Monday, March 19, 2007

Iraq, the 4th Year ends

What happened to the Vice President's "we will be greeted with flowers and candy"? This will be a short war, and it won't cost more than a billion dollars, can anyone remember the name of the man who was fired for stating that the estimated the cost of the war to be 100 billion dollars? I can't, and even he was wrong with this new supplemental request the cost of the two wars will exceed 500 billion dollars, this year.

There is also no end in sight, there are also the future bills that this war has created that no one is accounting for, what of the tens of thousands of men and women who will require medical care, pyschiatric care and compensation for the next 50-70 years? How many billions of dollars or is that going to hit trillion dollar marks?

What have we done to the Iraqi people while freeing them, how many families have been destroyed in the Neocon ideal for a "free middle east", PNAC got the war they wanted, but I can not for the life of me think even they wanted this to be the end result, unless it was really about no-bid contracts for Hallibutron and other administration friends like IAP Services, SAIC, and other military industrial complex benefactors of the war machine, they only make profits if we are at war. I hope this war was not about money, but it is begginning to see it as any other reason. The "oil contract" with the new Iraqi government seems to benefit American oil companies more than it does the Iraqi people.

The Walter Reed fiasco has shown what privatization has done to building maintenance at our nations premier medical care facility for the wounded, and has now opened the question about the VA medical care facilities. Many of us disabled veterans have known for years the mismanagement of these facilities, and we have been calling our elected officials, Congressmen/women and Senators, seldom is anything done to correct the issues. In 2004 the VA decided to review 72,000 cases of PTSD that had been awarded compensation at either the 70% TDIU rate or the 100% schedular rating, they suspected large cases of fraud. After a few suicides of Vietnam veterans upset about having to reprove or vailadate again the issues which caused their PTSD symptoms some ate bullets or overdosed due to the stress. The VA cancelled the review after Congressional pressure and the initial review of 2100 files showed there was no fraud on the veterans part, all the evidence showed was poor paperwork processing by the VA Regional Offices employees who took short cuts, or failed to put the right papers in the files that verified the veterans "stressor" and Secretary Nicholson ended the witch hunt.

The largest problem remaining today is the months and years it takes for the claims process to approve or deny the claim, many of us know that the VA will approve a claim but instead of the 50% or 70% the PTSD symptoms may warrant the VA first awards 10% or 30% to see if the veteran will be satisfied the the lower amount, and not file any appeals, then if the veterans have a piss poor Service Officer, they will tell them they should be grateful for the 10 or 30% and shut up. I know this because when I was awarded my 50% and wanted to file the Notice of Disagreement I had an American Legion Rep at the Blue Goose in August Ga tell me that very thing, "you should be happy with 50%, you weren't even in combat" yes I was but not for the incident that was the main focus of my PTSD. I had several "stressor incidents" during my 14 years of Army and national Guard service. But the claims system needs one incident to focus on for the award of benefits, and in my case they chose the attempted murder and robbery by 7 fellow soldiers in Feb 1975 when they left me for dead in a snowbank unconcious at Fort Wainwright Alaska after robbing me.

I am still appealing heart disease and other issues I feel are related to the chemical weapons and drug experiments at Edgewood Arsenal in June thru August 1974, but the VARO is acting like a brick wall when it comes time to discuss these issue's. I will keep appealing it until my family gets the security they deserve, or I die, whichever comes first. In the veterans claims process the claim dies with the veteran. Like my step father one of the Air Force veterans who flew thru the Nuclear clouds in Nevada, he died before the RECA Act was approved paying compensation to the men and women exposed to radiation that caused cancer, Dale had three types of cancer on the RECA list, he was entitled to 75,000 dollars lump sum payment, he died before it was approved and the family can not collect it, just the widow, and Mom died before dale passed away.

I hope they don't do this to Gulf War Illness and depleted Uranium injuries, but it appears DOD is taking the same approach, by denying any links for decades, before allowing the links to be "discovered" as in the case of radiation illnesses and Agent Orange.

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