Another widow speaks out on the lack of VA Outreach

(AND HOW - I might add)


Hi Mr. Kelley,


I read your letter with regards to the subject of the VA's Outreach or should I say, the VA's Lack of Outreach.  I want you to know what my thoughts are and have been for some time now with regards to this subject. 


Though seemingly harsh, the truth is and has been for quite some time that this is a very politically motivated subject.  Our veterans, starting with the Korean veterans are nothing more to our government then the equivalent of "worker ants or bees,Ē whichever you choose to refer to.  "You served your purpose, now go away,Ē are the words not literally spoken but who needs them to be?  What is the allowable loss?...5%?  To those who have lost a young man or woman to a war for people we don't know and really don't want to know there is no allowable loss.  Not when one of my loved one is included in that statistic.  Nevertheless, to our politicians who are concerned with losing their position of fame and fortune those troops are just numbers; nothing more, nothing less.  They always have been and they always will be.  There are some good people that get into their political position I believe, with the intent of serving and making changes.  Then the reality sets in that they are fighting a losing battle...much like our troops and much like the Los Angeles police department.  So to maintain your position you join forces and follow their rules. 


I along with a couple of other widows, and a veterans representative from our local Congressmanís office (which was done away with), went to the director of the Long Beach Veterans Administration Hospital hoping to find out why the doctors at the hospital either are not aware of the effects of chemicals to the human body or referring those with "mystery" illnesses to the Agent Orange, Gulf War, and probably soon Iraq War, registry for physicals.  He told us, and by the way is no longer the director, that "his boss" has not directed him to require that be done.  He did tell us that he would speak in the next staff meeting about this subject and request the physicians please refer Vietnam and Gulf War veterans to the registry, but like I said, he no longer works there.


When my husband was dying, my brother-in-law asked his doctor if my husbandís illnesses could possibly be service related because of his exposure to chemicals.  The doctor replied, "it's possible but proving it is another issue.  And, Mike only has a few more days so I am not putting him through any more."


Mind you, we never thought to tell the doctors Mike was a Vietnam veteran.  Partly because at that point and time the Vietnam veteran still had the stigma of being "a mentally ill, drug using, abusing, cry baby." 


Nevertheless, don't you think that should be a standard question asked by physicians on the questionnaire that you have to fill out?


{This issue I cover in my book in the chapter called "The Information Void Created."  Of course they do not want the doctors to know or even suspect.  Even the VA doctors, much less the medical community at large.  That would make too much sense.}


This was in 1991.  And to some degree that is still how society views the Vietnam veteran.  You can thank our politicians for that also as long as you are mentioning the fact that they ignore veterans anyway. 


So as a result, my daughter started a group on Yahoo and named it Second Voice.  She did this because the fact is, you and 99% of our troops are not listened to.  We figure maybe if what has been done is remembered then if not my daughterís generation, but her children will be able to bring it to the limelight.  At any point, we strongly believe our generation will be long gone, if and when the time comes that there is recognition of the crime of murdering a whole society of people (genocide!)  They want you to die, and they want me to go away and anyone else who has created them a loss of money.  This is not a money making proposition and therefore does not matter.  "They" only do what they think is necessary to pacify us and nothing more. 


I want you to know that though I lived the life of watching a person slowly die from being poisoned.  It is as you may know, like watching a rat die that has eaten a poisonous bait; only very slowly over years and years.  I worked at our local newspaper and watched 20/20 and thought I was informed.  It wasn't until I filed a claim only because of my momís insistence, that I started learning what really happened to my husband.  That was in 1998.  In addition, I learned our government knew back in the 1970's some of the health issues and genetic changes that happened to those exposed to these chemicals.  I was devastated.  How could this happen and how could our politicians allow this and worse yet, why didn't our doctors know about this? 


I now have come to the realization that not only did they blatantly not care, but that they didn't care because it was not popular and there is no money to be sought in this area. 


When I ask a Congressperson or Senator why or what can be done, all they do is send me copies of the laws now in affect and what their voting records are on veteranís issues.  They don't care.  They never have and they never will.


The Ranch Hand Study was a joke!  It was to look as if someone cared.  However, do you think for even a moment that if people weren't going to make money they would have done anything at all?  Of course not.  Then the head of it, a statistician hired by the government, just had reunions for these men.  Put them up in a nice hotel and fed them and took urine and blood samples. 


They sprayed our troops.  Our troops should have been the largest group involved with the study. 


Anyway, I am glad you keep on keeping everyone informed.  It is necessary and I am glad there are people like you that do it. 


Take care and keep up the good work.


An Agent Orange Widow.