Apr 6, 2013

Obama takes hits on veterans from hypocritical GOP

It was not that long ago (Feb. 8, 2004) that George W. Bush declared on Meet the Press, "I'm a war president. I make decisions here in the Oval Office in foreign-policy matters with war on my mind."

Bush got his wars, the media delivered his lies, and as predicted by veterans' advocates 100,000s of veterans came home disabled.

But the war president was not the veterans' president.

And President Obama is still cleaning up the mess made of troops and Marines when we make wars.

The Obama administration has—in direct opposition to the administration of George W. Bush and its allies in rightwing thinktanks such as the American Enterprise Institute (AEI)—called off Bush's war on veterans.

But now, Republicans and even liberal groups are savaging, unfairly in my view, President Obama for VA backlogs, even as the GOP blocks administration calls for increases in the budget of the Veterans Benefits Administration.

Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla; 2001-present) chair of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, says no more money increases for veterans, but he is all-so-concerned now about the claims backlog.

Miller said exactly nothing about the wars Bush had others wage, and the lack of policy preparation for the troops and Marines coming home. So, Republicans are now appalled at the backlog of benefit claims, though this new-found concern never surfaced during the Bush-Cheney administration. This is just GOP crap.

It didn't get much coverage, but during the Bush administration the GOP chickenhawks did declare war on veterans, at least those who file disability claims.

Massive disability benefits claims backlogs were ignored and the hostile VA went after veterans politically, especially Vietnam veterans, calling them what is the equivalent of Romney's 47 percent.

Veterans with PTSD were specifically targeted.

In an infamous comment made in 2005 at the Veterans Benefit Administration (VBA) meeting, recounted by a former VBA analyst, Paul Sullivan, VA bureaucrats in the Bush administration blamed a lack of belief in God as the cause for PTSD. Typical.

In Wisconsin, one Vietnam-era veteran was even criminally convicted and imprisoned for filing a disability claim after being diagnosed with PTSD, a warning shot against veterans.

The war on veterans' new front on PTSD was predicated upon the GOP's philosophical abhorrence of veterans' receiving benefits, displayed well in the last presidential campaign, as the Ayn Rand nonsense of Romney-Ryan and the Republicans actually came out in the open after being taped surreptitiously.

Romney-Ryan was just a continuation of the past administration's war against veterans.

"[I]t’s also very likely that some of the veteran baby boomers who have filed claims in recent years did so not out of medical need but out of a desire for financial security … [T]he rush of applications for long-term disability entitlements reflects the extent to which the culture of the DVA since Vietnam has become fixated on PTSD," piped Dr. Sally Satel, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute on March 1, 2006 in a piece typical of actual disdain for veterans.

President Obama expanded the VA's disability programs, and in 2010 changed the PTSD rules for obtaining benefits, a move that drew criticism from the chickenhawk neocons and their allies for making it easier for PTSD victims to obtain benefits. And Obama also expanded rules for Agent Orange claims, again in 2010. Both of these moves were made when the Democrats controlled both Congress and the Presidency. The GOP-controlled House of Representatives' message to veterans now is loud and clear: Go to hell, folks, you're just part of the 47 percent.

That's not the message we get from Obama.

Obama is bringing home troops and Marines; expanding veterans' benefits and taking responsibility for the treatment of our veterans. And Obama's DoJ does not prosecute veterans like Bush-Cheney's DoJ.

George W. Bush and the Republicans did the opposite:  Made war; and ignored and attacked our veterans.

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