01 December 2013
What is that wrong? VA, for policy reasons, has side-stepped both the law and science to pretend that C-123 veterans weren't exposed in the decade of flying the toxic Agent Orange spray transports.
The law says all dioxin-exposed veterans will be treated for their illnesses by the VA, and the VA even assured Congress of their commitment on this in 2001.
But VA pretends the law doesn't apply to us by their development of a special, VA-unique in-house redefinition of "exposed"– by pretending C-123 crews and maintenance troops somehow were not exposed VA bars us from their hospital doors.
VA is alone in their attack on C-123 veterans' claims. They are opposed by the US Senate, the House, NIH, EPA, CDC, US Public Health Service, and many university medical schools and schools of public health.
The CVs of the experts defending the C-123 veterans' claims fill volumes...the CVs of the VA authorities, though respectable, simply do not compare. One is amazed that VA has declared dioxin experts from every non-VA agency and university to be unqualified to address dioxin issues.
One is amazed that VA declares every non-VA scientist unqualified to address dioxin issues while VA scientists somehow are more qualified, even immediately out of school or trained in unrelated fields such as mollusk toxicology. Even experts the government has turned to in the past are suddenly unqualified to address dioxin exposure of C-123 veterans.
One is amazed that to insure C-123 veterans' claims continue to be universally denied, even in the face of the Secretary's assurance that each claim will be evaluated on its own merits, VA even refuses claims by stating that Agent Orange hasn't been proven to be harmful!
So 100,000 blog hits haven't been enough. Much has been done by this point but clearly, it will take more blog hits, more Senate and House letters to the Secretary, more articles in Huffington Post and the Washington Post, to make clear to the American public that these veterans are being denied Agent Orange exposure care and benefits.
As veterans, we're all victory-oriented. Amazing that victory to the VA means keeping us out of their hospitals, while victory to C-123 veterans means staying alive by getting into those hospitals. For too many it has been too long a wait. This means VA is victorious...so far.