Sunday, December 05, 2010

The Agent Orange Supplemental Act

Below is the bill we have made available before, to other groups, to Congress, and to at least one of the major national Veteran Service Organizations. As you will see, it creates an entirely new section in Title 38 to allow for different eligibility criteria, and different methods of exposure. Please note, there are no names on this, or on any other bills we have proposed in the past. Never were, never will be. We do not write these for the purposes of ego but to create legislation that has the best chance at passage, and of doing what it is intended to do, provide benefits for all who were exposed, anywhere in the world, to the poison contracted for by the US Department of Defense in the 1950s through 1972. Those who advocate this project need to check their own egos and get past them. It's not the 'who,' its the 'what.'

Here is the proposed Agent Orange Supplemental Act; take it and use it, but use it in the spirit in which it is written:
------------------------------------------

111th CONGRESS

HR 0000, a Companion Bill to S 0000

The Agent Orange Supplemental Act of 2009
To amend Title 38, Part II, Chapter 11, Subchapter II by adding Section 1119 to authorize and clarify the award of benefits for those Veterans who served during the Vietnam Era, but did so outside the Vietnam Theater of Operations, and were presumed to have been exposed to herbicides.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
In , 2009, Mr. Xxxxx introduced the following bill; it is co-sponsored by Representatives:

A BILL
To amend Title 38 USC to authorize the award of benefits to Veterans presumed to have been exposed to certain herbicides while serving in locations outside the Vietnam Theater of Operations during the period beginning on January 9, 1962, and ending on May 7, 1975.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; REFERENCES TO TITLE 38, UNITED STATES CODE.
(a) Short Title- This Act may be cited as the `Agent Orange Supplemental Act of 2009'
.
(b) References- Wherever in this Act an amendment is expressed in terms of an amendment to a section or other provision, the reference shall be considered to be made to a section or other provision of title 38, United States Code.

SEC. 2. CLARIFICATION OF AUTHORITY TO ESTABLISH PRESUMPTIONS BASED ON HERBICIDE EXPOSURE; CONFIRMATION OF RETROACTIVE PAYMENT.
(a) Title 38, Part II, Chapter 11, Subchapter II is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

Sec. 1119. Presumptions of service connection for diseases associated with exposure to certain herbicide agents; presumption of exposure for veterans who served during the Vietnam Era but outside of the Vietnam Theater of Operations.

(a) (1) For the purposes of section 1110 of this title, and subject to section 1113 of this title--
(A) a disease specified in paragraph (2) of this subsection becoming manifest as specified in that paragraph in a veteran who, during active military, naval, or air service, served outside the Vietnam Theater of Operations during the period beginning on January 9, 1962, and ending on May 7, 1975; and
(B) each additional disease (if any) that (i) the Secretary determines in regulations prescribed under this section warrants a presumption of service-connection by reason of having positive association with exposure to an herbicide agent, and (ii) becomes manifest within the period (if any) prescribed in such regulations in a veteran who, during active military, naval, or air service, served outside the Vietnam War Theater of Operations during the period beginning on January 9, 1962, and ending on May 7, 1975, and while so serving was exposed to that herbicide agent, shall be considered to have been incurred in or aggravated by such service, notwithstanding that there is no record of evidence of such disease during the period of such service.
(2) The diseases referred to in paragraph (1)(A) of this subsection are the following:
(A) Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma becoming manifest
(B) Each soft-tissue sarcoma other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi's sarcoma, or mesothelioma.
(C) Chloracne or another acneform disease consistent with chloracne.
(D) Hodgkin's disease.
(E) Porphyria cutanea tarda
(F) Respiratory cancers (cancer of the lung, bronchus, larynx, or trachea)
(G) Multiple myeloma
(H) Diabetes Mellitus (Type 2).
(I ) Hairy Cell Leukemia
(J) Parkinsons Disease
(K) Ischemic Heart Disease
(3) For purposes of this section, the term ``herbicide agent'' means a chemical in an herbicide used in support of the United States and allied military operations in the Vietnam Theater of Operations, and in locations outside the Vietnam Theater of Operations during the period beginning on January 9, 1962, and ending on May 7, 1975.
(4) For purposes of this section, the term “Vietnam Theater of Operations” is defined as The Republic of Vietnam, The inland waterways of the Republic of Vietnam, the waters off shore of the Republic of Vietnam, and in the sky above the Republic of Vietnam, and in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia during the period beginning on January 9, 1962, and ending on May 7, 1975.
(5) For purposes of this section, the term “Outside the Vietnam Theater of Operations” is defined as any and all locations identified by the Department of Defense as a base, installation, unit, ship, aircraft, or other military entity on or in which herbicides were used, stored, shipped from, or through.

(b) (1) Whenever the Secretary determines, on the basis of sound medical and scientific evidence that a positive association exists between
(A) the exposure of humans to an herbicide agent, and
(B) the occurrence of a disease in humans,
the Secretary shall prescribe regulations providing that a presumption of service connection is warranted for that disease for the purposes of this section.
(2) In making determinations for the purpose of this subsection, the Secretary shall take into account
(A) reports received by the Secretary from the National Academy of Sciences under section 3 of the Agent Orange Act of 1991, and
(B) all other sound medical and scientific information and analyses available to the Secretary. In evaluating any study for the purpose of making such determinations, the Secretary shall take into consideration whether the results are statistically significant, are capable of replication, and withstand peer review.
(3) An association between the occurrence of a disease in humans and exposure to an herbicide agent shall be considered to be positive for the purposes of this section if the credible evidence for the association is equal to or outweighs the credible evidence against the association.

(c) (1) (A) Not later than 60 days after the date on which the Secretary receives
a report from the National Academy of Sciences under section 3 of the Agent Orange Act of 1991, the Secretary shall determine whether a presumption of service connection is warranted for each disease covered by the report. If the Secretary determines that such a presumption is warranted, the Secretary, not later than 60 days after making the determination, shall issue proposed regulations setting forth the Secretary's determination.
(B) If the Secretary determines that a presumption of service
connection is not warranted, the Secretary, not later than 60 days after making the determination, shall publish in the Federal Register a notice of that determination. The notice shall include an explanation of the scientific basis for that determination. If the disease already is included in regulations providing for a presumption of service connection, the Secretary, not later than 60 days after publication of the notice of a determination that the presumption is not warranted, shall issue proposed regulations removing the presumption for the disease.
(2) Not later than 90 days after the date on which the Secretary issues any proposed regulations under this subsection, the Secretary shall issue final regulations. Such regulations shall be effective on the date of issuance.

(d) Whenever a disease is removed from regulations prescribed under this section--
(1) a veteran who was awarded compensation for such disease on the basis of the presumption provided in subsection (a) before the effective date of the removal shall continue to be entitled to receive compensation on that basis; and
(2) a survivor of a veteran who was awarded dependency and indemnity compensation for the death of a veteran resulting from such disease on the basis of such presumption shall continue to be entitled to receive dependency and indemnity compensation on such basis.

(e) Subsections (b) through (d) shall cease to be effective on September 30, 2030.

(f) For purposes of establishing service connection for a disability or death resulting from exposure to a herbicide agent, including a presumption of service-connection under this section, a veteran who, during active military, naval, or air service, served outside the Vietnam Theater of Operations during the period beginning on January 9, 1962, and ending on May 7, 1975, shall be presumed to have been exposed during such service to an herbicide agent containing dioxin or 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, and may be presumed to have been exposed during such service to any other chemical compound in an herbicide agent, unless there is affirmative evidence to establish that the veteran was not exposed to any such agent during that service. Locations identified by the Department of Defense as having been a location, base, unit, ship, aircraft, or other military installation where herbicides were used, stored, or shipped from or through.

(g) Presumptions established pursuant to this section shall be considered to be presumptions established pursuant to the Agent Orange Act of 1991. Awards based on such presumptions are subject to section 5110 of this title and may be made effective earlier than the effective date of the regulation establishing the presumption, and must be made back to the date of first claim.

(h) Applicability-- The provisions of section 1119(g) as added by this Act apply to any determination made on or after the date of enactment of this Act, or prior to it back to the date of first claim.

