Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Dying of cancer, this Green Beret has one last mission: Getting Congress to fight for military medical malpractice reform
"You think you're limited on time? You ought to talk to me about limited time."
Sgt. 1st Class Richard Stayskal is dying.
The 38-year-old Green Beret's cancer was missed by Army care providers in 2017, and is now terminal. For the last year he's been fighting to change a decades-old legal rule known as the Feres Doctrine, which bars Stayskal and his family from suing the government for the alleged medical malpractice.
That's why, on Sept. 9 and 10, instead of being home in Pinehurst, North Carolina, with his wife and two daughters, Stayskal was in Washington, D.C. trying to drum up support for his namesake legislation, the SFC Richard Stayskal Military Medical Accountability Act, which would allow service members to sue the government for certain medical malpractice incidents.
Over two days, Stayskal and his attorney, Natalie Khawam, visited the offices of eight senators — Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), John Neely Kennedy (R-La.), Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
They had face time with none of them.
Shanahan and Congress have changed their relationship status to 'it's complicated' over troops in Syria
There is a great disturbance in the Force. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan's relationship with Congress is going through a rough patch and your humble correspondent has neither the wisdom nor the clairvoyance to see how all of this gets resolved.
Being in the Pentagon now feels a lot like the unsettling aftermath of listening to your parents fight as a kid. After the yelling comes that awful silence, broken only by the BOOM! of slammed doors.
A top Senate Republican and fierce ally of President Donald Trump reportedly exploded at Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan recently about the U.S. military's plans to withdraw all troops from Syria by the end of April.
"That's the dumbest f******g idea I've ever heard," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) reportedly replied when Shanahan confirmed the Trump administration still plans to complete the Syria withdrawal by April 30.
Later, Graham told Shanahan, "I am now your adversary, not your friend."
Sen. Lindsey Graham Suggests Trump's Abrupt Syria Withdrawal 'Set In Motion' Deadly ISIS Attack On US Troops
With the recent death of legendary Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, many of his colleagues are wondering how they can best honor his legacy. Some think it could be to rename a building in his honor. Others have stood and given passionate speeches in praise of the Republican "Maverick" and Vietnam War hero.
In a recent Washington Post editorial, senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham reprised their timeworn roles in an almost-comedic ritual: clean-shaven graybeards, citing “conversations with key commanders on the ground,” urging more funding for more troops with fewer restrictions to prevent Afghanistan from “sliding into strategic failure.” They write: