Having sought medical care from the Miami Veterans Administration hospital for my PTSD, years after my return from the Iraq war, I know from personal experience how detrimental it can be for veterans to have to wait weeks, or months, for much-needed medical attention.
As the Secretary of the VA, the same people who won't fund you, blame you. The same people who vote for America's men and women to go to war, won't accept that going to war is going to create an influx of veterans when they come home.
It's also an instructive look of the frustrations of journalism: endlessly peeling away the layers of an onion; never 100 percent certain you've arrived at the truth. In the case of General Eric Shinseki, I'm still peeling.
VA Secretary Eric Shinseki has resigned. While it solves none of the fundamental problems within the VA, it can perhaps remove him as the object of attention and allow us to focus on the underlying, systemic failings that anyone who cared to look would have already known about.
We hear so much these day about banks and companies that have become so large they are unable to manage themselves -- that there are so many layers of bureaucracy that illegal and unethical behavior can go undetected for years.
Despite the bloviating of supposedly outraged congressmen, editorialists and the White House, the Inspector General and the press have been reporting about the terrible shortcomings at the V.A. for years.
Can mild-mannered get the job done? ...
One story risks being buried among all this other newsworthy stuff, and that is the vote which happened late last night in the House of Representatives.
Can President Obama seize the opportunity to initiate and catalyze real change -- meaning transforming the systemic incompetence and corruption at VA and creating a culture that supports the many employees whose dedicated, skillful and innovative efforts have gone unsupported or undermined, and, most importantly, a culture that remembers every day and is responsive in word and deed to the veterans it serves?
Who would've ever thought, after years of relentless cost-cutting in the halls of Washington, that the federal government actually spends our money on important stuff? Who would've thought that wars cost money, and tax cuts cost money, and maintaining our infrastructure costs money?
Our veterans should not continue to suffer pointlessly. Republicans need to do more than wave an American flag. Rather, they need to work with my Democratic colleagues to pass legislation that provides the VA with the funds it needs.
Rather than picking a fight with veterans, Sen. Richard Burr should pretend the VA is a weapons program or war and fund it accordingly.
How Obama reacts to both the "outing" of the C.I.A. station chief in Afghanistan and the ongoing problems at the Veterans Administration will wind up reflecting on his presidential legacy, for better or worse.
Many veterans are desperate to talk about their experiences with fellow Americans who accept shared responsibility for what is done in war, particularly the killing. Yet these conversations rarely happen today.
American soldiers: love 'em and leave 'em? The appalling treatment of American war veterans in Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals nationwide is not the first example of our country's often-tragic indifference to its returning war heroes.
Of his commitment to veterans, there cannot be any doubt, and I believe Eric Shinseki is as frustrated with his current command as any veteran, veteran spouse or family member, Member of Congress or the President could possibly be.