Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dems Abandon Vets to Die in Poverty

Well, it seems some prominent Democrats have decided to shaft the Veterans of the Vietnam War.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a speech in Vietnam yesterday that pointed toward the US government providing monetary relief to the Vietnamese government to aid the generations of Vietnamese who have been and still are being poisoned by the dioxin the US so prodigiously sprayed and dumped all over the countryside, the inland waterways and the coastal waters of then South Vietnam.

So, here we are with a bunch of Veterans of the Vietnam War, those who served in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, those that flew the missions, both combat and support, in and out of South Vietnam and Thailand, and those who served in Navy, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine ships off the coast of Vietnam, and Veterans who served on land in Vietnam, and now are suffering from certain types of Leukemia, Parkinson' Disease and ischemic Heart Disease. All of those Veterans are forced to go begging while the Government, from the White House to Congress, turns a deaf ear to the real numbers, the real costs, and the real death rates of these men and women who went to war for their country.

We certainly do not begrudge the aid to the Vietnamese, but let us take care of our own Veterans, and not allow them to die without while giving aid to the Vietnamese.

Now we have word that Daniel Akaka, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, and Jim Webb, the Senator from Virginia who also serves on the Senate Committee, are in lockstep with the Department of Veterans Affairs, to not only delay benefits for the Agent Orange exposed Veterans who have the three new diseases [Hairy Cell Leukemia, Parkinsons Disease, and Ischemic Heart Disease] for further study [they were added by the Secretary of the DVA at the recommendation of the Institute of Medicine committee that examines recent scientific work to determine if benefits should be expanded to include additional classes of Veterans and or additional diseases under the Agent Orange Act of 1991] but to start an examination into the method of determining exposure to the Dioxin based herbicide.

Jim Webb is a graduate of the Naval Academy, a decorated Marine officer, Veteran of the Vietnam War, and former Secretary of the Navy, is of the opinion that Agent Orange exposure was only made directly, and only a small percentage of even those in country were exposed. The good Senator from Virginia would rather accept the Department of Veterans Affairs slanted, tainted, and wholly ignorant data, estimates, and financial projections than the scientific evidence that has been collected over the past half century about how Dioxin acts once it is turned loose in the environment. The Senator's staff has no interest in even hearing about, let alone accepting the work of the Institute of Medicine Committee [IOM]. One senior staffer in Webb's office even refused to accept the fact that the IOM had recommended that the DVA add the Blue Water Navy Veterans to the presumptive eligibility of exposure to Agent Orange. Claiming the IOM does not recommend, the staffer refused to look at the wording of the IOM recommendation on paper, shoving it into the middle of a stack of other documents without even a glance.

Perhaps Webb is campaigning for the chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs after Senator Akaka retires, or perhaps he is seeking the Secretaryship of the Department of Veterans Affairs, but what Webb is actually doing, and there are no other words for it, is leaving men behind. He is sentencing men to early death without proper medical care, without the comfort of disability benefits, without any financial legacy to leave their survivors.

Akaka is a Veteran of WW II. He has allowed Webb to call the shots on the Agent Orange issue, and in so doing, he too is leaving men behind, something all members of the military, past, present and future, vow not to allow.

Between them, Webb and Akaka are sentencing thousands of Veterans to an early grave, and by their decisions having a deleterious effect on future enlistments. What young person would enlist knowing that chances are, if he is injured or develops a disease that is service connected, he will never see a DVA doctors, or a penny of benefit money?

The actions of Webb and Akaka are despicably anti-Veteran, specifically, anti-Vietnam Veteran.

And now we know who is holding up the advancement of S.1939, the Agent Orange Equity Act in the Senate.

In the House, almost sixty percent of the members have signed on as cosponsors to HR 2254. Yet the bill languishes in the subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs.

And there, apparently Chairman John Hall of NY and House Committee on Veterans Affairs Chairman Bob Filner of California have decided to let it sit until it dies at the end of the 111th Congress in December.

