halfway around the world. And with the reports finally coming out these last couple of years, with over site and investigation once again being done by our congress, information coming extensively from, once again, great Investigative Journalism, we are seeing, especially us Vietnam Vets, a repeat of what was experienced years ago. Many of these recent reports read like that from 30 to 40 years back, a not to distant past.

This next link starts on the Gulf War Syndrome in the Press Release and moves into the present conflicts.

American Gulf War Veterans Association


AUGUST 8, 2003

The American Gulf War Veterans Association (AGWVA), an independent Gulf War Veterans’ support organization, has long searched for answers to explain why nearly half of the 697,000 Gulf War I Veterans are now ill and why over 200,000 of those servicemen/women have requested disability, but have received no adequate diagnosis or treatment, from either the Department of Defense (DOD), or Veteran’s Affairs. Though there have been over 125 studies done by the government at the cost of over $300,000,000 to the taxpayer, we still have no answers as to what caused so many of our soldiers to become ill.  Meanwhile, the suffering veterans are receiving little, if any, medical treatment for this illness.  It seems that whenever veterans become ill, the term "mystery illness" seems to be the first and often the only diagnosis that is ever made.  Veterans are then left to fend for themselves, sick and unable to work, with little hope of a normal life again.


The AGWVA is now again asking questions, this time, about the newest "mystery illness" to hit the military.  After being pressured by a few independent news reporters who have not permitted this "mystery" to continue unabated, The DOD recently has been forced to announce the "mystery" deaths of Gulf War II soldiers and that at least 100 other men and women have become ill.  Again, however, there were no adequate answers, but, only that the "mystery illness" diagnosis had reared its ugly head again.  According to a family member of one of the military victims, the DOD recently, has changed its label of the illness and is now calling it "pneumonia" in sharp contrast to what a physician on the scene reported.  Due to continuing pressure for sound answers, the DOD was again forced to send an investigative team to Iraq, however the convenient, repeated lack of diagnosis, unfortunately translates into lack of treatment, and lack of compensation for the veteran.  The jury is still out, however, if the DOD will be forthcoming with the truth this time.


SNIP Please Read The Rest

The following doesn't look like the 'mystery illness' described in the press release above, but apparently this is another growing problem for the present OIF and OEF soldiers in Theater:

Senior Airman Frances Gavalis tosses unserviceable uniform items into a burn pit at Balad Air Base, Iraq.

The Army Times Site Video

Burn pit at Balad raises health concerns

Tue, Oct 28, 2008

An open-air at the largest U.S. base in Iraq may have exposed tens of thousands of troops, contractors and Iraqis to cancer-causing dioxins, poisons such as arsenic

Senator wants answers on dangers of burn pits

Sun, Nov 9, 2008

Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., has written to Gen. David Petraeus, the new chief of U.S. Central Command, demanding to be informed about any pending investigations into health problems for troops exp.

Burn pit fallout

Sat, Nov 15, 2008

Disabled American Veterans has issued a call to all service members and veterans who think they may have illnesses related to burn pits in Afghanistan and Iraq: Contact DAV so they can collect data

Army report shows chemicals at burn pit site

Thursday Nov 20, 2008

A soldier concerned about his tour at Forward Operating Base Hammer near Balad, Iraq, this year sent Military Times a report showing high levels of particulate matter and low levels of manganese, possibly due to materials destroyed in a burn pit.

"The high risk estimate is due to the average (particulate matter) level being at a concentration the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers ‘hazardous,’ and is likely to affect the health of all troops," wrote Jeffrey Kirkpatrick, director of health risk assessment for the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine. "Manganese was also detected above its one-year military exposure guidelines."

It was sent to the command surgeon general’s office for U.S. Central Command.

And just like what 'Agent Orange' not only did to our soldiers in 'Nam it did to the Citizens of Vietnam, continuing to today, it is and Will Continue to do to the Citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan near where these contaminated garbage pits not only were burned but that contaminated garbage is buried!

