Since the start of the Veterans Administration, there have been problems. These problems are not new. And no, it is not Bush’s fault. The problems within the VA can be traced back all the way to post-WW2 era. Since 1945, there have been veterans complaining about corruption. Things like government waste, shoddy care, to extended wait times have been plaguing the VA since its start. At one point in history, investigations uncovered thousands of veterans that were exposed to hepatitis, and six tested positive for HIV. This damning evidence would shut down any company or facility in the private sector. However, when this sort of corruption is found to be within the government, we conduct studies and call people to be heard at Congressional panels, only to confirm the majority of reports. It never really gets to the bottom of the issue.
The fault lies in the idea that the government knows what is better for you than you do. The government is so far removed from the people of this country, they don’t honestly know which way to go. On top of that, our government is so distant from our military, they don’t know how to make decisions or give orders. All they know is what looks good on paper or in news headlines. Never mind that after these men and women come home they need help. No. We have to conduct another study to find out what the problem is and where it is coming from. But, that’s how things work in Washington. Finger pointing is their specialty. The fact that their high level of incompetence is contributing to the problem never highlights the fact that real people are the ones being affected.
So, what might keep our veterans from asking for help? So many people look at them and see some pretty tough individuals. For the most part, they feel like they have an image to uphold. You can’t be the toughest, strongest, most elite fighting force known to mankind if you are soft. So the tough-guy syndrome kicks in and bottles all that emotion up, storing it away. But that really doesn’t help. It only complicates and compounds the issues. Help is what these guys need, and when they do go out and try to find help, sadly, many of them are put on waiting lists or are never seen.
So where do we start? What needs to be done to fix the problem once and for all? Take government out of the equation altogether. That old Ronald Reagan was right after all when he said, “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” And that seems to have always been the case. When the government gets involved, problems ensue. With all the talk about who’s fault it is, there are very few solutions that are being presented.
Probably the most plausible idea is to have a system that would allow veterans to go anywhere at anytime without any cost to the veteran. Many people will say that the cost will be too high and that it won’t be affordable. If you are to believe that, remember that there are many within the VA right now that receive a bonus at the end of every year. On top of that, they have had a surplus of operating funds for the last few years. So, to that end, is cost really an issue?
Then again, what are we to do with all of the buildings and facilities? With so many veterans at risk of either suicide or becoming homeless, why not use those structures as a place of refuge? Why not have counselors, or physicians on staff to make sure they are healthy? Why not have a place where these veterans can go to reintegrate back into civilian life? That is what our veterans need.
Our veterans are the ones suffering, and are the ones who are in real need of help. They need a place to go to get help. There are many organizations out there that are caring for our veterans. There are groups out there that are building retreats, taking them on hunting and fishing expeditions. Some are getting them out into the community and continuing their service by serving the community. There isn’t just one plan that is the best; but when you allow someone other than the government to step in and take control, the amount of options available would be astounding. For the most part, the good ones aren’t out there competing against each other. They have one mission, which should be the mission for all Americans: caring for our veterans.