Win-Win in New Hampshire!
New Hampshire resident and C-123 veteran LtCol Paul Bailey was informed Monday that his claim for Agent Orange-related illnesses was approved by the Manchester VA after their earlier denial of the application. VA cited a complete package of proof which elevated Bailey's claim above the VA's famous "as likely to as not" threshold for such issues.
While Bailey is likely happier with this decision than VA officials in Washington, all should see it as a win-win outcome. The 1991 Agent Orange Act, and Title 38, and the 8 May 2001 Federal Register are clear enough – veterans like Paul who are exposed to military herbicides are to be treated for illnesses (those recognized by the VA as "Agent Orange presumptives) on the same basis as Vietnam veterans.
Whether veterans like Paul were to actually receive such treatment as per the law was the issue, in this, a contest at which both sides prevailed on Monday. This was two years after his claim was first submitted...and initially rejected in March
Why should VA and their Compensation Services officials be satisfied with their side of this "win?"
Because they found a way to follow the law. To meet the broad requirements of their oath of office. To care for a veteran by finding a path rather than obstructing it.
VA employees and leadership should all be well-pleased with this decision because their beleaguered agency found a way, perhaps through the independent spirit of VA officials in Manchester, to do what's right, as well as what's lawful.
To men and women of honor, that's always a victory.