We Veterans, who still serve this Country according to our Military Oath and Real Patriotism, and fight against sending our Military into Wars Of Choice by the civilian and military leadership, lost the Battle against the Propaganda of Fixed Intelligence, especially as to invading Iraq, an innocent country and people, but We Won't Lose The Battle As To Care For Our Returning Soldiers, though it's a long battle that shouldn't be!

You may want to visit Mikes webblog {known online as 'testvet'} Military & Veterans: Politics for the deserving, a disabled Veteran, and his personal experiences as to being a 'testvet' and his fighting for not only himself but his brothers and sisters.

And one site to visit often is Larry Scott's VA Watchdog he to has a recent post about the Gulf War I Syndrome Report

For desperate vets, victory, anger over Gulf War Syndrome. Army veteran Randy Saubert takes grandsons Kalev, right, and Ethin to a Colorado Springs park Tuesday. Saubert logged 38,000 miles hauling supplies across the Iraq desert in 1991. Today, he isn't sure what he came into contact with that caused him to develop Lou Gehrig's disease. (photo: Karl Gehring, The Denver Post)

"Why did it take so long to listen to the vets and their families? Why have they denied benefits and hurt people and let families fall apart and have soldiers go bankrupt seeking help?"

Once again the Report:

The Gulf War Syndrom Report

RAC Report This link takes you to the site page with the two below.

RAC-GWVI media release, Nov. 17, 2008 DOC

Full report of RAC-GWVI -- Nov. 17, 2008 PDF {The PDF is abit over 6MB download}

Originally posted to jimstaro on Thu Dec 18, 2008 at 06:57 AM PST.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  To all of my fellow Veterans, (19+ / 0-)

    you're in my prayers. I hope all the ones that are not being taken care of in any aspect, will be, soon.
    And, to the diarist, thank you for this great diary, it's fantastic, and forgive me for jumping the TJ.......:o)

    I'm what's called, a Political Neophyte. Thankfully, I've had the good sense to acquire knowledge, politically, at the Daily Kos.......:o)

    by secret38b on Thu Dec 18, 2008 at 07:06:35 AM PST

    •  This Country (27+ / 0-)

      Has a Host of Internal and External Major problems, thanks to the Totally Incompetent Leadership under the GOP!!

      Much has come to light these last couple of years with a Congress willing to Finally Actually Work, and even though they haven't done much of what most would like to see, they have accomplished alot, so far!!

      With All the problems the Care of the Veterans Must Finally be a Top Priority, especially after All that was said and done these last 7years plus as we've engaged once again in Destructive Occupations of others!!!

      "How anyone can say that torture keeps Americans safe is beyond me -- unless you don't count American soldiers as Americans."

      by jimstaro on Thu Dec 18, 2008 at 07:12:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's also partly due to the laziness and (5+ / 0-)

        lack of learning of certain young physicians.  Once the basic blood tests came back normal, the easiest diagnosis was "it's all in your head."  Problem solved.

        But with thousands of big, tough soldiers?  There's something wrong with this picture.

        Right after Gulf War I, I saw an experienced veterinarian & Army reserve Lt.Col who served in Iraq on, IIRC, Phil Donohue's old afternoon show.  First off, he complained about these symptoms to some wet-behind-the-ears Army physician.  When he told her he was a veterinarian & asked to see his results, she refused & began baby talking at him.  Instead, she sent him to some social worker for a patronizing chitty-chat.  Needless to say, he was thoroughly pissed.  So he went back to his clinic, drew his own blood, and sent it to a lab he trusted.  Remember, as a veterinarian, he knew what to look for, and his lab didn't care what species the blood came from.  Some of the more specific tests showed he had something seriously out of whack.  He contacted his Senator who appeared on the show along side him.  Good thing, too, because the Senator had to assist this Iraq war vet when he tried to stand up and walk around.

