The two bookends of the Bush-Cheney administration should be enough of a sign of what this administration left behind to haunt America for decades to come: 9/11 and the Great Recession. No, I'm not saying that Bush-Cheney were totally responsible for both tragedies, yet these events did occur while they were in charge of our government. It's true that Bush-Cheney and Condi Rice paid no heed to the warnings about a (potential) coming attack by terrorists on American soil. This crowd never gave any credibility to issues which the Clinton administration was involved. Although Osama bin Laden wasn't captured during his watch, he was at least on Clinton's radar. During the time of these warnings, in August 2001, George W. Bush was busy removing brush from his ranch in Crawford, Texas. I guess he liked giving the American public an image which reminded them of the Reagan years.
With 9/11 America had no choice but to go after those who attacked us. The great mistake made by Bush-Cheney, was taking our eye off that primary target, and invading Iraq. The end result of this blunder is that now, after thirteen years of war, we have somewhere around two million veterans crowding an already over-worked veterans administration. I say over-worked because of two other factors: the Vietnam veterans are entering retirement age which means as they age, their needs for medical attention will grow. Beyond this, our World War II veterans are entering the end years of their lives. This critical time in any life is a key driver of soaring medical costs. Just how much time, effort, energy and money should be given to extend what is already a life almost finished? The Bush-Cheney administration never could see the end results of their actions: killing Saddam Hussein uncorked what would become a civil war, the remnants of which Iraq is still dealing with.
The results of physical and mental wounds among tens of thousands of American veterans is overwhelming the Veterans Administration.Hopefully the scandal breaking in Phoenix is limited but it would be hard to believe other scandals affecting more hospitals is not occurring. If nothing else, our government should recruit(if necessary) the private medical system to take care of whatever attention our vets need: America owes them. The Great Recession depleted our available treasury so obviously money is tight, but funding our veterans healthcare system is mandatory. Management changes should also take place to rid this vital department of anyone too greedy or incompetent to make sure our veterans get the best service and care possible.