VA Secretary Eric Shinseki has resigned from his post stemming from a scandal that cost numerous veterans their lives. President Obama begrudgingly accepted.
Eric Shinseki resigns:
Recent reports by the Veterans Affairs inspector general revealed that officials throughout the VA system falsified medical records in an attempt to mask wait times for patients – a tactic that led to the unnecessary deaths of dozens of veterans.
There is no question what is going on with the VA scandal is as bad as it gets. There were dozens of dead veterans, their families have suffered, and there are quite possibly records that number in the multi-millions that have been deleted, only to hide the shortcomings.
Shinseki stated that he could not defend what had happened, because “it is indefensible.”
RNC Chairman Reince Preibus issued a statement:
“While we are eager to see the President finally engaging on this issue, this has never been about a single person or a single resignation. We now know that thousands of veterans haven’t gotten the treatment they were owed, languished on false wait lists, and were simply denied access to care when it was inconvenient—all so this administration could pretend they were reducing wait times. We also know those within the President’s administration were rewarded—given thousands of taxpayer dollars in bonuses—and that the administration has known about issues at the VA for years.
“Regardless of who the President wants running his department, it’s past time for the President to step up and fix this mess. He can start by calling on Harry Reid and his Senate Democrats to pass the bipartisan bill for accountability at the VA.
“Until then, personnel changes aren’t an answer to the problem for our veterans. It’s just musical chairs.”
Indeed, this scandal is not remedied just because Shinseki resigns. His resignation does not fix the bureaucracy that is the crux of the problem.
It seems impossible that a man who spent over 30 years in the Army, was disabled in combat, but continued to serve, commanded at every level, led the same Army that swept Saddam Hussein out of power, would now decide to just ignore veterans healthcare issues.
It seems more likely that the general was handcuffed by a bureaucracy that for years has protected employees, kept derogatory information from their bosses, did what they did in order to get the bonuses offered, and keep up the outer appearance of a seamless organization run by an efficient government.
Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi isn’t quite sure any of this amounts to the level of a scandal. Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton hasn’t uttered a word on the scandal, despite saying in 2008 as a candidate that it is the “highest obligation” of the President to take care of veterans. Perhaps she no longer believes that.
Sloan D. Gibson, the deputy secretary of veterans affairs, is taking over as acting secretary.