Battle For Vet Votes Ignites War of Big Promises; Obama to Order Immediate VA Fixes Friday

Republican candidate for president, Mitt Romney, said President Barack Obama is responsible for a long list of problems impacting the current generation of veterans who are struggling at home after war duty. “The backlog for disability claims has doubled on his watch. There are now close to one million claims waiting to be processed. Veterans face unconscionable waits for mental health treatment. Every day, 18 servicemen and veterans take their own lives – an unspeakable and unacceptable tragedy,” Romney said during a speech to veterans in Indiana Aug. 29. Obama is poised to counter Romney Friday at Fort Bliss where he will announce significant remedies to help struggling veterans; many are suffering from ‘unseen’ wounds such as PSTD and TBI. Obama is pictured above at the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War ceremonies May 28, 2012 at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. (DoD)

Obama to Order VA to Add Staff, See Suicidal Vets Within 24 Hours

by Megan McCloskey
Stars & Stripes, Aug. 30, 2012

BLOGBACK: It must be noted that neither the president or Mitt Romney have ever served in the military. None of Romney’s five sons — Taggart, Matthew, Joshua, Benjamin and Craig — have ever served in the military; they all did serve as Mormon missionaries though. It is unlikely Obama’s daughters — Malia and Sasha — will serve in uniform; though it remains to be seen as both are too young. It seriously leaves to question whether either man would have devoted such a level of attention to challenges impacting veterans and service members had they not been in competition for their 23 million votes. The current epidemic of suicides and the 907,000 backlogged VA benefits claims are certainly troubling when considering the president’s record on veterans’ issues. Suicides and backlogged claims have both increased greatly during Obama’s presidency with little or no intervention as commander-in-chief.

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will sign an executive order Friday directing the Department of Veterans Affairs to expand mental health services and suicide prevention efforts.

The president will make the announcement in a speech to troops at Fort Bliss, Texas, where he’ll also hold a roundtable with soldiers and their families. 

Much of what’s outlined in the executive order are initiatives that were previously announced earlier this summer by the VA.

Obama is instructing the VA to ensure that any veteran with suicidal thoughts is seen by a mental health professional within 24 hours — a standard already set for the VA, but which the department often fails to meet.

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