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Got A Letter From Senator Levin Today



Letter is in response to my letter:

Dear Honorable Members of the Veterans Affairs Committee,

I voluntarily served 28 years of active duty in the United States Navy. My career was not without danger or armed conflicts. In doing so I committed myself to respond the many actions that U.S. Armed Forces responded to such as:

1982 Multinational Force in Lebanon , 1983 -- Grenada Operation Urgent Fury, 1986 Libya. Libyan Patrol Boats On March 26, 1986, US forces, while engaged in freedom of navigation exercises around the Gulf of Sidra, had been attacked by Libyan missiles, On April 16, 1986, U.S. air and naval forces had conducted bombing strikes on terrorist facilities and military installations in the Libyan capitol of Tripoli, 1987-88 After the Iran-Iraq War resulted in several military incidents in the Persian Gulf, the United States increased US joint military forces operations in the Persian Gulf and adopted a policy of re-flagging and escorting Kuwaiti oil tankers through the Gulf, 1987 the U.S. military protection of Kuwaiti oil tankers from Iraqi and Iranian attacks in 1987 and 1988 during the Tanker War phase of the Iran-Iraq War, it was the largest naval convoy operation since World War II. January 4, 1989, two US Navy F-14 aircraft based on the USS John F. Kennedy shot down two Libyan jet fighters over the Mediterranean Sea about 70 miles north of Libya. On December 21, 1989, the U.S. invades the sovereign nation of Panama to "further safeguard the canal, US lives, property and interests in the area." 1991 Iraq. Persian Gulf War. 1992-2003 -- Iraq The U.S. together with the United Kingdom declares and enforces "no fly zones" over the majority of sovereign Iraqi airspace, prohibiting Iraqi flights in zones in southern Iraq and northern Iraq, and conducting aerial reconnaissance and bombings. 1992-95 -- Somalia. "Operation Restore Hope" President Bush reported that he had deployed US armed forces to Somalia. 1993-Present -- Bosnia/Yugoslavia/Kosovo. 1993-95 -- Haiti. Operation Uphold Democracy US ships had begun embargo against Haiti. 1998 -- Iraq. US-led bombing campaign against Iraq Operation Desert Fox. October 2000, in the wake of an attack on the USS Cole in the port of Aden, Yemen, he had authorized deployment of military personnel to Aden. 2001 -- Afghanistan. US invasion of Afghanistan. The War on Terrorism begins with Operation Enduring Freedom. On October 7, 2001, US Armed Forces "began combat action in Afghanistan against Al Qaida terrorists and their Taliban supporters in support of the War against Terrorism. 2003 invasion of Iraq Second Persian Gulf War.

I retired in May of 2004 and certainly served during the time of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. In those 28 years I was taught and I taught that we were all one team, all of the armed forces made up a team.

Now I find myself a disabled veteran and I find the segregation of veterans to be very disheartening. This started with the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) issuing Letter 20-03-11 on March 26, 2003 which directed how a Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) Veterans were to have their claims handled differently than other veterans (expeditiously and hand to hand) i.e. 30 day limits while other veterans wait years, I myself am at the three year mark. Then DVA letter 20-03-36 dated September 23rd, 2003 was issued streamlining the process even more, and finally DVA letter 20-05-14, dated March 8, 2005 was issued.

On April 24th, 2007 Senator Larry Craig released a news story which starts

NEW REPORT CONTAINS BLUEPRINT TO HELP CUT THE RED TAPE FOR VETERANS, CRAIG SAYS. 25 recommendations made to improve the transition for new veterans".

On the same day Secretary Nicholson released the following:

Task Force Aims at Improved Services for GWOT Veterans Nicholson - Vets "Shouldn't Fight For Benefits Earned" WASHINGTON (April 24, 2007) - Military personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan can look forward to more timely receipt of benefits, better information and more streamlined processes, thanks to streamlined federal procedures announced today by Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson, who chaired a presidential task force. To view and download VA news release, please visit the following

Internet address:

Everything is for the "New Veteran", what happened to the team? I am a severely disabled veteran 100% Permanent and Total. I applied for compensation and pension benefits, even though I am rated at 100% disabled, I am being paid at the 60% level which is roughly a difference of $2000.00 per month, I can only imagine one of the "new vets" Award Letter is being processed before mine. I have applied for vocational rehabilitation but was denied because:

"It does not appear feasible for you to obtain suitable employment through your Vocational Rehabilitation benefits at this point in time because of the severity of your disability."

