RANGER AGAINST WAR: We Were Soldiers Once and Young <

Friday, December 18, 2009

We Were Soldiers Once and Young

What you need
Do you know I got it?

All I'm askin'

Is for a little respect when you come home

--Respect, Aretha Franklin

Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'

We are not now that strength which in old days

Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,--

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield

, Alfred Lord Tennyson

A continuation of the post, "Pain in the Neck":

After months of hassle, the Department of Veterans Affairs has authorized half of the original authorized treatment for service-connected, parachute-related cervical spine injuries. Mighty magnanimous this authorization, which costs the VA no more than $70 monthly outlay. So chiropractic is approved; massage, pending.

Vets must fight to get their treatment
-- this isn't right at any level.
Service-connected vets must first fight to get our disability ratings, often waiting years for adjudication, then must continually battle to insure that authorized care keeps coming his way.

The hullabaloo started when my primary VA healthcare provider claimed that directives disallowed her authorization of outside treatment. The director of the Tallahassee VA Outpatient Clinic seconded this, but disallowed Ranger from reviewing the referenced documents. Why? -- National Security issues? A
t no time was Ranger provided with or allowed to see the documents from HQ DVA that my local authorities kept blaming for the denial of my treatment.

How many people will maintain an aggressive posture and fight for their rightful treatment? Many won't, or can't. The system precisely sucks when we must agitate -- even to the level of elected representatives -- to settle these mundane issues. Everything is a fight in this adversarial system.
This is not the way to treat people in need of palliative care.

The system is corrupt. If it were confined to my sorry ass, I'd laugh it off and move out, but it is not. The problem is systemic, and presumably based on saving a buck on the back of a vet denied a needed procedure or assistance.

It is an unfortunate dilemma that most DVA personnel seem caring and want to do the right thing, however, the bureaucratic shuffle dwarfs the human dimension. The system will continue to degenerate as everything seems to be on an
ad hoc basis, and it does not look like budgets have projected the onslaught to come. This is a national shame.

We carry the history of the U.S. Army in our bodies, yet this is our reward. We who earned battle streamers carried on today's colors, have become an inconvenience
in our age. Cheers go to the photogenic young rucked up bucks, but not the ailing ones, the reminders of our failures, then and now. We were soldiers then; now, we are
old men. McCarthy was right -- this is no country for old men.

Until our veterans receive the level of care administered to the ruling elite of Congress and the Executive branch, the concept of honorable treatment for vets is nothing but a sham.

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Anonymous barcalounger said...

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of his country," when the guns begins to shoot;
Yes, it's Tommy this an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
But Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool - you bet that Tommy sees!

-Rudyard Kipling

You were'nt the first one to see the paradoxes of service to one's country. What must have made it galling to Kipling was IIRC he lost his son in The Great War.

Friday, December 18, 2009 at 11:09:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

the loss of his son was devastating to kipling.

mainly on account of kipling pushing the lad to volunteer, and pulling strings so that the boy would be placed in a front line infantry unit. kipling's son was extremely myopic. he needed very large, thick glasses to be able to see marginally.

the son was shot, and killed, in a shell crater in no man's land. he was crawling around in the muck, trying to find his glasses.

kipling never forgave himself.

kipling had a conscience at least. the folks who constantly fuck over the VA don't. they are hard ass bean counters who worship the bottom line. they hate things like the VA where money goes in, and never, ever comes out.

aside to ranger: we carry more than the history sometimes. about twelve years ago i had a nasty abcess form where my neck and shoulder join, on the left, toward the back. it turned out to be a chunk of human bone that had been floating around my interstisial tissue since an ambush in the a shau. it probably came from one of the guys behind me.

my impressions of the VA are the same as yours. there are way too many folks who come back, try to wade through the obstacles and the bullshit to get the minimal treatment that is offered, and simply give up.

the only remedy i can think of would be to not take away the health care of congress and flag officers, just make them go to the VA.

they'd fix that shit most ricky tick.

Saturday, December 19, 2009 at 2:11:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

"In time of danger, or in war,
God and the soldier we adore.
Danger past and all thing righted?
God is forgotten and the soldier slighted."

This was supposedly sung by Roundhead veterans at the pubs the frequented long after the English Civil War in the 1660s and 1670s.

At the same time that this is nothing new, I agree with MB; this shameful bureaucratic mess would be resolved in a heartbeat if our political masters had to endure it.

Saturday, December 19, 2009 at 12:09:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


The story of the bone lodged in your shoulder is most shocking. I hope you are fully recovered from that surgery. Emotionally, that must have been surreal to consider the origin of the material. I can't imagine ...

Saturday, December 19, 2009 at 3:37:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


That has always been one of my favorite Kipling's, and how devastatingly spot-on (as was so much of his work.)

Saturday, December 19, 2009 at 3:39:00 PM GMT-5  

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