I disagree with the opinion offered by James Bukes that problems at the Veterans Affairs hospitals stem from the employees (May 26 letter). In fact, problems within any large organization can almost always be traced to its personnel, past and present. I strongly resent that Mr. Bukes singled out the preferential hiring of veterans as a prime source of problems at the VA.
Is he a veteran? Veterans know that the buddy system in the U.S. military culture since at least the generalship of George Washington holds dear and near the doctrine of soldiers and veterans caring for one another in war and peace. Go to any VA hospital or clinic in the country, and one will be amazed at the large number of veterans helping the VA care for their buddies, rather than dumping them into private for-profit nursing homes to linger and die, as so many civilians do, including their relatives.
We can and will fix problems in the VA as in the past when good soldiers learned to grunt and bear it during functional reviews and assessments of what does not function. Functional reviews in the military departments or the VA require the resources of time, not judgments.
ROBERT M. ATKINS
Lieutenant Colonel (retired)