(i) The Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs is directed to proceed with all dispatch to process the claims pending from Veterans who are affected by this act, and all new claims filed under the provisions of this act.

[Created 09/14/2008]
[amended 08/03/2010]
[Edited 11/20/2010]
--------------------------------------
Feel free to distribute this as you see fit, to submit to your Representative or Senators to persuade them to introduce it next session. Be prepared that this requires a new appropriation and some in Congress will likely demand new science, and the cost of this bill will be extremely high, so there will be problems attempting to get it through.

VASVW is committed to advocating this bill as well as the Agent Orange Restoration Act.


While you cannot copy from this page, we have posted the proposed Supplemental Bill and the proposed Restoration Bill on the VASVW.org website:

The Agent Orange Supplemental Act - Proposed

The Agent Orange Restoration Act - Proposed

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2011: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Sixth Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved. Reprinting or copying of the contents of this blog without the express permission of the author is unlawful.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Agent Orange Restoration Act of 2010

This is the proposed bill we have presented to Congress. It contains the language that HR 2254/S.1939 should have included -- and no more.

BEGIN
111th CONGRESS


S.0000
The Agent Orange Restoration Act of 2010

To amend title 38, United States Code, chapter 11, to clarify that an award of benefits based on a regulatory presumption established pursuant to 38 U.S.C. 1116 can be made effective earlier than the date the regulatory presumption was established, in effect, to the date of the first claim; and to clarify that the presumption of herbicide exposure provided by 38 U.S.C. 1116(f) applies to veterans who served in Vietnam on land or on Vietnam's inland waterways and to those who served only in waters offshore or in airspace above, or in Thailand, Laos, or Cambodia.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
December 2010
Senator xxx introduced the following bill:

A BILL
To amend title 38, United States Code, chapter 11, to clarify and show the intent of Congress that an award of benefits based on a regulatory presumption established pursuant to 38 U.S.C. 1116 can be made effective earlier than the date the regulatory presumption was established, in effect, to the date of the first claim; and to clarify that the presumption of herbicide exposure provided by 38 U.S.C. 1116(f) applies to veterans who served in Vietnam on land, or on Vietnam's inland waterways, and to those who served only in waters offshore of the Republic of Vietnam, or in airspace above the Republic of Vietnam, or in Thailand, Laos, or Cambodia. The determining factor will be receipt of the Vietnam Service Medal, or the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal issued for service in the Vietnam War.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; REFERENCES TO TITLE 38, UNITED STATES CODE.
(a) Short Title- This Act may be cited as the `Agent Orange Restoration Act of 2010'.

(b) References- Wherever in this Act an amendment is expressed in terms of an amendment to a section or other provision, the reference shall be considered to be made to a section or other provision of title 38, United States Code.

SEC. 2. CLARIFICATION OF AUTHORITY TO ESTABLISH PRESUMPTIONS BASED ON HERBICIDE EXPOSURE; CONFIRMATION OF RETROACTIVE PAYMENT.
(a) Section 1116 is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
`(g) Presumptions established pursuant to this section shall be considered to be presumptions established pursuant to the Agent Orange Act of 1991. Awards based on such presumptions are subject to section 5110 of this title and may be made effective earlier than the effective date of the regulation establishing the presumption, and must be made back to the date of first claim.

(b) Applicability- The provisions of section 1116(g) as added by this Act apply to any determination made on or after the date of enactment of this Act, or prior to it back to the date of first claim.

(c) The Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs is directed to proceed with all dispatch to process the claims pending from Veterans who are affected by this act, and all new claims filed under the provisions of this act.

SEC. 3. CLARIFICATION OF DEFINITION OF SERVICE IN THE REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM.

(a) Paragraph (f) of section 1116 is amended by adding to the end of that paragraph the following: `For the purposes of this presumption, a veteran will be considered to have served in the Republic of Vietnam if the veteran received either the Vietnam Service Medal or the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for service in Vietnam.'

(b) Applicability- The provisions of section 1116(f), as amended by this Act, apply to any claim pending on the date of enactment of this Act, including a claim to reopen or revise a previous claim, to any claim previously denied on the basis of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ interpretation of the definition of “Service in Vietnam” requiring a Veteran’s service to have included his or her presence on the land mass of the Republic of Vietnam, and to any claim filed on or after the date of enactment of this Act. Benefits severed by the Department of Veterans Affairs on the basis of any revised policy interpretations of the definition of “Service in Vietnam” requiring a Veteran’s service to have included his or her actual presence on the land mass of the Republic of Vietnam shall be reinstated in full, with full retroactive benefits. Benefits will be paid to the date of first claim in all cases under this authority, minus any previous payments paid on the claim. In all cases under this authority, failure to file an appeal subsequent to a denial based on the Department of Veterans Affairs’ revised policy interpretation of the definition of “Service in Vietnam” requiring a Veteran’s service to have included his or her actual presence within the land mass of the Republic of Vietnam shall not interrupt retroactive benefits.
END

Next up: the proposed Agent Orange Supplemental Act.

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2010: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Sixth Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved. Reprinting or copying of the contents of this blog without the express permission of the author is unlawful.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Shed No Tears for The Agent Orange Equity Act

First, open a window and allow fresh air into your room...there will be several stinkbombs in what you are about to read.

Next, some background.
In August of 2008 a group of Veterans gathered online in secret and wrote a letter to Bob Filner, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs. Filner had introduced the Agent Orange Equity Act of 2008 a month earlier. It was designed to restore the benefits to Veterans who Congress intended to include in the original Agent Orange Act of 1991, but the Department of Veterans Affairs had taken away in a series of illegal steps starting in 1991 by barring Veterans who served in Thailand, Laos, and/or Cambodia [TLC] during the Vietnam War, then in 1993, by barring the "Blue Sky Air Force", those aircrews who flew combat, cargo, transport, and medevac aircraft over South Vietnam; and finally in 2002, by barring any member of the Blue Water Navy who served off the coast of South Vietnam and did not set foot on the ground. Illegal? At each step of the way, the DVA failed to put any of those changes to the policy, or to their policy manuals out for public comment as required by the Administrative Procedures Act. Each of those changes were, and still are, illegal.

That secret group, comprised by about 30 or so Air Force Veterans from TLC, and at least three Blue Water Navy Veterans, requested that Filner add additional groups of Veterans who did not receive the Vietnam Service Medal - VSM [or its equivalent, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for Service in Vietnam or AFEM-VN], but specifically requested Veterans who received the Vietnam Campaign Medal, or VCM,, issued for service of 6 months or longer in areas outside of the Vietnam-TLC Theater of War, but in support of the war effort there; and specifically requested coverage for Veterans who served on Johnston Island, where Herbicides were gathered after the cessation of spraying in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

The addition of those outside groups, which included Johnston Island, Guam, Okinawa, the Republic of the Philippines, Korea, Panama, and other locations involved with the transport of herbicides to Vietnam, and their storage in those locations, ran the cost of the bill right out of the ballpark, making it too expensive for a Congress winding down the second year of the 110th Congress. The bill died in Committee, sunk under its own weight. Stink Bomb #1

Fast forward to the spring of 2009.
After a long delay, in April, 2009 representatives of the Veterans Association of Sailors of the Vietnam War [VASVW] visited Chairman Filner to urge him to reintroduce the bill. He agreed after expressing some concern about the cost. [As you will see, he was not addressing the exact same bill he introduced in July of 2008, but rather a version that was closer to what had sunk under its own weight after the addition of the outside groups noted above to the bill.] After promising us seats at the bill's legislative hearings, Filner also detailed a staff member to work with VASVW toward passage of the bill.

The following week, as promised, Filner introduced the Agent Orange Equity Act of 2009, HR 2254 [and six months later a Senate version, S.1939 was introduced by New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.] As soon as we read the bill, we contacted the staffer to explain that the bill, as worded, contained some errors. The inclusion of Johnston Island was incorrect, and the use as an eligibility qualifier of the Vietnam Campaign Medal should have been corrected to the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for Service in Vietnam. The staffer defended the wording as correct and would not agree to a change no matter what we said. Stink Bomb #2 And so, HR 2254/S.1939 was as doomed from the start as HR 6562 was in 2008 after the secret group's list was added to the bill.

