In keeping with Texas Fred’s current theme having to do with the shoddy, at best, treatment of our Veterans I decided to post this story from the Rocky Mountain News.
A former national commander of the American Legion who is based in Colorado said Monday that he is generally supportive of the lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, although he added he does not know the details of it.”The fact that it’s bringing attention (to the issues) to the public – that’s admirable,” Tom Bock said by phone Monday from the headquarters of the Colorado American Legion.
“The general public needs to know there are shortcomings inside a good system,” Bock said.
Bock, who served as the national commander for the American Legion from 2005-2006, said delays in processing benefits for soldiers have been a problem for years.
“The claims processing is way behind,” he said, adding that there are currently 400,000 disability claims nationwide that still need to be processed.
Bock said veterans with mental health issues are a major concern, because the numbers have grown, running as high as 30 percent to 35 percent of returning soldiers.
“It is critical that we take care of our soldiers at this time when they come home,” he said. “The VA needs to start more mental health centers.
However, he said he does not know if a lawsuit is the way to get the VA to make changes. Instead, he said the American Legion has concentrated on getting the VA properly funded.
“I don’t know if the VA alone can fix it,” he said. “What services you have depends on what you can provide the dollars for. When it comes to expanding coverage and taking better care (of soldiers), that’s where Congress needs to step up.”
He said that one problem is that while a great deal of publicity and debate has taken place over whether the war on terrorism should be fought, little attention has been paid to what happens to soldiers when they return home.
“We have to remember that these are our sons and daughters and grandsons and granddaughters,” he said. “They’re protecting our freedoms and we need to stand up for that – both when they’re gone and when they come back home.”