What do you suppose that feller in the Red Hat will leave under the tree for our 2017 VASEC present? The drum beat at VA is Lying and across the fruited red plains is a solid yes for Pete Hegseth. Okay, I’ll bite. What do we have here? Two Bronze Stars means either he’s Mad Dog Mattis gung ho or they’re getting slack at handing out third place Bronze. As most know, the officers usually get the BS for the same thing you (enlisted) get the Army Commendation Medal for so that is not an eye opener. Again, if they are still adamant that you have to shoot at and be shot back at by members of a true opposing military (not necessarily just a bunch of rebel rousers with AKs), then the Combat Infantryman’s Badge (CIB) he’s wearing is legitimate.
You have to be skeptical when Senator Col. Lyndsey Graham (unfortunately related to me), who did 90 days in a Baghdad air-conditioned trailer processing Article 15s and Special Courts Martials got his Bronze Star. It’s a real sore spot among the enlisted and not good for morale. So if you’re a 36-year old former officer and dripping combat medals, we like to do a bio check on you. I hope you understand. Here’s Pete on Leakipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pete_Hegseth. Seems legit. We need more feedback from those with whom he served. That’s usually where we separate the ribbon clerks from the poker players. Hell, My Uncle Jay got two Bronze Stars. One for extreme gallantry taking a Jap machine gun nest (only hit once through the ankle) and one for doing the 67-Klic Bataan Fun Run from Corregidor to Camp Donaldson right after that. You see what I mean about “medal creep ” in the military? That’s like getting the BS for hemorrhoids nowadays. We like to run them through the “This Ain’t Hell (but you can see it from here)test. The numbers of fakes are huge. No less than ten million, three hundred thousand claim (2010 census) to have been squeezed into that narrow Indochinese Peninsula between 61-75 that it beggars the DoD’s recollections.
The Argument for Keeping Bob
Let’s set credibility to the side. I accept Pete as is. It’s not like he was flying around in helicopters for NBC claiming they were being shot at. Besides, a CIB gives you a bye on the combat presumption. What else do we have for potential present material that might be considered “battle-tested”? Over twenty different Veterans Service Organizations are content to endure another wishy-washy 4 years with Ronald McDonald. First of all, let’s take a gander at this prospect. We’ve endured two and a half years of Secretary Bob and we just found out they have secret denial lists in Memphis? A guy punches out in Tampa at Bay Pines VAMC and they shovel his carcass into the shower for 9 hours? After three years of discovering these secret waiting lists, they admit they knew this was going on in 2005? This is what we were promised was going to be a thing of the past. Nevertheless, nothing changes or worse, we get the whitewash report and how VA will learn from these mistakes and it will never again happen the same way it did last week.
When you promise to come in and shake things up a la Proctor and Gamble style, Vets expect some fireworks. Big changes, pinpoint air strikes, surgical excision of the stupid and a rapid response that exudes control and understanding. Bonus checks shouldn’t even be part of the vocabulary until your nose is clean for five years- if then. In that two years and some change, I’ve won a greenhouse. I’ve never seen it. They tell me it’s nice. Secretary Bob fought me tooth and nail to turn it into a 6X6 visqueen tent. I’m not getting that warm, fuzzy ICARE thing I was hoping for.
My fellow Vets are still getting the standard wave-off as if it were 1989. The only difference is back then, before computers, it took a buttload less time to say Denied. Usually 90 days or less. You got your SOC about a month after you filed the NOD and got a BVA hearing denying you eight months after the VA 1-9 filing. These FDC 125-day gizmos don’t hold a candle to the old-timey 20th Century VA jurisprudence.
The undisputed definition of insanity postulates repeating an experiment over and over in search of a different result. We’ve had RingKnockers, VSO executives, Doctors, JAG attorneys, more RingKnockers, Generals, Corporals, Sergeants and everyone but the Holy Ghost but we have not made any progress streamlining VA other than the dubious distinction of being the absolute dead last Government Agency to go paperless (sort of).
Old St. Donald in his bright Red Hat might bring us a genuine flash in the pan with Hegseth. Pete’s young. He’s never succeeded in winning public office and then owing donors something. He will pass the conservative test with his work at FOX News. All in all, I’d call this win-win for everyone. Youth in this business and a strong affinity to what we suffer at the hands of the current VA aristocracy could not possibly serve us worse that what we’ve already endured. Sometimes you have to piss on the fire and call in the dogs. We could search far and wide for a staid politician paralyzed from the neck up to ensure we get the same shoddy treatment. By the same token, we could pick some new blood with a good understanding of who we are-if for no other reason than that he’s one of us.
That’s my vote. No Baked Alaska and no unemployed leftovers from Massachusetts. Hey, he’s married and a heterosexual so he’s got that going for him. Works for me.