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Sep-05-2009 14:14printcomments

Jim Towey: 'VA Wants Wounded Warriors to Commit Suicide'

VA doctors and nurses said to be part of a "Suicide Plot" by GOP.

Jim Towey and George W. Bush
Jim Towey and George W. Bush

(CINCINNATI, Ohio) - How did the phony "death book" debate involving Veterans Affairs begin? Simple. Fox News owned Wall Street Journal published an op-ed piece by Jim Towey, former Bush coordinator of anti-abortion activities and political fixer.

Towey is now president of St. Vincent's College, though he has no experience of any kind as an educator.

Further, 80% of the faculty have called for his resignation for falsifying documents. It was Towey, in his WSJ editorial who continually mischaracterized VA attempts to inform patients of choices as an attempt to encourage Gulf War veterans to commit suicide.

The pamphlet itself, Your Life, Your Choices, is far from controversial. In fact it is, if anything, frighteningly conservative and mainstream.

The document is exhaustive in its addressing of faith based decision making. Every imaginable attempt was made to see to it that no group, no matter how "wingnut" or extreme, would find anything to complain about.

The result was a huge document, though extremely informative, that is too long for anyone to read or at least want to.

The real issue here is how far cheap politicians will go to stir up controversy, even if it involves attacking the credibility of the doctors and nurses at the VA, by far the best part of an institution with serious management problems.

In fact, Towey, himself, was much a part of the inner circle at the Bush administration responsible for the disasterous funding cuts and facility closings that required emergency legislation to correct.

Towey, himself, is a reprehensible character whose extremist Catholic views have, not only alienated many Catholics but have worked hard to destroy the educational institution that was pressured to take him on as a highly unqualified leader.

The role of GOP media giant, the flamboyant Australian, Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and a worldwide media empire in attacks on the Department of Veterans Affairs is curious.

Murdoch and Fox have been leaders in the misinformation campaign started by the insurance industry whose scare tactics have been marshalled to leave their corrupt and destructive strangle hold on America's medical industry untouched.

Photo: Gordon Duff/Veterans Today

An industry long famous for denying expensive treatments as "experimental" and advocating "pulling the plug" on critically ill patients as a cost control, now warns Americans that a government overseen health insurance program would even exceed the abuses the "for profit" groups have been famous for.

The victim of the current scare is the veteran.

Any veteran who seeks advice involving medical and legal decisions is now warned that his care provider and the doctors and nurses he has gone to for years are involved in a conspiracy to push him to suicide.

The real result will be dying patents with no wills, no clear directions to medical personnel and no reliable guidelines for family members as to their personal, financial or religious wishes.

We wish to thank Mr. Towey, Fox News and Michael Steele of the Republican Party for causing a real problem and real suffering where only solutions existed.

Is it really worth, not even chasing votes, but sucking up to bankers and insurance companies for huge donations when you have to attack the doctors and nurses of the VA and endanger America's veterans?

This isn't spin. This is what was really done. Was it worth it?

================================================
Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran and a regular contributor to Veterans Today. He specializes in political and social issues. You can see a large collection of Gordon's published articles at this link: VeteransToday.com.

He is an outspoken advocate for veterans and his powerful words have brought about change. Gordon is a lifelong PTSD sufferer from his war experiences and he is empathetic to the plight of today's veterans also suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to feature Gordon's timely and critical reports on Salem-News.com, a news organization staffed by a number of veterans, particularly former U.S. Marines.

You can send Gordon Duff an email at this address: Gpduf@aol.com




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Mike September 10, 2009 7:15 am (Pacific time)

Editor you made this comment: "As for the military, you ramble about Democrats being against Veterans when MOST of us who served are Democrats. Friend, it is your rhetoric and propaganda in support of angry white politics that fails to support people in uniform. You would have them all killed, what kind of a friend does that make you? " You are completely 180 degrees off on this one. Maybe the people you associate with are simpatico, which makes sense because most people tend to associate with those of similar perspectives. The reality is that there has never been any scientific poll that agrees with your assertion. As previously stated it is just the opposite. Bottom line we are all Americans, but most of the acrimony directed against active duty personnel and veterans comes from the left. If you have evidence that shows my assertion is incorrect could you please provide a link?

Editor: Mike, maybe it is the fact that I have only known one or two people from the left who would actively state any negativity toward the military.  Maybe it is the fact that the only people who actually take the time to say the other side doesn't support troops is yours.  Maybe it is because you are from the bully squad.  Whereas all of you from the right wing who supported the madness of George W. Bush actually have the blood of these wars on your hands.  You know and the rest of the world knows that Iraq is all about oil. 


