The real cause of the Irish famine was the greed of the absentee landlords in London who continued to export all the food out of Ireland, leaving their tenants to starve to death. The population of Ireland shrank from eight million to five million in one generation. In honor of Swift’s satirical solution, I have a modest proposal of my own: On Memorial Day, we should simply round up all the American veterans and just shoot them. It would be kinder than what we are doing to them now, and it would certainly help our fiscal crisis. Think of it as a form of permanent sequester. The Audacity of the Veterans The veterans were once a highly skilled military population, but most of them are now too old to be of further use. Indeed, some cannot defend themselves anymore, let alone the country. These elderly veterans, especially the disabled ones, consume a significant amount of health services and pensions provided by the government.
The veterans seem to feel they are somehow entitled to these tax expenditures without providing a sufficient source of tax revenue for the state. To make matters worse, the veterans continue to sue the hand that feeds them, alleging that the government mistreats them with substandard medical care. They will not get away with such effrontery. In the case of Feres v. United States, one impudent veteran whined that he was the victim of malpractice by Army doctors during WWII. His lawyer had the cheek to wave in front of the jury a ten-inch surgical towel with the words “Army Medical Corps” imprinted on it, which through some minor oversight on the part of the surgeon, was left to rot inside the soldier’s abdomen during an operation. It did not seem to matter one whit to the jury that the beneficent US government provided a second operation, free of charge, to the veteran, to remove the rotted towel. Fortunately, the Supreme Court took the side of the taxpayers in the Feres case.
It astounds me that any of them would not be satisfied with $700 a month in exchange for losing 50 percent of their physical ability to earn a living. After all, most of them were enlisted men anyway. Alternative Measures For those of you opposed to shooting veterans on sentimental grounds, I suggest that you at least consider extending the Feres doctrine to follow the soldier after he leaves active duty and hobbles back to civilian life as a veteran. It seems only fair that the doctors and bureaucrats of the VA be afforded the right to commit malpractice with equal impunity as their military medical peers. If medical malpractice is good discipline for soldiers on active duty, so should it be for veterans. It should be a matter of equal rights for all doctors, regardless of competence. To be sure, VA medical malpractice will eventually solve the veteran problem for us, by attrition.
The Future Veterans Big Pharma successfully lobbied the first Bush administration to keep a lid on it. The VA dutifully denied that there was any such thing as Gulf War Syndrome. To this day, soldiers are still given the anti-anthrax pill and are court-martialed if they protest. As our kids come home from Afghanistan, they too are killing themselves in record numbers. As with soldiers on active duty, the rate of veterans committing suicide is increasing at an astronomical rate. One should not be surprised. What do they really have to look forward to anyway? The VA system is so overcrowded as to constitute malpractice per se. We have one doctor for 7,500 patients in the sleep apnea clinic at the Bay Pines Hospital. The VA is supposed to be exempt from sequestering, but the bureaucrats are such yes-men. They put a freeze on hiring mental health workers just as the suicide rate went soaring. VA headquarters actually sent out a memo complaining that the VA hospitals were finding “too many” cases of traumatic brain injury to fit the budget. How sad for our brain-injured soldiers coming home. They have done their job as guinea pigs. Really, wouldn’t it be kinder just to shoot them?