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VA lying about number of veteran suicides

April 24th, 2008 . by TexasFred

WASHINGTON – The Veterans Administration has lied about the number of veterans who have attempted suicide, Sen. Patty Murray said Wednesday, citing an internal e-mail that put the number at 12,000 a year while the department was publicly saying it was fewer than 800.

The Feb. 13 e-mail by Dr. Ira Katz, the man in charge of the department’s mental health programs, was disclosed this week as part of a lawsuit brought by two veterans groups that went to trial in San Francisco.

Dr. Katz’s message to Ev Chasen, the department’s communications director, started with “Shh!” It continued, “Our suicide prevention coordinators are identifying about 1,000 suicide attempts per month among the veterans we see in our medical facilities. Is this something we should (carefully) address ourselves in some sort of release before someone stumbles on it?”

Mr. Chasen responded: “I think this is something we should discuss among ourselves, before issuing a press release. Is the fact we are stopping them good news, or is the sheer number bad news? And is this more than we have ever seen before?”

Ms. Murray, D-Wash, said she has spoken with VA Secretary James Peake and demanded he fire Dr. Katz. The senator said Mr. Peake has yet to respond to her request for Dr. Katz’s resignation.

If you ignore it, it will go away, if you say it didn’t happen, it didn’t happen, if you don’t take care of the Vets and they do commit suicide, or otherwise die from lack of care, then your problem is solved, they’re gone and your budget is relatively safe…

And since Sen. Murray is a Dem, we ALL know she can’t possibly have the best interest of our Veterans in her heart, right?? Surely that will be the lamentations from the Bush Bots, Murray is only doing this to discredit the Bush administration, right??

Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs Gordon Mansfield apologized Wednesday during a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing, telling Ms. Murray and other senators he did not think there was any deliberate attempt to mislead Congress or the public.

Maybe it wasn’t a deliberate attempt, maybe it’s all been just a terrible coincidence, maybe some of the deplorable conditions at some VA hospitals, conditions that have been documented, maybe that was just administrative oversight, the VA has their mission definition, and the utmost care of our Vets is their #1 priority, right??

But Ms. Murray remained skeptical, saying the VA has shown a pattern of misleading Congress when it comes to the increasing number of soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan seeking help and putting a strain on DOD and VA facilities and programs.

And again, Sen. Murray’s skepticism is only because she is a Democrat, it has to be, the Bush Bots tell us ALL how there’s no way that the Dems care about the troops or their care once they become Veterans, the Dems are evil incarnate and this is simply an attempt to make Bush look bad for taking us to Iraq…

Bullshit!! There are many Dems that care, many that want nothing but the best for our troops and Vets, apparently Sen. Murray is one of them but you can bet on this, she’ll be castigated by the Bush administration and the Bush Bots for taking this issue on, and it will be because she IS a Democrat…

Mr. Mansfield responded that the situation was unfortunate and did not “send the right message” to Congress or the public.

“I know Dr. Katz is a dedicated public servant,” he said. “There isn’t a lot the VA should be keeping secret.”

“There isn’t a lot the VA should be keeping secret.”?? NOTHING that the VA does should be kept secret, absolutely nothing…

The mission of the VA is not an Operational Security mission, they are charged with taking care of our Veterans, from wars past and present, as well as those Vets that never saw combat, it’s the Veterans Administration, not the CIA, secrets may well be the reason that the VA has become the less than reliable administration it has…

Secrets?? In the VA?? Indeed…

Full Story Here:
Dallas Morning News - VA lying about number of veteran suicides

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2 Responses to “VA lying about number of veteran suicides”

  1. comment number 1 by: cary

    This is deplorable.

    The VA’s one and only mission is the physical and psychological care of VETERANS.

    Certainly, keeping secrets is not in their scope of operation, and lying about numbers certainly won’t help them when it comes to asking for more money in their budget…

  2. comment number 2 by: BobF

    As much as people don’t want to believe this, Hillary Clinton did quite a bit during the 90’s to champion some military quality of life issues, especially dealing with families and housing.

    The Bush Administration tried to implement some stuff that would have severely impacted the medical benefits of military retirees but Congress, both Republican and Democrats put a stop to it.