Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Obama Considers Helping Vets By Making Them Buy Their Own Medical Insurance

I'm amazed by the generous use of doublespeak by this administration to explain the latest shift in its policy contortions. Yesterday, Robert Gibbs declared that the President is bringing the perpetrators of terrorism on our soil and abroad to justice. This incredible assertion is made in the wake of Obama's executive order to shut Gitmo and drop without prejudice all charges on Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri the accused mastermind behind the October 12th 2000 bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in Aden Harbor Yemen.

Within hours of his tenure, the President signed an executive order that reads in part, all proceedings of such military commissions to which charges have been referred but in which no judgment has been rendered, and all proceedings pending in the United States Court of Military Commission Review, are halted. By signing such an order, the President must by his own directive, stop the trial of al-Nashiri. Then after producing such a double-minded policy, his Press Secretary has the unmitigated gall to declare before the Wahington Press Corps that the President is bringing the perpetrators of terror to justice?

During his terse speech at Camp Lejune before the men and women of the United States Marine Corps, Mr. Obama said, You and your families have done your duty – now a grateful nation must do ours. Now we learn that this same President that delivered that promise to service men and women just two weeks ago is seriously considering making Veterans wounded in the service of their country pay for their own health insurance after they are discharged from the military!

The American Legion reports, The leader of the nation's largest veterans organization says he is 'deeply disappointed and concerned' after a meeting with President Obama today to discuss a proposal to force private insurance companies to pay for the treatment of military veterans who have suffered service-connected disabilities and injuries. The Obama administration recently revealed a plan to require private insurance carriers to reimburse the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in such cases.

'It became apparent during our discussion today that the President intends to move forward with this unreasonable plan,' said Commander David K. Rehbein of The American Legion. 'He says he is looking to generate $540-million by this method, but refused to hear arguments about the moral and government-avowed obligations that would be compromised by it.

$540 Million? Is that what the sacrifice of our nation's heroes is worth? This President wants to save $540 Million on some government balance sheet, while the Treasury reports that the nation now is $11 TRILLION in government debt? Does the President actually think that he can deal from the top and bottom of the deck at the same time with the American public?

The American Legion report continues, Commander Rehbein was among a group of senior officials from veterans service organizations joining the President, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki and Steven Kosiak, the overseer of defense spending at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The group's early afternoon conversation at The White House was precipitated by a letter of protest presented to the President earlier this month. The letter, co-signed by Commander Rehbein and the heads of ten colleague organizations, read, in part, 'There is simply no logical explanation for billing a veteran's personal insurance for care that the VA has a responsibility to provide. While we understand the fiscal difficulties this country faces right now, placing the burden of those fiscal problems on the men and women who have already sacrificed a great deal for this country is unconscionable.'

Here is a video of Mr. Obama's high-sounding speech before Marines just two weeks ago.

Eight minutes and nine seconds into this video of the his speech to Marines at Camp Lejeune North Carolina the President has this to say: I want to be very clear that my strategy for ending the war in Iraq does not end with military plans or diplomatic agendas – it endures through our commitment to uphold our sacred trust with every man and woman who has served in Iraq.

You make up a fraction of the American population, but in an age when so many people and institutions have acted irresponsibly, you did the opposite – you volunteered to bear the heaviest burden. And for you and for your families, the war does not end when you come home. It lives on in memories of your fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who gave their lives. It endures in the wound that is slow to heal, the disability that isn’t going away, the dream that wakes you at night, or the stiffening in your spine when a car backfires down the street.

You and your families have done your duty – now a grateful nation must do ours. That is why I am increasing the number of soldiers and Marines, so that we lessen the burden on those who are serving. And that is why I have committed to expanding our system of veterans health care to serve more patients, and to provide better care in more places. We will continue building new wounded warrior facilities across America, and invest in new ways of identifying and treating the signature wounds of this war: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury, as well as other combat injuries.

We also know that service does not end with the person wearing the uniform. In her visits with military families across the country, my wife Michelle has learned firsthand about the unique burden that your families endure every day. I want you to know this: military families are a top priority for Michelle and me, and they will be a top priority for my administration. We’ll raise military pay, and continue providing quality child-care, job-training for spouses, and expanded counseling and outreach to families that have known the separation and stress of war. We will also heed the lesson of history – that those who fight in battle can form the backbone of our middle class – by implementing a 21st century GI Bill to help our veterans live their dreams.

Just one teensy, weensy, little item; run the video back to 8:09 and note the expression on the CinC's face, also note the caption that appears on the bottom of the screen in that still. I just happened to notice it. Just to be clear, I'm not a black helicopters flying in the sky kinda' guy but I thought the frame capture was interesting. I'm sure it's nothing.

The full text of Mr. Obama's speech can be viewed here.

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