"After carefully reviewing the evidence, I have determined that it is not reasonable to expect you to be able to train for or get a suitable job at this time."

"In reaching my decision, I considered the following evidence: Medical records from VAMC and private physicians, independent living evaluation; vocational and independent living interviews, rating decisions, personal documentation."

So because of the severity of my disability I have been placed in the Independent Living Program, which has not done one single thing for me. But you can bet all those "new veterans" are not having any problems obtaining their benefits, like Secretary Jim Nicholson said "Vets Shouldn't Fight For Benefits Earned"

Senator Larry Craig said "This one action to unify the disability rating process will help cut the red tape for injured service members and that should lead to an improved benefits delivery system. I believe this will be a major step forward for future generations of military personnel"

I say lets unify the veterans and treat them all the same, the most Ironic thing of all of this is the fact I served during OEF and OIF, but because I didn't put my boots in the sand over there I don't deserve the same benefits as the "New Vets".


MCPO, USN, Retired

Copy to Congressman: Mike Rogers



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That's a very supportive letter.

I went outside and saluted the flag in my front yard and praised the Lord for finally hearing from a truly great man.

Well, I thought about saluting the flag but my joints that the VA refuses to treat are to painful at this time.

Praising the Lord was shot circuited by the fact that his letter said nothing new and actually qualifies as a standard form letter that is specifically designed to make him look better and calm you down....

What I got from the letter was:

We got caught again, stuff happens in a predictable cycle, it's no big deal and we have to puke rhetoric until this blows over and your name has been added to my list of bums that have the gall to endanger my power base with your finger pointing and bad attitude.

You should feel fortunate that we have not hauled you off in chains and admitted you to a lock-down psych ward in bum-f--k Antarctica for your lack of respect towards the hand that feeds you.

Rest assured guy,

He never saw your written bitchin.

All of the members of congress have minions that run interference between the elected officials and their constituents, very, very standard procedure.

When they tell you that they are looking into it, that means that they have forwarded you letter to the VA and the VA puts it into the round file.


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  • Elder

I am way past anger. I am disappointed in the performance of the VA and DOD.

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quote 'GuaymasJim' date='May 31 2007,

"To that end, I request that Hadit creat a permanent topic area dedicated precisely to the critique of national politics and how they impact veterans individually and collectively veterans. If the leadership here on Hadit is not comfortable with doing so, I will design, host and pay for a separate website dedicated to political solutions to the problems we are all having with the VA."

Anything you want to put on my website I would welcome the contribution

"After having VA incompetence severely damage my health, almost destroy my marriage, ruin any chance we had of adopting a wonderful little boy, and virtually bankrupting my family, I have recommitted to using my experience and knowledge to help other veterans regardless of generation and regardless of political pursuasion. My knowledge of VA forms and procedures is very outdated, but my knowledge of the political system is current and up todate. My plans are still in the concept design and preparation stage, but please feel free to contact me with comments suggestions and experiences--good or bad. Anyone."

I understand and have went through the same, medical malpractice, almost destroying my marriage, refusal to treat me, bankruptcy, doctor assaulting me while a inpatient in the psych ward, I could go on and on.

A recent example, I attend Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). DBT is a psychosocial treatment developed by Marsha M. Linehan specifically to treat individuals with borderline personality disorder. While DBT was designed for individuals with borderline personality disorder, it is used for patients with other diagnoses as well. The treatment itself is based largely in behaviorist theory with some cognitive therapy elements as well. There are two essential parts of the treatment, and without either of these parts the therapy is not considered DBT adherent.

