Agent Orange and other veteran-cides

In 1977, veterans who suspected that their health problems were associated with exposure to Agent Orange began to file claims with the Department of Veteran Affairs.  More than four decades have passed since initial complaints, and there is either "selective justice" or no justice for our veterans.  It's fair to say that during the Kafkaesque procedures, the V.A. was often reported "gone fishing" and that "due to a lack of records," it didn't spare efforts to send the "inquisitive" ones on a fishing expedition.

Apart from Agent Orange, the V.A.'s can of worms contains Agents Pink, Green, Purple, White, Blue...you name it.  That's a lot of "bait" for those on a quest for truth — the truth we wouldn't even grasp if our veterans wouldn't fight for it, come hell or Blue Water.

Vietnam-era defoliants were the same, no matter if used in Vietnam or Thailand, and exposure to herbicides resulted in diseases such as a variety of cancers, ischemic heart disease, and Hodgkin's and Parkinson's.  How is diabetes mellitus type 2 different from diabetes mellitus type2, and why would we need a debate if the V.A. "may provide" to any spina bifida–affected child of a veteran who was exposed to an herbicide agent during service in Thailand "the same health care, vocational training and rehabilitation, and monetary allowance required to be paid to a similarly affected child of a Vietnam veteran"?

Well, the V.A.'s favorite term, "perimeters," is often translated by veterans as "lie, delay, deny until they die."  The V.A.'s VIPs like to cite "costs and need for further study" as if they were unaware of the price of sacrifice.  Mention "accountability," and every V.A.-ristocrat is nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.  If we could retrieve some of the millions the V.A. "misspent" for art, or simply "misplaced," there would be justice and funds for justice.

Listen to our veterans: it took years to "discover" that herbicides were "after all" used on Thailand bases, then years to get the government to admit that the herbicides were toxic.  When they finally could file their claims, the V.A. found a new shield and required their service to be "on the perimeter of the base or within a 500 meter drift zone."  V.A. bureaucrats keep drawing eliminatory charts with rows and columns "too narrow for all veterans," sitting comfy and heaving a sigh of relief every time "service connection remains denied."  How long is "a year or two" when you have cancer?  Instead of caring "for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan," the V.A. is fighting with widows whose husbands died waiting.

I am saluting Sgt. Cole and our veterans who suffered exposure to herbicides in Thailand.  Thank you for your service; you never stop to teach us to stand our ground and to make sure we don't leave anyone behind.

Military service lines up with sacrifice, and power should go with duty.  Let's challenge the "powerful ones": reach out to the "forgotten" veterans who served in Thailand, or don't bother us the next "Veterans' Day."  You can lie, delay, and deny — but you can't hide.

The commander-in-chief will get the report: V.A. is gone fishing.  Please, rock the toxic bureaucrats' boat.

In 1977, veterans who suspected that their health problems were associated with exposure to Agent Orange began to file claims with the Department of Veteran Affairs.  More than four decades have passed since initial complaints, and there is either "selective justice" or no justice for our veterans.  It's fair to say that during the Kafkaesque procedures, the V.A. was often reported "gone fishing" and that "due to a lack of records," it didn't spare efforts to send the "inquisitive" ones on a fishing expedition.

Apart from Agent Orange, the V.A.'s can of worms contains Agents Pink, Green, Purple, White, Blue...you name it.  That's a lot of "bait" for those on a quest for truth — the truth we wouldn't even grasp if our veterans wouldn't fight for it, come hell or Blue Water.

Vietnam-era defoliants were the same, no matter if used in Vietnam or Thailand, and exposure to herbicides resulted in diseases such as a variety of cancers, ischemic heart disease, and Hodgkin's and Parkinson's.  How is diabetes mellitus type 2 different from diabetes mellitus type2, and why would we need a debate if the V.A. "may provide" to any spina bifida–affected child of a veteran who was exposed to an herbicide agent during service in Thailand "the same health care, vocational training and rehabilitation, and monetary allowance required to be paid to a similarly affected child of a Vietnam veteran"?

Well, the V.A.'s favorite term, "perimeters," is often translated by veterans as "lie, delay, deny until they die."  The V.A.'s VIPs like to cite "costs and need for further study" as if they were unaware of the price of sacrifice.  Mention "accountability," and every V.A.-ristocrat is nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.  If we could retrieve some of the millions the V.A. "misspent" for art, or simply "misplaced," there would be justice and funds for justice.

Listen to our veterans: it took years to "discover" that herbicides were "after all" used on Thailand bases, then years to get the government to admit that the herbicides were toxic.  When they finally could file their claims, the V.A. found a new shield and required their service to be "on the perimeter of the base or within a 500 meter drift zone."  V.A. bureaucrats keep drawing eliminatory charts with rows and columns "too narrow for all veterans," sitting comfy and heaving a sigh of relief every time "service connection remains denied."  How long is "a year or two" when you have cancer?  Instead of caring "for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan," the V.A. is fighting with widows whose husbands died waiting.

I am saluting Sgt. Cole and our veterans who suffered exposure to herbicides in Thailand.  Thank you for your service; you never stop to teach us to stand our ground and to make sure we don't leave anyone behind.

Military service lines up with sacrifice, and power should go with duty.  Let's challenge the "powerful ones": reach out to the "forgotten" veterans who served in Thailand, or don't bother us the next "Veterans' Day."  You can lie, delay, and deny — but you can't hide.

The commander-in-chief will get the report: V.A. is gone fishing.  Please, rock the toxic bureaucrats' boat.