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VETERANS

WAKE-UP!

GET MAD!

TAKE ACTION!

For further information, please contact me at the following address or phone.

George H. Lymburn

1225 Taylor Street #403

San Francisco, CA 94108

[415] 921 1225

June 1995

B24PILOT@aol.com

During World War II, American POWS were experimented on by the Japanese germ

warfare Unit 731. The U. S. military knows this to be a fact and refuses to admit it. The

Veterans Administration has denied all veteran's claims. The prisoners of war have endured chronic illness's, and their children have suffered debilitating physical symptoms. But bad news is coming for the U. S. government, including the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs. The surviving Japanese members have published a booklet called The Truth About Unit 731. The book tells the truth about administering anthrax, typhoid, tetanus, beriberi, dysentery, plague to American POWS. Will this book in any way change the attitude of the United States? The Pentagon? The VA? Congress? If history provides a clue, one would either have to be terribly naive, or downright stupid to think so. Hell is Paved With Good Intentions

In the early 1930s, the Veterans of World War I marched to Washington D.C. to collect a promised bonus. Determined to persevere, they erected a flimsy Veterans City. Theypresented their case to the United States Congress and were resolved to wait out their petition. President Hoover tolerated their presence. Against Hoover's orders, General MacArthur burned the shelters and tents, driving out the Veterans and their wives and children. As the fire was lighting up the evening sky, the men who made up the U. S. Congress voted against the veterans bonus then sneaked out a side exit of the Congressional Building. To the Veterans who fought and survived this first World War: a promise was going up in flames. In 1933, a new Congress and Administration were voted in and established the Veterans Administration.

Today, some sixty years later, this agency, now called the Department of Veterans Affairs, is a model of a hopeful dream turned into a most horrible and reoccurring nightmare.

Senators and Congressmen are still tip-toeing out their secret exits. And if one was to go back over five decades, they would be unable to find the word "Veteran" mentioned by any President while making a State of the Union address. This long drought was only recently broken.

The result of this avoidance has created an cluster of agencies so unresponsive, so inert, and on the occasion so hostile to disabled veterans as to create for these men and women a second war. Todays Veterans are losing this war. They are losing this contemporary battle because of the tactics of these government agencies: Delay and Deny.

D-Day Ceremonies - 1944

June 6, 1944, D-Day, was called by one observer as the single most significant day in our century. In the following series of battles fought to liberate Europe, 400,000 American soldiers would be killed. By V.E. Day on May of 1945, 40,000,000 people would die in that devastating war. And instead of numbers, think of fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers. But on that one day, June 6, 1944, what had been a group of ordinary young men overcame the skillful power of the German military and established a beachhead on the coast of France. Should you talk to the survivors now, they would convince you that they were only doing their job. And should you become aware of the current treatment of these combat veterans, you would be shocked and outraged.

Todays Battle: Veterans Against the U. S. Government

On June 6, 1944, the men in the invading forces had to face the German machine guns,

mortars, and cannons. Today, the Disabled Veterans of that war are fighting a United

States Fortress. Huddled inside that fortress are the White House, the Congress, the

Pentagon and the Veterans Administration. The weapons these veterans now face are

indifference, incompetence and inertia. And due to these weapons, veterans, with their

disability claims clutched in their hands, are slain as surely as if they had been killed by an enemy sniper.

Gingrich and the Handless Veteran

In November, 1990, the men and women in our armed forces were being sent oversea's to fight in the Gulf War. During that fall session of Congress, Representative Newt Gingrich, with missionary zeal, convinced the house to deny the Disabled American Veterans a cost of living increase. Veterans - No. Then, in that same session of congress, he persuaded his fellow representatives that they really deserve a $32,000 annual pay increase. Politicians -

Yes. Anyone who has seen the picture "The Best Years of Our Lives" will recall the

moving performance of Harold Russell, the veteran who lost both his hands during the

war. Recently Mr. Russell had to place his well-deserved Oscar on the auction block to

provide for his wife a needed measure of financial Security. picture two men. There is

Gingrich, the civilian politician, who has not spent a single day in uniform, a single hour

oversea's, nor a single minute in combat, cutting Disabled Veterans benefits. What kind

of a mind must reside in a man who would have a veteran like Mr. Harold Russell live

on a cut pension?

The United States Fortress: Indifference, Incompetence, Inertia

The disgraceful treatment of veterans has a long history. In 1947, the Navy dropped

atomic bombs Able and Baker during Operation Crossroads. Thousands of sailors were

exposed to massive doses of radiation. The Navy marked these files secret and stored them in the bottom of the Pentagon. Years later, these veterans started coming to the Veterans Administration with various types of cancer. They filed disability claims. "Denied." One by one, these veterans perished during the 1970s and early 1980s. They left behind wives and, in many cases, children born with birth defects. Following the Vietnam War the issue was Agent Orange, but the request for disability remained the same. "Denied." More recently, it was the veterans of the Gulf War and the claim of chemical poisoning. "Not so." testified the military doctors, who had spent the war in Washington D.C.. Yet recently, the General Accounting Office condemned the Pentagon for  failure to investigate the tragic consequences of this toxic poisoning. "Their approach is to avoid the question," stated Major Richard Haines, Gulf War Veteran. Sound Familiar? Fortress tactics: indifference, incompetence and inertia.

The White House: The Disgrace Starts Here

Date: 1964. President Lyndon Johnson lies about our ships being fired upon in the Gulf of Tonkin. He passes the Tonkin Resolution through a passive and unquestioning congress.  History reveals that the Joint Chiefs of Staff never had a plan to win that war. Question: Why not?

