Every vet is different: The first part of your feature about a local vet who died of neglect at Miami's VA hospital is very nicely written ("Hell on the Home Front, Part 1," Michael E. Miller, July 24), but there's more going on than the unfortunate death of one veteran at one VA hospital. The whole VA system is broken, but while the problem manifests at the street level, the cause and the fault are at the highest level, particularly a Congress that underfunds and micromanages programs about which it has insufficient information. They also deserve blame for putting our young men and women in harm's way under false pretenses.
Before Iraq, the American public had no particular knowledge or interest in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Only after abolishing the draft and creating a "professional" military has that syndrome come to everyone's attention. We throw a lot of money, therapy, and way too many drugs at the problem. Consider how we handled WWI and WWII, when a drafted military stayed in uniform as long as it took to win the war.
Reader Mail: Florida Deserves Medical Marijuana
My parents and especially my father-in-law served in WWII. My in-law was in Africa, Italy, and elsewhere in Europe for more than five years. He experienced as much or more horror than the young man in this story. He survived but never spoke of his in-combat experience. My point is not to downgrade any current vet's experiences. It is to bring a bit more perspective to what is going on now. If you really care about veterans, you will elect a Congress that truly cares about our military personnel, not about making war contractors rich or cheap-siding the VA budget for caregivers of our broken soldiers. Smeeveo
The VA isn't all bad: The tragic story of Nick Cutter and other vets who have suffered neglect and loss on the VA front is not representative of the vast majority who benefit from the VA care they receive. The reporting of uncovered incidents within the VA has gone too far in causing a negative reflection upon the total service the VA provides to tens of thousands of vets.
While incidents like Nick's and recent events concerning the scheduling manipulations by administrative personnel at some facilities point to problems that affect some aspects of managing the administration of care, the medical side of the coin is not the major factor in these incidents. I am one of many, many vets who are thankful for the dedicated care that has been our experience at VA facilities, which compose one of the largest medical-services networks in the world, which, for the most part, has been effectively managed by the government. I have received care at Miami's VA facility and at Cincinnati's VA Medical Center, where the combined efforts of the doctors, nurses, and technicians have saved my life, examining, diagnosing, and successfully treating malignant melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, fatal more than 60 percent of the time. And I, as well as all other vets, continue to receive excellent and punctual follow-up treatment for this cancer.
It is a mistake to believe that any system as large and widely distributed as the VA health-care system will be free of errors or even abuses in some aspects of its operation, especially under circumstances where the consequences of wars were not a factor in the poor decisions of the Bush administration to engage in Iraq. There are many vets who, like myself, are thankful for the work they have done and will continue to do for us. Kantzler
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Marijuana for Kids
The Bible is all about weed: The tale of parents going to great lengths to get their kids the medical marijuana they need for epilepsy ("Weed Moms," Allie Conti, July 24) is a reminder that it's time for all of us to start doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. None of us would want our kids put in jail over a little marijuana. None of us would want the police to confiscate and sell our parents' home because they grew a couple of plants to help with the aches and pains of growing old. Let's start treating other people the way we would want to be treated. Conservative Christia
Don't trust the government: There are more than 60 known cannabinoids in cannabis, and our Republican politicians believe just the one found in the so-called Charlotte's Web strain is all the public needs? Do you trust the government to decide on your health? Freedom Palm Bay
How's this for comparison?: Imagine a world in which wine is legal as long as it's made only from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grown only in a greenhouse using only filtered water from artesian wells drilled to a depth of 300 to 352 feet and transported on TWA cargo planes flown at a maximum altitude of 29,000 feet. That's essentially what we're dealing with when it comes to Charlotte's Web. Billy Bob Merkowitz