National News Media/Cable TV Misses and Neglects the Veterans Health Care Issue


In continuing the discussion on the hearings held on Exposures in Iraq/OIF, the White House held a meeting with military reporters on August 4th.  I have to say that this is really news, When do you remember in the past a President specifically meeting with journalist that focus on the military?  I am waiting to get comments from others on that question.

Within the report was another small nugget: " But a 2008 study by researchers at Vanderbilt University found higher incidences of respiratory diseases among Kentucky soldiers after they returned from Iraq in 2003. And a VA study of more than 6,000 Iraq war troops found about 10 percent of suffered from nasal allergies, a rate twice that of troops stationed in the U.S."


This heightened response by the White House with the Secretary of the VA is a beginning and we at Veterans Today sincerely hope to see this occur more often!  It is high time that our troops but even more so our veterans be addressed at regular intervals. It was the first ever mention by the new VA Secretary and the POTUS of Agent orange and Gulf War Illness.

The news media of the major cable networks should also carry the news on veterans as a high priority.  Too often our Veterans health care is neglected.  The Washington Post and many others jumped high  when their were substandard conditions at Walter Reed but seem to pass on stories of veterans of Desert Storm 1990.  It seems that we can cover the active duty troops and jump high if there is a problem but what happens with veterans of the recent pass?  You have to search your local paper or local Television Station News to hear what is really going on across the country.

This writer is challenging the National Cable Televison and National Newspapers to Regularly review their coverage.  Are the Veterans that laid their lives and health on the line for this country getting adequate and timely coverage?  A case example might just be the plight of a Gulf War Veteran from Missouri who after having struggled for years to get answers on his health care needs and to get his claim through the VA felt compelled and desperate that the Gulf War Veterans of 1990-91 were becoming the Forgotten!  He drove a John Deer tractor 1,000 miles in five days to be in DC at a hearing that occured on July 30th which no other media seems to have covered. This veteran went against medical advice because he felt there was no option left!  He was desperate not only for himself but others.  He got two local televison networks interviews but not a mention by national media! Matt Letterman collapsed the next morning and has been hospitalized at the VA Hospital in DC but no media covered that story.  CNN was going to do an interview on July 30th combining it with coverage of a Senate VA House Committee Hearing on July 29th about the problem with VA claims for our veterans but they cancelled.   Shame on the Media! 

The hearing conducted by the House VA Committee -Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation was trying to get to the bottom of the problem that exists between the Research Advisory Committee, the VA, and the NAS-IOM in regards to Gulf War Illness, a problem that is probably at the center of the gulf war veterans problems in getting better health care and compensation through the VA after 18 years and the impact of one in four veterans of the gulf war(at least) which amounts to at least 164,000 veterans.  YES AMERICA, AT LEAST 164,000 VETERANS LIVES AT STAKE AND AFFECTED!

When we are in the midst of national attention on Health Care Reform Bills, legislation, and angry town hall meetings one wonders why the plight of Veterans Health Care is not being covered?  This might just be a clue to what America will see more widespread with Health Care Reform.  Maybe we should fix veterans health care FIRST?


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See the story below posted by Stars and Stripes but not seen by the American Public at large! 

Obama says burn pits won’t become another Agent Orange

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama promised Tuesday that health concerns related to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan will not become another Agent Orange, with the military denying their dangers for decades.

In a White House roundtable Tuesday with Stars and Stripes and other military reporters, Obama said he is tracking reports from the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments about the burn pits, still in use at a number of bases in Iraq and Afghanistan to dispose of various equipment and supplies. He said officials are still working to get an "objective" view on the problem.

"I’m absolutely convinced that our commanders in theater are doing everything they can to protect their men and women," he said. "My overriding mandate is you get the best science possible, and then make decisions from that standpoint."

Agent Orange, a defoliant used by the U.S. military in Vietnam, was linked to a host of medical problems among Vietnamese citizens and American troops, but military officials denied its effects for decades.

Defense officials say the open-air burn pits do not pose a significant threat to servicemembers nearby, citing a 2008 Joint Army/Air Force study that sampled air quality near burn pits and found few new health risks.

But a 2008 study by researchers at Vanderbilt University found higher incidences of respiratory diseases among Kentucky soldiers after they returned from Iraq in 2003. And a VA study of more than 6,000 Iraq war troops found about 10 percent of suffered from nasal allergies, a rate twice that of troops stationed in the U.S.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said officials in his department may implement a burn-pit health screening, similar to the one vets undergo to check for brain injuries and stress disorders, in order to better track the potential problem.

"I know we are working with DOD to do the kinds of sampling we didn’t do for Agent Orange, seeing what’s there that is different from a control population," he said. "My interest is how do we change what has been the 40-year journey of Agent Orange, the 20-year journey of Gulf War Illness."

Obama would not say he is convinced the burn pits present a serious health threat to troops, but insisted that his staff and military officials are still researching the issue.

"Nobody is served by denial or sweeping things under the rug," he said.

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