Sunday, July 11, 2010

Unintended Consequesces

There comes a time when the gloves must come off. Ordinarily, we eschew political partisanship in our quest to see the Agent Orange Act of 2009 passed in this session of Congress. But a situation has arisen that defies all common sense and sensibilities.

The bill, HR 2254 in the House, has over 250 cosponsors. They come from both sides of the aisle.

In the Senate, S.1939 has 19 cosponsors, 18 now with the death of the Senator from West Virginia, Robert Byrd.

All of the cosponsors in the Senate are Democrats.

Where are the Republicans?

We have visited the offices of more than a few prominent Republican Senators and have received promises of support for the bill. But no cosponsors.

We have attempted to meet with Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate Minority Leader, to prevail upon his leadership to help get this bill passed. Our attempts are rebuffed with the comment that the Senator is too busy.

Too busy to meet with and help Veterans?

Too busy doing what, you might ask? Certainly not working on legislation. Planning filibusters perhaps? Looking for other ways to tighten the blockade in the Senate, perhaps?

Too busy to think for one moment of the unintended consequences of politics too partisan.

Senator McConnell, while playing political games in the Senate, is allowing Veterans to die in poverty, and without proper treatment, simply to maintain an ironbound blockade on legislation.

Blue Water Navy Veterans from the Vietnam War are dying at a rate of almost 300 per day, dying without benefits from the VA after the VA arbitrarily stopped those benefits in 2002 -- after paying them for 11 years under the Agent Orange Act of 1991. That is a Vietnam Veteran dying every 5 minutes. When he dies, his claim dies. His survivor will get nothing but a flag and $250 toward a headstone. No widow's pension.

But Senator McConnell has apparently determined that blockading the Senate so no Democratic legislation passes is more important than a bunch of dying Veterans with no time left.

Well, God Bless you Senator McConnell, for having that kind of wisdom, for it surely escapes us. 26 years in the Senate must have given you a special insight into the affairs of man to make that kind of life and death judgment.

Or, maybe, it was that year in the National Guard in 1967 when most of us dying Veterans were getting poisoned in Vietnam, and you never got to leave your home state of Kentucky.

Either way, were I a Kentucky voter I'd vote to cancel your ticket to DC just as soon as possible.


”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. Anonymous17:30

    YOU GO VNVETS. Maybe its time for all veterans of all states to join in an effort to vote out all these egotistical bastar*s and start anew. Every election anew crew should be voted into office. After all, they just can't do us any more harm than the ones that are there now have already done us.
    they pass all these laws that are only self serving and then bind up Congress tight so the other parties resolutions and bills can't be voted on just because they can. OH let's flex our mussels and show them just how much power we really have. Well wake-up you dumb a**es you work for us and if you don't start doing what the people tell you too you'll be out.

  2. Anonymous17:35

    Maybe it,s time to mount a new campaign for Navy Vets to DITCH MITCH,a no good son of a b.... .HE GOT RICH AT VETS EXPENSE AND IS A CLASSIC EXAMPLE OF a Washington insider,fat cat that has more chins than a chinese phone book.
    carl r pittsburgh

  3. Anonymous19:42

    As a Blue Water Navy Vet, that served on the USS Waddell (DDG-24) off the beach of Vietnam and encountered enemy fire on a regular basis, I find that treating Vietnam War veterans such as myself this way is not a righteous thing to do. Obviously, the war that we fought was in "vain" as our country's leadership and President do not give a damn about us unless we now claim to have PTSD. It's time for the representatives of our country to come forward and support the Veterans of the Vietnam war and not let more of us "die" without receiving our benefits to which we are entitled. Let' also have the Veteran's administration be on the side of all Veterans that have served in war. Please pass the bill regarding Agent Orange so that Navy veterans can also receive the benefits to which they are deserving.

  4. Thank you. The story releases some of the frustration I tuck away when dealing with some of these offices, Senator McConnell in particular as we tried very hard back in March and received the same unwelcome response. We were busy with other office's so it bounced off much easier.

    It's not as if these Senate office's don't know who we are or what we need from them - VASVW members have sent hundreds if not thousands of letters to every Senate office asking for their help.

    They just don't get it - this bill, S.1939 and HR 2254 can not be pushed away any longer, we can not wait for more stall tactics for the VA to realize what a mistake they made when they removed Blue Water Navy from the original Agent Orange Act.

    Denise Ross
    VP Public Relations
    Senior Legislative Advocate
    The Veterans Association of
    Sailors of the Vietnam War

  5. I am a 1965 Navy Vietnam Veteran. I suffered 4-5 Ischemic Strokes and 1 Ischemic Heart Attack. I am a staunch Republiocan! But, I won't be one if none of these AH's vote on this bill. We Navy, Air Force and all of those who have been left out should meet on the capitol steps. Not move until the Agent Orange bills are passed. This is the only thing they will understand. How could a Senator from a military state, vote to put a hold on money to Vietnam Veterans , and susposedly he is a Vietnam Veteran. He is a lousy politician first!