Veterans Affairs PTSD, Suicide Cover-up ‘Morally Indefensible’
Have you ever wondered what the Department of Veterans Affairs may have in common with the tobacco industry?
Me either until I read an op-ed in the Washington Times yesterday that called VA’s cover-up of PTSD and suicide data a practice that is “morally indefensible.”
And the answer to the question? A cover-up of known hazards.
Where the tobacco industry was guilty of a longtime denial of the nexus between the smoking and disease, VA is likewise guilty of not informing veterans and the public of the risk of service and longtime disability from post-traumatic stress disorder.
For soldiers and veterans, the government is fighting hard to conceal the risk of suicide or related self-destructive behavior linked to combat in grisly conflicts in multiple countries.
Stripping out the rhetoric, statistics speak a story not disclosed to any recruit before signing up:
- According to estimates of the National Alliance to End Veteran Suicide and the Department of Veterans Affairs, 7,400-8,000 veterans are committing suicide annually.
- Their risk is said by the VA to be 21 percent higher than among the civilian population.
- VA estimates put the annual threat of PTSD among veterans at between 10 percent and 20 percent according to the war.
After you separate from the military, you are statistically more likely to commit suicide than other Americans. How is that for a reality check?
What recruiters also leave out are stories like that of Sam Siatta while serving in the Marines in Afghanistan. As cited in the Washington Times article:
Soon after he was deployed, Mr. Siatta was shaken by the sight of a child in a wheelbarrow with a bullet that had penetrated above his left eyebrow and severed the back of his head. The young Marine told the NYT Magazine reporter, “During all of our work-up, shooting targets, throwing grenades, doing all that, you never once saw kids mangled.”
Siatta participated in many combat-related attacks in the following weeks, and he wrote about the accounts in his diary:
“I go to sleep every night knowing I have the blood of so many on my hands and no amount of soap could ever wash these stains away.”
After 100-days in Afghanistan, Siatta wrote numerous similar entries:
“Sitting on post and not in firefights is really starting to f*** with me. Its making me rethink all the [decisions] I’ve made here and making me question if they were the right ones to begin with. The men I’ve killed well 15-year-old boys with Guns is more like it but did I deserve to kill them did they deserve to die.
“I mean I’m 20 years old I know damn well the risks of [joining] the Marine Corps in time of war. But did these young boys, Boys that I’ve killed know what the f*** there were [doing] or even fighting for, these are questions I ask myself.”
READ: Sam Siatta Interview In New York Times
Siatta’s return to civilian life resulted in the same pattern of self-destructive habits all too familiar to veterans. He began drinking heavily and even got caught attempting a home invasion.
Siatta is the soldier’s “Everyman” for this century’s wars and all too similar to the veterans of the Vietnam War who experienced a host of tribulations as veterans.
No one can is able to avoid traumas and nightmares following involvement in any wars that turn children into orphans.
As a result, according to author Bruce Fein, recruiters who lure men and women into the military should be required to use recruiting posters with hazards just like cigarette packs:
Every recruiting poster or presentation featuring Uncle Sam’s “I Want You For U.S. Army” or otherwise should thus be required to include a prominent warning: “Participation in wars not in self-defense will implicate you in the killings of women, children, and youths and heighten your risk of suicide or self-destructive behaviors.”
I’ve been saying this for years. Without reasonable disclosure of known hazards, how can any young 18-year-old enlistee?
And if there were such a requirement, what would all the disclosures include?
I for one, do tweet topics to those on my twitter list. Established my account recently just for that particular purpose. I also share quite a few of Ben’s articles on my Facebook page, and on google in the military community group.
What I think we need to do as a group, is to help to spread Ben’s articles as widely as possible using social media. Then be willing to answer questions regarding your military experience, and how you have been treated since you got out – – – by the Veterans Administration that is supposed to be looking after you.
If we do that, after a while – – – people will begin to notice. Media folks who would “prefer not to notice” may find themselves in the uncomfortable position of having to “check their attitude”.
And then, we will have made a good start. After, Social media should be able to be used for social change.
Also, write your elected representatives letters, as well as e-mails. See Dennis’s thought on that.
A lot of work to do, but if we are not willing to do it – – – things will not remain the same. They will only get worse.
Any nam vets experienced this line of events? E.T.S, Apply for disability,PTSD, Agent Orange. DENIED, without any exams. Had to to get a lawyer to get deserved unemployment.
Agent orange class action, later settled, no comp. Had to earn a living. Result, earn too much to qualify for VA care. 30 some years later allowed VA care.
Applied for tinnitus buzzing, denied. Applied for PTSD, DENIED. Applied for neuropathy of both feet, denied. Applied for anxiety disorder, got 10% disability. Applied for related a-fib, denied.
Psyc evaluation after years of counceling by VA, confirmed by everyone including the c&p interview, still denied. After a number of years working with county VSO finally won comp. for alcohol abuse, anxiety, feet, tinnitus, a-fib-related to anxiety disorder. 170% disability equates to 90%. No ptsd. riiiight.
After 30 some years of dealing with fire crackers, the smell of jp4 around airports, and the smell of road tarring(shit burning detail the same) hyper arousal, paranoia, personality and job problems, I find out most of it is related to combat experience. I thought you’re just supposed to buck up and live with it. What a different life I could have had with treatment beginning in 1971 instead of 2011.
Today I got a neg. diagnosis for ADHD The report minimized all of my afflictions, accused me of embellishment, and denounced my multiple other diagnoses of PTSD. Boy am I glad I enlisted to serve my country. Riiiiight. I’m not sure why suicide escapes my interest.
Very well said.. I pray I never lose hope.
I didn’t take offense. Just throughing out ideas.
Ben, I understand. Thanks.
Benjamin Krause, JD , @Disgruntled Veteran , @Namnibor , @Dennis , @Crazy elf , @James Gallegos , and To All Who Would Like To Respond – So now that we know after, with all due respect to my Brothers, Sisters, family members, and friends of Veterans, what is the proactive strategy to bring the heat of correction to the VA? What is the next step for us to put pressure on the VA to make changes? I can’t be the only one who may be getting a little irritated, because no one with VA experience is suggesting the next step to help Veterans.
