Just when I think that the Bush Administration could not go any further in abusing the men and women in our military, they prove me wrong. Not only did the President send them into a preemptive unnecessary war, but he also did not send them with the proper equipment or a plan to get out. As the men and women in uniform have come home with the most severe injuries imaginable, we found that the conditions in Walter Reed were abominable. Now the same crowd that constantly touts their ‘support for the troops’ has been caught mistreating them again.
Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and VoteVets.org released an e-mail obtained from a Veterans Affairs employee directing VA staff to refrain from diagnosing soldiers and veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The March 20, 2008 email was not sent by just some rank and file worker, but by the VA hospital’s PTSD program coordinator. The email was sent to a number of VA employees including psychologists, social workers, and a psychiatrist. The email stated that because of an increased number of ‘compensation seeking veterans,’ the staff should refrain from giving a diagnosis of PTSD. The email further instructed the workers to rule out PTSD and instead consider a diagnosis of Adjustment Disorder instead. Essentially the instructions were to misdiagnose returning veterans in an effort to cut VA costs, regardless of the costs to the health of the soldiers.
As a person that has served in our military through most of the 1990’s, I am appalled at how our men and women in uniform have been treated. I served during a time of peace and prosperity but was always aware of the fact that I could be called upon to make some very serious sacrifices. I was always willing to do my job but I also expected my country to fully uphold their end of the bargain. Although that time never came for me, I can only imagine the struggles being faced by those currently serving. These struggles are only amplified by a federal government that has been treating them with such indifference. When will they finally understand that words, slogans and lapel pins are not replacements for taking care of those that we ask to pay the highest price?