Do not cry for the Agent Orange Equity Act of 2009...
...it was never intended to be passed. As introduced, it was, quite simply, Too Damned Expensive! Regardless of the spending spree of the 111th Congress, the AO Equity Act of 2009 was prohibitively expensive. Stink Bomb #3

We researched and argued the numbers, but the whole time we were doing so, we were counting on getting to those hearings to get the language fixed. We made countless visits to Congressional offices [both houses] and talked to staff about the language of the bill, and how it should be corrected to make the bill strictly restorative. We were, in all but one office, that of Senator James Webb, successful in winning support for the bill on those terms: No Johnston Island, no VCM, replaced by the AFEM-VN. That made the bill completely restorative.

We were never permitted access to Chairman Filner after that April, 2009 meeting. Either Filner, or his staff acting on their own, barred any appointment requests, and letters, faxes and emails to Filner from VASVW. And of course, there were no legislative hearings. None. Filner pawned off a hearing on the Agent Orange Longitudinal Study as a sop to the only VASVW representatives to get to see him in 18 months.

The language of the 2009 bill was the result of the secret group's letter in August of 2008. The specific inclusion of Johnston Island and the Vietnam Campaign Medal is a direct link to that letter.

That, then, is twice the secret group has sunk the bill. Our understanding is that as late as mid-October, about 6 weeks ago, The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association [BWNVVA] was still advocating for the inclusion of those external groups in the bill. For all we know, they still do. We have no information to the contrary. Two and a half years of legislative advocacy down the drain is one thing, but the premature deaths in poverty of so many Veterans is something else entirely.

"A Veteran's worst enemy is another Veteran."
And there is no excuse for it. In September of 2008, we visited Chairman Filner and gave him copies of two bills, one a restoration act, fleshed out to cover and protect full retroactive benefits regardless of whether the Veterans appealed a denial or not, and the other a supplemental act that covered not just Guam, or Okinawa, or Korea, but any Veteran of the Vietnam Era, who had NOT received the VSM or the AFEM-VN, but served anywhere else in the world where dioxin based herbicides were used, stored, or shipped through. Filner claimed he liked them. We spread them around, even gave them to other advocacy groups. So, they had two years to write their own bill, or advocate for introduction of the one we wrote. They did neither, which makes their culpability that much worse. In their zeal to "leave no one behind," they left everyone behind -- twice! Stink Bomb #4

Why would the DVA strip benefits from so many Veterans?
We simply do not know why they would go against the sound advice of Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, who recommended in his 1991 report to the DVA [that was used as a guide for writing the Agent Orange Act of 1991], a broad based, simple qualifying factor, such as the Vietnam Service Medal [or the AFEM-VN], and a qualifying dioxin-related disease to grant presumptive eligibility of exposure. Better, he said, to grant benefits to a few who were not exposed and get 99% of those who were, than to limit the qualification and let many who were exposed fall through the cracks.

We do not know. But we do have ideas. One is that some legal factor would create another class of dioxin poisoned Veterans that would force a new class action suit to be opened up against not only the chemical companies that produced the herbicides, but also the US Government/Department of Defense for ordering the overly dangerous formula of the mix in the barrels and despite the pleadings of at least one chemical company, refusing to allow any danger warnings or symbols to be placed on the barrels filled with the rainbow herbicides.

Another is to re-channel the money Congress appropriated for the benefits of those who were removed from eligibility by the DVA, and use it for other purposes. Some of those purposes might be, for example, bonuses for their mid and upper-level management, land and building acquisition, and especially in recent years, the funding of the Rural Health Centers expansion, which would include land acquisition, building design, construction, local permits, medical equipment and supplies, the hiring and training of staff at each facility, and the current overhead for each facility.

We think it would be infinitely less expensive to issue a Medical Coverage card to each Veteran eligible for health care, and let that Veteran go wherever he chooses for treatment, with the exception of Service Connected disabilities, which would require at least regular monitoring, and/or treatment at a VA Medical Center.

Either way, to the best of our knowledge, the Congressional appropriation for AO Benefits for BWN, TLC, BSAF Veterans and their survivors, is still in place, but is being spent on other things. And that is Stink Bomb #5.

Last Best Hope
Pray. Pray like you never have before. There is still a glimmer of hope for a bill this session, another effort to come at it from a different direction and get a different bill, the Agent Orange Restoration Act, passed this session. Congress is only in session for a few more days. Pray. Pray that we can finally slay this monster that is prematurely killing us in poverty.

Wait a while yet, then you can close that window.

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2010: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Sixth Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved. Reprinting or copying of the contents of this blog without the express permission of the author is unlawful.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Thanksgiving Wish


May the blessing of a bountiful harvest spread over your homes and keep you from the wolves of hunger,

May the blessings of friendship spread over your lives and keep you from the lions of loneliness,

May the blessings of love spread over your hearts and keep you from the depths of hate,

May your paths always be smooth and level and keep you from the grasping fingers of temptation,

May your life be ever blessed with the love from family that will keep you in riches beyond measure.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Though we are mostly without this year, we must still be ever thankful for that which we do have.

Before I take my first bite of turkey on Thursday, I will raise my glass to toast you all, my shipmates and friends here and gone. And then I will toast to the last Thanksgiving...without benefits.

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Bush Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows than as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2010: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Sixth Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved. Reprinting or copying of the contents of this blog without the express permission of the author is unlawful.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day: A Sermon on Sacrifice

Last year we participated in a special service honoring Veterans at a local church. We joined the Pastor of the church in the Sermon, in which we attempted to define sacrifice as it pertains to our Veterans, and indeed, to all persons. Here is that Sermon.

Pastor: Introduction

When I began to consider our Veteran’s Day observance and how to plan worship, the first thing I had to consider was the assigned scripture reading. When I saw that it was Hebrews, with an emphasis on Jesus as a sacrifice, it seemed a perfect reading to explore on this particular Sunday. Sacrifice is a word that we throw around pretty freely, and yet seldom pause to consider what it really means. This seems an excellent occasion to do just that.

The Letter to the Hebrews is a puzzling, and sometimes disturbing book of the Bible. It is easily overlooked since it is not a letter written by Paul, and also because its language is very strange to us. It is the language of temple, priest, altar, atoning blood …Old Testament terms that we thought we had left behind in the New Testament. It is unfamiliar territory for which we have no point of reference. But the book of Hebrews does center on a word that we use quite frequently: sacrifice.

Our task this morning is to clarify what we mean by the word “sacrifice”, and to examine the distinction between the sacrifice made on our behalf by Jesus Christ, and the sacrifice made on our behalf by our military veterans. How is it the same, and how is it different?

Response: A brief statement about the importance of a Veteran’s Day observance.

The word Veteran stems from the Latin word vetus, meaning old. We think of Veterans that way, yet, today we look around and see those we call Veterans of a much younger age. The parades are no longer for the old men in tight suits and campaign hats, but also for younger men and women, who have borne the battle.

Barely a month before his death, Abraham Lincoln strode to the rostrum on the steps of the United States Capitol Building and gave one of his greatest speeches -- his Second Inaugural Address. The Great Emancipator ended his short speech with words that have echoed down the long and dusty halls of history:

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations."
The long Civil War was ending, and Lincoln knew it. His thoughts had already turned to reconstructing the nation torn apart by a war that killed more than a half-million men. And in those thoughts Lincoln chose to lay the groundwork “…to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan…”

Today, those words still hold as a receipt for a debt owed by a nation that sends its young folks off to war as surrogates for its citizenry, as representatives of a National Policy, and as the purveyors of Democracy, Liberty, and Freedom. During that time, they are called troop, soldier, sailor, Marine, airman, Coast Guardsman…but once that service is ended, they are, forevermore, Veterans of the United States military.

As Veterans, they deserve a special place of honor in our society, and our culture, for they have written a blank check, backed by their own life and limb, and serving in place of all of us who do not go, and to keep us all free.

Pastor: The General Definition of Sacrifice

Sacrifice is a word people use when they find themselves indebted to someone or some group for things that sustain life or rescue life. [Peter Schmiechen defines sacrifice, 53-54, Saving Power] People speak of their parents making sacrifices. We honor people who speak the truth and who suffered consequences for it, such Gandhi, Mandela, Martin Luther King. We describe the loss of life in war as a sacrifice made to defend a nation or made for a cause like freedom.