        It's not easy even for Congress to get a federal agency off their asses.  Agencies have been known to fritter away funding that's been allocated for one specific problem.

        A jackass can kick down a barn but it takes a carpenter to build one.--Sam Rayburn (D-TX)

        by Ice Blue on Thu Dec 18, 2008 at 09:38:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  This make me angry! Support for the troops... (6+ / 0-)

      isn't just a magnetic flag on your car!

      The Religious Right is Neither.

      by cyncynical on Thu Dec 18, 2008 at 07:19:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Another good one Jim (14+ / 0-)

    Keep it in our face.

    I can only "hope" we have "change" when it comes to our hero's and their families. Of all the people who need our help the most it is them. And let's "hope" Michelle's involvement will make the "change" happen.

    Much peace to you Jim! And may many rewards come your way for all you do for your brothers.

  •  I'm a 100% Disabled Veteran (14+ / 0-)

    living in MD. I read all the time about how some VA medical care centers around the country aren't up to par, but I have to admit, the one in downtown Baltimore is great. The doc's, nurses, staff, police, and janitors are all wonderful people, and I beleive, they treat us veterans quite well.... I'm not boasting, but I'm proud to be a veteran that gets to be taken care of by such wonderful folks. Hopefully, all veterans will get the care they deserve around the country soon.

    I'm what's called, a Political Neophyte. Thankfully, I've had the good sense to acquire knowledge, politically, at the Daily Kos.......:o)

    by secret38b on Thu Dec 18, 2008 at 07:20:35 AM PST

  •  The problem we have here, IMHO, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jimstaro, bunsk, paul94611, polar bear

    is a basic misunderstanding of the purpose of government.  Conservatives consider the purpose of government to be exercising control over people.  To that end, the military is just a tool, a negative force to enforce what threats and bribery haven't accomplished.  That's why military personnel, per se, hold no interest for them.  They're either under control or, having served their purpose, no longer critical.
    When conservatives hear "consent of the governed," they envision people who agree to do what they're told and that puts the military high on their list.  They do not envision people telling the rulers what to do.  And they definitely don't see public officials as stewards of the nation's natural resources, including the people.

    Restricting the role of public officials to giving orders is their definition of "limited government."  They're into managing people; not things and certainly not the environment.  To the extent that they do recognize things as being important, it's in terms of rewards and punishments to get people to comply with their orders.  And, since people ought to comply voluntarily, having to resort to bribes (wages and benefits) or punishments (incarceration or execution) is an occasion for resentment.  
    This is doubly true when members of the ruling party fall down on the job.  On the other hand, to the extent that such failure affirms the need for the use of force, it provides a welcome affirmation of the basic conservative prejudice--that people need to be ruled.

    Humans have a preference for having their prejudices confirmed.

    Anyway, people who think that the purpose of government is to respond to the vagaries of man and nature and correct for the deficits, wasting as few resources as possible, need to accept that their expectations are not going to be satisfied by people who think that issuing orders is the sum total of government's responsibilities.  A conservative's recognition of bureaucratic failure is not a promise to do anything about it.

    While I am personally dubious about the significance of the word "change" as a commitment to action, when you consider that what conservatives are about is affecting/changing human behavior of which they don't approve, then the prospect of transforming the natural environment to suit human needs (an endeavor at which humans have obviously succeeded since their arrival on the planet) represents both a welcome and realistic change.  Though, for all intents and purposes, it really means going back to doing what we do best.

    Changing human behavior is obviously an attractive enterprise, despite the fact that there's plenty of evidence that over several milennia there's been no success.  Which suggests that either failure is inherently attractive to some humans or some humans just take the lazy route.  Telling other people what to do really is a lazy man's approach.

