Keeping veterans in the dark

Published July 7, 2004 8:44PM (EDT)

The Daily Misleader shows just how President Bush has gone about strengthening the "hollowed out" Clinton armed forces: "President Bush celebrated the July 4th holiday by praising veterans, saying 'we're proud of your service, we're grateful for the example you have set for America.' But a new report shows that more than half a million veterans are going without health care benefits owed to them -- and the Bush administration has tried to keep those veterans in the dark.

"According to Knight-Ridder newspapers, 572,000 veterans nationwide 'are missing out on disability payments from the Veterans Administration' even though they are owed those payments from their service. A large portion of these veterans are not receiving their payments because they do not know about them -- a situation the White House has tried to perpetuate. In 2002, VA officials were ordered by the Bush administration 'to cease efforts to enroll new patients into its health care system.' The directive said it was 'inappropriate' for local VA workers to attend health fairs, open houses and community meetings to educate veterans about what their eligibility and to enroll them in health care programs.'" That's an odd way of "supporting the troops," Mr. President.

By Stephen W. Stromberg

Stephen W. Stromberg is a former editorial fellow at Salon.

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