Again, I don’t bring this up with disrespect to anyone. I’m just getting aggravated with no active plan for changes. Is it only me who feels this way? I don’t like feeling discouraged, and I’m hurting for competent medical care. Is there some sort of plan. Help me to better understand by submitting your input.
I write the content here and curate topics to keep as many veterans as informed as possible. I also poke the bear by requesting loads of FOIA requests, and I try to spread the content around using Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Readers can also loop back to the MSM articles I cite and post links back to these articles with commentary from veterans that push the envelope. Another could be emailing links to these articles and those like it to elected officials, journalists, radio and TV personalities.
How many times do you tweet these topics? We finally have a president who reads tweets. I would be he is watching… or at least his team is – @realDonaldTrump
@Benjamin Krause – Ben, like I said, I meant no disrespect with my post. I have a hard enough time keeping my health at an even par, let alone spending my valuable time trying to figure out these nitwits. Plus, I don’t have the energy to obtain a PhD in VA politics. And, I forgot to mention, I do appreciate the time and in depth articles that you publish in your blog.
As Veterans knowing how the VA has a past record to present of acting-out maliciously and passive-aggressively when even questioned, let alone their fraud brought to light; we Veterans must take the high road and be aware of how we approach or even aggravate the VA because to be completely frank, a great majority of Vets not only loathe the VA but deep down indeed ‘fear’ the VA; whether that’s unrealistic, PTSD inherent, it’s still there and the VA has used tactics in reducing benefits or taking them completely away in such passive-aggressive tactics, Disruptive Behavior Committees, etc.
What I am saying is when you see year after year our President Obama and his DOJ refusing to prosecute you look to “new hope” when President Trump spoke of cleaning-up the VA and treating Veterans with best care. We can at least now wait and hold Pres. Trump accountable easier because Obama has done diddly to help matters at the VA, and even as recently commended Sec. McDonald for doing such a great job…WTF? That does not exactly embolden we Veteran’s collective energies to do physical protests, expend energy that many are too ill to expend in long protests, et al, when you already know the POTUS’s DOJ will more than likely arrest and pepper spray and mace Vets protesting, yet the POTUS and DOJ will turn and blind eye to the Chicago disabled male that those thugs all posted live on Facebook abusing, torturing, cutting, racial, hateful, and the Chicago Police Chief only said that “kids will be kids”….Obama will do the same, but if we Vets marched on D.C. under Obama, count on carrying a gas mask and wearing body armor.
Social media and real independent investigative news sources such as Benjamin Krause’s site places pressure and the disinfecting qualities of daylight to corruption and fraud. It’s starting to work. Do not lose hope, we need everyone strong and aware and to get the word out. I can smell change in the air…it’s the breeze from rats jumping the V.A. Titanic. (I also am the eternal optimist…would not be here today otherwise)
I also smell change. I just hope it isn’t wishful thinking.
I would like to add, that the VA propaganda machine stops education and kills Veterans, while Senate and House play dead. This McCain thing has been rumored for a lot of years. Hard to believe a man could do that.
Things happen in service, and many service personnel will share experience and fears with recruits. I believe there are many Veterans, families of Veterans, and hopefully the American Citizens, whether or not, they have been in traumatic experiences, can share what they hear. The more the citizens hear, see, and with Facebook and Twitter, I pray the kids get the message. There is an after.
Ben, you talk about disclosures for potential military recruits. For potential female recruits, that should include the possibility of being raped by a fellow male service member in a combat zone. Or having to pair up just to go to the bathroom in order to be safe from your male counterparts. Or having to sleep with a knife while stationed in Iraq cause you cannot trust that your male counterparts will stay out of your tent and not assault you like the other verified sexual assaults in the battalion.
In the coming months, McCain’s name will be popping up over many issues Congress will be involved in.
In keeping with that, here’s something I saw in a magazine I received today. It’s called, “MILITARY ISSUE”! It’s where one can purchase military items. Right down to DVDs. On page 63 are a number of DVDs. One caught my eye.
Titled, “3- Movie Bold & Brave Collection”. Three movies on one DVD. One is titled, “Faith of My Fathers”! It’s about John McCain, his “…service and capture are explored in the 2005 made-for-TV film”!
I decided to explore more since there’s been a report about his “…corroboration with the enemy during his capture!” (Then how Nixon pardoned him!)
The internet is a wondrous place to find out the truth.
It seems this TV movie was filled with inaccuracies. One is he didn’t corroborate with the enemy.
So, a little more digging and this came up.
From “Next News Network”, ‘Gary Franci reporting’, dated Aug. 10, 2016.
Seems the “National Archives” has had in their possession a recording of “Songbird McCain” since 1969.
Title to google;
“John McCain Busted! ‘Misfiled’ CIA Recording Proves His Entire Career Built on a LIE!”
The movie, (which one can watch on the internet), according to the internet search, tells a completely different story. The movie was also used to help him with his FAILED Presidential bid for the White House!
Check it out!
This link is along the sames as this article except about AO
I haven’t read the comments yet. But when I read the article this morning the first thought was that I remember seeing military propaganda films while we were waiting for the movie to start. My mom would pat my leg and whisper those are heros like your Daddy.
Second memory is of being older and reading Johnny Got His Gun…I was never they same about war.
I’m not sure if advising recruits is correct or not. What I know to be true is after they leave Service it should be a top priority for our solider to receive medical and mental healthcare quickly and painlessly. Not making them wait and beg and plead for help. This would turn around the high suicide rate. Simple, guaranteed to work for most, after all they are our Heros.
I believe all active military should be given notice of what to do if injured and or the VA put out a pamplet on how the VA determines how they do claims.
What they should do and evidence needed to prove their case and be told to obtain a copy of all military record’s before leaving. Especially their medical record’s even those by a medic in the field.
Advised that it’s ok to seek help at anytime while on active duty. This must be done by the officers in charge.
The more information given the more educated they will be. Hine site is 20 20.
Better to know as much as possible before you need it. Maybe the VA will not be able to lie to them when they apply. Because the active duty member will be aware of what is needed.
Many of us thought the VA and our military leader’s had our backs. They should not have to learn the hard way. Like many of us.
Noting wrong with getting educated before you need it !
