When the call of service comes there is no shortage of people who respond. Even those who never considered military service can be propelled into action under horrific enough circumstances. The attacks of 9/11, for instance, gave the U.S. just such a circumstance and the military saw an increase in enrollment. But it seems that patriotism ends for Congress, where care for those who have sacrificed life, limb, and mental well-being, begins.
Veterans Affairs medical facilities have long been the poster child for inept health care. When the nation found out the truth about the backlog of claims, many politicians jumped on their party’s bandwagon to wag and point their fingers at the other side of the aisle to lay blame for the situation.
As long as the story was on the highlight reel of every news agency, everyone seemed to care -until they found a face to plaster on the scapegoat. That scapegoat came in the form of Dr. Robert Petzel. Petzel was up for retirement the latter part of 2014 and was viewed by many as a public relations move to dull the points of the pitchforks and to give the impression that something was being done about the egregious situation and satiate an angry public. Now, the words “care for our veterans” seems to only be a consistent concern in campaign speeches.
The Warhawks of Washington, D.C. can whip a crowd into a frenzy as they blind the populace with syrupy thick patriotic banter and propaganda filled rhetoric. Congress, however, does not seem to be equally moved by their own claims of patriotism when those soldiers return home in need of care, and most certainly not for those whose time of service has come to an end. While some lifetime politicians flip flop on decisions made regarding the care of Veterans its military families that suffer the most.
Many times congress has voted down legislation that would help returning soldiers heal and transition back into civilian life. The system has become so convoluted that even efforts to improve it seem to cause more problems as it is reported by Time magazine that the VA backlog initially expanded as a result of the VA raising its own standards.
Our soldiers have done their part and risked their lives. Some returning from war needing lifelong care physically and/or mentally. The very least our government can do is make sure that the care received by those they have so eagerly sacrificed is competent, expedient and comprehensive.