GORDON DUFF: BROAD REFORMS OF MILITARY BUDGET, RETIREE BENEFITS AND VETERANS SERVICES MUST BEGIN NOW

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reformAMERICA, ‘WORLD POLICEMAN’ LITTLE BUT A PLOY BY DEFENSE INDUSTRY  SCAMSTERS

REALISTIC DIPLOMACY COMBINED WITH REALISTIC 21ST CENTURY MILITARY/RETIREE/VET SYSTEM A MUST

By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER

Playing “world cop” and feeding the Pentagon/Military Industrial Machine “racketeers” has created a situation any sensible observer now admits is unsustainable.  We have neither the money nor the personnel to continue as we have.  With many weapons programs in decades of  misdirection, wasting billions, while military families and veterans suffer, a “ground up” reassessment is needed.

MILITARY SPENDING

With multiple services competing for a bloated budget with redundant intelligence services and our “near useless” DHS (Department of Homeland Security), the “world cop” mentality combined with chasing many technologies based on mid 20th century warfare is a cruel farce.

Currently the Marine Corps is spending billions preparing for another Pacific war against the Japanese while our “new” missile shield, at best, will be years behind “off the shelf” Russian technology they would sell us for 5 cents on the dollar. Years of retaliation against whistleblowers has kept most of our fraud secret.  Imagine what people have been too afraid to report?

Though we have spent billions on small arms, we still don’t have a rifle, even at $4000 each, up to Kalishnikov standards, though those weapons were based on German designs originated in the late 1930s.  We are, more and more often, turning to vendors like Beretta, HK, Glock and others when quality small arms are needed.  Why is that?

With an Air Force with more Generals/pilots than some countries have gas station attendants, we are spending billions on piloted aircraft where advanced UAVs are far more cost efficient and capable.  DARPA has, in the pipeline, systems the Air Force and their powerful “manned aircraft” lobby will do everything possible to keep the US from having, no matter how great the need.

AMERICA’S WAR ON VETERANS

Multiple deployments of reservists and National Guard combined with the massive population of aging veterans from previous conflicts has created a healthcare nightmare.  Massive overfunding for new hospitals that are entirely for show but largely unable to deliver healthcare despite the most advanced patient information management systems on the planet is the result of an entrenched self serving bureaucracy that has done as much to undermine America’s strength as any foreign enemy.

Decade after decade of scandal after scandal with revelations of patient abuse, destroyed records, underfunding of critical services and substandard care has only generated solutions designed to stimulate huge ‘pork barrel’ projects without ever addressing real problems.


The VA works, almost with an insidious intent, at avoiding any useful information that would help it recognize real health problems in the veterans community and deliver needed services.  No organization has done more to “not know” who its clients are and to deny care or intimidate and reject clients as successfully as the VA.

Thousands of Vietnam veterans died long before having a chance to have their Agent Orange related diseases diagnosed, much less treated.  More time was spent denying culpability than defining treatment.  40 years later, a number of Agent Orange related problems are still seen as “questionable” and “controversial” but have also never been studied nor have any statistics been gathered or examined.

Avoiding information has been a key to the pattern of denial.  If you fail to ask a question, then you don’t have to act on the answer.  This has worked well to keep the most expensive hospital system in the world spending at record levels with no realistic way of establishing what they accomplish.

VETERAN FAMILIES, AMERICA’S HEALTH CARE DISASTER

Currently, the government healthcare system covers senior citizens with Medicare, the disadvantaged with Medicaid, 100% permanent and totally disabled veterans families with CHAMPVA, and active and retired military families with TRICARE.  There are many common elements involved in managing these systems.  Both CHAMPVA and TRICARE have unusually good records of customer care and communication, far better than the VA itself.

However, with the VA compensation system crippled by corruption and mismanagement, the vast majority of potential clients for CHAMPVA never qualify.  Families wait, often a decade or more, for health care, while veterans work their way thru the unfair and highly adversarial appeals process or are simply sent away.  For every document destroyed, a family loses its health care and one of “America’s heros” sees his loved ones suffer.

Education and job benefits, inadequate as they are, are also denied dependents of these veterans.  Many children of disabled veterans finally qualify for tuition assistance years after they are “too old” according to VA guidelines.  This is the “norm” not the exception.

Even the few that manage to navigate the disability system see their family members denied dental and optical care.  Only a very few disabled veterans can afford this for their families but the need and the debt owed is ignored.

As we have, over the past decade, discovered that many totally disabled veterans have been awarded compensation at levels as low as 10% due to irregularities in the processing of their claims or the examination system itself, it is absolutely certain that services both deserved and owed are being denied at levels too great to imagine.

Is anyone asking the obvious questions or have any solutions been suggested, much less implemented?  What do you think?

SOLDIERS AND VETERANS, VICTIMS OF “CORPORATE” DIPLOMACY

Anyone who thinks the invasion of Iraq “by mistake” with the billions in “no bid” contracts going to GOP supporters and years of inept and incompetent military planning was not part of a conspiracy between the Bush administration, oil and defense industries and corrupt partners in the Middle East is not playing with a full deck.

It almost seems as though the war in Afghanistan was being kept in “cold storage” in case the factions in Iraq eventually tired of killing us and each other.  We may have gone even further, destabilizing Pakistan and supporting an unviable regime in Kabul to guarantee decades of unsuccessful conflict in order to justify endless spending with no oversight.

Anyone who thinks this is conspiracy theory needs to note that this is much closer to mainstream thinking than “fringe.”  Many top military leaders in the US and around the world, all purposefully disenfranchised by the Bush/Blair cabal had successfully predicted the direction our war planning would take:

1.  Long term insurrection in Iraq ending in massive US casualties, huge war debt, failed reconstruction and a government largely hostile to the US.

2.  Radicalization of Islam, worldwide, while America is increasingly isolated from traditional allies.

3.  An ever deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, our “legitimate war.”

Though Bush policies may have made billions for Haliburton and Exxon, they left thousands of Americans dead, our economy in ruins and military/veteran families facing a bleak future.  In fact, calling Bush policies “diplomacy” at all is a misnomer.

CRAWLING OUT OF THE WRECKAGE OF THE “BUSH APOCALYPSE”

Even in the best of economies, military/veteran families are at a huge disadvantage.  Dislocation caused by deployments, disabilities brought on by war and bureaucratic abuses have long been traditional problems, sometimes impossible to surmount.  However, with the worst economic disaster since “the great depression” facing America, those who have sacrificed most will also be among those least capable of surviving.

Systems in place were designed to deliver 3rd rate medical care and compensation to our most deserving people.  We long accepted this as part of a hidden agenda of prejudice against military and veteran families.  When times were good, problems could be survived and even overcome.  However, with the disaster we are now in, we are seeing homelessness and suicide and providing little but “help lines” and lip service.

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We have a chance to look for realistic solutions to a problem that spans everything from international relations and weapons system development to dental care for children.  Failing to see the connections has led to decades of mistakes we can no longer afford.


Gordon Duff is a Marine Vietnam veteran and regular contributor on political and social issues.

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Gordon Duff posted articles on VT from 2008 to 2022. He is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War. A disabled veteran, he worked on veterans and POW issues for decades. Gordon is an accredited diplomat and is generally accepted as one of the top global intelligence specialists. He manages the world's largest private intelligence organization and regularly consults with governments challenged by security issues. Duff has traveled extensively, is published around the world, and is a regular guest on TV and radio in more than "several" countries. He is also a trained chef, wine enthusiast, avid motorcyclist, and gunsmith specializing in historical weapons and restoration. Business experience and interests are in energy and defense technology.