By Tony Perkins
Family Research Council — Nothing says “thanks for your service to our country” like serial abandonment. But that’s the most some veterans can hope for under this administration, which may be at the heart of one of the worst cases of medical neglect America has ever seen. “We need a new sense of urgency,” Barack Obama insisted back in 2007, on the hundreds of thousands of veterans waiting for health care.
Turns out, it’s actually the man who campaigned on the issue who needed the urgency more. Despite warnings from the Bush administration, the GAO in 2012, and just last year from House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), it seems President Obama hasn’t lifted a finger to help the thousands of former military members waiting months for medical attention through the VA — and in 40 of those cases, dying before they received it.
Under fire from all sides, the White House is scrambling to explain how seven years went by without this deadly incompetence ever reaching the President’s desk. Unfortunately for Press Secretary Jay Carney, nobody’s buying the White House’s old standby that “we get our news just like the rest of you.” In an administration with the greatest communication and intelligence tools at its disposal, it’s just a little too much for the American people to swallow. After Benghazi, Fast and Furious, ObamaCare, the IRS, and NSA, the President’s surprised face isn’t fooling voters.
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Neither is his manufactured outrage, which comes and goes with each scandal faster than you can say “White House damage control.” In 2012, the President claimed to be furious over the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya. When ObamaCare broke every record for inefficiency, he insisted “nobody’s madder than me that the website isn’t working as well as it should.” After news broke that the IRS was targeting its own conservative taxpayers, the President says, “Americans are right to be angry about it.” Now the administration says nobody is “more outraged about this [VA] problem” than the President (a point the victims’ families would surely dispute). Yet for every outburst, every public indignation, the anger quickly fades to indifference — or worse, hostility.
While their loved ones were begging to see doctors for heart conditions, viruses, and even cancer, the very government that was supposed to be caring for these patients was faking waiting times and covering it up by shredding documents. “Two weeks” for an appointment turned into a year, until finally, Dr. Sam Foote, a VA employee, couldn’t stand it any longer and blew the cover off the story.
And for 40 families — and countless others — it will still be too late. Their loved ones died, not in the line of duty, but waiting for the kind of care their sacrifice should have afforded them. After more than a decade of war, America’s veterans have all kinds of needs. And how does their country express its appreciation? By ignoring them. None of this should come as a surprise, especially not from an administration that’s spent the last five years using the military as a mule for its illicit agenda. The President’s own Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, said in his book that “the only military matter, apart from the leaks, about which I ever sensed deep passion on his part was ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.'”
We see those same backwards priorities today. Honorable veterans are dying while dishonorable traitors get sex changes. While the President ignores the crises of military suicide rates, sexual assault, and even VA neglect, the Obama Pentagon is working overtime to give national security leaker Bradley Manning the ability to live out his sentence as a woman. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel gave the Army the green light to work out a transfer agreement with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which offers the kind of hormone therapy Manning demands.
Meanwhile, the men and women who served our nation with integrity are wasting away on “special lists,” excluded from care. And if the administration will desert America’s bravest when it comes to health care, what’s to keep the government from putting conservatives on a similar “list” where they, too, would be denied care? Folks, this is the face of government health care. And in this administration’s hands, it is a system that — through incompetence, a political agenda, or both — continues to be the President’s greatest weapon.
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.
(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)
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