The word sacrifice has these general uses when we wish to refer to something done for us, without concern for self. When the sacrifice involves the shedding of blood, we reach a level that has power far beyond what we can estimate in words. ‘Sacer’ means holy and ‘facere’ means “to make”. As Gil Bailie points out in his many writings on sacrifice-- that does not really define the many ways in which “sacrifice” is used since there are many ways of “making holy” that are not sacrifices, and sacrifices that, in effect, make nothing holy. The recent shooting at Foot Hood

Response: The nature of sacrifice as offered during war

On September 12th, 1861, a 25 year old farmer from nearby southern Lancaster County left his farm, and family and marched off to war against the Confederacy with the 79th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment, the Lancaster Rifles. In late 1863, this two year regiment reenlisted en masse, earning the right to proudly display the word “Veteran” on their Battle Colors -- the 79th Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Nearly four years after his enlistment, Sergeant William T. Clark returned to that farm, older by those four years, experienced in soldiering, and nursing wounds that would eventually kill him four decades later. Clark, wounded three times at the Battle of Perryville, KY, in 1862, and again at the 1863 Battle of Chickamauga, would serve as the Judge of Elections in November of 1864 when members of his regiment proudly voted for Abraham Lincoln’s reelection.

Clark’s blank check cost him the partial use of one arm and issues with his intestinal tract due to his wounds, and a lifetime of battling malaria from his time in the deep south. During his nearly four years in the 79th Pennsylvania, Clark, and the Regiment, spent less than 60 nights under a roof.

On September 29th, 2006, another 25 year-old’s blank check was cashed. Petty Officer Michael Monsoor, a United States Navy Seal, already a recipient of the Silver Star and the Bronze Star for courage and gallantry above and beyond the call of duty, gave his life in Service to his country, and to his fellow Seals. His official citation reads as follows:

"FOR CONSPICUOUS GALLANTRY AND INTREPIDITY AT THE RISK OF HIS LIFE ABOVE AND BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY AS AUTOMATIC WEAPONS GUNNER FOR NAVAL SPECIAL WARFARE TASK GROUP ARABIAN PENINSULA, IN SUPPORT OF OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM ON 29 SEPTEMBER 2006. AS A MEMBER OF A COMBINED SEAL AND IRAQI ARMY SNIPER OVERWATCH ELEMENT, TASKED WITH PROVIDING EARLY WARNING AND STAND-OFF PROTECTION FROM A ROOFTOP IN AN INSURGENT HELD SECTOR OF AR RAMADI, IRAQ, PETTY OFFICER MONSOOR DISTINGUISHED HIMSELF BY HIS EXCEPTIONAL BRAVERY IN THE FACE OF GRAVE DANGER. IN THE EARLY MORNING, INSURGENTS PREPARED TO EXECUTE A COORDINATED ATTACK BY RECONNOITERING THE AREA AROUND THE ELEMENT’S POSITION. ELEMENT SNIPERS THWARTED THE ENEMY’S INITIAL ATTEMPT BY ELIMINATING TWO INSURGENTS. THE ENEMY CONTINUED TO ASSAULT THE ELEMENT, ENGAGING THEM WITH A ROCKET-PROPELLED GRENADE AND SMALL ARMS FIRE. AS ENEMY ACTIVITY INCREASED, PETTY OFFICER MONSOOR TOOK POSITION WITH HIS MACHINE GUN BETWEEN TWO TEAMMATES ON AN OUTCROPPING OF THE ROOF. WHILE THE SEALS VIGILANTLY WATCHED FOR ENEMY ACTIVITY, AN INSURGENT THREW A HAND GRENADE FROM AN UNSEEN LOCATION, WHICH BOUNCED OFF PETTY OFFICER MONSOOR’S CHEST AND LANDED IN FRONT OF HIM. ALTHOUGH ONLY HE COULD HAVE ESCAPED THE BLAST, PETTY OFFICER MONSOOR CHOSE INSTEAD TO PROTECT HIS TEAMMATES. INSTANTLY AND WITHOUT REGARD FOR HIS OWN SAFETY, HE THREW HIMSELF ONTO THE GRENADE TO ABSORB THE FORCE OF THE EXPLOSION WITH HIS BODY, SAVING THE LIVES OF HIS TWO TEAMMATES. BY HIS UNDAUNTED COURAGE, FIGHTING SPIRIT, AND UNWAVERING DEVOTION TO DUTY IN THE FACE OF CERTAIN DEATH, PETTY OFFICER MONSOOR GALLANTLY GAVE HIS LIFE FOR HIS COUNTRY, THEREBY REFLECTING GREAT CREDIT UPON HIMSELF AND UPHOLDING THE HIGHEST TRADITIONS OF THE UNITED STATES NAVAL SERVICE."
For his extraordinary courage, his country awarded him the Medal Of Honor.

Navy Seals wear a distinctive gold pin combining a trident, anchor and Eagle. At his funeral, Navy Seals lined up on each side of his coffin and as it passed, each one slapped his Seal pin into the wooden lid as a final tribute to their fallen brother.

Petty Officer Michael Monsoor’s blank check was paid in full.

Pastor: The nature of sacrifice in scripture

The book of Hebrews takes the Old Testament notion of sacrifice and casts it in New Testament terms. [N.T. Wright, 94f, in Hebrews for Everyone] In the old system, the priests went daily into the Temple (the successor of the wilderness tabernacle) and the high priest went annually into the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement. Sacrifices were made as part of those rituals. In the “old” notion of sacrifice- the people were rescued from sin by the life of the sacrificial animal. Their sins were symbolically placed on the sacrificial animal, as a substitute for them. People could begin again, with a clean slate.

N.T. Wright says that Hebrews points to an inherent flaw in the old system. If my car is not working, and I have to take it back to the mechanic week after week—he obviously has not succeeded in fixing it. The fact that the old sacrifices had to be made over and over again meant that they had not gotten to the root of the problem.

Hebrews explains that all along, the tabernacle or Temple was always a temporary substitute for something brand new being worked out by God. The new sacrifice system spoken of in Hebrews is not the blood of animals, but the blood of the Messiah. Finally, the sacrifice of Jesus reaches deep inside of us, to transform us at the core of our being. We are not washed clean, we are made brand new. The priests stood daily at their sacrificial duties. Jesus doesn’t have to offer his sacrifice anymore. It is complete.

When Jesus submitted to those who killed him rather than exercising violence, the temple veil was torn in half and something brand new happened on that darkest of days. An event that first seemed to be so terrible and final was transformed by Christ into a brand new way of existence. We worship a God who chooses to suffer violence rather than meet it in kind. God enters into humankind’s 10,000 year cycle of violence and thus breaks the cycle forever.

Response: Where and how does love operate in the actions of the warrior who goes forth on our behalf?

In the Gospel of St. John, Chapter 15, verse 13, Jesus instructs us:

“…Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
In this way, Jesus defines sacrifice as an act of love. Not an act of hate, or an act of war, but an act of love. So who is it that is the object of this love? Well, it is those who serve with the Veteran most assuredly, and any Veteran can tell you that the bond between those who serve in war together indeed creates a “band of brothers." Some Veterans will deny this bond, calling it brotherhood, but we know it is love, for so Jesus showed us. Did he not lay down his life for all of us? Did he not choose to allow others to end his life in a most horrible fashion, knowing full well what was in store for him, and did he not do so without remorse, without a second thought? And that love extends back to us…to you…to me…to all of us, for did He not go in our stead? Did the Veteran not go in our stead?

And so, it is love that causes men like William Clark to leave a verdant farm and loving family to march off to war, and to stand shoulder to shoulder with his friends, neighbors and fellow soldiers, braving the heat and ferocity of battle, even though wounded.

And men like Michael Monsoor, who laid down his life for his friends.

Those blank checks are far too often paid for in blood and breath, tears and trauma, yet…yet…they were written and tendered with love.

Pastor: Conclusion:

How do we compare the sacrifices made by our Veterans and that made by Jesus on the cross?