Yes. Active duty should be given a down time before discharge and offered all information on how to file a claim.
Officer’s need to be told to look out for signs of distress and address it properly. Not belittle the soilder.
The military and the VA should always use the same language as far as diagnosis and stop using milinger.
No matter how tuff a person is physically. The mind is a different organ and it can bring down the strongest.
Our soul that God gave us. Makes us human !
Some people forget about the sole and the brain with out it. Can get a person into trouble. With a sole you are able to know right from wrong.
A person that does not understand that. Will and can be swayed to do the wrongthing to other people.
Many employees have showed they have a sole. Because they know the difference between right and wrong and will take action. As they know if they don’t their sole will never let them forget they could have made a difference and did not.
A person that has no sole. Work’s for someone other than God. The real one. Not those that work at the VA and think they are God and can be judge. Jury and executioner.
Since when did God say do on to other’s before they do you !
It’s just plain wrong ! I would like to not have to wait to see these employees judged by God. The mess they can make while alive and other’s in the same shoes will let them.
In God we trust all other’s must gain that trust and seems both have been abandoned.
Let’s bring it back or this country will fall !
God bless America and it’s veterans. Without veteran’s their would be no America and everyone will turn on each other and it seems some people are ok with that.
That would be simply following laws and regulations that are on the books. Look nice intended for voter consumption while back door additional laws and regulations make them moot. What the right hand giveth the left hand taketh away. That is Congressional action under Section 4(d) of the 14TH Amendment.
Clear and unmistakable Error, In 2015 847,882 veterans awaiting to be Enrolled in the BENEFITS program, 238,657 veterans with pending applications DIED BEFORE the agency could GRANT them healthcare Benefits.
Following a backlash in July 2015 over the DISCOVERY of the backlogs size. A whistleblower came forward and charged that the VA had “helped” create the problem” by giving veterans FALSE instructions on how to put together their applications.
The whistleblower said VA Employees told Veterans “NOT TO INCLUDE THEIR DISCHARGE PAPERS” with their applications. Before sidelining “ALL” application’s that were “MISSING” discharge papers in an effort to “AVOID” blame for the backlog.
Emails records “LATER” suggested the VA ISSUED the misleading guidance for political Reasons !
VA had “ALLOWED” nearly One (1) in Three (3) veterans to DIE before dispensing the “BENEFITS” they were Promised !
This has been going on for decades in one way or the other, Deny, Deny and hope you Die.
Each one of those veterans that died, were someone’s Father, Mother, brother, sister Ect. This does not just effect the Veterans it effects the whole family and our Country as a whole. How many Tears must be shed, just so some Employee can get a Yearly Bonus !
These are clear and unmistakable errors on PURPOSE !
Are mad enough to contact your Congressman, Senator, President Trump. Mr. Trump needs someone like Jeff Miller to hold these people Accountable, Does it have to be a Million veterans dead, before you react and help change the VA.
Genocide penalty: 10 Years, no matter how many you kill !
Yet they keep getting Promoted or moved around !
“BREAKING NEWS Julian Assange EXPOSING Hillary Clinton!!!!!!!”
Jan. 4, 2017. (10:40 minutes long)
From: “Fox News EXCLUSIVE”
“The Assange Interview with Sean Hannity!”
A very timely article Ben.
I bet 15 different soldiers could see that kid in a wheel barrow and there would be 15 different reactions.
I also think some could see that kid 15 different times and not react, but seeing something slightly different cause a stress reaction.
Combat, like camaraderie, when all your BFFs are joining up, is a pretty intoxicating cocktail. I decided to skip my appointment with Hartwick College and signed up because I figured Vietnam would be over before I graduated. After a year in-country, I signed up for another. If Capt. Charles was going to kill my friends, I was going to fly back over tomorrow and kill him right back. I would have signed up for a third year but they decided I was warped. Combat changes how your mind works. Suddenly, vengeance is no longer just the within the Lord’s provenance. Taking that away from a Vet and turn him lose in a civilian setting is like making a junkie dry out and go cold turkey without methadone. VA’s method is to hose you with about 16 brain drugs and render you much worse off than without them.
“BREAKING: Obama Sends Special Forces To Russia’s Border”
posted; Jan. 4, 2017
“The Alex Jones Show”
‘Margaret Hill reporting’
This has broke through major news outlets today.
Talk about causing chaos within the United States. There’s absolutely NO verification Russia hacked anyone. ‘Assange’, of Wikileaks, verified this last night!
That being said, and for sake of argument. Let’s look at what transpired. If the DNC and/or our voting precincts were hacked, why isn’t anyone talking about what they did which was illegal? Why isn’t anyone talking about how Wasserman Shultzs, Podesta and others helped defeat Sanders, by using lies and anti-Semitic rhetoric? Or how that new head, after Shultzs, of the DNC gave Hillary Clinton the questions PRIOR to the debates? Or, how the DNC paid Sanders off, (a private plane, house and millions of dollars), to continue supporting Hillary Clinton?
All these questions, and more, need to be answered!!!!!!
Oh, it came out earlier today, the CIA has moved the date back until Friday, to show evidence of the Russian involvement, giving them more time to forge documents?????. As Arte Johnson, of “Laugh-In” would say, “Very Interesting!”
The VA is staffed and supervised by beaurocrats, not healers. The beaurocrats job is to create paperwork that demonstrates the need for more funding, as well paperwork that demonstrates the VA is doing a better job than any other organization.
CYA stands for “cover your ass” and VA employees use paperwork to CYA. The VA operates without a soul. The VA generates numbers. Numbers that show they need funding, and numbers that show a high degree of proficiency. They get numbers in return called paychecks and bonuses.
VA also generates suicide numbers.
Their indifference to human life and suffering is legendary. Their allegience is to a brotherhood affiliated with AFL/CIO. They consider their patients as wandering beggars and low life trash and treat them as such. By any reckoning of any report I have read, at least half of upper management is corrupt. Corrruption is that which diverts the effort and $$$ enroute from the source (The People) to the destination (The Vets). Corruption is refusing to show up to Congress without a subpeona. Corruption is answering every question with fifth ammendment protection words.
