Thursday, October 23, 2008

Brian Davis Disses Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans: Shameless

Just when I thought Brian Davis could not be any more foolish, he manages establish new levels of foolishness. Seriously, the ridiculous bar for Brian Davis is so low right now, I think he dig a ditch in order to get under it...but he still manages.

As we all know, Brian Davis sucks on Veterans issues. Our 1st installment. The 2nd installment.

I can’t identify any specific areas where we would improve the educational or healthcare methods for veterans. I know there was a recent bill passed that is doing just that.

We also know, via our site meter through the beauty of IP addresses, that Brian Davis spends more time reading about himself on the Internet than he does researching Veterans issues.

Ollie has the scoop from the Fighting First.

In Walz Gets 'A' Rating from Iraq and Afghanistan Vets Group, KEYC-TV paraphrased as Davis saying:

Walz received the A plus rating from a partisan organization.

That's news to several Iraq War vets we talked to last night, who thought the group was like the VFW, "except focused on 21st century wars," as one former soldier put it. (The VFW PAC, btw, endorsed Walz a while back).

Even more, Davis's opinion will probably be news to Norm Coleman. Like Harry Reid, whom Davis denounced to KEYC-TV, Coleman received an "A" from the group. On his official senate site, Coleman said of the group:

". . .I appreciate IAVA’s recognition and I look forward to working with them in the future as I continue to fight for our nation’s veterans.”

The KEYC-TV report said that Davis will be issuing a statement responding to a
letter Veterans for Walz
sent to him asking about vets issues. The vets letter was written after Davis repeatedly said he couldn't think of any way that medical or educational benefits could be improved for our nation's vets.

Perhaps the out-of-touch doc can also explain why Coleman was ranked high by a "partisan" vets group. Somehow, we doubt Coleman will beginning scorning the high grade and encouraging Davis to carry on this way in joint public appearances.

Readers should visit the IAVA's web site to decide for themselves how "partisan" the IAVA's agenda is. We've emailed the group to ask for a response to Davis's statements.

Davis scrapes the bottom of the barrel...again.

Ok, I'm a bit hypersenstive about Veterans issues. When I left the Army 7 years ago, I struggled to obtain my GI Bill Education benefits. I also struggled with the VA medical center in St Cloud and some serious service related knee problems. It took more than 6 months to get my education benefits and was eventually denied help after the VA reevaluated my knees.

Fine, I was more concerned about a former soldier who had lost an eye and had his disability rating changed from 50% to 20%, and soldiers who lost limbs who had their ratings substantially changed as well, after all, how much is your right eye worth?

It's not easy. I'm pretty fortunate in the grand scheme of things. For some veterans, the VA is about all they have.

I had a friend who served in the 101st Airborne Screaming Eagles during the first Iraq War. He was many miles inside Iraq when many in his unit began to suffer the effects of a mild nerve agent, Sarin Gas. The Air Force didn't coordinate things very well with the Army as they bombed a weapons bunker near Ah Nassariah in 1991. These soldiers were only a couple of miles away when these bunkers were destroyed, with chemical weapons intact.

The guys in the unit were lethargic and had a mysterious flu. They were shipped out within a day or two and they never really thought much of it.

My friend then got a letter (5-6 years after the fact) from the Department of Defense saying he may have been exposed to Sarin Gas in 1991 and to report to the nearest military or VA hospital for assessment. Chris had been long suffering from PTSD at the time and began what ended up being about an 8 year process to figure out what happened to him.

I met Chris in 2001 at St Cloud State. He was a social work major and we worked together on Veterans issues at SCSU. It was easy to see the stress of working with the VA on his mental and physical health issues, but keeping true to the Warrior Spirit, he kept pushing.

Eventually, he got the care he needed, but the struggle to obtain the benefits he rightfully earned and to get the help he so desperately needed, but it took some considerable time and effort.

It should never be that hard.

Brian Davis' sheer ignorance on Veterans issues and is lack of respect for renowned Veterans organizations is appalling to me. I spoke to a few friends today, guys I served with, people with diverse political views (dude is voting for Gordon Smith in Oregon).

We agree. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America is a great advocacy organization for Veterans. IAVA fights for soldiers like our friend David Chatham.

Staff Sgt. David Chatham, 34, won a Silver Star for continuing to command his Bradley Fighting Vehicle to protect pinned- down U.S. troops after a rocket- propelled grenade shredded his lower left leg near Fallujah a year ago.

He has been laboring to get back on duty ever since doctors amputated the limb. "The whole disability thing is a maze," he said by telephone from Fort Lewis, Wash. "Unless you get to the very end of the process, there's no way to know all the answers."

Chatham's goal is to stay on active duty, perhaps to teach combat infantry tactics, until he can retire with a pension in four years. But he fears he will be forcibly retired.
When a physical evaluation board saw Chatham on Monday, its task was only to judge whether he is fit to resume his job as a combat infantryman -- not whether he would make a good teacher in another Army job.

He expects to hear its verdict in a few weeks. "You can't imagine how stressful it is," Chatham said.

For a candidate of Davis' profile to reject the advocacy work of IAVA is yet another reason voters in the Figthing First need to reject him.

Congressman Walz has been an outstanding advocate for Veterans and our servicemen and women. Walz earned every bit of praise from Veterans groups like the VFW and IAVA.

While Walz does not represent me up here in the 6th, I am truly proud that Sergeant Major Walz represents me and other Veterans in Congress.

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