Veteran advocates who do the thankless work assisting veterans navigating through an often uncaring [and under the administration of George W. Bush hostile] bureaucracy in the U.S. Dept of Veterans Affairs (DVA) see themselves as sleeping with the enemy as service organization such as the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) are perceived as posing a barrier to reform.
Recently a resident of Sussex, Wisconsin, Thomas Tradewell, was elected VFW National Commander.
Mr. Tradewell said in his acceptance speech in mid-August, "to honor our military heroes is to ensure that our military and our veterans are honored, recognized and cared for … which is the focus of every program we conduct at every level of this great organization."
But many veteran advocates see institutional surrender by the VFW and American Legion to the inaction of bureaucracy and neocon aversion to meeting the responsibility to care for our veterans.
In the words of one veteran advocate harboring contempt for the VFW and American Legion: "It's time to rain on these pricks."
Writes Gordon Duff in Veterans Today:
It's worse, much worse. Not only do they say nothing good, most work openly against veterans who, especially recently, have won huge victories for veterans rights, victories won, not only against an uncaring government but with no support from millions of fellow veterans and the organizations who have rubber stamped every oppressive act, every abuse that has for decades destroyed veterans and their families.
Truth is very simple. For 60 years things have gotten worse for veterans although tens of billions of dollars have bloated Veterans Affairs into the most dysfunctional and oppressive bureaucracy in our entire government. Courts now ‘officially’ find the DVA proven ’troubling’ but nobody seems to know why. We know. Sick veterans know. Veterans who have worked claims thru the system know.
What vets don't know is how the American Legion, VFW and other groups have advised the DVA and Congress, led us, every step of the way, to the total failure and utter disaster we have now. These groups ‘played’ at helping vets but became a home for political extremists or dimwits addicted more grandstanding than the hard work required by informed veterans advocacy. ...
For every failure of the service organizations, most military retiree groups even go further. Some actively oppose funds for veteran medical care and benefits feeling it threatens retiree privileges. On one landmark issue, retiree groups continually oppose use of Space A military flights for disabled veterans and Medal of Honor winners, yet millions of tax payer dollars are spent to subsidize both flights and facilities, terminals, hotels, for retirees to use.
All the game playing, be it retirees against vets, conservatives against liberals, delusional idiots against less delusional idiots or serving military who are systematically instructed by our military to disrespect veterans and their service, makes unity an impossibility.
The industry that breeds ignorance is too powerful and ingrained to convert. Veterans have been too polite and understanding, not only with the public and their leaders who could care less what happens to us but with other veterans whose utter ignorance has left us powerless.
The idea that social organizations with good and decent members operate under a national bureaucracy so less decent than the members themselves, or most of them anyway, that reason itself is challenged.
How do we say, thanks for your service, thanks for the flowers and the motorcycle processions but keep the hell out of politics and please, please dump your leadership, fire your lobbyists and get connected to the real world?