    So, what are the characteristics we should learn to avoid when we encounter them in other people?

    scientific ignorance

    How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

    by hannah on Thu Dec 18, 2008 at 08:01:57 AM PST

  •  Morning Jim (10+ / 0-)

    "Why did it take so long to listen to the vets and their families? Why have they denied benefits and hurt people and let families fall apart and have soldiers go bankrupt seeking help?"

    Because they could.

    Rudyard Kipling

    I went into a public-’ouse to get a pint o’ beer,
    The publican ’e up an’ sez, "We serve no red-coats here."
    The girls be’ind the bar they laughed an’ giggled fit to die,
    I outs into the street again an’ to myself sez I:

    O it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ "Tommy, go away";
    But it’s "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play,—
    The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
    O it’s "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play.

    I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
    They gave a drunk civilian room, but ’adn’t none for me;
    They sent me to the gallery or round the music-’alls,
    But when it comes to fightin’, Lord! they’ll shove me in the stalls!

    For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ "Tommy, wait outside";
    But it’s "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper’s on the tide,—
    The troopship’s on the tide, my boys, the troopship’s on the tide,
    O it’s "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper’s on the tide.

    Yes, makin’ mock o’ uniforms that guard you while you sleep
    Is cheaper than them uniforms, an’ they’re starvation cheap;
    An’ hustlin’ drunken soldiers when they’re goin’ large a bit
    Is five times better business than paradin’ in full kit.

    Then it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ "Tommy, ’ow’s yer soul?"
    But it’s "Thin red line of ’eroes" when the drums begin to roll,—
    The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
    O it’s "Thin red line of ’eroes" when the drums begin to roll.

    We aren’t no thin red ’eroes, nor we aren’t no blackguards too,
    But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
    An’ if sometimes our conduck isn’t all your fancy paints,
    Why, single men in barricks don’t grow into plaster saints;

    While it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ "Tommy, fall be’ind",
    But it’s "Please to walk in front, sir", when there’s trouble in the wind,—
    There’s trouble in the wind, my boys, there’s trouble in the wind,
    O it’s "Please to walk in front, sir", when there’s trouble in the wind.

    You talk o’ better food for us, an’ schools, an’ fires, an’ all:
    We’ll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
    Don’t mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
    The Widow’s Uniform is not the soldier-man’s disgrace.

    For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ "Chuck him out, the brute!"
    But it’s "Saviour of ’is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
    An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please;
    An’ Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool—you bet that Tommy sees!

    The reason people don't learn from the past, is because the past was a repetitious lie to begin with. Mike Hastie U.S. Army Medic Vietnam 1970-71

    by BOHICA on Thu Dec 18, 2008 at 08:23:50 AM PST

  •  while we're at it... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jimstaro, llbear, polar bear

    Whatever our gov't/military did that messed these people up shouldn't have been done in the first place. It was approved/procured/whatever. Who's responsible? Was negligence involved? People should answer. Heads should roll.

  •  This is obviously timely and appropriate. (5+ / 0-)

    The hypocrisy of recruiting 'patriots' and then turning them into social outcasts and discards nauseates all but the seasoned apologists for militarism and imperialistic privilege.  The promulgators of war almost always end up being the first ones to recommend bailing on the casualties of their ideology.

    I'm particularly interested in evidence or action about the effects of depleted uranium on vets and civilians both.  Does anyone have any suggestions for reading or research?  I would be, if not eternally grateful, beholden until at least the end of my sojourn here on the planet.

    I bow to those who seek the truth; I flee from those who have 'found' it.

    by SERMCAP on Thu Dec 18, 2008 at 08:46:29 PM PST

    •  yes. i don't know if it is even recognized. yet. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jimstaro, llbear
    •  Your First Part (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      of the reply makes for a perfect short 'signature' to any supporting these 'occupations of choice' and still arguing their support, especially when they themselves never served nor are they allowing their children to, which isn't hard, those kids don't want to neither!!

