Having worked with two US Senators on behalf of a friend who had been denied military benefits after being exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam, I know how responsive most senators are with regard to veterans’ issues. That’s why it is particularly puzzling that a senator, who is a veteran himself, would not know that the VA hospital located within sight of his office was falsifying wait times.
Did Sen. McCain not receive complaints from his constituents? I find that exceedingly difficult to believe, especially when it is alleged that 40 veterans died while waiting for appointments. Why did McCain not respond to a detailed letter from the doctor who became a whistleblower? One of his staff members acknowledged receipt of the letter, but McCain did nothing. Then, when the excrement hit the rotating air movement device, McCain demanded answers. He called for investigations. He demanded the resignation of General Eric Shinseki as Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
Given the circumstances and his almost certain knowledge of the problems, McCain should have offered his own resignation. That would have been more appropriate than the resignation of Shinseki.
Now McCain is outraged…OUTRAGED…over the exchange of five Taliban prisoners for Bowe Bergdahl. He says that these are “the five most dangerous people on the planet,” and that their release will almost certainly cause the deaths of more Americans. I remember no such outrage when the Bush administration released al-Qaeda members from Gitmo…30 percent of whom re-entered the fight against the US. What I do remember is that Teapublican senators and congressmen have long accused the Obama administration of dragging its collective feet in negotiating for Bergdahl’s release.
I also remember that the US paid a high price to have McCain and other prisoners of war released from Vietnam. And, as for allegations of Bergdahl’s desertion, we should all leave that up to our military leaders. But I do recall allegations that McCain was shot down over Vietnam as a result of disobeying his orders.
More and more, it seems that McCain has become an angry old man who has lost touch with reality. He once earned a reputation as a maverick for working across the aisle in order to serve his country. Now it seems that he is content to play along with the highly partisan leadership of the Republican Party. He has excelled at making immigrants scapegoats for our economic problems. He has embraced the anger and divisiveness of Tea Party politics. He is living up to his childhood nickname…McNasty. And when it comes to the truth…lets just say that, for McCain, it has become an increasingly long distance relationship.