Caucus Countdown: Day 9

Repeal and Replace the VA? A dumb idea

Last week, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin linked her son, Track’s, recent domestic abuse arrest to his time spent serving in Iraq on behalf of the U.S. military. As such, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is now trending on social media.

According to David Maulsby, executive director of the nonprofit PTSD Foundation of America, PTSD is a factor in the 22 veteran suicides a day and feelings of worthlessness and isolation. Using the condition as an excuse for domestic assault has rightfully drawn the ire of America’s veterans.

There are many issues of interest to veterans’ groups in the 2016 election. Using PTSD as a platform to attack the Obama administration’s foreign policy is both questionable and irresponsible.

Instead of attacking the current administration in an attempt to jockey votes, veterans would be far better served by looking at the issues and developing solutions. The fate of the VA provides a good example. The VA is the largest integrated healthcare system in America, and has been racked with scandal this past year. While some on the right have suggested privatization as a means of fixing the issues, Hillary Clinton has voiced strong objection. The problems facing the VA are undeniably serious, but privatization will not provide a cure for the systemic issues facing the agency.

It is the responsibility of the American government to look after the physical and emotional well-being of the men and women who serve. Using PTSD as an excuse to justify abhorrent behavior and further the Republican agenda does nothing to help veterans and diverts lawmakers’ attention away from the real issues facing America’s heroes.