Two Years of Coasting as Secretary of Veterans Affairs,
No Senate Seat as Reward For Job “Undone”
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Shinseki has informed his private staff he plans to resign his post and run for the Senate seat to be vacated by Daniel Akaka, Democrat of Hawaii. Shinseki is considered a “shoo in” with no strong opposition in place.
We heard his talk, we heard his promises and we waited. While Shinseki met with the lobbyists and phonies, America’s vets suffered and died. Those that spoke up were investigated and jailed.
Shinseki took over Veterans Affairs at the lowest point in its history, underfunded, totally corrupt, medical system in collapse, two wars going and over a million vets queued for disability processing.
Two years later and 80% of the Bush disaster is still in place and Shinseki considers his job done. We disagree, he has yet to begin.
At the heart of his disastrous tenure at Veterans Affairs is his inability to accept political realities. The old line veterans service organizations rode the “Bush express” to disaster, actively supporting the worst president in history while he waged a very active war against America’s veterans.
Courts were stacked with vet haters, medical facilities ramped up wait times for appointments to a year or more and processing of claims virtually ended with automatic denials and “Catch 22” dead end appeals the norm.
The Bush era veterans “die off,” reached epidemic proportions, Vietnam veterans, Operation Desert Storm/Gulf War I and, eventually, younger vets as well.
We recognize that the Secretary inherited a disaster. We also recognize that he chose to “buddy up” with the service organization, American Legion, VFW and others that had, long ago, become little more than “neocon” drinking and gambling clubs with a Washington presence politically aligned with the most extreme elements of the GOP.
With service organizations aligned with a political party that believes that veterans benefits and care is a low priority and a secretary taking guidance from organizations that should have been his political foes, we simply ask:
What was he thinking?
Shinseki may get his senate seat but if President Obama chooses to replace him with another “do nothing” empty hat, we are planning to “go postal” on him.
If we can get Secretary of Defense Bob Gates to take the helm of Veterans Affairs, a post he would never want, and rightly so, we might have someone with the grip on reality veterans deserve.
To President Obama, a man we helped elect, please do not disappoint veterans again. We are organized, we are powerful and we are not part of the right wing “flat earth” funny hat brigade.
We mean business and are ready to prove it!