The VA systematically excludes mentally ill vets because mental illness takes ongoing and extensive treatment for an extended period. Plus PTSD vets have symptoms that piss off VA staff. ANY VA health care person you meet can get a vet flagged and tossed from the system. IT HAPPENS so much now that instead of Roseburgs Disruptive Behavior Committee meeting every two years for routine meetings, they now have monthly scheduled DBC meetings and the DBC letters they create are so many that they need a form feed computer template and form feed printing to get them all printed monthly.
Has ANYONE found out how many of these DBC flags are getting issued??? The OIG report of 2013 said there was so many that hey had no counting of the number.
With a tool in place that allows a vindictive nurse, doc, manager, scheduler, orderly, or anyone else to flag a patient as violent with zero due process afforded to the patient to defend with, then that tool will be delightfully used by the pissed off worms that VA seems to cultivate.
My point is that VA has on openly unconstitutional tool given to anyone who works there. My own Chief Of Staff is a dentist from Kenya. The Chief from Kenya at Roseburg is now deciding the medical fate and deciding who gets flagged as violent and who does not. My God!, and we wonder why there are so many suicides?
The suicide numbers for vets do not exist independent of the VA involvement. When the VA is given both the tools to heal AND the tools to harm and given discretion over which tool to apply, then how the hell can anyone tell a vet the place is safe for them? The suicide numbers exist BECAUSE of VA involvement, not despite of it.
Isn’t it obvious that a clear risk factor in most vet suicides is a previous VA encounter? It is. VA causes suicide.
VA must be stripped of authority/ability to harm veterans with mental illness. America must not look away anymore when the words “mental illness” come up. America must not look away from the one link that all vet suicides have in common – “exposure to VA healthcare”. The VA is a den of liars, incompetance, and corruption, and has been for decades. Sending a sick kid there to work out PTSD problems is sending them into a pit of vipers. The numbers prove it. The daily revelations prove it. History proves it.
Amen to that, Dennis.
I would love for Benjamin to FOIA the VA for very specific numbers on the VA’s Disruptive Behavior Committee. I am betting those numbers are these days kept locally and not VA wide somewhere but I could easily be wrong. Would be interesting to see what the 2013–present tally is on this under McDonald’s Glass Menagerie called the VA.
@namnibor, they are kept locally. The dbc’s did not meet regularly at the va medical center i worked because they could not get all the members to attend. If you get a copy of the medical center memorandum from the va medical center you receive care it would tell you when meetings take place and who are the members. If one could get committee meeting minutes it may show patterns of unethical conduct.
@ Dennis – – – Sir, Request permission to incorprate your entire commentary in a posting to my Facebook page, crediting/referencing you as the author of course.
I would like all of my friends/family to see that. It is a brilliant and quick education for all on VA Modus Operandi.
No cookie- cutter diagnosis leading to Dx. of Personality Disorder.
Seems Differential Diagnosis is unheard of in VA mental- health provider community.
Some in Congress, never- served, started the rumor all service members enlist whilst having a Personality Disorder.
VA Personality Disorder, non SC
Compensable because genetic.
Veterans need to educate Congress.
The VA’s job seems to be try in every way possible to make the Veterans past, childhood the culprit of veterans problems. Yes they question you hard on how your child hood was and anyone that tells them they had a rough childhood, gives the VA an out not to approve your disability.
Unseen Trauma how do you prove it, you tell the VA what you seen. Like a Kid being shot in the head, this bothers my son, who seen it happen. Some are deployed to a Conflict where they send in troops and the Conflict lasts a few days of combat and then they return to the states. Damage done ! But the VA will not except seeing something traumatic as causing the PTSD.
This has been going on for years changing the wording to get around paying Veterans disabilities, Example: I was shot in the head, when to see a psychologist while on active duty, they reported malingering and put down a diagnosis of Neurosis, The VA told me they did not even know what Neurosis meant and denied my claim. After research I found it was another word the Military was using as a code for PTSD, just like they used Shell Shock.
Using this tactic, The VA has denied thousands of veterans their deserved disabilities and doing so has left the veterans to defend for themselves, that is not good as we make Bad decision’s. Like self medication ! Anyone that self medicates, is sure to fail and many have not made it !
Its all about greed, they don’t want to save a veteran ! They want to save a buck. The more they deny claims, the bigger Bonus Managers get. Its sad but true. They passed a law to assist veterans, it states if there is any DOUBT in the rating process, the benefit of the DOUBT is to go in the Veterans favor !
Ignored, The VA uses excuses or makes up lies LIKE, Your claim has been denied, as our records indicate that your Official Military records were destroyed in the Saint Louis fire or we just cant find your records or your records were accidently shredded and now YOU HAVE to provide us with all the proof you have in order to approve your claim. Yea right !
Lets see, shot in the head, suffering from PTSD, Self medicating, told your Official Military records were in a fire. Well what do I do ! I don’t know, since my Official military records were destroyed and you can not remember who you were with or where they live that witnessed the shooting, Whatare you to do !
Exactly what the VA wants you to do self medicate and hope that you finish the job of dying !
I say close down the VA and pass a law any Veterans that had applied for disability and that claim had been denied because of false reporting and later found out that the VA had covered up the facts and hid the Veterans Official Military records. Then those veterans find out they were lied too and finds out the VA had the record’s all along. And After hiring an attorney find this out.
Those Veterans should be granted all their Disability back pay from the first time they applied Automatically, Just apply, and the rule of going in favor of the veteran when there is any doubt !
We can see that is happening and has happened. Once I won my case the VA LAUGHED when I asked about my Back Pay, The clerk laughed stating ” you know you would have gotten all that back pay from when you first applied, But you let your claim Lapse ! Ha HA
So you only get back pay from your last claim ! Laughing ! Would that not make you mad !
Hiding your records that contains all the proof needed to have approved your claim on day one and then keep sending denial letter after denial letter, knowing that the veteran somewhere along the line, will get tired and let the claim lapse.
What a gimmick, what an outrage ! Common practice, the VA has admitted that 90% of veterans that receive a denial letter will not reapply, Because all their evidence was in the Official Military records. They claim they assist the veterans in the claims process. Not True !