1. Both are both costly and precious
2. Both are made in love
3. But only the sacrifice of Jesus shows us the way out of the cycle of violence in which we have been held for millennia.

Jesus lived a non-violent life and through his life teaches us to do the same. But the Christian Church has been ambivalent about war since the theory of just war was developed by St. Augustine. The theory assumes that non-violence is the norm for Christians, but expresses conditions in which we can ignore these fundamental Christian teachings.

We are still locked into a cycle of violence that sends out substitutionary sacrifices (Military men and women), because we are unable to live in the way that Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount. We have not yet learned the new way of being that Jesus demonstrated for us, in his sacrifice. In Christ, God is creating a new way of being, a new community of reconciliation by resisting and overcoming the power of the world with God’s saving power.

By Jesus’ resistance to violence he breaks the cycle of violence. “It is possible” proclaims the cross! “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” With these words, Jesus inaugurates a new age. We have only to embrace this wondrous love, and show it in our own lives and actions to help usher in this new age. We best honor our Veterans by working for peace, so that this generation of warriors might be the last.

End

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Bush Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2010: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Sixth Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

HOW THE VA GETS AWAY WITH IT

[Posted with the permission of the Author]

Subject: HOW THE VA GETS AWAY WITH IT
Date: Friday, January 24, 2003 9:21 PM
Written by: Terry Higgins

UNAUTHORIZED AUTHORITY: HOW THE VA GETS AWAY WITH IT, WHAT VETS CAN DO ABOUT IT.

"WHEN LEGISLATURE UNDERTAKES TO PROSCRIBE THE EXERCISE OF CITIZENS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS. IT ACTS LAWLESSLY AND THE CITIZEN CAN TAKE MATTERS INTO HIS OWN HANDS AND PROCEED ON THE BASIS THAT SUCH A LAW IS NO LAW AT ALL." --JUSTICE WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS

On the wall at St. Petersburg Florida VA Regional Office (VARO). The plaque on the wall serves as a reminder to all veterans. It states: 1933 congress passed the Economy Act. In that act was the removal of judicial review for all veterans. VARO goes on to state the ban on judicial review for veterans still exists today.

Part of this strategy for the 1930's ban on judicial review was to take away WW1 vets disability compensation. This could not be accomplished with the courts and lawyers over seeing what they were about to do. Once the courts lost their viewing authority. A ad hock committee was created for the purpose of thinning the disability ranks in a way the judges would never allow to happen.

How does this act affect veterans today? Is the arbitrary denial of veteran's compensation benefits still going on today? Can a veteran whose life is in danger because of the Economy Act, place themselves without their government approval, back under the protection and rule of law?

According to a GAO report 7,845,000 Gulf war vets submitted claims. Only 392 were approved. Half of those 392 were given 0% compensation rating. That's about a 4% claim approval.

Take away rule of law, accountability, make compliance with internal policies voluntary, and then shield the VA by prohibiting the veteran from hiring an attorney or reporting to the courts their grievances. This is the 1933 Economy Act. Social scientists have found this very same power structure to be dysfunctional in the least and a breeding ground for driving men insane. One exception to the law is: The VA keeps its lawyers and is permitted to sue the veteran in the same Federal courts the veteran is banned from. How convenient. This above reality has been an incubator for lawlessness and social injustice with in the VA. It nullifies a veterans education, social skills, and sanity. It has resulted in documented service connected veterans committing suicide, becoming homeless, and families destroyed. The 70 years congress has implemented this constitutional change, it has created an Army of dead, disenfranchised, angry, psychologically damaged, humiliated, and trust violated veterans. Allowing an atmosphere with in the VA permitting VA lawyers to falsify, destroy, and take home vets medical records so the claim could be denied. The lawyers were fined and sent to jail after admitting they denied the claims because they needed the extra cash for processing the extra claims. It was easier for them to deny and remand claims then grant. Now 700,000 vets are on appeal taking on average 6 to 10 years to process a claim. All the VA has to do is keep up the good work and you will have perpetual adjudication with no merits of a claim ruled on, just the incompetent by choice errors by the VA being recycled for the entire life of the veteran.

According to the National Veterans Organization Inc. A VA study called Compensation and pension performance summary states "the average time to process an original claim for compensation is 139 days. If that claim is not adjudicated in the veterans favor and he appeals the decision to the board of Veteran Appeals, it takes an average of 533 days for the claim to be heard by the BVA. According to this report, an average of 38.4 % of all claims submitted to the BVA are remanded back to the regional office for further development or action. The same report reveals that it takes an average of 496 days for that same claim to be dealt with once it has been returned to the regional office. This means that on average it takes a total of 1,160 days for a veteran to receive a final decision before he can appeal his claim to the court of veterans appeals. If the veteran appeals the decision to the court. He can expect to wait another 3 to 5 years to get the final decision from the court".

According to the 6th judicial conference held by the Court of Veterans claims. 99% of the CVC remands are for VA error.

Thanks to Congress's ban on attorneys for veterans at the VA level. And the fact that vets can't go before a court until the VA announces it's finished with what it does to our veterans. Vets claims are so skewed from what the vet's intent for a claim was. VA has had over 3 years of isolation from outside influences to apply its administrative tricks to prepare the veterans claim for the court. There's very little the court can do to help when the claim comes to them.

Congress does not have the money to pay out all the legitimate veterans' claims. Even though we have won every battle and war presented before us. Our enemies foreign and domestic have cause a lot of causalities. Congress and American people are not prepared to pay the true cost of the wars they engage us in. This VA system is set up to frustrate, misdirect, absorb the vet's energy so that at the end of the 6 to 10 years of claims handling by the VA, the vet is so frustrated, hurt, angry, dismayed, confused, they can’t take any more and drop their claims. At this point the VA saves a lot of money through default.

The amount of claims over all approved or denied appears to be a topsecret number held by the VA. I have made numerous phone calls to VA, Congress, and Regional Office. When you ask them about figures of claims approval, they will not return your phone call.

Mr. Arthur N. Bernklau, Veterans for Constitutional Law, personally went to the Library of Congress to answer the question of how many claims did the VA approve v. denials. Mr. Bernklau used the VA COLS records and found from 1970 to 1992 the VA only approved 4% of veteran's claims. Mr. Bernklau also stated using the VA COLS records was a very complex procedure and took days to obtain the information he needed.

Social, economic, and political policy for the last 70 years has striped veterans of their constitutionally protected right to the courts, allowing the VA to do what ever it wants and there is nothing the veteran can do about it. I've been told many times veterans are protected by Veteran Service Officer (VSO) and a new Court of Veterans Appeals, created because the VA refused to obey its own regulations. Chief Judge Neibeker for the Court stated. "There is a disconnect between the Court and the Regional Office. Adjudicators obey what their managers tell them not what the Court says. “The VA is above the law and dose not follow court orders." Unfortunately when congress created this court. Congress put the court into an advisory position only. In reality it's not a real court because the courts recommendations have no enforcement authority. It's still a voluntary! for the VA to obey or ignore the court.

The motive behind this Kafka style of government is so congress can keep a cap on claims.

For those of us who believe there is an artificial cap on approving VA claims for payment to the veteran, all congress and the VA has to do is stop the smoke and mirrors of announcing: We have hired more adjudicators. We have completed 18.000 claims. We are implementing blue ribbon panel recommendations. And answer 3 simple questions.

1. For each year from 1934 to 2001, how many claims for disability compensation were submitted by the veteran?

2. For each year from 1934 to 2001, how many disability claims were approved? How many denied?

3. For each year from 1934 to 2001, what was the rating decisions for each approved disability claim?

Now be careful if you get an answer to the above 3 questions. The bureaucrats love to fudge on this question. VA employees will boldly step forward and pat themselves on the back and make statements to the effect: We have a 100% completion rate, or we have processed 85% of the claims before us. The words completion and processed is no substitute for the words approved or denied. A 100% completion of claims without disclosing what the denial rate, is useless information.

An honest answer to the above 3 questions would resolve whether or not the VA was told to put an artificial cap on our claims... Therefore I believe these figures will never be honestly disclosed by congress or the VA...

