Misconduct Again For Veterans

By Laura Fawaz, Contributing Reporter

Washington–After three weeks of silence, Present Barack Obama spoke publically on the recent allegations of misconduct in veteran affairs since the scandal first began.

“If these allegations prove to be true, it is dishonorable, it is disgraceful, and I will not tolerate it, period,” said President Obama in this appearance.

The President vented his anger Wednesday over the allegations of misconduct at Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals as he vowed to “root out anyone responsible,” though he stopped short of announcing VA Secretary Eric Shinseki’s resignation over the ordeal.  Eric Shinseki is a retired United States Army general that was nominated by the President in December 2008 to serve as Secretary of Veterans Affairs.  The details of the VA scandal involve alleged deception about the wait time for treatment at veterans hospitals.  These falsifications along with veteran patients listed as seeing doctors who are not even practicing physicians, leads to more unanswered questions.  The main concern though is that throughout this process, veterans have not been receiving the care that they deserve.  After fighting for their country, they are entitled to, and promised, the best health care. 

“If these allegations prove to be true, it is dishonorable, it is disgraceful and I will not tolerate it. Period,” Obama said during a hastily called press conference at the White House.

“I will not stand for it.  Not as commander-in-chief, but also not as an American,” he added.

The president’s remarks come a day after the VA inspector general indicated his office is investigating possible misconduct at 26 VA facilities around the country, including a Phoenix hospital where 40 veterans allegedly died while waiting for care.  VA staff members were then told to rig the records to cover up the long wait times, therefore allegedly falsifying the cause of deaths.  According to a CNN six-month investigation, the secret list was part of an elaborate scheme designed by Veterans Affairs managers in Phoenix who were trying to hide that 1,400 to 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait months to see a doctor.  President Obama insisted that anyone found to have manipulated or falsified records at a VA facility “will be punished,” but he urged patience as the administration carries out its probe.

Veterans had mixed opinions about this alleged scandal, though had high hopes due to President Obama’s promises when he was candidate Obama.  As he was running for presidency in 2007, one of his promises was “When I am president, building a 21st century VA to serve out veterans will have an equal priority to building a 21st century military to fight our wars.”  But now, most veterans are unhappy with the President as it took him so long to give any public statement on this situation.  To most vets, it was too little, too late.

“Nobody cares about our veterans more than Rick Shinseki,” Obama said. “He has been a great public servant and a great warrior on behalf of the United States of America. We’re going to work with him to solve the problem.”


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