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Opinion: Bin Laden brought to Justice, now Justice for our Soldiers?

By Steven E. Masone

Now it is time to bring Justice to the tens of thousands of veterans whose valid claims have been stonewalled

"Bin Laden went out as a coward, U.S. says" read one front page headline. 

Opinion editorials with rhetoric from the patriotic, to fear mongering that... "Islamists will seek revenge"... and letters to editors with comments like, "the silence of Muslim Nations on Bin Laden's death is deafening"...and others saying do not blame Bin Laden for our bad schools? The different angles and segue-ways into other related topics were an explosion of "talking heads shouting loudly with much ado about nothing."

While this successful operation is justice for the 9-11 tragedy that took so many lives and damaged so many more, we often lose sight of the sacrifice our military gives, amidst all the hyperbole and commentaries that vie for attention for their viewpoint, we hear from intelligent commentary to the bizarre and ignorant.

But I want to give credit where credit is due, to the men who were risking their lives for our freedom. That is what this discussion should be all about - them. Without men and women like these Seal team members, we would have been under tyranny and dictatorships long ago.

The battle is not over for freedom and democracy in the world and more of ours must die and those who don't will live wounded lives, for the freedom we take for granted much of the time.

Yesterday, I went to the Veterans Hospital in my area and began to think about some of the past attitudes and insults towards my ex-military profession both in regards to the Vietnam War and the military of those times. Things have changed now where our military, police, fire and rescue, are respected and not reviled by the general public. But what is done behind the doors of the (VA) Veterans Administration, does not reflect what is deserved for our troops.


I am always humbled when I go to the VA and see soldiers with limbs missing, myriad of illnesses, minds gone, addictions rampant, and I see the POW/MIA flag flying high remind me of those who never were brought home to rest and so many of them that did come home just want to heal and to forget. But what they did, what they gave must never be forgotten.

My issues seems insignificant when I see the wasted minds and bodies there. Many of these heroes are still at war, but the enemy is bureaucratic indifference and a systematic strategy to withhold financial remuneration earned with their Blood, Sweat, and TEARS.

While the Navy Seals who courageously accomplished this historic mission, did so without any casualties from the 45 minute firefight, there will be later psychological damage for this and other traumatic operations these heroes are involved in. And our Government (Veterans Administration) will fight them tooth and nail to keep from paying out their deserved medical benefits and compensatory pay. It is their policy to deny in every case because a certain percentage of veterans will give up or die before they appeal.

The Government will deny use of Agent Orange testing in places like Panama, because if they admit it's use and pay our claims from our service there, the Panamanian claims in the courts will have to be paid. So once again we can see the soldier sacrificing all and getting the short end of the stick. They have covered up so many other battlefield conditions they are too numerable to list.

The prestige and political hay for this mission will bring tens of millions of dollars into the campaign war chests of this administration. All the glowing words of praise given to the Navy Seal team is right and good, now show them the money!

While the twenty five million dollar bounty is probably going to be paid to the human intelligence sources that located him, (who also have American blood on their hands) and the irony is that these heroes, like all who serve honorably are heroes, will stay anonymous for security reasons, and when P.T.S.D. ( post traumatic syndrome disorder ) or some other military related disability manifests, they will have to fight for years and still get cheated for their service.

The U.S. will spend hundreds of millions of dollars to perpetuate the infective bureaucratic hiring of non-veterans to supposedly serve veterans with their post-service benefits, and treat them like they are just a number who are there for them to have a soft and cushy government job with all the benefits these vets deserve more than they.

While all the signs and platitudes at the local VA sings the praises of thankfulness to "Our Veterans"...the answer is always NO! When it comes to their valid claims, the veteran has the "burden of proof" to prove their claim even if the military lost their records with the proof! The claims process wears them out through stress and frustration. Many already ill veterans, become worse from fighting their own government. Most of the service organizations who handle the claims, receive federal funding and bow down to the VA in becoming nother bureaucratic system where they protect their own jobs first. So when the latest VA motto "Veterans First" sounds good, it's just more "SPIN."

So strike up the band, have a parade with red white and blue fireworks, give em another "atta-boy" and we can all feel good about the death of Osama Bin Laden, and all our enemies to come, when our sons and now daughters, will continue to pay for our freedom long after their military commitment ends.

“One enemy” was brought to justice for the 911 attack. Now it is time to bring Justice to the tens of thousands of veterans whose valid claims have been stonewalled and delayed until the odds are on the side of the VA that the veterans will die off before they can win their cases. That is the current strategy for purposeful “red tape” and it is shameful.

Of all our dark and shady history that political powers have perpetuated ugly stains on the honor and good name of our democracy, none shall compare to the debacle that one day will be exposed as to how we treated our veterans.


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