Today’s New York Times has an Op-Ed article written by Roger Cohen, one of their overseas journalists, who has just left Iran because they took away his press pass. The article should be read. It is not long. The web address is: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/06/opinion/06iht-edcohen.html?_r=1&th&emc=th .
I posted this article from a newspaperman complaining bitterly about the state of media in Iran because it speaks to our fight here, in an odd way, on this site. We are not professional journalists, we are for the most part old, gray and weathered veterans or veterans advocates who have been hurt and betrayed by the system. But we have a lot in common with Roger Cohen of the New York Times. We passionately believe that "the story" needs to be told by people who actually are watching the events unfold before their eyes. This story cannot be told by government press releases or sound bites. One has to actually be on scene to clearly explain what he or she sees happening.
This web site was created specifically so that the minority view of veterans who have great experience with betrayal and obfuscation from a sullied D.V.A. machinery and allied ‘system’ both in public and private government (a Ronald Reagan term) over many decades can be adequately brought to light for all to see. Blaming this on the Republicans, whining that the Democrats are doing too little too late, screaming that no one cares, that this is all window dressing is not our goal. Our goal is change; radical, immediate, lasting and substantive change within the system of veterans’ care and representation that puts the veteran’s needs out front.
You must understand, all of us here at this web site have been personally hurt by "the system" in all of its many forms and phases relative to veterans issues. We have seen our disability pensions delayed for years (and even more years) in order to keep costs down (we guess). We have seen disability decisions take years (and more years) to be finalized and we can only surmise that this a cost issue. We have seen Reich wing elements in American government do everything in its power to minimize the urgency of our need for immediate relief from the cruelties that life lays upon disabled veterans. We have seen Left wing American politicians literally walk away from veterans and their many needs because we are not normally considered an integral constituency of the Democratic Party. That might be changing now, we cannot be sure, but traditionally Democrats have not shown interests in our issues over the many generations we have had these issues and needed them addressed in Congress. We truly have been the red haired step child of American government for as long as there have been veterans.
The New York Times article caught my eye because it is an ardent plea from a professional journalist to allow him and his kind to have complete access to the mess that is happening in Iran so that he and his ilk can report accurately on what is happening. This is so that change can come about fairly and honestly without government manipulation of information. Does this sound familiar to you relative to veterans issues in this country?
That is all we want on this website. We want access to the truth. We need to see the unvarnished, real and uncorrupted facts of the case concerning veterans’ needs before us. We don’t need or desire to be spied upon by government security elements disguising themselves as landscapers at federal Veteran’s facilities. We don’t need or desire to have our message diluted by Reich wing elements that worm their way onto this website in positions of influence and then post dozens of articles on VFW bake sales and statue unveilings in order to drive more important and critical reporting off the site. That is what the Nazis did in the early 1930’s before they gained absolute control of government. They simply manipulated information and only let the people know their own bizarre and seemingly mundane view of what was happening.
To control access to events and to facts is not only dangerous, it is the hallmark of a totalitarian government. We are there. Make no mistake. This is not something that could happen in this country. This is something that is happening in this country. Right now. Right here. Right away. The only question is why is this happening? We, the staff of this web site, believe that a partial answer is that the cost of veterans benefits and the concern among ultra conservative elements in our government and in our nation that this cost is too high to be paid and will impact the ultra conservative agenda too much to allow it to move forward. To state this simply, the needs of 22.9 million veterans alive in the summer of 2009 and the roughly 2.8 million disabled veterans in this country are so great and cost so many billions of dollars in outlay that the easiest way to mitigate that cost is to consistently and systematically deny them their benefits.
And it gets worse. Now, as we have just seen in California, activist veterans who organized to protect the benefits that they already have in place are being openly spied upon by unnamed federal police organizations setting up spy vans on federal property and claiming that the veterans were mistaken for Iranian radicals staging a protest. What Iranian radicals? I was not aware that the United States had a problem with Iranian radicals! What’s next? We will spied upon because this obtuse and opaque "federal police agency" feels a need to spy on veterans because they will mistake us for disgruntled and dislocated Irish potato farmers?
The federal government has roughly 245 federal agencies, departments and sub agencies extant. About 85 of those agencies are authorized to carry weapons and have some sort of security or police power. That is over and above the police powers of local and state government. That does not include the incredible power wielded by the armed forces. Let me ask a simple question. What does a free society need with all this police power? Why are American veterans who demand that their legally mandated benefits be provided in a timely fashion subjected to overpowering police and security apparatus attention. What in the hell is going on here?
I did not serve in uniform on active duty for almost 25 years to support his gestapo like government outreach. I want American veterans to recieve their benefits that they have earned through service and broken bodies and shattered minds to be delivered in a timely and just fashion. In short, if we owe them money, lets pay them. If we owe them benefits, lets get it for them. Now.
Enough with the Brown Shirted nonsense. There is too much government, too little justice and too many guns involved in recent veterans related events for this to be on the up and up. Something is wrong here. We, like Roger Cohen, just want the truth to get out. We want the facts to be exposed. That is the American way , right? And that is what this web site is all about.