TAKING BACK THE COURTS THROUGH CIVIL OBEDIENCE TO THE LAW
Chief Judge for the Court of veterans Claims made the following quote on what VA adjudicators told him their opinion was regarding the court and the law. "I don't care what the court says the law is." (VA adjudicator response to Chief Judge Neibeker.)

It is still voluntary if the VA complies with the law or not. Congress having placed the authority of the veterans court in an advisory/recommendation arrangement. The VA can and does ignore court orders…. Congress has for the last 70 years always provided the VA with a way out of each law it passes. By keeping vets out of courts and no lawyers allowed, Congress can pass any law it wants to look good in front of the veterans, allowing VA lawyers and adjudicators to replace the law with personal opinions and customs of what they believe should be the practice of the VA. "I am concerned when I see court decisions like Gardner v. Brown and Davenport v. Brown that determines that VA regulations does not conform to law and merely reflects the way VA has been doing business. It makes me wonder how many other inconsistencies are lurking out there and what the VA proposes to do about them." (Congressman Lane Evans)

Our forefathers were right not to trust and leave the constitution only in the hands of Congress, judges, and individual bureaucracy's…. No veteran has ever forced the issue to be before a jury. You may ask how do we get a jury trial with the above guard dogs blocking the doors. Go over their heads!.

Congress shall make no law prohibiting the right of the people to petition the government for redress of graveness (Bill of Rights).

VETERANS MUST BE WILLING TO BECOME US CITIZENS AGAIN
It is our birthright to have access to a jury for this issue. If not, veterans with the documented history of abuse, fraud, deaths, then who? Our constitution was written for this very same problem and it protects us from this form of government from even being created in this United States. How does one get a jury trial when congress does not want jurors to review clandestine VA actions.

Walk in on a federal jury in progress, Tell them your a veteran, your life is in danger, you need their protection and lay before them any documented evidence of your endangerment. At this point the Judge is ordering you to be arrested. Now you will be under the law. You have a right to a jury trial and legal representation.. Placing the government in a position of defending an unconstitutional law arguing the VA clandestine activities and veterans endangerment is above the law and the jury should stay out of it.

Veterans if the VA has placed you in a position where you feel you have to end it, you are homeless, or your family is being injured. Don't waste your life. Protect your life and family. Use the only option available to you. Turn yourself into a jury for protection.

There is a reason the Government wants us isolated from the jury. No respectable US citizen, when brought before them the evidence of what's really going on, would up hold it. For this scam to work, 2 rules must be strictly adhered to.

1. Veterans are not allowed to tell.

2. Veterans must follow rule no 1.

"We are responsible for our own servitude, by our refusal to resist." Etremine De La Broetie 1584. Any Rosa Parks out there?

The ability for the VA to inflict the pain and suffering we are experiencing is directly related to our ability to accept this behavior from the VA and our fear of taking on for ourselves the responsibility of full American citizenship.

The Declaration of independence starts with. "We hold these truths to be self-evident. . . ." If someday I must stand before a jury, I submit the below opening statement that my right to be before them for my safety is self-evident.

Ladies and gentleman of the jury, you took an oath to up hold the law. Today your going to have to decide between two laws that are in direct contradiction of each other. There is the 1933 Economy Act passed by congress during the depression. This act took out veterans access to the courts. What congress knew it could not accomplish by allowing veterans to continue on with their constitutional right to the courts. Congress abridged veteran's right to courts by departmentalizing veterans into the Department of Veterans Affairs. What congress knew it could not accomplish allowing continued judicial oversight, it did through a VA tribunal upon which due to social, economic, political pressures. Within the year of its creation, thousands of WW1 disabled vets lost their court ordered compensation through this VA department.

Now we have the other law that is in direct conflict with the 1933 Economy Act. It’s called the constitution of the United States. The constitutions states, Congress shall pass no laws that abridge a citizen's right to the constitution. The citizens right to judicial review prior to 1933 was practiced and protected by the constitution. I submit to you today. It still is. However it is through acts of congress that disabled veterans now have no choice but to approach the jury on our own without congressional approval. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, this is American citizenship and constitutional law in its most rawest forum. The Bill of rights states it's the citizens right to alter or abolish the destructive government policies, even the right to revolution if necessary.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I'm not asking for a revolution here, or even the right to alter or destroy government polices. All I'm asking is for you to uphold and restore to the veteran the constitution itself which was raped in 1933. Give veterans back the right to redress their grievances in a real court of law that has enforcement authority free from undo influences with the authority to enforce its rulings.

The people who are profiting from veterans abuse are the ones who wrote the rules taking away veterans rights to report and stop the abuse.

Departmentalizing people as a substitute for their constitution and its protections is a very dangerous precedent , and not authorized by the constitution.

What would happen if a Department of Murderers, Rapists, and Thieves was created? All your rights would be suspended and your life would lie in the hands of bureaucrats who have access to lawyers but you are not allowed to have a lawyer and its voluntary if they follow the memorandums that guide their operation.. Today you must choose which law you will uphold, the U.S. Constitution or the 1933 Economy Act.

"He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws, giving his assent to their acts of pretend legislation---by depriving us in many cases of the benefits of trial by jury, ---abolishing our most valuable laws and altering fundamentally the forums of our government." (Declaration of Independence.)

BAD FAITH DENIALS
The cat and mouse game of claims denials whether in the VA system or insurance industry has been going on for hundreds of years. The VA has hired hundreds of attorneys to advise them of what their rights are and how to keep claims down, all the while these lawyers will argue in a court of law keeping vets out of courts and from hiring their own attorneys. Adjudication has become quite a science. None the less, all the tricks the VA pulls on veterans to deny or delay claims has all been done before. The thievery of our benefits by unscrupulous insurance companies and adjudicators is so common that the courts and legislatures have found among the tricks, common methods of bad faith claims denials and have listed them in statue and court rulings. What I’m listing now is from civilian courts regarding civilian insurance claims. However if you take out any of your VA claims denials for the last 60 years, I bet you will see some of the below unlawful methods used to deny your claim. Furthermore if you go to the Court of veterans appeals and read the last 13 years of rulings you will see repeatedly each and every one of these tricks being used by the VA year after year..

FL Stat: 626.9541 UNFAIR METHODS OF COMPETION AND UNFAIR OR DECEPTIVE ACTS OR PRACTICES.

Unfair claim settlement practices---

1. Committing or performing with such frequency as to indicate a general business practice any of the following:

2. Failing to adopt and implement standards for the proper investigation of claims.

3. Misrepresenting pertinent facts of insurance policy provisions relating to coverage's at issue

4. Failing to acknowledge and act promptly upon communications with respect to claims.

5. Denying claims without conducting reasonable investigations based upon available information

6. Failing to affirm or deny full or partial coverage of claims.

7. Failing to promptly provide a reasonable explanation in writing to the insured to the basis in the insurance policy, in relation to the facts or applicable law for denial of a claim.

8. Failing to promptly notify the insured of any additional information necessary for the processing of a claim or,

9. Failing to clearly explain the nature of the requested information and the reason why such information is necessary.

10. Failure to maintain complaint handling procedures.

Now where the civilian authorities have outlawed the above with penalties, Veterans have The National Adjutant: Arthur H. Wilson of the Disabled American Veterans stating in the July/August 2001 of their magazine: Mr. Wilson called the VA adjudication process the "Ping-Pong Bureaucracy." He made this statement because of the years and years a claim is bounced back and forth without any of the merits of the claim being ruled on. The VA adjudication process has also been called the hamster wheel.

This is a very sick abusive situation congress has thrown veterans into. There was an experiment done. It was called the Stanford Prison experiment. Prepared by Dr Zimbardo on the University of Stanford grounds in 1971. Using volunteer students from the collage, the experiment gave one group of student power and authority over another group of students and the lesser group had no rights or recourse. This experiment was so psychologically destructive to those who had no rights that when the results of this experiment came out. Laws were passed prohibiting any further use of humans in these kind of experiments. In a more toned down way of sharing what absolute power does. Some schools and collages have handed out arm bands and told the blue bands are superior. In every case, those with power abused that power, causing great suffering. Brown v. Board of education reversed 100 years of segregation in the south because of the harm little black children were faced with when forced to survive in a similar power structure.

