Vets under Siege: How America Deceives and Dishonors Those Who Fight Our Battles

Overview

After members of our armed forces bravely serve their nation, they sometimes come home to find themselves battling another enemy—within their own government. Using decades of case histories, statistics, and firsthand accounts, award-winning Washington journalist Martin Schram exposes a shocking culture of antagonism toward veterans by the very agency—the Department of Veterans Affairs—that was formed to serve them.

Vets Under Siege reveals the shameless lack of care shown to our...

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Vets Under Siege: How America Deceives and Dishonors Those Who Fight Our Battles

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Overview

After members of our armed forces bravely serve their nation, they sometimes come home to find themselves battling another enemy—within their own government. Using decades of case histories, statistics, and firsthand accounts, award-winning Washington journalist Martin Schram exposes a shocking culture of antagonism toward veterans by the very agency—the Department of Veterans Affairs—that was formed to serve them.

Vets Under Siege reveals the shameless lack of care shown to our young servicemen and -women, from recruiters’ deceptions and a lack of armor in battle to shoddy, disgusting conditions at Walter Reed and other medical facilities, and looks back to examine the innumerable postwar battles our veterans have had to wage for proper treatment, from World War II to today. Martin Schram’s bold bugle call, sounded on behalf of our nation’s beleaguered servicemen and -women, lays bare a chilling pattern of institutional negligence, delay, and denial, and points the way forward with definitive solutions to a national disgrace.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“At a time when wounded veterans are once again returning home from distant battlefields, Schram provides unflinching reporting—-and vital historical perspective—-on a national disgrace. This book should be required reading for all citizens.”—Dan Rather

"Martin Schram's exposé of the Department of Veterans Affairs makes the agency appear downright Kafkaesque. He should be commended."—Washington Post Book World

"Schram unearths some egregious injustices. His is an eye-opening ... j'accuse."—Publishers Weekly

"Most Americans assume that the proud words about our troops uttered by the Bush White House and previous administrations have been accompanied by proper care for the severely injured and the survivors of the dead. The author does his best to blast that comforting idea out of the water. An unpleasant — but vital — read."—Kirkus Reviews

“Martin Schram has written a powerful, must-read book that delivers an urgent must-act message to all who care about our military veterans.”—Bob Filner, Chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee

"Martin Schram has combined his journalistic skills and policy knowledge to produce a compelling call to action that outlines with clarity and common sense the challenges facing our nation’s veterans and the swift actions required by Democrats and Republicans to ensure that the patriots who fought our battles receive the best possible treatment and care.”—Former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn

“America’s men and women volunteering for military service are the best trained and equipped in the world. But as Marty Schram reveals in his well-documented investigation, government bureaucratic blunders and incompetence too often fail them. To address America’s new and evolving threats in the twenty-first century, Schram details how we must care for those who have served and suffered at the same, if not higher, level we expect from their national security service.”—U. S. Senator Richard G. Lugar

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312561666
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 12/8/2009
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 634,025
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Martin Schram is the author of five books and has been national affairs correspondent for The Washington Post, Washington bureau chief for Newsday, and a television documentary executive. His nationally syndicated column appears in more than four hundred newspapers.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Prologue 1

Part 1 The Unending Battles of War and Peace

1 The Wartime Battles of Bill Florey E4 SPC, U.S. Army, 82nd Airborne, Persian Gulf War 11

2 The Peacetime Battles of Bill Florey E4 SPC, U.S. Army, 82nd Airborne, Persian Gulf War 23

Part 2 The Shaping of a National Mind-set

3 The Bonus Army: The Sad Summer When the Veterans Invaded Washington 47

4 Old Soldiers Sometimes Die-Waiting: After a Lifetime of Delays 61

5 Decades of Waste How the System Spent Decades Making a One-Day Decision 75

6 Veterans at War at Home DAV vs. DVA 85

7 The Mystery Caller VA Help Lines Are Often Helpless, Hapless, Hopeless 95

8 A Government History of VA Failures: Decades of Reports About Delays 107

9 Outpatient Delays: Diagnosis and Cure 139

10 The Pain of Unseen Wounds: Slow to Learn the ABCs of PTSD 151

11 A New Generation of Vets: Ratings Games and Waiting Lists 161

12 Seeds of Dishonor and Disservice: How a System in Trouble Sows Disrespect 167

13 An Agent Orange Veterans Day: Retired but Still Battling 183

14 Living Monuments: The True Cost of the Iraq War 195

15 Whip-Cracking Washington: Revelations at Walter Reed 211

Part 3 Solutions

16 Blue Ribbons and Red Tape: Commissioning Change 225

17 Reality Check, Gut Check: An Interlude in the Search for Solutions 253

18 A Department of Veterans Advocacy: Renaming the VA, Rededicating Ourselves 279

Index 291

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