I am not having this.
Let's get into the time machine, shall we? Let's go back in time and read about how the Bush Administration stocked the Veteran's Administration with people who didn't even believe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was even a thing for young soldiers returning from war.
Sullivan was working as an analyst at the Veterans Benefits Administration in Washington in early 2005 when he was called to a meeting with a top political appointee at the VA, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Michael McLendon. McLendon, an intensely focused man in a neatly pressed suit, kept a Bible on his desk at the office. Sullivan explained to McLendon and the other attendees that the rise in benefits claims the VA was noticing was caused partly by Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who were suffering from PTSD. “That’s too many,” McLendon said, then hit his hand on the table. “They are too young” to be filing claims, and they are doing it “too soon.” He hit the table again. The claims, he said, are “costing us too much money,” and if the veterans “believed in God and country . . . they would not come home with PTSD.” At that point, he slammed his palm against the table a final time, making a loud smack. Everyone in the room fell silent.
“I was a little bit surprised,” Sullivan said, recalling the incident. “In that one comment, he appeared to be a religious fundamentalist.” For Sullivan, McLendon’s remarks reflected the views of many political appointees in the VA and revealed what was behind their efforts to reduce costs by restricting claims. The backlog of claims was immense, and veterans, often suffering extreme psychological stress, had to wait an average of five months for decisions on their requests.
When I asked him years later about the meeting, McLendon laughed. Then his face darkened in anger. “Anybody who knows me knows I wouldn’t talk that way.”
Nevertheless, McLendon was open about the skepticism he felt toward the diagnosis of PTSD, calling it “a made-up term,” which has “taken on a life of its own.” As he spoke about the diagnosis, he pounded the table with the side of his hand more than ten times, hitting it so hard that the wooden surface shook. “Do I think they have a mental illness and should be stigmatized for the rest of their life?” he asked. “What gives a psychiatrist the right to do that?”
Later, in an email about our conversation, he wrote:
[PTSD] is not a diagnosis based on empirical evidence, but rather . . . it is an artificial construct erected by a vote of selected psychiatrists. This does not mean that there are not problems that certain individuals do have [and] issues that need to be addressed. But rather, it means that we have created policies and programs that have not served veterans well.
He recommended several books on the subject, including The Selling of DSM, whose authors, Stuart Kirk and Herb Kutchins, show a deep mistrust about the disorder and the scientific rhetoric surrounding the diagnosis. McLendon’s outlook seems to have had a significant impact on the way veterans are treated upon their return from war.
McLendon and many of the other high-level officials at the VA shared political convictions that, along with doubts about the science of PTSD, made them less likely to push for additional psychiatric services for veterans. They believed in streamlined government and free markets, and they supported a prominent role for faith-based organizations. The secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, R. James Nicholson, had previously served as chairman of the Republican National Committee and as ambassador to the Vatican. McLendon’s politics closely mirror his boss’s, and under Nicholson’s watch, veterans had increasing difficulty in obtaining adequate psychological care.
When a 2006 Government Accountability Office report raised questions about whether soldiers were getting the psychiatric help they needed, an assistant secretary of defense disputed the report’s findings, pointing to the fact that soldiers were being referred to chaplains. During this time contracts for veterans’ services were increasingly parceled out to leaders of faith-based organizations rather than to secular ones, even though veterans’ advocates opposed any bias toward faith-based treatment and argued that replacing empirically proven, nonsectarian programs with faith-based ones was a mistake.
The religious programs grew, despite concerns. At the VA Healthcare Network in upstate New York, chaplains compiled spirituality assessments of patients within twenty-four hours of their arrival. The VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System gave patients a questionnaire that stated one of the System’s goals as helping veterans “Maintain Optimal Spiritual Health.” In Coatesville, patients in the psychiatric ward had a daily, thirty-minute block of time scheduled for “SPIRITUAL UPLIFTING.” Meanwhile Benimoff wondered, “what kind of God would allow people to sink to the depths we here in this ward had sunk?”I don't know--the same God who let an American president start a war because he had daddy issues?
The thing that Sarah Palin won't admit is that her son is 26 years old, lives at home, couldn't keep it together with his first wife and his first child, and the President of the United States of America is simply not to blame for her trainwreck parenting philosophy.
If President Obama is to blame for Track, who's to blame for Bristol? She couldn't even successfully marry one of the two fathers of her children, and one of those was a Medal of Honor winner.
Man, that's one hell of a record, isn't it?