Archive for August, 2011

24
Aug

Chances are if you went out on the street and asked every passerby if they believed our government should support our troops, they would say, “Of course!” If you had the opportunity to go into Congress and poll every representative and senator if they support the troops, they would fall over themselves to proclaim they do to the utmost degree. Why then, did a federal court, (a much maligned branch of our government) have to rule that veterans have a due process right to mental health care? That happened on May 11th, when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals took a stand for veterans that has been shameful years in coming. It ruled that the Veterans Administration has been violating the due process rights of veterans in denying them meaningful access to critically needed mental health care.

If the Obama Administration cares about the members of our armed forces and our veterans as it claims it does, why has it chosen to appeal the court’s opinion? Administration lawyers said the court had “wrested control of the V.A. from the politically accountable branches of government that are best-positioned to identify the needs of veterans and allocate scarce resources.” If we have the resources to fight these astronomically expensive wars that have put our country into unprecedented debt, how can we morally now claim we have to “allocate scarce resources” when it is time to heal the participants of those wars?

The court placed at the heart of its decision the outrageous number of suicides among veterans. “On an average day, eighteen veterans of our nation’s armed forces take their own lives. Of those, roughly one quarter are enrolled with the V.A. health care system. Among all veterans enrolled in the VA system, an additional 1000 attempt suicide each month. Although the V.A. is obligated to provide veterans mental health services, many veterans with depression or post traumatic stress disorder are forced to wait weeks for mental health referrals and are given no opportunity to request or demonstrate their need for expedited care. For those who commit suicide in the interim, care does not come soon enough.” The court went on “The V.A.’s unchecked incompetence has gone on long enough. No more veterans should be compelled to agonize or perish while the government fails to perform its obligations.”

The Administration’s response? That the V.A. operates under “pervasive congressional oversight” and has established a suicide-prevention hotline and other measures to provide immediate treatment to those who need it. Find three veterans suffering from PTSD, and I’d bet my last dollar that two of them have experienced tremendous difficulty obtaining the treatment they need. Stories have become all too common of veterans being denied disability after a twenty minute interview, being given pills rather than meaningful treatment, having to wait months to be assigned a therapist, having disability benefits arbitrarily terminated.

The suit was brought in 2007 by an Austin based veterans’ organization, Veterans for Common Sense, headed by Paul Sullivan, a veteran of the Gulf War, and the California-based Veterans United for Truth. The nonprofit groups asserted that the department was not addressing the flood of psychologically troubled or physically injured troops returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, had inadequate services at veterans clinics and had allowed a huge backlog of compensation applications. 
One of the lawyers, Sidney Wolinsky of Disability Rights Advocates, said on Tuesday that the government has refused to negotiate and is simply stonewalling.
“Instead of actually serving veterans, the V.A. and the Obama administration have callously decided to prolong the proceedings.”

The author of the decision, Judge Stephen Reinhardt, wrote that he regretted that political inaction had forced the court to intervene in what the “political branches” should have addressed and were given more than enough time to address. “We would have preferred Congress or the President to have remedied the V.A.’s egregious problems without our intervention when evidence of the Department’s harmful shortcomings and its failure to to properly address the needs of our veterans first came to light years ago.”

Perhaps the First Lady, who along with Jill Biden, created “Joining Forces” to encourage Americans to take action to serve our military families should have a talk with her husband. Because no military family will thrive or even function when a parent, sibling, or child is suffering from war’s trauma and is unable to obtain meaningful mental health care.

Category : Uncategorized | Blog
19
Aug

combat veteran, Tommy, and war resister, Michael

This came to me today from Dr. Ed Tick of Soldier’s Heart, the organization created by Kate Dahlstedt and Ed, author of War and the Soul. Soldier’s Heart helps communities support veterans with their emotional, moral, and spiritual needs as well as helping veterans transition to being home.

“For 27 years, Robert Bly and other men’s movement leaders have been conducting the annual summer Minnesota Men’s Conference. Men of all ages have been gathering for intensive retreat together in order to address and heal our shared wounds and nurture each other into strength, meaning and leadership.

“This year I am very pleased to announce that the Men’s Conference has invited me to serve as one of the teachers. Together we have declared that one principle goal of this year’s conference, and for the men’s movement in general, is to create a real homecoming for our veterans and troops of every age and area of service.

“One of the ways many men have been nurturing each other’s growth is through the study and practice of spiritual warriorhood. Those who have served in the military or survived violent trauma know the dark and challenging dimensions of warriorhood through their service, often in the combat zone. Some of us have studied warriorhood while others have had to practice it in the most challenging ways. We need each other and the wisdom and experience every one of us has gained in order to bring hope, healing and maturity to men and leadership to our country and world.

“I call all men in our Soldier’s Heart community and beyond to join us this year at the Minnesota Men’s Conference as we address the invisible and unhealed wounds of past and current wars that our veterans and all of us carry. At this year’s conference, we will work together to create a genuine homecoming for our troops and veterans, provide rites of passage for all men no matter what our histories, and achieve reconciliation between veteran and non-veteran men. It is important that we have a strong showing at this conference and that the men’s movement be mobilized to support veterans’ homecoming and join with vets in addressing the wounds that inevitably come from war.

“The conference is outside Minneapolis, MN from Tuesday Sept. 13 – Sunday Sept. 18. You can get further information about it at www.hiddenwine.com. Military and veterans are especially welcome for a reduced fee, scholarships are available, and much programming will focus on veteran healing, homecoming and reconciliation. Our dear friend, Iraq combat vet and songwriter Jason Moon will be there as well, providing a concert and song-writing workshop for and about vets.

“I urge you to consider joining Jason and me and attending this breakthrough conference. If you cannot attend or are of the other gender, please forward this note and recommend attendance to anyone you think might be interested. Reconciliation and activism with the men’s movement can help grow our legions of spiritual warriors needed for healing our veterans and for the greater mission of war healing itself.”

Category : Uncategorized | Blog
مبلمان اداری صندلی مدیریتی صندلی اداری میز اداری وبلاگدهی فروشگاه اینترنتی پاراگلایدر زیورآلات آگهی استخدام آگهی رایگان تبلیغات کلیکی آموزش زبان انگلیسی پاراگلایدر ساخت وبلاگ