What’s that old saying? "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Without rule of law and enforcement authority, you get all to the above crazy making scenarios and the VA knows exactly how to use this against the veteran. How many of you have received the most outrageous VA denials and they always come in your mailbox on a Friday afternoon at the start of a holiday weekend? That little trick is to psychologically make you pay a price for submitting a claim in the first place. That burden adds up if it takes 20 30 40 years before the VA approves you claim. Unless Veterans are willing to exercise their American rights, we will continue to be subjects to this fraud and abuse.

Written by: Terry Higgins
Email: va_rebel2001@yahoo.com.
Web: http://www.v-r-a.org/docs/VAfoe2.htm

Thank you Terry Higgins!

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2010: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Sixth Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved. Reprinting or copying of the contents of this blog without the express permission of the author is unlawful.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

America's Shame

How do they do it? What is wrong with them? You tell them that those you are representing are dying at a rate of 300 a day, and their eyes glaze over. You want to grab them, shake them, scream at them.

So, they leave town to get reelected. And your constituents are dying at 300 a day.

Forgive me, but I thought that when you have scientifically proven a connection that action would be taken to compensate. I thought reason and science would be enough to sway them in our favor, but apparently their only exchange medium is money, votes and power, not humanity.

So, we are going to ask that each and every one of you who read this, to ask each and every friend, family, loved one to vote against the incumbent in any race, and if there is a third choice other than Republican or Democrat, vote for the third party, any third party.

May they all be cursed. Let the deaths of tens of thousands of Vietnam Veterans who died early deaths, painful deaths without comfort, without proper treatment, in poverty and in the knowledge that their legacy to their widows and survivors will not exist -- let those deaths be on the heads of Congress, their staffs, the Executive Branch and all those who worked so diligently against justice in this cause.

May they all rot in Hell for what they have done by not doing.

There is a sickness in America and it is its Government.

This is America's great shame, that its Government has no soul, no honor, no shame, and certainly no dignity. They are morally and ethically bankrupt. Not one of them cares about the country, only about themselves.

Vote them ALL out. Return NONE to office.

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2010: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Sixth Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved. Reprinting or copying of the contents of this blog without the express permission of the author is unlawful.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Plagiarism

Sadly, some person, ostensibly from BWNVVA, has copied the previous blog entry and posted it in several places on the Internet, while attributing it to the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association.   That is plagiarism.

This blog has no connection to BWNVVA. I would offer this link as proof of the plagiarized post with the BWNVVA insignia.

Nor does this blog have any connection with the offending blog, the Agent Orange Zone blog. 

http://agentorangezone.blogspot.com/2010/10/vet-killers-list.html

We have taken steps now to prevent this from happening again. Unfortunately it will hurt those who have legitimately asked for and been given permission to publish copies of the VNVets posts. Other arrangements will have to be made.

In the meantime we will be filing a copyright infringement complaint against the Agent Orange Zone Blog under the Digital Millenium Copyrights Act and with Blogger.

We do not have anything against others spreading the word, but we do object to them doing so without permission, without attribution and while assigning a link to an organization that is not connected to this blog.

Plagiarism is theft, pure and simple. It is against the law. Please be responsible and report it when you see it, and do not patronize either the websites that do it, or sponsors that advertise on those websites.

We would expect the BWNVVA will find who is misusing their logo, and possibly join in the copyright suit with us.

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2010: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Sixth Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved. Reprinting or copying of the contents of this blog without the express permission of the author is unlawful.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

New on VNVets: The Vet Killers List

Today we introduce the list of Vet Killers from a Congress that feels it is too important to run for reelection than to stay in Washington to pass needed legislation.

In addition to top-of-the-list Vet Killers Jim Webb [D-VA], Daniel Akaka [D-HI], and Richard Burr [R-NC], we add today, Bob Filner [D-CA], who introduced an incorrectly worded bill in May of 2009 and then proceeded to play one Veterans group against another. With almost 260 co-sponsors, Filner did not have the courage to run the bill out of committee, and that with his party in the majority.  Three years of broken promises by Filner are enough. 

Also joining the list today are Representatives John Boehner [R-OH], John Hall, [D-NY], Steve Buyer [R-IN]the ranking member of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs] and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi [D-CA]; Senator Mitch McConnell [R-KY], the pseudo-Veteran and Senate Minority Leader, and President of the Senate Joe Biden [D-DE]. These folks lacked the courage to stand up to the DVA when it lied through its teeth and misrepresented numbers to the Congressional Budget Office. We also add DVA Secretary Eric Shinseki who had the courage to add, and defend that addition, of three new diseases but refused to add the Blue Water Navy Veterans as recommended in the same report of the Institute of Medicine.

We have our heroes, too. Among them, the Institute of Medicine, particularly the Board on the Health of Select Populations, Chaired by Dr. Roberta Ness with the able asistance of Staff Officer Ms. Roberta Wedge, who are tasked with studying "Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans and Agent Orange Exposure".

We have seen this Board in action and are more than satisfied with the thoroughness, and depth of their studies. We admire this group greatly as they have earnestly shown us a deep desire to learn and to get it right. They have our trust.

Unlike Congress, that cares more for getting re-elected than they do for getting Vets their benefits. They are Vet Killers. These Vets are dying in poverty, and without establishing care for their widows and survivors for after they are gone.

Malicious, incompetent cowards.

Root them out in November!

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2010: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Sixth Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved. Reprinting or copying of the contents of this blog without the express permission of the author is unlawful.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Webb, Burr, Akaka & Simpson Discredited

Akaka has an excuse -- his age.

Burr? This is the first we have heard from him, indeed the first we have heard from any Republican in two years, and the first thing he does is blindly, and foolishly agree with a Democratic Senator, Jim Webb.

Webb has no excuse. Webb is just guileless and almost criminally incompetent, a surprise for someone who survived the Vietnam War, AND the Naval Academy. Perhaps it is the arrogance that all too often accompanies graduation from that august institution, but Webb has made these kinds of errors before [like opposing women in the fleet], but never a series as deadly as the ones over Agent Orange.

This unlikely "Gang of Three" has banded together to make themselves look incredibly bad, and in the process are singularly responsible for the early deaths in poverty of hundreds of Vietnam Veterans.

They have raised a number of issues. First, when the 2008 Institute of Medicine report on Veterans and Agent Orange was released in July, 2009, among the things they recommended were the addition of ischemic heart disease, hairy cell leukemia, and Parkinson's disease to the list of Agent Orange related diseases. They also studied, peer reviewed and validated the "Australian Study' that led to the Australian and New Zealand governments granting presumptive exposure to herbicides to their Blue Water Sailors, finally agreeing it was good science, and recommending the restoration of US Blue Water Navy Veterans to presumptive exposure eligibility for benefits.

Webb and Akaka fought these, and instituted a little known Congressional rule allowing them to study the appropriations for 90 days after passage of legislation that added the three new diseases. They knew they could not stop the addition. Yet they maliciously went ahead with this obscure gambit. Hundreds of Veterans died an early death in poverty because of what they did. Webb and Akaka are "Vet Killers" of the first order.

The DVA chose not to add the Blue Water Navy Veterans, largely because Webb and Akaka insisted that the Institute of Medicine review their own work and indeed, compare Blue Water Navy methods of exposure to that of land based exposure. Thus the Blue Water Navy, which should have been restored by the Secretary at the same time the three new diseases were added, now continues to die at a rate of hundreds per day, in poverty, and without the knowledge that their widows and survivors will be cared for. "Vet killers!"

Webb and Akaka called a hearing of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, in which Burr joined them in grilling Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki about his decision to add the three new diseases.

Take some time to read the Agent Orange Act of 1991, the original one.
Here is a link:

http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/radiation/dir/mstreet/commeet/meet3/brief3.gfr/tab_g/br3g1f.txt

Then you will understand what a travesty the hearing was. Shinseki stood up to them and cited this law, and correctly so.

This Bozo "Gang of Three" apparently does not know the law.

Bravo to Secretary Shinseki for standing up to these "Vet Killers!"