How much would you wager that these politicians will campaign this fall as Pro-Veteran? Oh yes, they do a lot for Veterans. But they also allow thousands of Veterans to die without benefits when they should be receiving those benefits. Now thousands more will meet the same fate.

This point has been made to these people in Congress. They do not care. You tell them and their eyes glaze over. They mouth vague promises and then forget them the moment you leave their office.

Worst of all is the smugness of the opinionated Jim Webb. Marines seem to have the idea they are the only ones to fight, and the only ones to die. They aren't. But Webb and his staff of Marine cronies have locked everyone else out, and are on their way to stripping benefits from those who served in Vietnam on the ground, but not in combat. That is where he is heading.

The indifference of Congress and the fact that the Obama administration is trying to send money to Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange while US Veterans go without those benefits is nothing short of an outrage.

Apparently the coming-home-indignities and disrespect suffered by those who came back from the fighting in Vietnam are about to be revisited upon those same Veterans, this time however, not by the populace, but by the government of the United States.

We urge all Veterans to keep this in mind when next they enter a polling place to vote for members of Congress, the Senate and President of the United States. We pray the people of this country elect people to those posts who are pro-Veteran, completely pro-Veteran, else we finally find ourselves no longer the Beacon of Light unto the World.


”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.


  1. Anonymous09:09

    VNVets, Call your Representatives, your Senators, keep on their backs. We as U.S. Military Veterans served our country with pride and they owe us, we have paid. This Blue Water Sailor Agent Orange is being held up because of MONEY. But our government can spend spend spend. And yet we VNVets suffer, suffer, suffer, trying to be compensated for a ture cause of our sufferings.

    Again, keep on your local government representatives to support this Agent Orange issues. Call them, email them, write them every month.

  2. Anonymous10:33

    Excellent article, now that's telling em' like it is!

  3. Anonymous14:34

    We the Blue Water Sailors who serve durning war time need the help of our government. We served and what do we get in return but their backs turn on us. I have type 2 diabetes and have lost my kidneys and now liveing on dialysis for the rest of my life. We need Help and we Need it now.

    Charles R. Parker

  4. Anonymous23:08

    It really makes me mad that members of our own Government want to pay millions of dollars to the Vietnamese People as a blanket payment. As usual with this Country's Foregin Aid, the majority of the Tax Dollars we send overseas will line the pockets of the leaders of the country. Come On! The leaders of this country are the same ones that killed our military, tortured our POWs and wounded countless thousands. Lets help our own first. Some place I read that the average age of the military in Vietnam was about 26 years old, and according to the DOD there were about 809,100 military personnel afloat or in neighboring Countries to Vietnam. Of these Sailors and Airman and other Military that did not set foot on land only about 265,000 are still alive, mind you these people would be in their late 50's or early
    60's, this is just over 32.7% still living. Please help our own befor the Vietnamese.

  5. Anonymous09:51

    Because of our goverments treatment of blue water navy vets, I kept my children out of the service. They are keeping there children out. The US goverment gives aid to our former foes while letting our disabled vets suffer and die. The last three presidents never wore the uniform and have no clue what its like and they keep people around them of the same mind. Soon they will have trouble finding anyone with a IQ over 100 to fight there wars for them. Let them go.
    TM former ptoud american.

  6. Anonymous15:23

    Well, finally a entry that tells it like it really is!! Filner and a good number of the House co-sponsors have no intention of this ever coming to the floor for a vote but they WILL use the fact they signed up as co-sponsors to tout themselves a 'pro-vet' for purposes of getting re-elected. While we are slamming the Dems (rightfully so) let's not forget all the GOP types who signed up as co-sponsors....I know a few who would have NO problem voting NO on this bill despite their sponsorship of it. Webb wears his medals at every opportunity but is no friend of the veteran...Akaka never has been.