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Sunday, May 27, 2018
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Letters to the editor: Protect VA, veterans

Protect VA, veterans

The bipartisan deal to fund the VA $17 billion in order to hopefully calm the fires stemming from recent issues sounds great on the surface. Unfortunately, at the same time this tremendous amount of money rolls in, it could very easily open up the floodgates for massive fraud and abuse by less-than-ethical (so-called) private doctors who care more about getting rich by overbilling the VA for unnecessary services than offering our veterans top-notch health care.

An important fact to realize is that the physicians at the VA are board-certified, very caring and have the means of electronic communication for all veterans’ past and present medical issues. This may not be the case if a veteran is just given a card that allows him or her to go wherever they see a sign that states “Veterans Insurance Taken Here.”

Other than writing a massive check, there has been no discussion of any oversight that would be included to protect the VA and, more importantly, our veterans from scam artists and manipulators of our massive veterans’ health system.

As a veteran who receives excellent care from my Tampa VA, I suggest that before the billions are spent the VA needs to first create a list of qualified, board-certified physicians who are pre-approved and vetted by the VA and offer only these doctors for our veterans to choose from. From my personal experience, the health professionals at the VA do an excellent job. Let’s don’t just throw money onto the fire in order to keep grandstanding politicians and the media satisfied.

Mike Merino


Congressional money dump

Regarding the VA: Why am I not surprised about this? The federal government’s way of handling problems is to throw money at them and hope they go away. This is nothing more than a “feel-good” measure to brush the VA scandal under the rug. Of course, we have to borrow these funds to give to an agency that has had its budget increased significantly every year since 2009. In 2009, the budget was $97.7 billion, and in 2014 it is $153.8 billion. Does Congress really believe that another $17 billion is going to alleviate wait times and help veterans get better service by hiring more doctors, nurses and health care personnel to accomplish this?

This agency has over 300,000 employees, and a number of them receive large salaries, perks and were also given bonuses for doing a bad job. The VA scandal is still there, and more dollars are not going to clear up the basic problem with this giant agency: bureaucratic corruption. Corruption usually stems from too much money, not too little. In fact, this latest money dump from Congress will probably just add to it.

Nancy Schumann


‘A farce’

Regarding “Not one-sided” (Your Views, July 29): Shmuel Katz, a South African native who emigrated to Israel in the 1930s, served in the Irgun (The National Military Organization in the Land of Israel) and later held a seat in Israel’s First Knesset, wrote at length about this very topic in his 1973 “Battleground: Fact & Fantasy in Palestine:” “The notion that Arabs were forcibly displaced from Palestine and made refugees is a farce.” Katz made his argument largely based upon the words of the Western media and Arab leaders themselves during the time of Israel’s founding.

He wrote: “The Arabs are the only declared refugees who became refugees not by the action of their enemies or because of well-grounded fear of their enemies, but by the initiative of their own leaders. For nearly a generation, those leaders have willfully kept as many people as they possibly could in degenerating squalor, preventing their rehabilitation, and holding out to all of them the hope of return and of ‘vengeance’ on the Jews of Israel, to whom they have transferred the blame for their plight.”

The U.S. has sent the PLO billions to assist them in building an infrastructure, but their leaders stole the money for personal use. The Israelis have always kept their promise in any truce or cease-fire; the Palestinians in Gaza (run by their elected Hamas leaders) refuse to stop firing their Iran-provided missiles on the Israeli people.

The Palestinians want to destroy Israel, and don’t think for a moment that they have any better plans for the USA.

Tom Peterson

Apollo Beach

Stand behind Israel

The Palestinian question is not only “Not one-sided,” it is also not as simplistic as Tom Whalen purports, and he is wrong about the U.N. vote for partition. Palestine has alternatively been ruled by the Turks, the Egyptians and the British, etc., since the 1800s. It has never been ruled by the Palestinians, and the Israelites had only temporary rights by conquest. There have been Jewish Palestinians and Muslim Palestinians for centuries. In addition, these two groups have been fighting over rights and other issues in Palestine since the early 1900s.

The U.N. did vote on Nov. 29, 1947, to partition Palestine into two states; the vote was 33 to 13. Whalen needs to check his facts. On Nov. 30, the Arabs began an attack.

The Arabs have never acknowledged the State of Israel and instead of building their own state they continue to try to destroy Israel.

The U.S. needs to stand squarely behind the Israelis and let the Arab world know that Israel is here to stay.

Terry A. Larson


Weather Center