WASHINGTON – Even though President Obama has stated that a “boots on the ground” intervention is not an option in Syria, the 14,000 veterans of recent wars still awaiting disability claims from the Department of Veterans Affairs (DNVA) say they’re ready to head back into combat.
“I’m in a wheelchair, and I can only turn my head 70 degrees to the left, but I’d still rather be in active military duty in another country right now than be in the United States dealing with the DNVA,” stated one Iraq war veteran who has been waiting two years for a claim to process. “I’d probably see a doctor a lot quicker over there.”
The DNVA has been referred to as “mind-numbingly slow” in the past, but veterans have now gone so far as to accuse the DNVA of condemning them to a “gradual death.” All have gone on record to state that they prefer the sense of immediate gratification felt during wartime activities to the waiting game played at home.
The DNVA has been under heavy criticism for giving their employees millions of dollars in bonuses in the last two years for skirting paperwork documenting veterans’ injuries on more serious claims. Meanwhile, the claims process has backlogged 155%, and some veterans wait as long as five years for their claims to process.
“Given everything I’ve been hearing, war is really the only thing that makes sense right now,” said another veteran at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia. “Although,” he admitted while reloading his M-16 rifle, “that may just be my PTSD doing the talking.”
The department argues the bonuses were given to staff for “excellent” work on the millions of claims that have been filed during the last three years, but an investigation by News21 has found that three out of four appealed claims in 2012 were based on incomplete or false information. DNVA officials also admitted that they would not be able to catch up to where they need to be until the end of 2015.
“I can’t see at all,” said another veteran, who lost her sight during a tour in Afghanistan in 2008. “But I don’t need my eyes to see how amoral this situation with the DNVA really is. That being the case, maybe I don’t need eyes to pilot an Apache helicopter back into Tahrir Square.”