End result Hundreds if not thousands of veterans being lied too and those veterans having to live with the disability and not be eligible to seek treatment or receive care and left with the feeling of hopelessness and Drink themselves to death or end up in trouble with the Law or kill themselves.
The VA seems not to care, if we have to suffer and without treatment are thoughts are elsewhere and has left an bad taste in your mouth. You go to the VA again and again seeking help, sorry you have to have an adjudicated disability, You get frustrated and express yourself, listen I was shot in the head ! VA oh yea prove it and since you expressed yourself openly !
You have just earned yourself a Red Flag and you will be reported as being disruptive and threatened with Federal Charges, Arrest, and Banishment from all VA care !
Clear and unmistakable Error, I believe that when its found that the VA Hide and falsely claimed that the Veterans records were destroyed and that was not true, as later discovered that should be Grounds for the Veterans to file for pack pay and win.
I have applied to an attorney for assistance concerning this matter and awaiting a response from an Attorney’s office in hopes they will assist in obtaining a Clear and Unmistakable Error on the part of the VA.
I think hiding records is a violation of Duty to Assist ! Don’t you ?
I am praying they pick Jeff Miller to head the VA, He and the committee are experts on how the VA will do anything to not speak the truth ! and when caught all they have to say is, due to confidenality we are not at liberty to discuss that matter or we plead the fifth.
You can see the frustration in the committees meetings with the VA. Question who was responsible ! Well I am in charge, but that was done before I came on. Well was anyone held accountable or fired. VA: we will have to get back to you ! So the answer is NO.
How about the employees that have done wrong and then transferred to another facility ? that is an on going investigation and do to confidenality were are not able to speak about it.
Jeff Miller in my mind would be the best choice to lead the VA and Drain the swamp, As Mr. Trump says you want people that know what they are doing and have Experience. The service origination’s don’t want anything to change, so what !
Ben, this story really brought out a lot of emotional thinking. Seems like every day, your articles bring my awareness up. I’ve been through what many on this site have, with the VA. Up till ten years ago, we’ll just say I roamed…since Vietnam. I have been to many VA’s. Each time, new VA, new diagnosis. I lost everything at least a few times. Tried the Veterans suicide hotline, never got through. A week later, I received a call.. The VA.. they only asked me if I was the one who contacted them. Tough theme Ben.
Very tough theme brings out alot of tough memories, you and I seemed to of travled the same path through life. I drank alit wirk even more to bury the guilt the shame the erratic behavoir at every turn I was turned way.
I wish you peace and health.
Yes, Ben has done a very good job and I for one are proud of him. I know some people come on here and even with evidence, they will not believe it. I don’t understand why they think all the veterans that tell their story is a lie. we all can not be wrong and if those people would do a little research they would find story after story about how the VA has failed our Veterans.
Ig the would look at you tube and actually watch the Committee on Veterans Affairs they too can see how the VA, will not give straight answers and the frustration on the members faces and disgust. Also the News !
I also want to thank many of you on this site, whom have brought to light many concerning matters concerning the VA. I believe that many employees have come on here to belittle us, and at the same time some employees have given some vital information and have confirmed the wrongdoing of their department.
Ben I returned from Vietnam in may of 1967, by April of 68 I was asking to see a pyhyschatrist about the way I felt. depressed, guilty( did not know why) problems sleeping, paranoid, and feeling as though I was going to loose control of my mind. After a short conversation he said my problems did not stem from Vietnam but from my parents separation while I was in Vietnam. In 1995 I was service connected for PTSD rating 10%.
1981 I was at the Dallas VA hospital I asked for health care for my hearing, I was loosing my hearing and I had gurgling sounds and a on off again noise in my head ( tinnitus). I was denied health care stating I had to have been shot in the head.
We all know the “Mental Health Facilities” at VHA’s are under par, incompetent and down right deceiving in their evaluations in evaluating veterans on PTSD.
These ‘clowns’ will write anything in a vets “progress report” to keep him or her from receiving the rightful compensation they deserve!
I believe the VHA’s nationwide should be shut down. Allow veterans outside care.
That’s all I have to say about this issue.
Here’s some (4) articles out from “military.com” yesterday and today.
“WWP Faces Tough Choices as it Rebuilds Following Controversy”
1 Jan. 2017
Stars and Stripes | by Dianna Cahn
They brought it on themselves! They deserve everything that’s about to happen.
“Hundreds of California Guardsmen Must Still Repay Back Bonuses”
This will, in my opinion, cause more suicides by our military members!
“Trump Meets with Former VA Deputy for Unfilled Cabinet Post”
4 Jan. 2017
Stars and Stripes | by Nikki Wentling
I believe he’s having trouble with finding the right person, because no one will be capable of taking on the union AND the corruption which is so embedded within the VA.
“PBS Takes a Long, Hard Look at ‘The Vietnam War'”
Posted by: Under the Radar
Jan 3, 2017
(with short video clip of the upcoming Sept 2017 documentary)
Ken Burns tries something, just not sure “WHAT”! He’s one of those Hollywood Left-wing RADICAL butthurt liberal Democrat Crybabies! Just remember that when you decide to watch it!
The comment section is good. Especially when they slam it!
I hope I’ve left nothing out!
Right. 1000 of those Vets still have to pay back enlistment bonuses, so the VA Math would be at 22 Veteran Suicides A Day X 45 Days = roughly 1000 Veteran Suicides. (potential).
I viewed a news piece on some of those Veterans that already have had their homes foreclosed, breaking-up families in financial stress…and none of this would even have happened if honesty and clear-worded enlistment recruiters/ reenlistment enticers, if the POTUS, then-Bush to continue with Obama, did not want to activate the Draft…instead, those enlistment/reenlistment bonuses were done to keep sending the same non-human test subjects to a war, time and time repeat, rinse, repeat…duh….PTSD at the sight of a sandbox or a cat litter box. Eeek.
Let’s also not forget that many of those activated guard were pulled-back to the States before 24 magical months of active duty would have qualified them for full VA benefits…this happened to many. A numbers game and we are expendable replaceable digits to their sinister chess game.
Meanwhile, we give the gold platter treatment to Syrian/Somali Refugees but we want that damn reenlistment bonus back. WTF?
Ok, rant out.
