Veterans have been betrayed by the V.A. It’s time for the nation to support its heroes

    What will it take to force the nation to live up to its end of the bargain we’ve made with our veterans, who everyone agrees are heroes?

    Everyone agrees. They are all heroes. Our all-volunteer military is the pride of the nation. They fight when and where they’re told. They let others argue about whether a particular war is justified or a foolhardy, crackpot misuse of our nation’s military.

    Until they come home, that is. Then, apparently, the Veterans Administration feels it’s OK to treat them like garbage. Long waits to see doctors that have resulted in some 40 deaths, top secret lists of actual wait times — top secret lest the public find out and turn its rath on the V.A. But V.A. scandals are nothing new. They go back to the Harding administration. Most recently, in 2007, The Washington Post reported scandalous conditions at Walter Reed Hospital: patient neglect, shoddy conditions, disengaged clerks, overworked managers. The public was aroused, and several high-ranking officers resigned.

    Now the public is aroused again, and there will be resignations. But the question remains: What will it take to force the nation to live up to its end of the bargain we’ve made with our nation’s heroes.

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