Monday, March 05, 2007

Why The Surpise at VA Hospital Conditions?

Congress is suddenly up in arms about a series of Washington Post articles describing horrific conditions in Veterans Administration hospitals across the country. Why is anyone surprised about this situation? What is it about this particular health care nightmare that is making people in the U.S. suddenly so upset? Veterans have been writing Congress for years describing the lousy health care they receive. Why are senators and representatives just now getting around to holding public hearings?
Korean War Memorial 13552
Think about it, the Army is an organization designed around the need to kill people. Essentially, the military maintains equipment and trains personnel to kill other people using that equipment. The very notion that we expect these same people to properly treat the sick and actually heal humans is absurd. Do Armed Forces recruiters tell prospective sailors, soldiers, and airmen that they will not receive proper treatment if they are injured while serving? One wonders how many people would still sign-up if they knew this fact. Furthermore, this is an organization based in the United States.

Few people in the United States seem capable of maintaining their own health and well-being much less helping others to do so. The majority of the people in the U.S. are grossly obese, taking various prescription medicines, and seldom get even a minimum level of daily exercise. The people of the United States are known for growing tobacco on their most fertile land, smoking cigarettes, and promoting this practice the world over. U.S. citizens are well known for drinking excessive amounts of alcohol pretty much on a daily basis wherever they go in the world.

Violence is an integral part of our way of life. We carry our guns to work and to school and shoot each other over running shoes, drugs, and fancy clothes. Health care means nothing at all to the average person living in an urban environment in our cities. The United States is the #1 source of weapons; a land stocked with enough nuclear weapons to destroy the planet several times. Our leaders order us to go around the world kidnapping, torturing, and starting wars. Healing others? What in the world does that have to do with manufacturing and using fighter jets, tanks, and cluster bombs?

Why are we surprised that the U.S. military cannot treat the soldiers it recruits who are subsequently wounded in combat? 45 million U.S. citizens are not entitled to any health care whatsoever. These millions are denied health insurance, the primary tool used to decide who gets health care and who dies a miserable death alone at home. Go to a doctor's office and try to get an appointment after you tell them you have no health insurance. In the U.S. we let little boys die for lack of basic dental care. For years we denied our effective AIDS/SIDA medication to the rest of the world because there was no profit in it. In the U.S. we drive too fast and drink before we do so, ensuring the possibility that we will kill others while we are behind the wheel of our over-powered cars and monster trucks.

Finally, we here in the U.S. spend far more than we ever expect to earn, as individuals and as a nation. We are buried under our national and personal debt and we know it. Patching the military health care system will cost more money, money that our dying nation does not have. We did not save enough to pay for health care for our parents and we will not have the money to pay for our own health care once we are no longer able to work.

The situation at the VA Hospitals is merely one more symptom of a sick and dying society. The sooner we all face up to this fact the sooner we can get back to our couches, light up another cigarette, sip that drink, and start flipping through the 200 channels of violence and smut we serve to ourselves each evening.

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