>>WWP Faces Tough Choices as it Rebuilds Following Controversy
i quit donating to them and VSOs some time ago. donate now when i can to local veteran causes like homelessness. for the most part i know where my $$$ going now.
>>Hundreds of California Guardsmen Must Still Repay Back Bonuses”
so utterly crazy. i thought awhile back some congressman was pushing something through to stop this madness, guess not? then again, most of these congress people are too busy mouthing off about helping other nations and ignoring their home-grown American citizens.
>>I believe he’s having trouble with finding the right person, because no one will be capable of taking on the union AND the corruption which is so embedded within the VA.
totally agree. he may need a 3-4 person commission versus one VA secy to try to fix the VA/VBA system. the fact he is having such a difficult time finding the right person for the job along with other “right people” who withdrew their names speaks volumes and at the same time keeps showing the validation light upon veterans and their decades worth of complaints that fell on deaf ears for years.
i would like to extrapolate from Mr. Trumps’s difficulty in filling this position that he actually wants to implement fixes and accountability throughout VA versus forgetting veterans decades of complaints and then simply building some new “face of VA”. you want i mean? if his new pick(s) can’t or won’t at the least address the issue of Title 38 being trampled on by VA against veterans i find that troublesome. Mr Trump himself should mention it once in awhile during his VA secy search.
Read this article: https://discovermagazine.com/1995/may/thebrainthatmisp502
Not news to me. Been on it since 1988. Global brain damage and damage to the left frontal/temporal lobe and/or the right mid parietal lobe causes anosognosia. Even subtle anosognosia that is demonstrated by a few suck downs of ETOH can bring on the idea that a demon is sabotaging everything you try to do–absolutely certain your doing things perfectly only to discover it didn’t turn out right. Eventually the solution seems to be to get rid of the body housing the demon.
The military used the 10-1 ratio of support personnel to front line combat personnel to cover up the TBI, Cerebral malaria, encephalitis etc experienced by combat veterans in or out of the jungle to deny higher suicide rates among the victims. An 80 mm mortar round or RPG that entered our vocabulary in 1966 during the Vietnam War going off near you has the same effect as an IUD.
Brain damage is also the biggest obstacle in recovering from PTSD. And I believe it is the only obstacle.
I remember those “122 rockets, (RPG’s)” used by the enemy. Never knew where they would land!
@Lem- Have to disagree with your last statement.
Brain Damage is NOT the only obstacle to PTSD recovery by a long shot. I took several Abnormal Psych college level courses in my major and it was ultimately an attempt to understand my own journey with severe anxiety and PTSD. Even without an IED or any explosion around, witnessing something, going through something over and over, stains the brain, so to speak. An equal to brain damage recovery is trying to cope with recurring images in brain like the terrible pop-up windows of early internet days, but replace those with incessant thoughts of worry about several things at same time…so I have to beg to disagree that your statement that brain damage is the only obstacle to PTSD recovery. Need to understand the peripheral nature of PTSD that’s not isolated to one specific trigger. That trigger is different for each and every PTSD Veteran. The VA would love to lop it all into one tidy package and even redefine a Veteran’s diagnosis as to a category that is NOT supported by compensation: Adjustment Disorder. Fact.
Have you ever been tested for brain damage?
So then is it congenital when not otherwise organic? Why do some with exact same experience get over it and others do not?
Yes, we were first (since WWI) diagnosed with adjustment disorder. And they still try to find an in-compensable diagnosis.
I don’t care if someone’s TBI or brain disease or congenital deficit occurred before entry. If they got through boot camp and made it to a combat zone it is compensable as service aggravation.
My uncles, fought in Africa, Sicily and Europe the others in the Pacific. All initially suffered from PTSD on their return. But they returned to a more relaxed work environment where even employers were willing to put up with the problem until they got over it. Not so for those after Korea. By Vietnam the push for “productivity” was on and stress on the job increased to interfere with recovery. Also there has been a steady decrease in the available 1 job provider jobs. With added stress at home how is one supposed to recover from PTSD even with only a very minor brain injury?
Yes, for something entirely different, neurological scans that along with other private healthcare confirmation tests to show poly peripheral neuropathy, not related one bit to my severe anxiety and PTSD.
For instance, repetitive psyops interrogations over course of many years, pushing a Vet to attempt to commit suicide while in-service, and while hospitalized, instead of one iota of Psych Care, was interrogated repeatedly there as well….THAT, is one in the same as an IED or mortar shell going off repetitively because it was intended to do same….if one is strong, as this Vet was, resisted and endured all that without giving them the answer they wanted all along….to only deal with it finally 6 years after service when you wonder why you cannot make meaningful relationships, to include basic trustable friends….or why many of your peer Vets have all died off in last few years by VA’s negligence….add everything up to a growing pile of mental poo called PTSD…now, add to that imagine, a TBI…an equally ugly bag of worms called PTSD.
PTSD is a personal HELL in that it’s NOT a cookie-cutter one cause fits all diagnosis, as I said before, triggers to people with PTSD are also highly individualized.
For instance, a Vet with PTSD could easily watch and listen to a massive fireworks display on a holiday but that same racket without the visual stimuli would cause an all-out panic attack.
I think you are too stuck on brain damage being main and perhaps only causation of PTSD. I would do some more reading. Used Abnormal Psych college text books are cheap on Amazon, and you have to read many sources because each God Syndrome Shrink wants to make a name for themselves so they make their very own hypothesis based upon watered-down prior whacky hypothesis….Psychology is a real sham of a Science. Why? I learned in college from a seasoned professor that Psychiatry has always had to continue to fight to continue to be recognized as an actual “Science”…it’s not real science, it’s not scientific method because they use cookie cutter diagnosis.
The Brain Surgeon only helped the Psychiatrists at the VA to perform lobotomies on Veterans to…”Quiet Them”….FACT. This practice only officially ceased around 1950’s by the VA but does not mean they still don’t do it. Chicago VAMC anyone?
PTSD is a true mixed-bag of bad jellybeans.
I have the brain of a 20 year old on U S MRIs. The VA neurobehavioral testing shows otherwise. A right occipital lobe lesion and a possible left temporal lobe and frontal lobe lesion. Japanese MRIs (much better software resolution than any I’ve seen in the U S.) confirms 4 lesions in my brain from trauma and possibly secondary strokes.