I attend this therapy for anger management reasons. Recently I requested copies of my VAMC record which I do every other month. I have everything from day one. My progress notes for DBT in the past had my diagnosis as MDD which is correct. The last five progress notes have my diagnosis listed as Bipolar disorder with alcohol dependence. I exploded with rage when I read that. I have not gone to therapy in a month. Yesterday I went back, I sat thru the group session and when it was over I asked the two Social Workers to stay and talk to me. I had made copies of the progress notes and underlined the bipolar and alcohol dependent stuff with a blue majic marker, and on the last page, (they did this for the last 5 sessions) I underlined it and wrote out to the side F&%$*ng Incompetent Idiots. They both looked at me with wide eyes. I said how in the hell in did this happen. This is why I have not been here in a month, and if you never see me again this is why and I walked out.

I do not blame the new veterans, we are all the same we are veterans we are brothers and sisters, it is the veterans administration who has initiated this segregation, no one else did it, they did it all on their own for propaganda reasons, and what better time to do it when our troops are getting killed everyday. see So I welcome any input from you.

Do I have reason to be mad at the VA, look at my website and you tell me. I have joined the Class Action Law Suit that I promote on my site,and I have some real good issues for a law suit, but thats another story

And as far as the letter from the good senator, well I dont know what to say except I am surprised to get a letter. I have written him before and had no response. I am from Michigan so not only is he the Chairman of the Armed Services Committe he is also my state senator. But if you look at my letter it was to the Members of the Veterans Affairs Committee that is why I am surprised I got a response, I guess I must of cc'd him on the letter, I know I have cc'd Congressman Mike Rogers who's office has given me wonderful support and has initiated two congressional inquires in my behalf as well as calling the VAMC a few times in my behalf.

OK thats way to much political stuff for this early in the morning :rolleyes: I hope all my brothers and sisters have a good day, I am going fishing so I know I am gonna have a good day!

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"To that end, I request that Hadit create a permanent topic area dedicated precisely to the critique of national politics and how they impact veterans individually and collectively veterans. If the leadership here on Hadit is not comfortable with doing so, I will design, host and pay for a separate website dedicated to political solutions to the problems we are all having with the VA."

My hopes and dreams are becoming fulfilled.

Naturally I support this proposed concept,

and I have no idea how to actually get r done.

Tbird has some help and has recently asked for more.

Whether this political thing fits her agenda and resources, I don't know.

But, I agree that it has needed to be done for a hunerd yars.

Do ya think congress is capable of figuring out how to stop veterans from using the internet?


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Betrayed: Great response letter, let us only hope they read and digest every word.

It took me over 17 years to find out exactally what my condition was and to have a doctor (neurologist) back me 100% being SC'd. Before that none of the doctors would even write a letter for me about having migraines, they were afraid to go against the government, otheriwse I would have at least had SC for migraines from day one, well that and the fact the the first VA rep I had told me unless I had a doctor backing me up, I would never get anything out of the military.

My take on this is that they have to revamp the entire system to a better working one. The VA uses staticians (they have no medical connection) to rate our claims (I guess trying to save them money or something), but it also seems to be that they are using an accouting method in the handling of our claims, LIFO (last in first out). When a company uses this system it is sometimes referred to as stacking, so now the VA has stack and stacks of old claims, just sitting there, and once the new vets claims come in, they are done quickly (as opposed to our 1,2,3 year plus wait). You would think or hope that they would want to get he older claims processed and done before starting on new ones, but again we all know the government is somewhat a$$-backwards.

I also think they give their own doctors too long to submit their reports, 60 days. Even the state only gives you 30 days. If they shorten up the leash and timeframes, claims would be getting done quicker also.

Just my thoughts,


Edited by tdak (see edit history)
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I agree with your assessment of our focus in these political matters.

I would also like for us to address the induced TRAUMA (PTSD) from a much lower quality of life from having to fight for years to get what we should have received in the first place.

I have continuous prosecution of my PTSD claim from 1988, still in court trying to get the retro.

The first priority of the VA is to guard the interests of the government and they are experts at that alone.

If veterans can stick together we can force some changes.


