VCS Makes Three Tough Predictions for November 5
What do you think might happen after the elections, no matter who is elected President? VCS offers three sobering predictions.
Prediction Number One. One Million New Iraq and Afghanistan War Veteran Patients May Flood into VA.
So far, we know President George W. Bush’s doctrine of pre-emptive unilateral war caused 80,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war battlefield casualties. The Administration’s failure to plan for the wars’ long-term consequences led to 350,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans seeking medical care at VA hospitals – with many waiting months for assistance.
Based on 2006-2007 VA data, Harvard University Professor Linda Bilmes and Columbia University Professor Joseph Stiglitz estimated a total of 700,000 patients may flood into VA hospitals and clinics, costing taxpayers $700 billion over the next 40 years.
VCS increases their conservative estimate: one million Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans may seek VA assistant based on four new factors. First, the number of service members rose from 1.6 million to 1.8 million, and the number is expected to rise to 2 million, meaning more veterans will be eligible for VA services. Second, our economy is in a deep recession, pushing even more veterans into VA. Third, multiple deployments are taking a significantly higher toll on our overstretched military. More than one-third (630,000) of our troops went to war twice or more, increasing their risk of developing a combat-related mental health condition by 50 percent, according to an Army study. And, fourth, the military and VA are conducting more PTSD and TBI screenings, which are likely to identify even more patients who will need VA care.
Prediction Number Two: The Growing VA Shredder Scandal May Lead to House Cleaning at the Veterans Benefits Administration.
The outstanding reporting by Larry Scott at VA WatchDog and William R. Levesque at the St. Petersburg Times reveals that up to two-thirds of VA’s claims processing offices may have shredded critical documents.
Since the fiasco and scandal is so widespread, many fingers are pointing to top political appointees and executives at the Veterans Benefits Administration. Are their days numbered? Will the next President clean house and restore VA’s reputation?
Prediction Number Three: President Bush May Issue Hundreds, Possibly Thousands, of Pardons.
The period between November 5 and January 19 will be known as the “Lame Duck” period for President Bush. VCS predicts President Bush may issue hundreds of high-profile criminal pardons before leaving office. High on the list will be Vice President Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Donald Rumsfeld, and many others. These individuals were involved in ordering or concealing the illegal torture of humans on American soil, at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan.
Others were involved in illegal domestic spying and who knows what else that will be uncovered after January 20, 2009.
Our most surprising post-election prediction? Given the large number of President Bush’s disastrous decisions, many of them overturned by Congress and the Supreme Court, President Bush may issue a full and unconditional pardon to himself. Remember, President Gerald Ford issued a full and unconditional pardon to President Richard Nixon.
VCS asks you – What do you think? How many Iraq and Afghanistan veteran patients will flood into VA? Will VA be prepared? Will the next President clean house and reform VA? How many pardons will President Bush issue? And will he pardon himself?
VCS remains on the front lines documenting, tracking, and publicizing problems facing our troops, veterans, national security, and civil liberties. We urgently need your help to keep up our efforts to make sure our veterans get assistance and to make sure those who ordered torture are held accountable.
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Veterans for Common Sense
VCS provides advocacy and publicity for issues related to veterans, national security, and civil liberties. VCS is registered with the IRS as a non-profit 501(c)(3) charity, and donations are tax deductible.
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