Friday, May 14, 2010

Shinseki Answers Questions

The Country that cheers on these wars of choice but refuses to sacrifice even a tiny fraction of what those they send do, as well as their families!

Veterans Affairs' Shinseki Answers Hard Questions

May 14, 2010 This week, NPR aired a series of reports on the new wave of veterans: men and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have presented the Department of Veterans Affairs with new challenges: a bigger, younger clientele and more women than ever before. There are also more vets with brain trauma and more with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Robert Siegel: In Part 1, Iraq veteran Brian Hawthorne said he has waited for two years for the VA to process his claim for PTSD. He told NPR: "We have to realize that if the VA's not your friend, who is?" How do you fix a culture so that veterans like Hawthorne just assume that the VA is their friend?

Eric Shinseki: I would explain to Brian that it's more than just about friendship. This is an obligation that the nation owes those who have served. By my responsibilities, I am the one charged with ensuring that those obligations have been met. We look at this as a relationship with clients, not just customers. Customers have an opportunity to shop around and decide which choices they want to exercise. A relationship with a client is different. Clients have already invested in this relationship; our obligation is to fulfill that obligation. And so to Brian's concerns about how long it takes to process some these things: My concerns as well. It's what we've been after for the past year. Some of this has built up over time. But we intend to do something about it. Continued

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