Editorial roundup

El Dorado News-Times, Ark., Nov. 11

Thank veterans with VA support

For the past few years, thanking veterans for their service has been a routine and regular thing. Perhaps as a nod to previously under-appreciating the sacrifices veterans make by going where Uncle Sam told them to go — with no input as to the mission or the locale on their part — Americans have made it a point to appreciate veterans of recent vintage.

That’s a good thing.

We appreciate veterans, too.

We appreciate their hard work preparing for whatever comes their way. Military training is usually not a walk in the park. “If it ain’t rainin’, we ain’t trainin’” is a common theme, and one that rings true oftentimes. Members of the Arkansas Army National Guard, for example, spend much of their time training at Camp Joseph T. Robinson in North Little Rock and Fort Chaffee Maneuver Training Center outside of Fort Smith. If you’ve ever visited either locale in the dead of summer . well, let’s just say the climate isn’t usually hospitable. And don’t get us started on the ticks and chiggers.

We appreciate their service overseas and at home. Thousands of our state’s men and women have served overseas in wars going way back into our nation’s past. In recent years, most all eligible, active members of the state’s National Guard units have served overseas at one time or another. They’ve gone to war in some of the most inhospitable places on the planet. They’ve dodged bullets and bombs, IEDs and rockets. Most of the time, who was the enemy was difficult to ascertain.

We would be remiss if we didn’t also acknowledge the families of veterans. They carry a special burden when a loved one is in a combat zone halfway around the world. Any phone call can mean upheaval. Hat’s off to the spouses, children, parents and siblings of those who serve.

Another group is tremendously important to our military efforts. Were it not for supportive employers, our National Guard and Reserves would be unable to function as they do. Across the country, employers see to it that their employees who serve part-time have the support they need to fulfill their obligations.

Make no mistake, military deployments take a huge toll on businesses. Thank you to the business owners and managers who allow Guardsmen and Reservists to serve their country.

“Thank you” for your service is a fine sentiment, and publishing special sections as we are doing today is fine, too, but our veterans deserve more than our respect.

Uncle Sam made a deal with our veterans that if they went were they were told to go and did what they were told to do, he would take care of them in terms of health care for service-related issues.

As anyone who has been paying attention knows, our Veterans Administration is a troubled agency. Somehow, Congress knew hundreds of thousands of Americans were going to war these past 14 years, but they couldn’t figure on needing additional resources at the VA to take care of the wounded coming home?

The hawks in Congress who love sending people to fight wars overseas are now balking at holding up their end of the deal on the back end?

That’s not right.

Backlogs at VA facilities around the country have resulted in more than a few veterans dying before they got the care they needed. Even locally, appointments for medical care are made months and months in advance. Worse, some VA officials have fudged the numbers to make the agency’s woes look less so.


Key personnel, including the VA leader, have changed, but the problem persists.

This matter is a national disgrace.

If supporting veterans means more than putting on a bumper sticker or flying a flag on Veterans Day, make sure your elected representatives know how you feel about this matter.

Minot Daily News, Minot, N.D., Nov. 1

Why is no one held accountable?

Look under “accountability” in the dictionary and who knows whose pictures you may see? What will not accompany the text is a portrayal of a federal bureaucrat.

Never ever does anything serious seem to happen to government officials who fail to do their jobs properly, waste massive amounts of taxpayers’ money, harm the innocent unfairly or even engage in criminal activities. It is happening again in the Internal Revenue Service scandal.

IRS officials in the section headed by Lois Lerner singled out conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status for special treatment. It included lengthy delays and sometimes, outright harassment.

Lerner herself was allowed to retire from the IRS — after refusing to testify at two congressional hearings. Then, investigators were told some of her official emails pertinent to the probe had been lost when her computer crashed, ever so conveniently.

Recently, the Justice Department announced it had concluded an investigation of the matter — and would be filing criminal charges against no one.

DOJ officials admitted they found “mismanagement, poor judgment and institutional inertia” that contributed to the IRS problem.

No one has received any substantial punishment for what happened. Lerner will enjoy her full pension. Those she left behind will continue to cruise through the IRS bureaucracy until they, too, retire.

Nowhere in the government — not at the IRS, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Environmental Protection Agency or any of the other places where actions demand accountability has it occurred.

Why? More important, why does no one in Congress do anything about it?