Reading about and watching the congressional hearings regarding the problems at the veterans hospitals is like watching a case study in hypocrisy, double-talk and subversion. We veterans are going to have to retire the word “hero” as Congress has worn it out in the past couple of weeks. We have met the enemy and it is Congress.
Congress has done nothing to solve this problem but talk. However, it spends a lot of time building little empires of political power through the hiring, appropriations and spending for special interests, and most of all protecting their political insiders. The VA has become nothing more than a new version of the “spoils system” in our history books. The biggest problem in the VA is Congress itself, which gives the responsibility to the secretary of veterans affairs but restricts his or her authority. Many of the reforms the VA needs would require an act of Congress.
Those of us who are veterans understand one basic factor in the military: Excellence is not only expected, it will be enforced, and those who do not cooperate will be dealt with quickly, honestly or harshly when necessary — no exceptions.
Congress could solve the problems today by passing the necessary laws, giving the secretary the necessary authority to carry out the responsibilities, and then get out of his or her way.
In my experience with the VA, the doctors and the medical personnel are hard-working, overworked and dedicated. I have witnessed little value to the other staff. We veterans are only asking for what we were promised when we enlisted; it’s time to be loyal to those who have been the most loyal. I expect Congress to do nothing but talk. It’s time to vote all of them out.
WILLIAM A. WRONA
Pulaski, Lawrence County