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Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Hammertime Angers the Veterans

As I am within a short period of losing my soldier status, I went to an ACAP (Army Career and Amphibian Planning, or something. Basically, the 'you are gonna be a civilian') brief. There were two parts, filling out the required form, and the VA. I came to this conclusion:

The Veterans Administration is largely bureaucratic waste which currently exists solely to feed itself and make it bigger.

While David and Eric may not agree because they are vets, their libertarian leaning have to tell them that this is true. To wit:

The premise of the VA is to meet the mission stated by President Lincoln: "to care for him who has borne the battle for his widow, his orphan." I have no issue with that. Those servicemembers who have been injured as a result of actually fighting for freedom should be compensated for their service. But this is not what the VA does.

The VA encourages servicemembers to find something wrong with themselves. Any ailment or injury the servicemember may have will essentially entitle them to a lifetime of payments from the government, regardless of how the injury was caused. Playing basketball with the platoon and incur a knee injury? Paid. Became an airborne ranger and wore out your back by jumping? Paid. Drove a truck for 15 years and developed some nasty sciatic nerve problem? Paid.

However...if I work at B&B's construction, and as a function of being a hard working construction dude, I eventually develop long-term back ailments, does B&B pay me for the rest of my life? I think not! If, as a mining engineer, I develop a hearing loss, does the mine pay me for life? No (although they do for black lung).

I volunteered to be a soldier. I also volunteered to fly helicopters. It is utterly asinine (for me) to think I should be compensated for a hearing loss of back injury due to loud helicopter noises and crappy landing jobs by yours truly!

My position is that unless a servicemember is injured due to getting shot by bad guys (or other combat injuries), that the results of his choices are borne by him. I will back this up with action when I go to the VA physical and declare that I have no claims, despite my hearing loss and knee injury sustained from jumping on a rock during tactical training.

Other thoughts?

5 Comments:

  • Hammer,

    I wanted to know if you knew Captain William David Smith. He is an Army Chaplain in Kentucky, but I can't see what base you are on. Also, I love ND. Rudy is the best movie ever made.

    David

    By Blogger David M. Smith, at 3/02/2005 01:32:00 PM  

  • Hammer,
    I'd probably agree (if I looked at it) that the VA is like any other government entity...bloated, not as efficient as it could be--and intent on remaining so. But I don't know too much about the VA.
    This is NO reflection on the limited number of people I have dealt with; they're very kind, knowledgeable, and the couple I talked with seemed driven to help the vet in every way possible. I'm very fortunate in that way I guess.
    What does your contract say? Is VA benefits part of the package? I'm a supporter of contracts...so if its part of the contract, and your knee injury and hearing loss is covered in that contract, then by all means, please claim it!
    Like I said, I don't know too much about VA...but I do know one thing that I like :)...there is something about the higher percentage of disability, the more of your pay is exempted from certain taxes. You gotta like that!

    By Blogger David Hunley, at 3/02/2005 05:18:00 PM  

  • This looks great by the way!!

    By Blogger David Hunley, at 3/02/2005 05:19:00 PM  

  • Hammer, I have no objections to what you have to say about the VA. I disagree that injuries sustained in peacetime should not be compensated. The soldier who is never deployed in combat still voluntarily placed his precious skin between homeland and the enemy, even though he or she was never shot at. If you are injured, and not through your own stupidity, your country owes you a debt. I have never claimed my hearing damage due to tank main guns and turbine engines.

    I have, however, claimed the ankle and knee injuries sustained during morning PT when I stepped in a pothole while running.

    As far as the VA, they are an agency on a quest. They don't have enough veterans who need assistance (WWII and Korea vets are dying in droves), so they need more to justify their jobs and budgets. Pay a man to help people and he will find people to help, obviously. It's the same problem welfare agencies face. Vet assistance funding and efforts should be voluntary with government incentives to encourage it, like all other forms of welfare.

    By Blogger Eric Grumbles, at 3/04/2005 02:21:00 AM  

  • "Vet assistance should be voluntary, with government incentives to encourage it."

    That sounds great - but what form would it take? Eric may be on to something here, as he mentioned that all forms of welfare could run this way. Are there currently operating programs that do this? I am especially interested because of your firm libertarian views - it seems like a sort of paradox!

    I hope you check back at this post...if not I'll drop a request at your site.

    Also, I recognize that the vast majority of people working for the VA are good folks in it for the right reasons - it is the organization that has problems, and I think that the thirst for the government dollar far outweighs the altruism in this beauracracy...like most.

    By Blogger Hammertime, at 3/07/2005 10:57:00 AM  

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