Military-Veterans Advocacy, a non-profit, tax exempt organization, established to advocate and litigate on behalf of active duty service members and military veterans, has joined the growing call for General Eric Shinseki’s resignation as Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
Military-Veterans Advocacy Executive Director, retired Navy Commander John B. Wells, who is also an attorney practicing military and veterans law, joined with the American Legion and other veterans organizations in requesting Shinseki to step down. "I was hesitant to ask for General Shinseki’s resignation until I heard his testimony before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. I felt it only fair to give the Secretary an opportunity to address the problems raised by recent whistle blowers. Instead of hearing a plan of action Secretary Shinseki engaged in double speak and platitudes."
"The time for words is over," noted Wells. "Veterans are dying out there. It is now time for action. In his testimony, Secretary Shinseki offered promises but no plan of action. Engaging in long running studies is a typical VA tactic. Studies drag on until the news interest in the problem passes. Recommended solutions merely increase the bureaucracy and make it more difficult for veterans to obtain their benefits."
Since its inception in January 2013, Military-Veterans Advocacy has been monitoring the excessive claim and appellate backlog times and has been working with Congress and the media to resolve those problems. Recent revelations of appointment backlogs and inappropriate treatment has been cause for further concern. "As an attorney," Wells said, " I have represented veterans in several medical malpractice cases under the Federal Tort Claims Act. Unfortunately medical care within the VA is generally substandard. Unfortunately, the VA seems to want to give veterans a second chance to die for their country."
Wells is not surprised by the allegations of data manipulation and fabrication. "My experience with the VA has been met with a lack of truthfulness on the part of VA employees. They are known for cherry picking phrases from scientific reports to be used out of context while denying and stone waling facts provided by veterans and their supporting organizations. The VA has historically ignored the needs of veterans while giving themselves bonuses and wasting tax payer dollars on slick television commercials boasting about how they help veterans."
"I had hoped that Secretary Shinseki would announce a responsible and timely plan to investigate and correct the systemic problems of the VA," continued Wells. "He failed to do so. After five years of his administration, backlogs have increased, services have deteriorated and neglected veterans have died throughout the country. Secretary Shinseki must be held accountable for recent disclosures of gross malfeasance in Arizona, Florida, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Wyoming, Texas and other areas. While he may have not have had personal knowledge of these problems, as Secretary he is ultimately responsible for the actions of his subordinates and the performance of the VA. As a former military officer, General Shinseki should need no reminder that with command comes great responsibility and accountability, not only for yourself but also for those you lead. We do not question General Shinseki’s continued personal commitment and concern for his fellow veterans, however the facts of this and many other scandals under his tenure make it clear General Shinseki is no longer an effective leader and must be relieved for the good of the VA and our Nation’s veterans."
Military-Veterans Advocacy has dealt with the Department of Veterans Affairs on a wide range of issues. Currently the organization has two federal suits against the Secretary. The first deals with the Secretary’s refusal to reinstate the presumption of exposure to veterans who served at sea in the bays, harbors and territorial seas of the Republic of Vietnam. The second suit deals with the termination of two Baptist Chaplains who were forced to leave a VA program because their religious liberty rights were violated
For information on Military-Veterans Advocacy, see www.militaryveteransadvocacy.org.
Media interviews: Executive Director Commander John B. Wells, USN (retired) is available for media interviews. Please contact him at 985 641 1855 or by e-mail at JohnLawEsq@msn.com.