Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Sunday, May 25, 2014

A bitter war of words has broken out between a veterans organization and the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs amid the controversy over health care for former servicemen and servicewomen. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) penned an open letter to veterans in which he took several veterans service groups to task for being insufficiently critical of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki. Veterans of Foreign Wars responded to Burr by calling his letter a "monumental cheap shot" and labeling it "one of the most dishonorable and grossly inappropriate acts that we've witnessed in more than 40 years of involvement with the veteran community."

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Burr accused the groups (with the exception of the American Legion) of being more invested in maintaining access to the secretary than with fixing a troubled health care system. He questioned why they haven't called for a leadership change at the VA, and pointedly charged the groups' leaders with not caring about the health and well-being of their members.

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"In their own letter, Veterans of Foreign Wars responded to Burr by calling his letter a "monumental cheap-shot" and labeling it "one of the most dishonorable and grossly inappropriate acts that we've witnessed in more than forty years of involvement with the veteran community."

If the tone wasn't clear, the group added that Burr's conduct and allegations were "ugly and mean-spirited in every sense of the words and profoundly wrong, both logically and morally," in addition to breaching "the standards of the United States Senate."

"The Veterans of Foreign Wars letter was by no means the only forceful reply. Paralyzed Veterans of America wrote Burr on Saturday telling him that he "should be ashamed" of himself. His letter, they added, "clearly displays why the vast majority of the American public puts no faith in their elected officials to do what is right for this country."

Disabled American Veterans offered their own response that under normal circumstances would seem harsh, but compared to the others came off as diplomatic.

"Regrettably," the group wrote on its website, "Senator Burr shows no interest in pursuing serious policy solutions, preferring instead to launch cheap political attacks on the integrity of leaders of veterans organizations that do not agree with him."

letters at article link

#1 | Posted by Corky at 2014-05-25 04:07 PM | Reply | Flag:

Veterans are a remarkably clear-eyed group. They aren't happy with Shinseki or the VA, to say the least of it.

They do, however, have a fuller and more nuanced view of things than people like Senator Burr for being GENUINELY INTERESTED IN VETS, sonmething this silly man is not.

Shinseki ought to resign soon or be fired. Can't fire Burr, so resignation would be in order.

Anyone know if the courageous Sen. Burr served?

#2 | Posted by Zed at 2014-05-25 04:35 PM | Reply | Flag:

No....Senator Burr never came near to serving in the Armed Forces. Too bust studying at the Ted Cruz Scool of Politics.

#3 | Posted by Zed at 2014-05-25 04:39 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

Someone in the GOP politicizing veterans issues? Well, that's nothing new.

In this case, the ranking Republican on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, no less.

It would be nice if Republicans elected to high office would concentrate more on actually helping veterans with votes, increased budgets, and practical policy, instead of cheap talk at the WWII Memorial during their engineered government shutdowns.

#4 | Posted by PinchALoaf at 2014-05-25 04:47 PM | Reply | Flag:

A Republican Senator wants to pick a fight with the VFW between memorial day and the 4th of july?

TIme for him to retire.

#5 | Posted by Tor at 2014-05-25 09:18 PM | Reply | Flag:

Maybe it's just me, but it seems Burr is trying to maintain the status quo of poor health care for the masses, even veterans.

After all, long VA waits are due to hundreds of medical VA vacancies, not meanness. And what it'll take to fix that is money. Either raise VA DR pay, or forgive student loans of new DRs in exchange for 4-5 year VA term. Or both.

#6 | Posted by 88120rob at 2014-05-25 10:24 PM | Reply | Flag:

The republicans are $%^&ed. There is only so far that oil money will take you.

#7 | Posted by Shawn at 2014-05-26 01:08 AM | Reply | Flag:

The republicans are $%^&ed.

You must've forgotten they'll be running against Democrats who are as we speak distancing themselves from 0bamacare and Mr. Hopey Changey and his "more open government" and plethora of lies.

If this administration had been stronger and more honest, you might be right. Poll after poll is a testimonial to this.

#8 | Posted by goatman at 2014-05-26 01:27 AM | Reply | Flag:

Senator Burr lives on the same street as I do. This ought to make for fun neighborly conversation if I see him.

#9 | Posted by DCTexan at 2014-05-26 01:57 AM | Reply | Flag:

Why did the senate kill the bill that would allow bad preformers in the VA to be fired? You can't pump a septic than with a soda straw and d dip sucking on it.

#10 | Posted by Sniper at 2014-05-26 09:03 AM | Reply | Flag:

Hmmmmm... After reading the article, it appears that the Vet groups are being dishonorable.

#11 | Posted by LastAmerican at 2014-05-26 09:51 AM | Reply | Flag:

The republicans are $%^&ed. There is only so far that oil money will take you.

#7 | Posted by Shawn

Why do you think the Republicans protecting oil so much?

(can't wait for this answer)

#12 | Posted by LastAmerican at 2014-05-26 09:53 AM | Reply | Flag:

Where were these groups to write letters to then senator Obama who criticized President Bush and the VA administration. Yep liberals have taken over these VA groups. Whats worse they have sat quiet for the last 13 years instead of marching on Washington and demanding the end of government ran veterans healthcare.

#13 | Posted by mcmlcxx at 2014-05-26 11:50 AM | Reply | Flag:

#13 | Posted by mcmlcxx

Vouchers to buy health insurance are an excellent idea.

#14 | Posted by LastAmerican at 2014-05-26 01:01 PM | Reply | Flag:

Vets don't want their health care privatized, and studies show that the care vets receive is as good or better than private.

