How did the phony “death book” debate involving Veterans Affairs begin?  Simple.  Fox News owned Wall Street Journal published an op-ed piece by Jim Towey, former Bush coordinator of anti-abortion activities and political fixer.

Towey is now president of St. Vincent’s College, though he has no experience of any kind as an educator.  Further, 80% of the faculty have called for his resignation for falsifying documents.  It was Towey, in his WSJ editorial who continually mischaracterized VA attempts to inform patients of choices as an attempt to encourage Gulf War veterans to commit suicide.

The pamphlet itself, Your Life, Your Choices, is far from controversial.  In fact it is, if anything, frighteningly conservative and mainstream.  The document is exhaustive in its addressing of faith based decision making.  Every imaginable attempt was made to see to it that no group, no matter how “wingnut” or extreme, would find anything to complain about.  The result was a huge document, though extremely informative, that is too long for anyone to read or at least want to.

The real issue here is how far cheap politicians will go to stir up controversy, even if it involves attacking the credibility of the doctors and nurses at the VA, by far the best part of an institution with serious management problems.  In fact, Towey was much a part of the inner circle at the Bush administration responsible for the disasterous veterans funding cuts and facility closings that required emergency legislation to correct.

Towey is a reprehensible political charlatan whose extremist Catholic views have, not only aliented many Catholics but have worked hard to destroy the great educational institution that was pressured to take him on as a highly unqualified leader.

The role of GOP media giant, the flamboyant Australian, Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and a worldwide media empire in attacks on the Department of Veterans Affairs is curious.

Murdoch and Fox have been leaders in the misinformation campaign started by the insurance industry whose scare tactics have been marshalled to leave their corrupt and destructive strangle hold on America’s medical industry untouched.

An industry long famous for denying expensive treatments as “experimental” and advocating “pulling the plug” on critically ill patients as a cost control, now warns Americans that a governement overseen health insurance program would even exceed the abuses the “for profit” groups have been famous for.

The victim of the current scare is the veteran.  Any veteran who seeks advice involving medical and legal decisions is now warned that his care provider and the doctors and nurses he has gone to for years are involved in a conspiracy to push him to suicide.

The real result will be dying patents with no wills, no clear directions to medical personnel and no reliable guidelines for family members as to their personal, financial or religious wishes.  VA efforts to develop highly credible programs designed to help veterans during the most trying period facing any family have been attacked in the most irresponsible manner imaginable with outrageous lies supported by, not only major media but former Bush officials.

Every doctor, every nurse, every administrator working for Veterans Affairs is now being painted as a heartless bureaucrat devoid of professional ethics and their sworn responsibilty that is at the heart of their profession.

How can a doctor or nurse talk to a dying veteran or his family without the stain of Towey’s smear interfering with this most trying period.  If Murdock and Towey have their way, pain medications with be withheld, counseling will be avoided, no wills will be drawn up and death after death will end up in patent agony, guilt, recriminations and court battles.  Equating hospice care with assisted suicide is insanity.

We wish to thank Mr. Towey, Fox News and Michael Steele of the Republican Party for causing a real problem and real suffering where only solutions existed.

gduff_01Is it really worth, not even chasing votes, but sucking up to bankers and insurance companies for huge donations when you have to attack the doctors and nurses of the VA and endanger America’s veterans?

This isn’t spin.  This is what was really done.  Was it worth it?

Gordon Duff is a Marine combat 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.