Somebody has got to call this as it is, because Barack Obama isn’t going to bother with the facts. His press conference on Wednesday proved that to be the case.
In the interest of fairness, let me quote a line from the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs press release when he took office: We know that results count, that the department will be mea- sured by what we do, not what we promise…
I watched the presser with Obama and marveled at the man’s ability to not answer questions. His semi-righteous arrogance and outrage over the situation were offensive. The entire time, his message was essentially this: we’ve tried really hard, but the VA has been a mess for decades. This is a big deal to me but gosh, it’s so very hard. Let’s not leap to judgement, let’s get the facts before we accuse anyone.
I did listen. I’m not impressed. For a man who claims to have the interest of the military (as Commander-in-chief) and veterans at the top of his heap, and to have been concerned since his term in the Senate, he’s done a lousy job of following up. At least twice during his statement, and during the two questions he allowed (both picked in advance, thank-you-very-much) he stated that it was essentially the fault of those lower in the chain of command for not telling their superiors that they didn’t have the resources. I guess they were also supposed to tell their bosses that they were sacrificing veterans lives so that they could collect bonuses, forging paperwork, lying to the Inspector General, and not carrying out their jobs?
Mr. President, in the rest of the country we don’t work that way. If my boss asks me why I didn’t do something, I really can’t fob it off on the other guy. I have this thing we call accountability. My boss is accountable to his boss when I really screw something up – I’ve heard the conference call. I know, for a fact, that the “He should have told me he was a lying incompetent.” defense doesn’t work for industry.
You, Barack Hussein Obama, took the oath of office. You are the head of the administration. The executive branch runs under you. You have a responsibility to the people to do your job well. The “it’s been a mess for decades and we all know it” defense merely means that during the last 5 years you’ve done nothing to fix it. You’ve let it linger.
I also do not buy the statement that backlogs and waiting times have gotten better. The backlog is still substantial, and is only down in comparison to it’s peak in 2013. So, it was really bad but now it’s not as bad is the victory lap statement? How about: It’s an abomination and we have not done enough. It will be the number one priority of this administration as of this second. Almost 400,000 claims are still pending. That’s huge. This volume was to be anticipated with the wars winding down, and the services being shrunk. But I guess it’s not as bad as it was so we should be happy?
I am not satisfied with the President’s statement this morning. It was weak, whiny, and insubstantial. It placed blame, as per usual with this administration, on earlier presidential administrations. It did not strongly state that criminal prosecution would follow for wrong doers – no, just “punished.” Like suspended? Ignored? Ridiculed? Perhaps the same strong medicine he dished out in Benghazi and the IRS scandals? Remember, he was maderer than hades about those as well. When was the last time you heard about anyone except a whistle-blower taking a fall on those debacles?
Mr. President, take a bit of advice from an old sailor: Man up. Admit you haven’t done enough, admit that the people who work for you haven’t done enough. Don’t tell me that the head of the department responsible for the people that did the evil deeds has promised to investigate. Turn it over to an independent party. Get the FBI involved. I, and the other veterans, will not settle for your usual response of “we’re looking into our problems.” It’s not enough.
People have died. When people die as a result of other people seeking to gain financially, that’s called murder in every state I know. Manslaughter at best.
Man up, Mr. President. We’re watching. And we aren’t going away quietly.