100% September 9, 2009 8:25 am (Pacific time)

Bottom line is the Obama Administration is on record saying that they are revising (read "changing") their "end of life" questionaire that they reintroduced to the VA system. Obviously they got some heat and are responding, albeit very slowly. As a group, Veterans have the highest negative opinion of Obama, and they have numerous reasons for this assessment. Regardless of how you evaluate Obama, like or dislike, Veterans are a group that have been repeatedly disrespected by mostly democrats, like Durbin, Kerry ("not smart enough to stay out of Iraq...") and so many more. They have always adversely impacted morale, and since they will never get the larger share of the veteran vote they mouth the good things they do, but in reality they are essentially anti-military and anti-veteran. I saw how they treated us going back to the 60's and after the voting period was over, they would always go back to their under the radar disregard for veterans needs.

Editor: Here we go again, you think that the party that started the Iraq war WHICH NEVER SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED is somehow in a better position than this President who has nothing but the best intentions, so it seems.  Many people want to see the rich taxed the way they should be.  As for the military, you ramble about Democrats being against Veterans when MOST of us who served are Democrats.  Friend, it is your rhetoric and propaganda in support of angry white politics that fails to support people in uniform.  You would have them all killed, what kind of a friend does that make you?  


Mutt September 7, 2009 11:39 am (Pacific time)

The only factual- maybe- "news" contained in Stroms piece is that the Bush Admin would suspend something over "troubling moral quandries". Wilfully ignorant hysterics were whipped into a froth by chickenhawk radio, and Dems backed down. Coincidence, or business as usual?


Daniel September 6, 2009 1:11 pm (Pacific time)

I went to the va site to read , prometheus is correct there is a number of dates related to the publication from Clinton thru Bush to Obama . Jim you are incorrect the questionnaire was reprinted during the Bush administration not suspended , what is your source , its NOT the VA site . For myself I have a living will , I do not wish to be hooked up to a machine for life support if I am like a vegetable ! Please pull the plug , its not suicide, its just going with nature . My strong religious beliefs make me less attached to this body and more attached to my animating spirit that powers this mortal shell . What everyone else believe is up to them . I do not in any way think this document encourages suicide !


Mike Gregus September 6, 2009 8:16 am (Pacific time)

Planning for an end of life situation is always a good idea, but what the VA questionaire, referenced below, does is elicit thinking from veterans, many whom are in possible depressive states because of their medical condition, to consider ending their lives early rather than pursuing medical treatment and recovery convalesence. Best thing is to go read it yourself and try to put yourself in a disabled and depressed veterans mental state. It is horrible, and they even said they would revise it, but still have kept it up on the website and disburse it to veterans. I got a copy last week at the Portland VA to confirm that. So the Obama administration had to actually go and get the questionaire from storage (or printed new ones) and disburse it. Once again just read the questionaire to see why all the concern and uproar from veterans and others who care about are veterans.


Prometheus September 5, 2009 8:42 pm (Pacific time)

theplumline.whorunsgov.com/wp-content/uploads Nov. 5, 1990 The Patient Self Determination Act was passed by Congress codifying into law that all patients with decision-making capacity have the right to state their treatment preferences in advance, and it laid out the responsibility that recipients of Medicare and Medicaid funding have to ensure those wishes are followed. 1998 Your Life, Your Choices: Planning for Future Medical Decisions was published by the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Technical Information Service (PB#98159437) as a hard bound book. July 1998 VA published a national policy entitled ADVANCE HEALTH CARE PLANNING (Advance Directives) July 2003 VA reissued ADVANCE HEALTH CARE PLANNING (Advance Directives) December 2006 VA Form 10-0137, VA Advance Directive: Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and Living Will, was published by VA. Feb. 22, 2007 VHA published an update to VHA Handbook 1004.02, Advance Care Planning and Management of Advance Directives that included reference to the planned on-line interactive module of Your Life, Your Choices. ***** Also: http://americanveteranmagazine.blogspot.com/2009/08/vas-your-life-your-choices-non-issue.html


Jim Strom September 5, 2009 6:38 pm (Pacific time)

As a veteran I invite all to go to the VA website to see the real facts (it cannot be spun any other way) and observe what Obama reinstated on that website, which was negated by the previous administration, and even though he is getting heat from major veteran organizations he still has a multi-paged document that should have been taken down immediately. After President Barack Obama laughed at the notion of a “death panel pulling the plug on grandma” provision in healthcare reform, the Senate Committee axed the “end of life provision” in their version of the healthcare reform bill. Coincidence? Obama still wonders why the public is so silly as to be skeptical of his motives regarding end of life planning, despite his disturbing comments earlier this year about his own grandmother’s death: “the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill out here.” Now, Obama is making Americans even more nervous for grandma with the reinstatement of an end of life plan for vets called Your Life, Your Choices. The Department of Veteran’s Affairs National Center for Ethics Reform published the document under then President Bill Clinton in 1997 but it was suspended under President George W Bush’s administration for its troubling moral quandaries. The document gives veterans of the United States Military a questionnaire, among other things, to determine if their lives are still worth living. Obama just reinstated Your Life, Your Choices.

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