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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A pinstriped evangelist: V.A. Secretary Shinseki's advocacy for veterans

The New York Times wrote today that Eric "Shinseki has been criss-crossing the country as Pres. Obama's pinstriped evangelist for veterans' care, raising concerns about a coming tide of post-traumatic stress cases, traumatic brain juries and other physical and psychological scars of battle."

He says, "What's natural for me is trying to tell the story that soldiers need told. It's not my story, it's their story." Nonetheless, his own story of losing a part of his foot in combat in Vietnam is instructive. He says, "All of us who went through combat, we were carrying a little baggage from the experience, the stress."

A former general, Shinseki won notoriety by speaking truth to power, warning Pres. Bush of a shortage of American troops in Iraq. Now continuing to state the truth as he sees it, he has requested what would be the largest single-year increase in the budget of the Department of Veterans Affairs in 30 years.

Advice: Share this story with a vet, and remind them that help may be available if they want it.

Read a story about our veterans. Thanks to James Dao and Thom Shanker for the source story.

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