The VA Has Become A Really Terrible Joke

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CNN recently published a scathing report detailing the behavior of a Veterans Affairs office in Phoenix. The office manufactured their records and submitted false reports to higher headquarters to appear as if they were compliant with standards.


Meanwhile, veterans died waiting for healthcare and recognition.

Earlier this year, Task & Purpose brought you a story originally published by the Daily Caller that spoke of a similar practice at the VA’s Los Angeles office. “The VA’s Plan To Beat The Backlog Reportedly Involved Just Destroying Medical Records,” the headline read.

At the time, some remarked that the practice was only one office.

“That headline does not match the details in the piece at all. Actions by one office in 2008 do not reflect on the national strategy developed in 2010,” one commenter said. “Disappointed you would post something so inflammatory.”

I never understood the phrase “I hate to say I told you so.” I absolutely love to say I told you so.

According to  the CNN report’s principal source, a recently retired VA doctor, Dr. Sam Foote, “the elaborate scheme in Phoenix involved shredding evidence to hide the long list of veterans waiting for appointments and care. Officials at the VA, Foote says, instructed their staff to not actually make doctor's appointments for veterans within the computer system.”

This is all wrapped in the context of the VA’s backlog of unanswered disability claims, which had at one point ballooned to more than 600,000, but now rests at roughly 350,000. The backlog is beat in the trenches -- in the VA offices in Los Angeles, Phoenix, and all across the country. That’s why the conduct of individual offices are endemic of the national behavior.

But the critics’ larger point is right -- the buck stops with Eric Shinseki, the Obama Administration’s secretary of Veterans Affairs.

In a piece in Time Magazine more than a year ago, Joe Klein called for Shinseki’s resignation. He said he may not be the right man for the job.

“He is universally regarded as an exemplary man. But even his supporters say he's old-school military, stoic, wary of the press,” Klein wrote. “In any event, he has been in office for four years, and the problems our veterans face are worse than ever--and about to get still worse as the military demobilizes tens of thousands of additional troops in the next few years. It is time for him to step down.”

The time has long passed for Shinseki to right the ship here, or hand the reigns to someone who will.

The FBI is treating the recent shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, as a terrorist attack, several media outlets reported on Sunday.

"We work with the presumption that this was an act of terrorism," USA Today quoted FBI Agent Rachel Rojas as saying at a news conference.

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WASHINGTON/SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un risks losing "everything" if he resumes hostility and his country must denuclearize, after the North said it had carried out a "successful test of great significance."

"Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way. He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore," Trump said on Twitter, referring to his first summit with Kim in Singapore in 2018.

"He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November," he said.

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(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Vaughan Dill/Released)

The three sailors whose lives were cut short by a gunman at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, on Friday "showed exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil," said base commander Navy Capt. Tim Kinsella.

Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters were killed in the shooting, the Navy has announced.

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The Pentagon has a credibility problem that is the result of the White House's scorched earth policy against any criticism. As a result, all statements from senior leaders are suspect.

We're beyond the point of defense officials being unable to say for certain whether a dog is a good boy or girl. Now we're at the point where the Pentagon has spent three days trying to knock down a Wall Street Journal story about possible deployments to the Middle East, and they've failed to persuade either the press or Congress.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the United States was considering deploying up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to thwart any potential Iranian attacks. The story made clear that President Trump could ultimately decide to send a smaller number of service members, but defense officials have become fixated on the number 14,000 as if it were the only option on the table.

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This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. – Gen. David Berger, the US Marine Corps commandant, suggested the concerns surrounding a service members' use of questionable Chinese-owned apps like TikTok should be directed against the military's leadership, rather than the individual troops.

Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, on Saturday morning, Berger said the younger generation of troops had a "clearer view" of the technology "than most people give them credit for."

"That said, I'd give us a 'C-minus' or a 'D' in educating the force on the threat of even technology," Berger said. "Because they view it as two pieces of gear, 'I don't see what the big deal is.'"

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