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Asleep at the switch: Obama and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki

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Everyone in the nation knew that the VA was a mess. The news was ripe with veteran stories about slow service and backlogs. Congress has known about it for more than one administration. However, Eric Shinseki was put in charge because he is a soldier’s soldier. The retired general embarked on his task to shape things up and he ran aground in the bureaucratic process that prevents heads from rolling. The Commander-in-Chief doesn’t need or want more bad news, so bureaucrats set up a system to cover up and disguise the backlog. That is when managers failed. Cheating the system isn’t right and that is something that Shinseki should have discovered right away.

Failing to manage is inexcusable and that goes right to the top. President Obama has a flawed management approach, and the VA is just one of many symptoms. Shinseki should resign.

“The inspector general at the Veterans Affairs Department says 26 VA facilities are being investigated nationwide, including the Phoenix hospital. That facility faces allegations that 40 people died while waiting for treatment and that staff kept a secret list of patients in order to hide delays in care.
The allegations have raised fresh concerns about the administration's management of a department that has been struggling to keep up with the influx of veterans returning home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama's comments Wednesday signaled a renewed commitment by the White House to rein in a deepening political problem in a midterm election year.

Addressing his remarks to veterans, Obama said, "We are going to fix whatever is wrong, and so long as I have the privilege of serving as commander in chief, I'm going to keep on fighting to deliver the care and the benefits and the opportunities that you and your families deserve, now and for decades to come."

However heartfelt, the comments did little to quell criticism of both the VA troubles and the president's own handling of the matter.”



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