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My husband taught Sociology. His term for the Powers that Be was "the old white guys." At first students didn't understand the concept. But then he would ask them. Who makes the laws -The old white guys. Who holds most of the power positions in business --The old white guys. Who gets to decide who gets to run for office - the old white guys. The students thought it was pretty funny -- as the thought HE was an old white guy. But they started understanding some of the concepts of power in our society.

But he always said that it was in the old white guys best interest if we didn't get along....because the more time we spent fighting with each other - the less focused we would be on the real root of the problem. A group of people with a common interest who become truly united can be very powerful.

I helped him do research for his thesis on the VA. Some of it was very fascinating.

Here is an excerpt from his Thesis:

"J. M. Stephen Peeps writes that, at the end of WW II, “… there is no denying that demobilization of a huge military force posed genuine threats… to post-war America.” Congress and the President feared the large, well-trained force that was returning to US soil during a rough economic time. The GI Bill would help transition these millions back into society while delaying their impact through years of college before they needed to find “real work.” Therefore, while the GI Bill was praised publicly as a “reward” to those who fought, it may have been created privately to avoid an armed insurrection."

I can't find the exact details right now - but I also remember that studies were done on veteran benefits --and for every dollar given in veteran benefits - the overall economy actually gained several dollars. So it isn't even the case that taking care of the veterans takes anything away from the economy -- it actually boosts it.


Betrayed, Sledge and tdak

Thanks for your comments. I have to make a trip (to the VA of course) for the next several days. When I am holed up in the motel room, I will try to put some more of this together. I should have more of a plan and less of a concept next week.

What I am proposing is a space where we can post our experiences with the various politicians. What we cannot do, or really shouldn't do is allow it to become another forum for arguing Dem vs Rep, Conservative v Liberal etc. Those arguments are what is preventing any action on veterans issues. Neither party has been particularly advantageous to veterans. They both play us off against each other. I don't really want to go there. We need to completely reframe the argument to include the non-veteran public. We need to convince the general public that (1) we are entitled to medical care and generous disability compensation because we made tremendous sacrifices while serving our nation, and (2) those sacrifices were made in the name of every American citizen not in the name of the Republican or Democratic parties. We are truly way behind the curve on this--way behind!

I cannot count the times that I have been asked by non-veteran friends if the situation for veterans is really a dire as depicted in the news. Many are under the impression that we go to the VA hospital and are swarmed by VA employees bending over backward to help us. Still others think that the veteran population is just another special interest group intent on hosing taxpayers. You can't really blame them for those attitudes because that is how we have been portrayed over the years. We need to change those attitudes before we can pressure our elected representatives to change the staus quo. It would be much better if the public pressured the politicians because that would remove real or preceived stigma of "special interest group." We comprise an entirely different group.

I believe it was Berta who posted a CAVC claim that took 17 years to resolve. I have another one here on my desk which is similar to my own situation that has taken over eight years, and has yet to be finalized. An old adage fits here, "Juctice delayed is justice denied."

The VA and many politicians are in love with the process not the results. That is the problem.

Betrayed, do you have a copy of the actual suit? As the law currently stands, the FTCA is the only avenue to address claims against the VA(in the name of USA). Suits claiming Discretion or abuse of discretion are fatally flawed from the outset because Congress made it so and are specifically prohibited by exemptions in the FTCA. It is my understanding that veterans cannot get certified as a "class action" at present. So, I am skeptical about the viability claims about "class action" suits. If you have more information about this, I would certainly appreciate hearing (or reading) about it.

Have to go now, but I am very interested in your comments.

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"J. M. Stephen Peeps writes that, at the end of WW II, “… there is no denying that demobilization of a huge military force posed genuine threats… to post-war America.” Congress and the President feared the large, well-trained force that was returning to US soil during a rough economic time. The GI Bill would help transition these millions back into society while delaying their impact through years of college before they needed to find “real work.” Therefore, while the GI Bill was praised publicly as a “reward” to those who fought, it may have been created privately to avoid an armed insurrection."


Thats really something to consider, I told them in the psych ward once with my training in anti terrorism and force protection you better be afraid of me........

.........consider a militia of angry veterans instead of the militias of wanna bees that are out there

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