Veterans deserve stronger leadership

info@islandpacket.comApril 8, 2013 

I was highly disappointed by Veterans Affairs Secretary retired Gen. Eric K. Shinseki when he was discussing the tremendous backlog of veterans medical claims with CNN's Candy Crowley.

He evidenced a total lack of understanding about the basic problem and the frustration facing veterans when they try to get their claims submitted to and adjudicated by the department.

Shinseki resorted to repeating meaningless words, such as "no veteran should have to wait for claims as they are today"; "we have a fix for this and we're open for business"; "the president and I are committed to veterans"; "all a veteran needs to do is to 'present to a VA clinic' and he will be seen that day or within two weeks"; and "we will end the backlog in 2015."

Crowley specifically asked Shinseki several times, "What do you need to solve the problem?" He offered nothing.

While I credit Shinseki with an outstanding military career, I don't believe he's the person who can effectively lead Veterans Affairs out of this problem.

Our veterans certainly deserve better. Shinseki has not corrected, nor even made a dent, in the backlog issue during his almost five-year stint. The country deserves a new secretary who will do more than throw around overused words, which obviously haven't worked to solve the problem.

Michael F. Vezeau

Sun City Hilton Head

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