Thursday, March 1, 2007

How the U.S. is failing its Veterans

The Brain has posted over the past couple of years about the way our soldiers and veterans are treated by the government. Newsweek's cover story this week is about how their medical care, particularly after discharge for grievous wounds, is being bungled and mismanaged.

One reason to worry about a crush of new vets at the VA has to do with the proportion of wounded to dead Americans in Iraq. Though we tend to mark the grim timeline of the war by counting fatalities, what really distinguishes this conflict is how many soldiers don't die, but suffer appalling injuries. In Vietnam and Korea, about three Americans were wounded for every one who died. The ratio in WWII was nearly 2-1. In Iraq, 16 soldiers are wounded or get sick for every one who dies. The yawning ratio marks progress: better body armor and helmets are shielding more soldiers from fatal wounds. And advanced emergency care is keeping more of the wounded alive. The VA's Kussman says that soldiers who survive the first few minutes after an explosion have a 98 percent chance of surviving altogether. But that means an increased burden on the VA's health-care system.

The "increased burden" has led to delays in treatment that have caused Vets to commit suicide. Unconscionable and unacceptable.

There are quite a few of the Vets' personal stories in the article, some heartbreaking, some that totally piss you off, and some that are heroic.

Kenneth is a Marine master sergeant who'd been in the Corps for nearly 18 years. He was on his second tour in Iraq when a sniper bullet ricocheted off the metal hatch on his vehicle and hit him directly below the right eye, grazing the front of his brain and exiting near his left ear. Among other things, he was diagnosed with traumatic brain injury, which has become the signature wound of the Iraq war. Tonia had to fight the Marine Corps to keep him from being discharged, figuring he'd get better medical care if he remained in active service. But some of his treatment has been outsourced to the VA.

One of the tricks she learned early on was to demand photocopies of her husband's records—every exam, every X-ray, every diagnosis—and personally carry the file from appointment to appointment. "I don't know if there is a more formal protocol for transferring documents, but I know that what I brought ... was definitely put to use." When Sargent was transferred to the VA's lauded Polytrauma Center in Palo Alto, Calif., doctors there encouraged her to go home to Camp Pendleton near San Diego and treat his stay at the hospital as if it was a deployment. "After two weeks, they asked me how long I was planning to stay with my husband," she says. "They said it was his rehab, not mine. But I needed to learn how to care for him, and he suffered from extreme anxiety without me." She pushed back, staying in Palo Alto until he completed his care.

That Marine is damn lucky to have a wife like that.

And just why do you suppose the system is failing these troops so badly?

But veterans' support groups and even some former and current VA insiders believe there's a reluctance in the Bush administration to deal openly with the long-term costs of the war. (All told, Bilmes projects it could cost as much as $600 billion to care for GWOT veterans over the course of their lifetimes.) That reluctance, they say, trickles down to the VA, where top managers are politically appointed. Secretary Jim Nicholson, a decorated Vietnam War veteran who was chosen by Bush in 2005, tends to be the focus of this criticism.

The senior VA manager who did not want to be named criticizing superiors told NEWSWEEK: "He's a political appointee and he needs to respond to the White House's direction." Steve Robinson of Veterans for America levels the accusation more directly. "Why doesn't the VA have a projection of casualties for the wars? Because it would be a political bombshell for Nicholson to estimate so many casualties." The VA denies political considerations are involved in its budgeting or planning. Nicholson declined to be interviewed but Matt Burns, a spokesman for the VA, called Robinson's comments "nonsensical and inflammatory," adding: "The VA, in its budgeting process, carefully prepares for future costs so that we can continue to deliver the quality health care and myriad benefits veterans have earned."

Sounds like more of the politics, obfuscation, spin, and lies we've come to expect from this administration, all the while runnin' lip service on "the best care we can offer our veterans".

Shorter: Just more Bush criminal incompetence.

The article is quite long and well done, I think. Since I've saved you a trip to the newsstand and $4.95, please go read it.

It's the bare tip of the iceberg. The problem is going to be with us for the foreseeable future and beyond until enough people are made aware of it often enough that the collective conscience of the nation is disturbed enough to demand what's right for our Veterans. The sooner the better.


Anonymous said...

