I must say, I was quite astonished to hear about the Taliban Five swap for SGT Bowe Bergdahl. After all, the US does not negotiate with terrorists. But as the accusations fly and the “scandal” increases, something else stood out to me. It was a statement by Harry Reid.
Mr. Reid is “glad to get rid of these guys” and praises the deal. He went on to explain that the Guantanamo Detention Center (GTMO) should be closed as soon as possible. Reid sees this swap as a way to close GTMO. And whether or not you agree with the whole GTMO thing, there is one thing that got me fired up.
Reid made it a point to go out and talk about closing GTMO. He has repeatedly talked about how horrible it is for detainees. It’s so bad that we should close it immediately.
What about our veterans? They are dying trying to get care. Many have to drive hundreds of miles to get to a VA facility, just to be told they have to wait even more. The VA claims that it is understaffed and underfunded.
According to JD Gordon, retired Navy Commander and Pentagon spokesman, Al Qaeda prisoners get better treatment than our veterans.
Doctors and medical personnel are at their beck and call. Got a cold, a fever, a toothache, a tumor, chest or back pain, mental health issues, PTSD? No problem, come right on in. Military doctors are waiting to see you.
The VA and Gitmo eligible patient-to-health care provider ratios speak volumes.
While the Gitmo ratio is 1.5 to 1, for America’s 9 million veterans receiving VA health care and 267,930 VA employees, the ratio is 35 to 1.
According to the Inspector General report, over 1400 veterans had to wait over 17 months to be seen. 1700 more veterans weren’t even on the secret waiting lists. Now there are reports of dozens of veterans dying while waiting or being denied treatment. One daughter received a phone call to schedule an appointment her father had been waiting on after her father had already died.
And yet, in 2008, President Obama was warned about the VA wait times. But instead of focusing on that exact thing, he focused on improving the conditions for the detainees in GTMO. While there was almost no accountability systems put in place for the VA, there are numerous accountability systems for the treatment of detainees.
In addition, when the President speaks at West Point, to the graduating class of Army officers, he talks about a counterterrorism fund of up to $5 billion that would supply advice and training to other countries to combat terrorist threats. He doesn’t talk about taking care of them when they are older and have returned from the battles that he, himself, may send them on.
My mind drifts to all the operatives, interrogators, attorneys, and others who have faced harassment, accusations, and sometimes prosecutions relating to the treatment of detainees. How many people are facing this at the VA? Shinseki resigned, but not because he had to. The President was still defending him.
So where is the accountability? Our veterans put their lives on the line for this country. Yet we treat the enemies of this country significantly better? Not only are they treated better; they are released back to their families. What do our veterans get? Our veterans get to wait. And if the wait is too long, they get to die.
Our words may be saying that we appreciate our veterans but our government’s actions certainly do not show it. In fact, their actions show that the rights, feelings, treatment, and perception of our enemies are worth more than those of our veterans, the ones who have bled and died for our country. WE need to pressure our representatives to get on the ball and fix this now. Start moving on fixing this situation, and do it now. Write, email, call your representative.
“Stop the stupid and start this today!” ~ Montel Williams
Montel Williams has started a hashtag campaign (#VASurge) to help bring more light to the issue. I am encouraging everyone to use it and show your outrage regarding this issue.