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Veterans Affairs failed miserably in its duties

At least 40 veterans died at the hands of a federal agency whose motto is to “care for him who has borne the battle, and his widow and orphans.” The fact is this situation could have been mitigated with the implementation of some new policies. First and foremost, the “bonus” program for Veterans Affairs administrators must be eliminated immediately! It appears greed led them to “cook the books,” which led to the death of these veterans.

Secondly, the Inspector General inspection process of VA facilities to ensure that federal regulations are being followed must be severed entirely from the VA, as it is obvious it is incapable of policing itself.

Then, aside from all this, there is the ongoing scandal of the massive backlog of disability claims that again the VA seems incapable of dealing with. This has been a problem for many years. For far too long, those who have been injured in service to their country have been denied both due process and judicial review in the claims adjudication process. This is the most bitter of ironies. Those who put their lives on the line to defend our democratic system are denied by law the most important and basic elements of our democracy they were willing to die to defend.

If our judicial system is the cornerstone of our democracy, due process and judicial review are the keystones of our judicial system, and yet veterans are denied by federal law from these protections that they were injured defending. Judicially, veterans are and continue to be second-class citizens because of this.

Patrick Kelly

Grand Island