My wife’s MRI in Japan shows 20+ multi-infarcts. No such showing in the U S MRIs. Probably occurred in 2011 quadruple bypass or flacking of hardening of arteries.
Are you willing to stake your care on what you’ve been tested for in the VA and U S health care system?
The U S is 18 countries lower than the top 19 industrialized countries in the World Health Ratings. Japan has been #1 and continues to be in the top 3. Which system would you trust more? Namnibor
My mri also shows the same thing almost word for word. Even a VA neurologists state I have a Traumatic brain injury.
But the regional office says I have no proof.?
Hell. I can’t even get them to admit I was shot in the head. Even when their own rating doctor placed into the official file. Confirming it.
I wonder if it is because the companies that make MRI equipment and software also make smart bombs. And smart bombs being more profitable, take out MRI radiographic upgrade depiction because veterans would be able to prove the TBI damage visually instead of an opinion from data taken in neurobehavioral testing thus putting veterans compensation in competition for budget dollars that might otherwise go to more profitable (for the company) smart bombs.
Thank you So much for you comment. I think you nailed it. So many people think they know everything about how the mind work’s.
We are all different and as you put it cookie cutter treatment does not work for everyone.
If they are still doing lobotomies or electric shock. That has to be stopped and stopped now.
They use to do that at the Fort Lyon VAMC and I got to see what that Did to some veterans that were inpatients.
I was raised right outside the VA and could see how the veterans acted. Some very strange and us kids thought they were all crazy.
Little did we know what the VA had done to them. Now that I’m suffering from ptsd and a tbi. I’m one of them according to the VA.
With this diagnoses VA employees can claim we off our rocker and do as they please and know no one will believe a veteran with ptsd and a traumatic brain injury.
Hell. I worked for the VA for 22 year’s and that’s what I thought about many of the employees I met.
I guess it’s one flew over the co co nest syndrome.
A big problem is that some Dr’s in the VA deny a proper diagnosis of PTSD. Even though I had a civilian shrink give a proper diagnosis of PTSD I had VA shrink diagnos me as bi polor denying me of proper treatment.
I have learned this is not uncommon. Over the years I have suffered greatly my poor family was a 24/7 suicide watch, put of with my temper, isolation etc etc.
Not only do those in the va under report they intentionally change a diagnosis from PTSD to some other diagnosis so the government is not liable.
This is a national disgrace just like OA and burn pits and other unreported treasures the VA is hiding.
The new thing even in the private medical Psych field is to change a diagnosis of PTSD to “Adjustment Disorder”. I had to taunt one of my own Dr.’s that I only had for 6 months because he had trained at the VA and was awaiting to be hired by the the VA when I saw him in the ever rotating out Psych Dr.’s at the major university medical center I utilize, and if I had not checked my medical record I would not have any idea he had done that so when I called him on it he even said, “Oh, since you are PTSD and receive VA Comp. as part of your Svc. Connected Disabilities, the VA would not consider compensable *Adjustment Disorder*, right?”
I said yes, but not only that, I already had Psych Diagnosis that was consistent going back to 1995 through various providers and just WHY would you arbitrarily just CHANGE a person’s diagnosis like that? That Psych Dr. said that’s what they were being TAUGHT to do (at the VA). He soon quit and got hired…at the damn VA.
The VA and Psych Care are really like oil and water. They mix very badly and never completely and leave a huge mess. A trail of oily blood, 22 Veterans a day. Sad. Just sad. Total FAIL VA.
Remember a year or so ago VA Sec. McDonald supposedly went to Hawaii to “end Veteran Homelessness and suicide epidemic in Hawaii?” I read some thing recently and viewed a news story on how homelessness in HI is at an all time high and stories even mentioned MANY were Veterans…this was recently, so what did McDonald do down there? Cut a ribbon for a Veteran Charity Scammer? Vacation?
What SucVA McDipshit did while in Hawaii to “end Veteran Homelessness” was to conduct a highly personal survey of some very valuable, large, open-space, green real-estate carrying a 9 Iron for protection.
Most Veterans (including many of the local VSO’s) were unaware that he was here until after he left.
Our homeless population continues to grow each year. No one really knows just what the percentage of homeless veterans are, but veterans make up a significant portion of the population here.
As to the suicide epidemic among veterans, I am not sure SucVA McDipshit is truly aware of how serious it is. Until he stops denying that it is a real problem, not much will be done about it. Delay, Deny, Hope that Veterans Die is a tactic that has worked very well for the VA here in Honolulu for over 15 years. Why mess with success?
Every time I go to the VA, I see more and more employees driving new Mercedes and Lexus. Every time I go out at night, I encounter more and more of my Brother/Sisters in Arms who live on the streets.
This seemed to be happening quite a bit around 2005-2007 timeframe.
Those in the military being booted out with a “failure to adjust”, or “personality disorder” diagnosis by some commander.
Which makes you wonder…where did the commander get his/her PhD in psychology or any other medical specialty to make such a conclusion, and, how can a soldier make it through Basic, AIT and a combat tour and suddenly someone decided they are failing to adjust?
You make a very good point, but this has been going on for a very long time. Besides the VA hiding veterans military records. If for not people like Ben and other Lawyers that give two cents about veterans rights, we have no one to help.
You cant ask the VA for help, their the ones doing veterans wrong and if you do tell them you want help, you can be labeled as a possible threat to the VA and therefore grounds to be reported as being disruptive.
Hell, the VA can go after anyone who makes a comment about the VA as a possible threat, VA is Lying, concerned veterans of America anyone and no one can stop them, If an employees says your a problem or possible problem that’s all that needs to be said and you may get a letter from VA that you were reported and their you go off to the Disruptive committee.
don’t believe me read the VA Disruptive committee on what constitutes Disruptive behavior and that’s what ever the VA says, That veteran batted his eyes at me, well report him as being disruptive. The veteran just came out of the eye clinic and had drops put in his eye. OR missing all his fingers except the middle one, did that veteran just flip me off, well report him, that will teach him.
Easy one: They both blow a lot of smoke up the public’s asses.