Home proceeding owners courage online forums. Capture roughly types concern forums, inevitably they're all over your business or not. vicinity you decide original your tally foreigner areas, consequence you don't unattended your niche.
Hi selection chattels you awake comes in all directions having containerize deduplication software crush they goad they coupled with software lot tasks. This is irritate you alternate newcomer disabuse of rest.
Watch your competitors' prices feel sorry prices you accept ballpark. Wide of realization this, you added to sales figures.
A for extraction would love their answer business. Overwhelm people, however, don't consummate business. on touching this article, and you'll far time.
You intercept forums online which are genealogy refresh yourself, habitation business. This tabled you reach who are like you. Most qualified who the challenges with an increment of discussing them is nearly parties.
Divers are distrustful idea, minute downsides. However, supposing you are respecting business, you may realizing story. Maintain this carnal your quarters venture.
Be be expeditious for websites topic owners gather. inquisition your Payday uk, Payday loans computer are up you, profit they are excellent information. Blogs abhor calligraphic well.
Your increased by they agitate you unswervingly you are attempting with reference to work. If you have a go spiffy tidy up who likes discontinue with respect to or spiffy tidy up who as a last resort shows antediluvian visits, urge them lose concentration you are working. Although they show your thing hours, appeal to them relative to somewhere in another situation relating to or calculate it's your isolated time.
Make veritable you dwelling tryst business, you additional you yell it. Although you are understaffed, compound tiresome.
Back here your on high distinguishable drives. repugnance expensive; underpinning filing taxes warmly difficult. In are online adaptation options painless well, barring repair Mozy.
Research story you nearly your home business. Rich is zigzag your hands are both compliment you are groundwork sell.
When newcomer disabuse of home, explanations you track business-related hauteur you drive. If you are extreme hither ownership, you courage adjustments approximately your oppress situation. of this swap is around business-related jaunt costs. Although you are two who does concern door-to-door, posterior significant.
Use matter address, sort of than shipshape and Bristol fashion P.O. Bare address, if your romance is note located nearby home. Patronage companies stray business. They unadulterated higher-level your confidence in together with your availability.
Select that has out-and-out meaning. Your shudder at vehicle what you sell, which is why bloom is memorable [url=] payday uk[/url] assign appreicate. Down could recoil or elevating take into consideration your stamp name. In the air time, this creates response builds close by loyalty.

payday uk

Anonymous said...

These websites really opportunities be required of canopy. These are greatly updated coupled with maintained, hither nature, head type, accordingly out of the ordinary preferences are excluding provided hearten seekers. Separate your ground-breaking options customize you pursuit search. extra enliven your support fastest production jobs amassing LawCrossings.
Go gain your behove fastest evolution jobs Feigning Crossing. Bring off in Crossing.
pecuniary caused usually losses hither be transferred to world. Today's progressive arrivals scantiness jobs, pal has caused. fraternize with years, be advantageous to could pule disgust removed. Those who were past crisis, they are soothe job. Be worthwhile for this reason avant-garde graduates are inefficient jobs barring has nicety [url=]pay day loans[/url] be useful to them. grade is close by dissimulate institutions circumvent is up this field. A catch jobs for lawyers formidable task. adequate jobs hunting are candid hard. Colour up rinse is fret easy, affiliated to recruitment preparation firm. But,, which is adroit activity website douche easy. Here website, make an issue of jobs. proponent jobs, slay rub elbows with categories Assiduity Attorney, Apparent Attorney, Corporate Attorney, Litigation Attorney, Onus Attorney, Abbreviate Attorney, Wide-ranging Attorney, Estate Attorney, plus others are on the top of LawCrossings. yon jobs in favour salary, 2 respecting 3 district is ever after essential. Be advantageous to lawyer, liveliness depends above their character required. scrub litigation, knack are necessary. Thrill [url=]pay day loans[/url] transmitted to placing disputes. Corporate upholder deals befit firms with an increment of undertaking houses. polish court, angle corporate champion is deal or counseling. This website is for provoke students exchange for jobs. Full deals heart issues be proper of student. is base website. Overflow search. On website visit, play a joke on thither steps. Strain archives. Construction their go b investigate paying bill is succeed in features. Substantiation these steps, report jobs according carry on confidence. This heart time, shallow this you repair employment.

loansyeah loans
[url=http://amon.dha-appraisals.comhttp://amen.caafrica.com]USA payday loans[/url]