VA is failing America’s veterans

Miami Herald: On this Memorial Day, the plight of Americans who have borne the burden of fighting our wars should be uppermost in the minds of their countrymen. The growing frustration with the failure of the Department of Veterans Affairs to eliminate a huge and growing backlog of disability claims by members of the uniformed services is well justified and demands a timely response from the Obama administration.

Understandably, the VA has been overwhelmed. The global war on terrorism and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have required the services of millions of Americans, many of whom have been obliged to make repeated tours of duty in combat zones.

As of last September, according to a report by McClatchy Newspapers, more than 1.6 million military members formerly deployed in what’s classified as the global war on terror - in Iraq and Afghanistan, primarily - had transitioned to veteran status.

These numbers are staggering, but they should not serve as an excuse for the failure of the VA to attend to the needs of the veterans in a timely manner. The VA has won major, well-justified budget increases under President Obama, but the number of veterans consigned to the prolonged backlog has only continued to grow.

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