Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that he will not resign in the wake of his department being accused of deadly delays in health care at some of its hospitals.It is both incomprehensible and difficult to believe that President Obama - over the course of the last several years, while he was feigning empathy for the plight of military veterans - was incognizant of the widespread scandalous behaviors that were taking place inside the VA, and that he was unaware of all the unwarranted and unnecessary deaths.
"I serve at the pleasure of the president," Shinseki told the newspaper when asked whether he would step down...
The White House stood its ground when asked whether Shinseki will continue to lead the department...
"The President remains confident in Secretary Shinseki's ability to lead the department and take appropriate action," [press secretary] Jay Carney said [on Thursday], repeating the White House response this week to two veterans groups' calls for Shinseki's ouster...
On Monday, the nation's largest veteran organization, the American Legion, and another veterans group, Concerned Veterans for America, called for Shinseki's resignation.
The calls came after months of CNN reporting on U.S. veterans who have died awaiting care at VA hospitals across the country, including in Phoenix...
CNN has been reporting on delays in care and patient deaths at VA hospitals for the past six months, including at hospitals in South Carolina, Georgia and Texas.
After CNN's coverage, the VA acknowledged in April that 23 veterans had died as a result of delayed care in recent years, but sources tell CNN that number could be much higher.
In an exclusive report two weeks ago, CNN interviewed a retired VA doctor from Phoenix who charged that more than 40 American veterans have died waiting for care at the VA hospital there.
Throughout the network's reporting, CNN has submitted numerous requests for an interview with Shinseki, but in the six months that CNN has been reporting on the delays, Shinseki has yet to speak to CNN.
CNN is not alone in getting virtually no response from VA officials.
U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller of Florida, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, issued this statement late Monday: "For nearly a year, we have been pleading with top department leaders and President Obama to take immediate steps to stop the growing pattern of preventable veteran deaths and hold accountable any and all VA employees who have allowed patients to slip through the cracks.
"In response, we've received disturbing silence from the White House and one excuse after another from VA."
Moreover, Rep. Miller stated that, for nearly a year, he pleaded with Obama to address the issue, but apparently the President already had too much on his plate - various fundraisers etc. - hence he could not find the time to deal with all these unnecessary deaths.
"The President remains confident in Secretary Shinseki's ability to lead the department and take appropriate action," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Thursday. Nevertheless, I can assure the President and Mr. Carney that the scores of military veterans who have died as a result of the scandalous behavior that has permeated the VA, do not share the President's confidence in Mr. Shinseki. Moreover, I do not believe that Mr. Obama shares his own [feigned] confidence in Mr. Shinseki, but rather, the President is supporting the VA Secretary because the latter was an Obama appointee who was tapped to lead the VA partially because he was perceived as someone who, while serving as Army Chief of Staff, did not see eye-to-eye with the Bush administration.
Hence, while Obama undoubtedly realizes that Shinseki has been an irresponsible and egregious Veterans Affairs Secretary, he will continue to support the latter because..., well, because in Obama's world, politics - and arrogance - supersedes all other matters, including matters of life and death.
The American Legion is right to call for Shinseki's resignation. However, the indifference that the President has shown to the veterans' plight, the inaction and the lack of response to the various pleas he has received to address the aforementioned problem, I believe, is also cause for Obama's resignation.
Of course, that will never happen. But I can assure you that the President, long ago, was fully aware of the VA scandal.
On the flip side, with all that was on Obama's plate - the countless fundraisers, golf outings etc. - can you really blame him for being derelict in his duties?
"But military veterans died as a result of Obama's dereliction of duty," you ask indignantly!?
True, but "What difference does it make!!?"......