Thursday, July 22, 2010

What's the Money Value of a Veteran?

When I began my blog a few years ago, I had four ideas in mind. 1- Share my old pictures, 2- Express my opinions freely, 3- Kidney Disease, especially PKD, and 4- The Military Veteran.

I've been slack for too long on #4, but right now, Vietnam Veterans are about to be turned into a political football.

Everything has to be presented at the extreme these days. Polarization (not the glasses), but hot or cold, white or black, conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican.  That ain't human.

I'm not a doctor or scientist and I haven't found an article explaining connections with Parkinson's or two other diseases to Agent Orange, but I hope that the VA has good medical information. Eric K. Shinseki is the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, so he is the front man in the proposal to add the new diseases to the "presumptive" list.

In the other corner is Senator Jim Webb of Virginia, who wants a congressional hearing to examine Shinseki's medical evidence and debate the costs that would be incurred.

Today's young soldiers are popular, and our representatives (even Webb) are eager to spend billions for them, as well we should.

Vietnam soldiers are less popular in that most of the parents, uncles and aunts have already died and don't vote anymore.  Their contemporaries who never served don't really give a rip.  So the question is, how much to spend on the old soldiers.  The proposal will cost billions.

Tens of thousands would almost instantly become eligible for funds denied them over the years, as their paper records have been getting moldy in floors of file cabinets in places like the Atlanta VA.

Yes, I do have a personal axe to grind. My case has been lingering.  My case is based on Agent Orange, Radiation Exposure, and the combination of both. The combination really throws them for a loop. Bureaucracy likes yes-no answers.  No essay answers or paragraphs of explanation.

Webb's hearing has been set for September 23, 2010, right in the middle of campaign season. Imagine that. If you were a Blue Dog, what would be your position? Vote down the VA's proposal and appear to be no friend of veterans?  Or do you vote to sustain the proposal and be accused a big spender with no regard for the deficit?

Webb's challenge is politically smart. Cable news will have a field day!

Although I didn't present it very well, I see one of you standing up with hand raised wanting more information, so here is a reading list. Feel free to comment on my original post or any of the other articles.  If you need to move on and come back later, blogsearch Value Veteran to get back.

William A. Ricks 
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