Webb insists that Agent Orange exposure only occurred if you were in combat, as that is where the spraying went, he reasons. "Vet Killer!"

Now comes feckless retired Republican Senator Alan Simpson, from Wyoming. He is currently co-chairing President Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. From that base, he made the charge that the American Public is paying too much money for Veterans who got diabetes as a result of Agent Orange exposure.

Alright, we've told you what the Bozos and the "Gang of Three" [who are also Bozos] have done, now let us finish showing you just how out of whack these guys are.

Last week we attended an open meeting at the Institute of Medicine. The Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans and Agent Orange Exposure held a public meeting on Monday, September 20, 2010, at the Keck Center of the National Academies, Washington, DC. The invited speaker at this session was Dr. Jeanne Stellman, Columbia University. She discussed her "Exposure Opportunity Model." Dr. Stellman's presentation was extremely impressive in its scope, the depth of research and body of data gathered. Dr. Stellman exhibited an impressive knowledge of the history of the Vietnam War as it pertained to US involvement, on the ground inside Vietnam. [See previous post.]

Dr. Stellman's study clearly and completely refutes Webb's baseless claim that only combat troops were exposed.

Another study, this one by the University of Buffalo, in New York, was reported in an online edition of Endocrine Today titled "Graves’ disease, Agent Orange exposure linked in veterans".

"To assess the prevalence of major thyroid diagnoses, the researchers reviewed the Veterans Administration electronic medical database for upstate New York veterans born between 1925 and 1950, which is the age group that would have been eligible for military service during the Vietnam War era. Their search revealed 19,709 veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange exposure and 50,913 veterans who were not exposed. They compared the groups for possible differences in race, smoking history and type 2 diabetes."

Overall, Agent Orange exposure was the most important predictor of Graves’ disease (OR=2.76; 95% CI, 2.22-3.81), independent of race/ethnicity, smoking status and diabetes....

...In addition, diabetes was two times as common in Agent Orange-exposed veterans..."

For more information:
Varanasi A. OC-036. Presented at: the 14th International Thyroid Congress; Sept. 11-16, 2010; Paris.

http://www.endocrinetoday.com/view.aspx?rid=68470
Access Date 09/19/2010

We will repeat that because obliviously, Simpson and the "Gang of Three" are a bit slow on the uptake:

In addition, diabetes was two times as common in Agent Orange-exposed veterans."

70,000+ Veterans is a very large cohort to study. The Mathematics of statistics says that the greater the sample [cohort size], the more accurate the results.

The report was presented at the 14th International Thyroid Congress in Paris, France, on Septermber 11-16, 2010.

We now call on these Bozo politicians to stop their preening and posturing and stop interfering with laws already enacted.

Let Shinseki run the DVA. But let him also approve benefits for the Blue Water Navy Veterans and those from Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, or TLC Veterans, [which includes the Blue Sky Air Force]. The two scientific studies noted above are certainly light-years beyond the alchemy done by the DVA. In fact, we have yet to see one single piece of clear scientific evidence that those groups were NOT exposed.

Delay is criminal. The evidence is clear and unequivocal. Those Blue Water Navy Veterans and those of TLC were exposed, every bit as much as those with "boots on the ground" in Vietnam.

Go ahead and do studies, waste the taxpayers' money on studies trying to disprove it. The facts are in. The science is in. Exposure was a reality among those Veterans.

"Vet Killers!" Akaka, Webb, Burr, Simpson! "Vet Killers!"

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2010: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Sixth Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved. Reprinting or copying of the contents of this blog without the express permission of the author is unlawful.

Report on IOM Open Meeting of September 20, 2010

The Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans and Agent Orange Exposure will hold a public meeting on Monday, September 20, 2010, at the Keck Center of the National Academies, Washington, DC.

Three members from VASVW attended. Senior Legislative Advocates Mike Teaney, Janet Davis and Jeff Davis.

The following is a précis of this event.

The invited speaker at this session was Dr. Jeanne Stellman, Columbia University. She discussed her Exposure Opportunity Model.

Dr. Stellman's presentation was extremely impressive in its scope, the depth of research and body of data gathered. Dr. Stellman exhibited an impressive knowledge of the history of the Vietnam War as it pertained to US involvement, on the ground inside Vietnam. Dr. Stellman said she never did any work relative to the blue water Navy and Agent Orange.

Some of the more salient points in her presentation were:

1. The southernmost area of South Vietnam was the most heavily sprayed area in the country. The coastal areas of this province were where the US Coast Guard operated.

2. The barrels of herbicide that were delivered to the Republic of South Vietnam were delivered by ships of the merchant marine. NO HERBICIDES WERE CARRIED ABOARD US NAVY OR COAST GUARD VESSELS.

3. When delivered to Vietnam, all herbicides were signed over the to Republic of Vietnam's government. They stored it until it was to be used. RVN control of the herbicides while in their possession was haphazard at best. Spills occurred as did thefts, and loss of herbicides through faulty inventory control procedures.

4. All US spray missions were planned weeks to months in advance, sometimes more than a year elapsed between a request to spray an area, and permission from the US and RVN governments was given.

5. Approved spray missions then had to be cleared by local commanders to ensure friendly troops would be away from the danger zones, and that a need existed.

6. Air Force Ranch Hand personnel would then requisition the required herbicide [Blue, White, Orange, etc.] and retrieve it from the RVN storage depots.

7. Spray missions were tracked and recorded with coordinates and incidents that may have occurred. Date and time were also recorded.

8. Empty barrels of herbicides were sometimes used for makeshift bbq grills and for disposal of human waste by burning.

9. Exposure to herbicides was referred to by degrees, heavy, to light, and the statement made that the study could not say that there was anyone in the Republic of Vietnam during the years when spraying occurred who was NOT exposed. While there undoubtedly were some, the vast majority were located close enough to the spray areas to be affected, even in the cities and rear areas.

10. The study did not include Blue Water Navy exposures, nor did it consider runoff contaminated by dioxin, or the Australian study. However, fresh water purification in the Republic of Vietnam was not done using an evaporative process but nonetheless, the water was more than likely tainted with dioxin.

11. A suggestion was made by several members of the committee that the committee request data from Dr. Stellman regarding spray missions along the entire coast of the Republic of Vietnam.

12. Rivers and streams were primary targets of spraying, as were roads and trails.

13. 4.7 million gallons of AO were sprayed "in a relatively small area" of the RVN - approximately 18% of the RVN. But Dr. Stellman said that the vast majority of troops were located in close enough proximity to the spray areas to be affected. She also said that support troops were exposed because spraying was done outside of heavy combat zones and because troops moved in after the spraying took place.

Finally, Dr. Stellman's presentation is not yet released to the public, and she indicated no release date. Yet based on her presentation we can now put to bed some myths about Blue Water Navy and direct contamination.

A. Sailors on Navy ships were not involved with spraying, nor were herbicides carried on US Navy ships.

B. Helicopters were rarely used for spraying.

C. The vast majority of spray missions were carried out by USAF C-123 aircraft. No spraying out at sea was recorded. While Dr. Stellman's research plotted every spray mission in Ranch Hand Operations, there were a few, about a half dozen or so, that showed coordinates out at sea. Those were corrected as a common error was found in all the coordinates showing spray missions at sea.

D. Navy aircraft flying over the Republic of Vietnam were seldom low enough to be contaminated by Ranch Hand mission spraying and rarely would they even be in the vicinity of a spray mission. The odds are astronomically against the exposure to Naval personnel from returning aircraft.

E. There were only some 60 dump missions where aircraft were forced to terminate the mission and dump their load of herbicide. The missions seldom defoliated any areas as the concentrations were too high to allow the vegetation to absorb the chemicals. This is out of nearly 10,000 spray missions in Operation Ranch Hand.

W. G. Jeff Davis
Senior Legislative Advocate, Founder and CEO

For: Michael Teaney, Senior Legislative Advocate
      Janet B. Davis, Senior Legislative Advocate

The Veterans Association of Sailors of the Vietnam War, Inc.
Service to the Nation decades ago, now back in action!
"Fortitudine vincimus!" - By endurance we conquer!

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2010: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Sixth Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved. Reprinting or copying of the contents of this blog without the express permission of the author is unlawful.