Ted Nugent has done it again. During a speech given at a dinner hosted by the Republican Party of Maricopa County, the “Nuge” blamed President Barack Obama and his treatment of the military for the rash of veteran suicides. Though often criticized for his lack of military service, Ted Nugent has been an outspoken supporter of the troops for decades.
As a United State Marine and combat veteran, I would like to elaborate on Ted’s statements and offer a perspective from someone who has trained our troops during the Global War on Terror.
[sharequote align="center"]Veterans are neglected and abandoned by the government that recruited them and used them[/sharequote]
Veterans Affairs Scandal, a Sick Joke
To actual veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs Scandal of 2014 was a bit of a joke. Not a funny joke but a ridiculous one.
All of the sudden the public and Congress seemed to realize that the VA was both inept and corrupt simultaneously. Ask a Vietnam or Cold War-era veteran about VA medical treatment. The VA is a joke, a bad joke and it has been for decades.
In 1984 VA officials “diverted” $40 million that Congress had approved for treatment of Vietnam Veterans. A 1986 investigation of the VA found that 93 of its physicians had sanctions against their medical licenses, including suspensions and revocations. As far back as 1947 and 1955 government commissions and investigations had found evidence of “waste, duplication, inadequate and poor care” on the part of the VA.
To the thinking man, this should not come at all as a surprise. Federal Government programs and agencies have been and continue to be inept, inefficient, and easily corruptible. Take your pick; the IRS, Environmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Land Management, etc. Each and every time tax money in large sums in funneled to an autonomous agency the result is waste and corruption.
PTSD and Suicide
Almost on cue, we are treated to regular news stories of post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide in modern veterans of war. The authors of the stories fret with concern and offer the typical solutions to pass new legislation and spend more tax money on VA counseling centers. Not one time have I ever heard or read a story that addressed the root cause of PTSD and depression related suicide.
As a nation, we ask our servicemen to give their all, up to and including their lives, for the country. We send them overseas and have them face the most harrowing action any human can experience; life or death combat. The greatest stress the human mind will ever encounter is that of both making life and death decisions and then seeing the consequences of those actions. Faced with not only the death of enemy combatants, but the death of comrades, the serviceman is left to process it all. This is nothing new and has been going on for the entirety of history.
Veteran Clarence Graham holds his head in his hands after he spoke about the issues he has had getting the care he feels he needs from the Veterans Administration during meeting hosted by the American Legion at the War Memorial in St. Louis on Monday, July 14, 2014. The long delays for veterans seeking medical care at VA hospitals have prompted The American Legion to set up a short-term crisis center in St. Louis this week. The veterans' organization opens a "crisis command center" at the Saint Louis University law school downtown starting at noon Tuesday, July 15, 2014. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, David Carson)
It is not just that we send men and women into combat to face the gravest of extremes, in today’s “zero tolerance” world we place additional mental stress upon them. The rules of engagement (ROE) are so complex and constantly changing that the soldier on the ground lives in constant fear of “doing something wrong.”
Soldiers returning from combat missions are debriefed not first by intelligence officers but by military lawyers who determine if any ROE violations occurred during the operation. Every firefight or exchange of rounds with the enemy is treated like a law enforcement shooting in the United States. These young troopers are expected not only to face life and death, but are treated like potential criminals every time they survive a firefight.
We have allowed our government to prosecute and imprison our troops over highly questionable and specious charges. Our so-called leaders, in the interest of political expediency, have sacrificed good men to placate our enemies and faux allies. We have even gone so far as to allow the enemy to testify against our own people in order to crucify them.
What message are we giving to the troops? We will send you into the most horrific situations imaginable and if you fail to perform to our standard of perfection we will destroy your life, we will sacrifice you on the altar of political expediency. Failing to do that, we will later funnel you into an inept and uncaring VA system where you will languish and expire. If you take your own life we will then step in front of the microphones to feign grave concern thus bolstering our poll numbers.
Those in Service
For some strange reason we like to say thank you to active-duty troops on Veterans Day. A noble sentiment, but oddly misplaced.
During the current fiasco we once called the Global War on Terror, citizens like to say “thank you for your service” when encountering a man or woman in uniform. From a personal aspect, I’ve rarely said that because to me that is like one cop thanking another cop for being a cop. Marines do not look at other Marines and thank them for being Marines. But, I digress.
We say “thank you for your service” and then move on with our lives. We put “I Support the Troops” stickers on our cars, but we stand awkwardly silent as servicemen are molested and treated like terrorists by the bottom-feeders at the Transportation Security Agency.
We make no comment as our “warriors” in uniform are disarmed by regulation in the United States of America even after multiple direct attacks on active-duty servicemen. We accept the lame excuses of “safety” and simply move on.
By this point in time you should have recognized a central theme, our veterans and servicemen are neglected, abused, and abandoned by the very government that recruited them and used them as pieces in their grand game.
How and why does this happen?
The sobering answer is that it is not the fault of the VA, the Department of Defense, or even the Executive Branch or Congressn ... the absolute fault lies with you and I. As the United States of America was organized under our Constitution, we get the government that we deserve.
We have devolved into state of dependency and a desire for comfort above all else. We have abdicated the duties of citizenship and all-to-willingly handed over our liberty to the bureaucrat so we will not have to put forth any effort or for one moment be uncomfortable.
We live in a constant state of fear that some stranger or government fairness gestapo will find our actions to be “unreasonable” or “extremist” or God-forbid “racist.” For that reason, we keep our heads down, remain silent and temper our words and actions to always seem “reasonable,” “fair” or “inclusive.”
Do you want our veterans to be treated with the respect they deserve? Do you want the VA to be efficient and effective while serving our men and women?
The power to make that happen lies within each and every United States citizen. However, exercising that power will require dedicated effort. That effort may lead to discomfort and even suffering on the part of the citizen. Citizenship is a duty not a privilege. Sadly, I feel the deaf far outnumber those with the willingness to hear. And with that, this veteran will say no more.
For the past three decades Paul Markel has had the privilege to study with some of the finest instructors the U.S. Military and Law Enforcement world have to offer. Visit http://www.studentofthegun.com
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