Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin criticized the “decision-makers” within the bureaucracy of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as lacking experience with the challenges faced by military veterans transitioning to civilian life. She made her remarks during a Tuesday interview with SiriusXM host Rebecca Mansour on Breitbart News Tonight.
Mansour reflected on the VA’s failures while cautioning against deepening military involvement in Syria. She said, “This country is war weary and the folks like your family have borne the brunt and the weight of those wars and have come home and seen what happens to family members who just come home different. Our VA still isn’t even fixed. How about if we make a rule? Until our VA is completely fixed for our vets, until that happens, we’re not going into any more wars. We should make that the rule.”
Palin concurred, noting the rate of daily suicides by veterans, according to VA data. She stated, “That’s brilliant. It’s something that Todd talks about. He talks about this every day. There’s still more than 22 vets a day who are killing themselves. More than 22 vets a day have given up hope in assimilating back into society and making it again. The battles that they fight once they’re home are tremendous.”
Palin added, “It’s the VA’s job to figure this out and do something about it. It’s still very broken. The system is broken and the transition from combat back into society, that system is broken, because the decision-makers have never gone through transition. They’re lifers. They are career in bureaucracy, so they haven’t lived it. It’s those who have served and done their tie honorably who have come home who have the toughest time.”
While discussing the recent calls for increasing U.S. military operations in Syria, Palin spoke of the costs of war for military families.
“There has to be avoidance of the short-sighted decision-making,” she said. “It’s like that old saying, the old men call war and they send the young men to go fight them. No. I see what war does to an individual, to a family. I guess there’s a lot of humanity that I’m considering at this point.”
“America is the strongest fighting power on the globe, and we should be,” Palin said. “But being the strongest should create an environment of peace. That’s what Reagan used to preach.”
Palin has been a vocal advocate for veterans struggling with the transition into civilian life. She has spoken candidly about her family’s personal experience with the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) of her eldest son, Track Palin, a U.S. army veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Palin’s son-in-law, Dakota Meyer, is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in both Afghanistan and Iraq and is a Medal of Honor recipient.
President Donald Trump fired David Shukin from the VA’s secretaryship in late March.
A 2010 memorandum from the Deputy Undersecretary for Health for Operations and Management revealed varying methods being used by VA hospitals to cover up long wait times, including:
- Telling veterans to call back after 30 days so that they would not appear in the records as having waited longer than 30 days;
- Use of a manual logging system;
- Creation and cancellation of new patient visits, marking those cancellations as “cancelled by patient” rather than “cancelled by clinic.”
A 2017 report from the VA’s inspector general concluded that more than 100 veterans died while waiting for care at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (facility) hospital between October 2014 and August 2015.
Breitbart News Tonight broadcasts live Monday through Friday on SiriusXM’s Patriot channel 125 from 9:00 p.m. to midnight Eastern (6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Pacific).
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.