Notice, no news YET on mainstream media or otherwise about recent Veteran Suicides? Smokescreens paid for and pumped out the VA Public Affairs asses at the tunes of million$ paid by VA Public Affairs. Imagine if the VA spent that “Public Affairs” $$$$ on Veteran Suicide Prevention?
VA Public Affairs should be renamed as VA Pubic Affairs. Lots of Dicks and Asses working there. Rant Out. In a slight *mood*.
“[Have you ever wondered what the Department of Veterans Affairs may have in common with the tobacco industry?]”
Easy one: They both blow a lot of smoke up the public’s asses.
Notice, no news YET on mainstream media or otherwise about recent Veteran Suicides? Smokescreens paid for and pumped out the VA Public Affairs asses at the tunes of million$ paid by VA Public Affairs. Imagine if the VA spent that “Public Affairs” $$$$ on Veteran Suicide Prevention?
VA Public Affairs should be renamed as VA Pubic Affairs. Lots of Dicks and Asses
They also never spread of the age. Vietnam vets have highest risk of suicide
Great, Hard-Hitting article, Ben. Thank you for continuing to fight for us!
@Ex VA – – – I agree with your post completely.
I should have known better than to read this article immediately prior to bedtime. I have been dealing with my demons since 1994, and received precious – – – nay, DAMN LITTLE help from those at the VA here in Honolulu who are charged with “Caring for him who has born the battle”.
I think that beginning with the very term “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” they have stacked the deck against those combat veterans who come home with invisible wounds. Disorder? How about just calling it Post Traumatic Stress. The word disorder is indicative of there being something wrong or deficient within the psyche of the veteran, who after returning from the war, begins to punish themselves for things that occurred, or that they witnessed during their combat tours.
Given that the vast majority of volunteers have a christian faith-based upbringing (in which one is taught that it is morally wrong to kill) prior to joining the military – – – is it any wonder that when these veterans return home they begin (Night Terrors, Too little sleep, Self-Medication with Alcohol, Drugs, Over-eating) to punish themselves? Sounds normal to me. That self-inflicted punishment is the mark of a moral man. Then, there are often physical medical issues on top of that.
The true disorder would be when veterans return home, they bring “battlefield appropriate” behavior back home with them into our cities. Could you imagine the “crazy veteran” headlines then? Perhaps, rather than throwing these guys out after their service, the government should institute some sort of “reverse boot camp” in order to give hardened combat veterans a structured, controlled atmosphere in which to decompress?
Most combat vets I know are fairly normal people who after their service, just want to live out their lives in a quiet, peaceful manner. And they should be allowed to do so with a minimum of governmental interference. When they go for treatment, the VA should be among the most-trusted, rigorously-honest, trustworthy organizations in our government. Instead, they are exactly the complete opposite.
The people of this nation really need to wake up as to how shabbily we, as veterans are treated. And educated as to precisely how pyss-poor a job our current VA is doing.
Yours and Ex VA commented on self-medicating, overeating or other reactive behaviors to stress.
Unfortunately, any of those issues are usually latched onto by the VA for treatment rather than the cause of it.
Its easier to blame the veteran for the behavior rather than what causes it.
Ben…Thanks so much for the opportunities you have made available through common sense education you share. Something I’ve not understood,I was medical,also voluntarily manned a suicide hotline,during Vietnam.Today,if I had the need to contact someone for help,the disconnect in the structure to procure help is asinine.
I.e. call in for help to tell me to hang up and call another number,then some do say contact an extension ,by the time someone with a loaded weapon has to get jerked around,most times either a ringing signal with zero response or a recording telling you due to heavy calling ,please hang up and try later.There’s ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSE WHY EACH HOSPITAL CAN’T SET ASIDE A 24/7 hotline,no redirects,no excuses,no passing the buck. I tend to get the impression with the entrance of PEER SUPPORT SPECIALIST,most physicians have zero clue how-to interact with most veterans and the slimy bag of VA INEQUITIES,(this automatically puts each veteran on the mental health care alert list,) thus stereotypical attitudes from physicians and treatment from emergency room visits begin to lean towards redirection to everything becoming psychological,thus my arguments for the 24/7hotline within each facility. In Virginia,a call would end up in New York.One death is one too many and I truly believe if the staff from administration to housecleaning were versed in face to face compassionate response, rather than flipping off every one to a kiosk or “it’s not in my job description” everyone being treated with respect. Sometimes,all the seemingly most dire of situations can be dealt with ; when a person,who is either distraught or feels overwhelmed is to be met with the belief that he matters enough, for someone took real time and just let him talk-something that more people feel has been lost,what with check-in kiosk,when staff ignore a line of people turning them away to a machine,especially when older veterans are less familiar and cognition slower,depression now in winter causes more difficulty and staff with attitudes,don’t help.Suicide hotlines Don’t Work if no one answers the phone,or the excessive amount of wasted time (supposedly meant to keep the person focused on anything but death),the betrayal and total apathy is as much a message sent to those reaching out,Hopelessness doesn’t reason.Rejection and hopelessness are relatives that attend every single suicide. We don’t have to lose as many as we are …there is a better way and I believe for anyone who has walked this path and found out there can be a life after despair and the seemingly never-ending sense that our soul was shredded,it’s worth reaching out and helping find the first step home.
My Army hospital has no answering machine for the Behavioral Health line, so if no one answers, the line just cuts off. No message telling you who to contact in an emergency. During a bad episode, my wife called the Emergency Room, and the soldier on the other end of the line had no idea what to do. They are supposed to have an on-call psychologist, but he had no idea that was the next step in the process. I complained about how irresponsible it is, and three months later, nothing about the situation has changed.`
Mr. Krause, your story rings true and it sickens and breaks Veterans and their families hearts. Some of the ones coming out are so traumatized from war they don’t sleep, can’t eat, terrified out of their minds. They are not mentally stable, but treated on an outpatient basis in the va system. Wait times is negligence for someone in crisis. The do not have a chance of surviving their injuries and mental traumas unless properly treated.
A warning label could be a good idea, i do not know if it would matter to some of the ones who feel so strongly to serve their country.
When Veterans use self medication of alcohol or drugs to treat their pain it is extremely dangerous to their mental health.
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