VA director’s attitude seems a little Mickey Mouse

The men and women who fight for our freedom have a thankless battle. During the Vietnam War, it was the people maligning the soldiers who came back home and, instead of thanking them for their service, called them butchers and spit on them.

After the terrorist attacks in 2001 took place and we found ourselves sending a massive number of troops off to war, the folks left behind vowed we would not repeat the mistakes of the past and not blame the war on the soldiers ordered to fight it. For the most part, that promise has been kept.

However, veterans are now facing broken promises from the government itself with lengthy wait times for the care they desperately need. In Wisconsin, Tomah’s Veterans Affairs hospital is a laughing stock—and I use the term loosely—because veterans were dying before they could get in for treatment. Other hospitals around the country are in a similar situation.

When you have a broken system, it makes sense to fix it. Then again, sense seems to be in short supply in Washington. If you need proof, just ask Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald. Here’s what he had to say earlier this week about the wait times at VA hospitals and clinics:

“What really counts is, how does the veteran feel about their encounter with the VA? When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line or the number — you know, what is important? What’s important is, what is your satisfaction with the experience?”

Wow. Disneyland. He’s comparing the VA wait times to how long you’re waiting in line at Disneyland. While it’s true that some of the lines at Disneyland feel like they take weeks to move, I don’t remember any reports of people dying as they wait to get into Disneyland. They are dying as they wait to see their VA doctors.

Cracking jokes at the expense of dying soldiers is beyond the pale. While the beginning of the statement, how a veteran feels about their VA experience, is certainly valid, the validity went out the window when you compare it to waiting in line for Space Mountain. It clearly shows McDonald does not care about the problem, let alone the search for a solution.

So is this American policy? We ask men and women to put their lives on the line for pitiful pay, and when they come back with physical ailments, mental disorders and missing limbs, the leader of their health care system shows just how Mickey Mouse he is. To say it this close to Memorial Day on top of everything indicates McDonald did not get into his position because of intelligence.

Many public officials are asking for McDonald’s head. I don’t blame them a bit. If they get it, they should sew his mouth shut so he doesn’t make America look any worse than it already is.


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