Wednesday, September 21, 2005

DAV Shines Light on Forgotten Veterans

The Disabled American Veterans is a nonpartisan apolitical organization whose main purpose is to advocate for, and support the needs of disabled veterans. During the early days of the war in Iraq, DAV representatives attempted to visit wounded soldiers but were refused entry into their rooms at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. for 'security reasons.' The absurdity of this action became known to Congressional representatives through action by the DAV and other veterans support groups.

The DAV has been fighting for disabled vets for a long time and has continued to do so. Last month they detailed the ways in which this administration's representatives are removing and/or not addressing critical needs for these vets.

DAV Executive Director David Gorman, in a letter to R. James Nicholson, Secretary of Veterans Affairs at the V.A. stated:

Dear Mr. Secretary:
On behalf of the Disabled American Veterans, I write to express our organization’s concern about the position of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on the disability compensation program, as presented to the Veterans’ Disability Benefits Commission by Undersecretary for Benefits Daniel L. Cooper.

The Undersecretary’s statement included several disturbing views that can only be described as insulting to the men and women who have borne or are today bearing the extraordinary burdens of military service. It is all the more objectionable that such attacks on the benefit program for disabled veterans came from the agency whose mission is to “care for him who shall have borne the battle.”

Though it disingenuously purports, on page 2 near the beginning, to encourage the Commission to consider program changes to “make a substantial difference in the lives of veterans, as well as a difference in our ability to serve veterans better,” the statement has a poorly camouflaged self-serving focus leading to suggestions that are all adverse to veterans. In proceeding to the program changes suggested for consideration, the statement cites statistics on an increasing workload, with claims backlogs and a consequent decrease in timeliness despite VA’s process reforms for improving productivity and timeliness of claims decisions. The statement attempts to blame this predicament on Congress and veterans themselves, and thus suggests changes that would accommodate VA’s deficiencies by limiting veterans' entitlements and restricting their access to the system.

Read the whole statement itself vets, and make up your own minds. But I think it's clear the DAV has put its finger on a key characteristic of this administration: Support the troops, but forget the veterans.

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link