5 Ridiculous Ideas On Who Could Next Run The VA

news
Photo by Nur Hussein

Editor’s note: Following Brian Adam Jones’ list of 12 people who could replace Secretary Shinseki, Task & Purpose contributor Jason Mack decided to dive deeper into the candidate pool and offer up some names that might not yet be on the White House's radar.


With the totally shocking and unexpected resignation of Eric Shinseki, the blogosphere (actual word) is alight with everyone's brilliant and creative picks for secretary of the VA. Basically, there are a lot of uneducated bloggers spewing out their ideas, including me.

Noticeably absent from the lists I've seen are actual hospital administrators, government reformers, or people who have run large organizations successfully. I mean, what's the point of making the VA a civilian agency if we’re going to keep choosing military leadership to run it?

Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis? Yeah, I'm sure he'll swear and motivate the VA into fighting shape. Tammy Duckworth? I guess, if you want to pick your VA secretary based on who has the most YouTube hits. Robert Gates? How many times does that guy have to leave the government before you figure out that he's not that into you?

And call me crazy, but I don't think we should be picking another infantry general to administer the biggest hospital system in the world. No matter how good of a leader he is, his entire skill set is still geared towards killing people. It's time the VA got away from that.

Here are my picks:

Tom Coburn

The other day, John McCain came out of his coffin to give his pick for VA secretary --- Tom Coburn, the Republican senator from Oklahoma, which is a small, dusty state somewhere in the middle of the country. When McCain speaks on such matters, I think it's a good idea to listen to him because he is immortal. Coburn is a physician, and, according to Count McCain, “the greatest reformer in the United States Senate.” Those are all words that veterans love to hear. “Physician.” “Reformer.” “The.”

Hugh Laurie

You may remember Hugh Laurie as the actor who played Dr. Gregory House on the hit Fox television show “House.” House was a diagnostic genius who was always at odds with the red tape and inane procedures of the hospital bureaucracy. I have often daydreamed in VA waiting rooms of having a doctor like House rather than another tool of the medical establishment asking me if I have been bitten by any ticks recently. It’s not Lyme disease. It’s never Lyme disease.

Yes, Mr. Laurie is British. Yes, he has zero government experience. Yes, I am arguing that the VA would be better off being run by someone who “played a doctor on TV.” This country has been screwing over its vets for like 400 years or something, the least it could do is entertain us.

Joe Montana

After dissecting Coach Bill Walsh’s incredibly complex playbooks for years, former 49ers and Chiefs great Joe Montana will have no problem quickly diagnosing the problems at the VA and picking apart regulatory defenses with his precision throws and great looks. And while you might argue that Tom Brady or Dan Marino were actually better quarterbacks, 1) you are wrong, 2) Brady is busy still playing, and 3) Dan Marino never won any Super Bowls. It's my list, and Joe Montana's gonna be on it.

Batman (as portrayed by Christian Bale)

Now, I know what you’re going to say: “Batman is a vigilante.” “Batman only works at night.” “Batman doesn’t exist.” It’s that kind of inside-the-box thinking that got us into this mess. While he doesn’t have military experience, he did receive overseas training as a ninja. And he has one, very important rule: no killing. That’s what the VA needs right now. He’s the secretary that the VA deserves. Or he's the one it needs. Something like that.

Fish

Fish is a low fat, high quality protein. Packed with vitamins like D (which is one of the best) and minerals (all of them, I'm pretty sure), it can lower your blood pressure, reduce your risk of diabetes, and do other cool stuff. That's why I think fish is a great choice to be the next VA Secretary.

Jason Mack is a comedian and Naval Aircrew veteran currently trying really hard in Northern California. You can disapprove of him on Twitter by following @thejasonmack.

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has called on the security alliance's allies to maintain and strengthen their "unity," saying the organization is "the only guarantor of European and transatlantic security."

Stoltenberg told reporters on November 19 that NATO "has only grown stronger over the last 70 years" despite "differences" among the allies on issues such as trade, climate, the Iran nuclear deal, and the situation in northeastern Syria.

He was speaking at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels on the eve of a NATO foreign ministers meeting aimed at finalizing preparations for next month's summit in London.

Read More Show Less
An aerial view of the Pentagon building in Washington, June 15, 2005. (Reuters/Jason Reed JIR/CN)

WASHINGTON — More than $35 million of the roughly $400 million in aid to Ukraine that President Donald Trump delayed, sparking the impeachment inquiry, has not been released to the country, according to a Pentagon spending document obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

Instead, the defense funding for Ukraine remains in U.S. accounts, according to the document. It's not clear why the money hasn't been released, and members of Congress are demanding answers.

Read More Show Less
Paul Szoldra/Task & Purpose

The admiral in charge of Navy special operators will decide whether to revoke the tridents for Eddie Gallagher and other SEALs involved in the Navy's failed attempt to prosecute Gallagher for murder, a defense official said Tuesday.

The New York Times' David Philipps first reported on Tuesday that the Navy could revoke the SEAL tridents for Gallagher as well as his former platoon commander Lt. Jacob Portier and two other SEALs: Lt. Cmdr. Robert Breisch and Lt. Thomas MacNeil.

The four SEALs will soon receive a letter that they have to appear before a board that will consider whether their tridents should be revoked, a defense official told Task & Purpose on condition of anonymity.

Read More Show Less

Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman made sure to take the time to correct a Congressman on Tuesday while testifying before Congress, requesting that he be addressed by his officer rank and not "Mr."

Read More Show Less
From left to right: Naval Special Warfare Operator First Class Eddie Gallagher, Army 1Lt. Clint Lorance, and Army Special Forces Maj. Mathew Golsteyn

On Friday, President Donald Trump intervened in the cases of three U.S. service members accused of war crimes, granting pardons to two Army soldiers accused of murder in Afghanistan and restoring the rank of a Navy SEAL found guilty of wrongdoing in Iraq.

While the statements coming out of the Pentagon regarding Trump's actions have been understandably measured, comments from former military leaders and other knowledgable veterans help paint a picture as to why the president's Friday actions are so controversial.

Read More Show Less