Republicans are already refusing to give more to vets. It'll cost a lot more if it's privatized.

#15 | Posted by Derek_Wildstar at 2014-05-26 02:53 PM | Reply | Flag:

Truth is is if Dubya had listened to Shinseki before the iraq war, the entire thing couldve been prevented and the VA would be in a lot better shape today.

#16 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2014-05-26 02:55 PM | Reply | Flag:

Why do you think the Republicans protecting oil so much?

(can't wait for this answer)

#12 | Posted by LastAmerican

Because our elections are privately funded and big donors get what big donors want.

#17 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2014-05-26 02:56 PM | Reply | Flag:

Truth is is if Dubya had listened to Shinseki before the iraq war,...

The inevitable mindless Bush deflection.

But I'll bite. What did Shinseki tell Bush that he failed to heed that would have made everything peaches and cream today, speaksoftly?

#18 | Posted by goatman at 2014-05-26 03:06 PM | Reply | Flag:

Real national health care.

#19 | Posted by Shawn at 2014-05-26 05:42 PM | Reply | Flag:

What did Shinseki tell Bush that he failed to heed that would have made everything peaches and cream today, speaksoftly?

#18 | Posted by goatman

The peaches and cream scenario went out the window with the flowers and chocolates one.

#20 | Posted by donnerboy at 2014-05-27 01:41 PM | Reply | Flag:

Well Shrub did increase the number of wounded vets dramatically all while the GOP keeps shutting down Democratic bills to help them.

That's the typical GOP way.

Screw things up and scream the Dems did it.

Ha, all the polls know.

#21 | Posted by drewl at 2014-05-27 03:31 PM | Reply | Flag:

"Truth is is if Dubya had listened to Shinseki before the iraq war,..."
The inevitable mindless Bush deflection.
But I'll bite. What did Shinseki tell Bush that he failed to heed that would have made everything peaches and cream today, speaksoftly?
#18 | Posted by goatman at 2014-05-26 03:06 PM

WHAT?! So, you have no idea what happened to Shinseki during his appointment with BushCo, but you're certain regardless whatever occurred it's still a "mindless Bush deflection"?

Bush Should Honor 'Mission Accomplished' Day by Resigning

On May 1, 2003, George W. Bush flew with great fanfare onto the USS Abraham Lincoln and announced from the flight deck that the war in Iraq was all but over.

"Major combat operations in Iraq have ended," declared President Bush, in a nationally televised address, backed by a giant banner proclaiming "mission accomplished."

I'm sure that many Americans -- and certainly the military families with loved ones in harm's way -- breathed a sigh of relief and hoped that the Bush administration's pre-war claims would come true: That the effort would be quick, decisive and with minimal spilling of American blood and that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld knew what he was doing to protect the troops in the occupation that would follow.

Of course, we now know that the president's shipboard posturing was premature at best and, at worst, a device to mislead the American people into believing that the toughest times in Iraq had passed.

Aside from the things Bush obviously knew before invading Iraq – that Iraq possessed no weapons of mass destruction and had nothing whatsoever to do with September 11 – he also had a direct warning from Army Chief of Staff, General Eric Shinseki. Shinseki warned Bush and Congress on February 25, 2003 that the U.S. was not preparing adequate forces, with appropriate troop levels, to ensure peace and stability after the initial invasion.

When asked by Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) to estimate the size of an allied occupation force after victory, Shinseki said "Something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers are probably a figure that would be required."

"We're talking about a post-hostilities control over a piece of geography that's fairly significant, with the kinds of ethnic tensions that could lead to other problems," said Shinseki.

#22 | Posted by redlightrobot at 2014-05-27 03:43 PM | Reply | Flag:

Amazingly, when not claiming that everything is just swell in Iraq, Bush and Rumsfeld have tried to tell Americans that the post-invasion difficulties encountered could not have been foreseen – despite having been told precisely what to expect by the highest-ranking Army officer, who was tasked with providing exactly that expertise.

Rumsfeld and then Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz moved immediately to discredit Shinseki and to repudiate his assertions on required troop numbers. Wolfowitz said that Shinseki's estimate was "wildly off the mark."

He also said that Shinseki's prediction came at a "delicate time" when the Bush administration was trying to cobble together a broad-based coalition to support an invasion of Iraq and that it was "..not a good time to publish highly suspect numbers."

Finally, Wolfowitz countered Shinseki by saying it was difficult to understand how someone could predict that the occupation would require more troops than the invasion itself.

I guess Shinseki assumed that being a highly-decorated Army officer with almost four decades of service – including extensive combat duty in Vietnam – coupled with the fact that his job was to make those manpower determinations, might make his opinion more worthwhile.

General Shinseki "retired" shortly thereafter, in June 2003, and it is widely speculated that he was forced out for contradicting Bush's take on what would be required by the Army in Iraq. Shinseki has confirmed only that he was indeed forced into retirement, while withholding comment about any specifics.

[continues]


#23 | Posted by redlightrobot at 2014-05-27 03:44 PM | Reply | Flag:

#22 | POSTED BY REDLIGHTROBOT

OK, redlightrobot -- I'll bite. What does this have to do with Shineseki and Bush vis-a-vis the VA? That's what we were talking about you know.

Or do you?

#24 | Posted by goatman at 2014-05-27 03:46 PM | Reply | Flag:

Hey, where's the Republican outrage over the 5 million Americans denied Medicaid by... Republicans?

#25 | Posted by Derek_Wildstar at 2014-05-27 05:25 PM | Reply | Flag:

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