      "How anyone can say that torture keeps Americans safe is beyond me -- unless you don't count American soldiers as Americans."

      by jimstaro on Fri Dec 19, 2008 at 04:19:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The brazenness would never work in fiction, because it is so unbelievable as to be absurd.  And yet it is the everyday reality of ruling class operation today.  "Send the poor and dark children to do our dirty work; then fuck 'em if they complain afterward."

        I bow to those who seek the truth; I flee from those who have 'found' it.

        by SERMCAP on Fri Dec 19, 2008 at 07:58:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I can't even get started on my many bones (5+ / 0-)

    of contentions with the VA and DOD  the list is many

  •  Impressive diary (5+ / 0-)

    I'm saddened by the obstacles our veterans have endured under an administration that waved the flag at every opportunity, but failed those who actually defended it.  We must not let our debt to them go unpaid.

  •  As one of the rapid deployment soldiers (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jimstaro, llbear, kurt

    Assigned to the 82 Airborne Division in 1990 my unit responded to the Presidents call and deployed to Saudi during the first & second weeks of August.  In preparing for and during our deployment we were injected with every test and important inoculation and took every pill that came along with none of them ever making it to a shot or any other sort of medical record.  Yes, our 'garrison" locations were heavily sprayed for insects.  heck, the flies were so bad that after spraying there would be a carpet more than a inch deep of dead flies.
    During the ground war and the period immediately following I assisted A Company, 307th Engineer Company with operations in the vicinity of Khamisiyah to include three demolitions operations of the weapons storage area that included large amounts of sarin, cyclosarin and mustard gas.  We had no training in the safe handling of or proper demolitions of these substances and demolished them as one would conventional weapons stockpiles.
    Shortly thereafter I started having severe digestive problems and serious headaches.  Once I returned my wife complained that my scent was totally wrong and that my sexual fluids gave her a burning sensation.
    Over the years that followed I spent a total of 32 days as an inpatient at Walter Reed AMC and was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, chronic headache, various musclosketal and orthopedic conditions mostly related to too many years spent jumping from aircraft and sleeping on the ground carrying my home on my back.  I am one of the fortunate ones though.  I say this because I am one of the few that not only has a rating from the VA, but I have secured a 100% rating as well as social security disability retirement which provided me with a MEDICARE card for my 40th birthday.
    I have read the report that was recently released it it is a step in the right direction.  However, physicians within the VA system could give a damn what that report says, my conditions have noting to do with anything that happened while I was there and I had better stop asking for treatment or information concerning any supposed correlation between toxin exposure and any sort of adverse health effects.  I am sure that sooner or later I will either fall victim to ALS, MS, severe loss of white matter in the brain or one more serious unexplained intestinal infection that all the antivirals in the world won't kill instead of having to pump that stuff into me for days before I respond.
    Thanks for your efforts jimstaro, but I am not holding out any sort of hope that the government will at any time that I have remaining ever step up to the plate and do anything meaningful in relationship to those of us suffering from this stuff.  They never will.  If they do then they will be opening themselves up to potential liability for supplying the stuff to Saddam so he could use it against the Iranians and Kurds and the government has decided that the potential loss of a few more hundred billion dollars is not worth the effort to keep the social contract with us.  Besides, they need those funds so Citi, Goldman & JP Morgan/Chase can pay out this years bonuses.
    Fact of life.
    At least we have no illusions about where we stand with our government.  We are the goo that keeps on sticking to their boot even after scraping it on the mat.
    Fact of life.

  •  Here it is 5:18 AM (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jimstaro, kurt, paul94611

    Can't sleep.  Thinking of 2 kids, both getting insufficient treatment - one here in Illinois and the other in Michigan.  One may survive, but I'm really worried about the other.  Both are victims of the Iraq war first, then victims again through the restricted help being given by the VA.

    Obama Hired the competent: Gen. Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs. whoa! Kudos Transition Team!!!!

    by llbear on Fri Dec 19, 2008 at 03:24:21 AM PST

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site