Just when we thought ol’ Laura was going to quietly fade away in her new digs over at VA’s Human Resources, lightning strikes again. It’s sad to think that any VA employee would spend their time ruminating on how to scam even more money out of the most corrupt Agency in Foggy Bottom but nevertheless, she’s back in the news again. You go girl.
As for the VAOIG. their track record is unsullied by success so no one expected any earth-shattering revelations of wrongdoing. Installing a new Head Bullshitter (Missal) from within the ranks ensures this time-tested continuity trick. The OIG reminds me of the ARVN ‘green berets’ of their day in 1970. We called them the ‘Look Long-Duck Backs’ which approximated the pronunciation of their outfit. They’d land in brand new Hueys and get out and light up a smoke. There would be a heated discussion about recent VC activity and the implications. Someone would take a gander with the binoculars and they’d saddle up and depart without so much as a LRRP. Read this one.
We did expect far more by now from our newly professed pro-Veteran President but his silence is becoming deafening. As for the new Vietnam Veterans’ official ‘Flag Day’ of March 29th, my reaction is “Really?” We elected Donbo to get an official “Welcome Home!” day? Are ya kidding me? 22 Vets are sucking on .38 calibre lead lollipops every day or ‘accidentally’ impacting concrete pillars holding up freeway overpasses at 80 mph and Congress unanimously passes another feel good measure in lieu of anything substantial?
America’s Veterans of all stripes, be they World War II, Korean, Vietnam or Southwest Asia, all have one thing in common. We suffer from the apathy and ennui a Nation eventually evinces after too much war for too long. Yellow ribbons around aged oak trees are no panacea for the medical help we need. Flag days or official ‘days of recognition’ for those of us who survived the Vietnam Boundary Dispute are all well and fine if they focus Congress’ attention on far greater needed reforms. However, passing feel good legislation that accomplishes nothing more than evoking attaboys or shits and grins on our elected’s countenances is revolting. I personally could give a rat’s ass but I do feel sorry for those of my Brothers whom America has abandoned to their own devices. Americans spoke to me in the years following my return from Southeast Asia. The gist was that we were an embarrassment and an indelible stain on the American Psyche. Forty seven years later I get emails and phone calls from the disenfranchised who somehow were overlooked or denied. The numbers are staggering. One wonders who the VA has actually helped rather than the obverse of how many have been short-changed by their service.
Each succeeding war or conflict elicits chest-thumping speeches that promise Veterans much if they are injured. Redeeming these chimeras seems to be the conundrum no one in Congress can unravel. There is no enigma- just a lack of financial intestinal fortitude among a majority to devote or allocate the money promised. Sadly, refugees get better treatment at our expense. Worse, there are no dearth of charities willing to feed like vultures off that collective societal guilt.
Frankly, I’m surprised Veterans, as a voting bloc, aren’t a little wiser by now after a litany of promises that never materialized. As for this new ‘holiday’, it’s a bitchslap of immense proportions and further proof that our elected legislators are paralyzed from the neck up or impervious to our pleas for help. How a flag day can somehow suffice as final payment in lieu of compensation or improved VHA medical services escapes me. But, as I mention, that Veterans are not up in arms and our legislators are not sufficiently appalled or motivated to fix the problem would appear to be the 8,000 lb. elephant sitting on the living room sofa. Either we lack a loud enough voice or Congress is deaf.
What will it take to provoke action? My era of Veterans don’t put much stock in social media and #Vetlivesmatter or occupying a park for a month and trashing it. We have far bigger fish to fry called rent, mortgage and physical/emotional survival. You can’t eat a hash tag regardless of how enticing or appealing it may sound. Enough with the dog and pony shows and pass legislation that will address our grievances.
My ‘Vietnam Remembrance Day’ will always be the day they folded the tent and struck the colors-May 7th, 1975. Oh, yes. And thank you for your service. Welcome home, too.
P.S. Some one emailed me and asked if Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) was a Vietnam Vet as he announced that March 29th, 1973 “had the most meaning” for Vets as that was the day the last combat Vets departed from Vietnam. Sen. Toomey was born in 1961. Gee, Sen. Toomey, I didn’t get that email. I’m guessing you never heard of the 1st Studies and Operations Group ( 1st SOG) that finally departed in April 1975 (officially).