Date: 1983. President Reagan sends a contingent of Marines to Beirut on a peacekeeping mission. Four days later a terrorist drives a truck unchallenged into the marine barracks to bring the lives of two hundred and twenty-nine Marines to a sudden and violent ending.

Where was Reagan when this tragedy was taking place? Why, he was at the Augusta

Country Club enjoying a carefree round of golf.

Date: 1991. The Gulf War is over. The troops are coming home. Dead veterans, in their

flag draped coffins, are scheduled to arrive at Dover Air Force Base. Does President Bush call for the Marine Color Guard and representatives from the Armed Forces to be present at a ceremony? Does he invite the surviving family members to this ceremony so he can personally honor these soldiers who have died following his orders? No. He closes the Dover Base to the national media. The dead veterans homecoming is greeted with silence.

Does the media make an outcry regarding this abusive violation of the First Amendment? Of course not. And more about that later.

Date: 1994. The troupes are returning from Somalia. Are they received by President

Clinton? No. He is attending a series of basketball games. He told the troupes in Kuwait tobuy Christmas presents, implying they would be home at that time. Were they? What do all these actions have in common? The President can readily send men and women oversea's with a heroic gesture, waving flags and be encouraged by a media blitz. When these combat veterans return home they are set aside, ignored. Since that message circulates within the U. S. Fortress, you may readily understand why the legitimate claims of disabled veterans are constantly met with indifference, incompetence and inertia.

MacNeil/Lehrer and the Sound of Silence

During the Gulf War, we witnesses a steady parade of what became known as the "Rent a General" contingent. The same visual and editorial emphasis was made during the opening moves at Somalia, Rowanda, Haiti. Heard anything since then? Any coverage of returning veterans? The newspapers, magazines, TV, including the major channels, C-Span, NPR, and all the rest have one thing in common, a complete blackout regarding veterans.

Do they think the public is not interested in how the American veterans of Bataan survived four years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp? Well, there's a current story of the wives of veterans from the Gulf War giving birth to abnormal children. The Pentagon denies any connection to the chemical exposure experienced by the veterans.

And there are hundreds of cases where veterans have received improper care in VA

Hospitals. For decades they have been attempting to be properly compensated for this care.

Did the VA or the Pentagon step up and say - yes, your claim is just and you will be

compensated? Did the Congress or the President say - this unjust procedure must stop?

No, to achieve justice these disabled veterans finally achieved justice by a 1994 ruling from the Supreme Court!

The war in Yugoslavia as been going on for two and a half years now. Thousands of

pictures. Millions of words. Yet I am willing to state that an equal number of World War II veterans have died during that same period of time as have the combatants and civilians in that foreign country. Who will speak for our veterans? The President? The Congress? Possibly the Senate? The Media: TV, Newspapers, Weekly Publications? Not if they remain faithful to their history.

Old Soldiers: It's Not True That We Just Fade Away...We Die.

General Doolittle, the last surviving general of World War II, died within this past year.

The image of the soldiers putting up the flag on Iwo Jima is familiar to us all. Three of

those six men died in combat. The last man, John Bradley, died this year. John "Red"

Morgan, the first pilot to be awarded the Medal of Honor during WW II also died within

the year. Novelist James Clavell, held as a POW in Japan, recently joined this group. As I look at the "Taps" pages in the POW Bulletin, the list of names grows longer and longer.

In the case of our crew of ten men, five are alive . Three died in their forties, due to the effects of having been a prisoner of war. Of the five survivors, one has had by-pass surgeryand the other three have cancer. Of the 160,000 men who were prisoners of war during World War II, it is estimated that only 40,000 are still alive. But these veterans now range in age from 70 to 85. Many are only now beginning to experience the debilitating effects of  their prolonged internment. Today, they submit a disability claim. The waiting starts. One Year. Two years. An appeal. Three years. Four years. Will they live long enough to experience justice?

Department of Veterans Affairs: The Veteran's Enemy

The Department of Veterans Affairs says that four years ago the backlog of pending claims was 377,000. By the end of fiscal 1995, the DVA estimates it could hit 870,000. This deterioration was inevitable. Go back over three decades and read the political acceptance speeches made by Presidential candidates. You will read thousands and thousands of words. One word you will not see, however, is the word "Veteran." We were heartened by the appointment of Mr. Jesse Brown as Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Yet what can Mr. Brown do when the President submits and Congress approves a budget that cuts 622 staff members from Veterans Administration's current budget?

Fellow Veterans: "Do not Go Gentle Into That Good Night..."

On D-Day, 1944, invading soldiers had to take extreme measures to take ground, hold it

and press on. In this day, similar tactics are needed to penetrate the United Stated Fortress. World War II veterans - we won the war in Europe and the Far East. Germany and Japan were formidable enemies. We emerged victorious. The United States has always responded to our citizens who have been plunged into a crisis. Whether it's from floods or earthquakes or hurricanes the necessary aid has been forthcoming. As a nation, we have also spent billions on the care and feeding and instant billions of loans to foreign countries. This prolonged and critical crisis is here at home. The suffering are the Disabled Veterans who fought as combat soldiers in the war. Fifty years ago, they had to assault the German positions on the coast of France.

Today, these Veterans need to assault the U. S Fortress. And today, the best weapon is a letter to the U. S. Senate. It would only take one Senator presently insulated in that fortress to take an honest look at what is really happening to the Disabled Veterans of America to be at first appalled and then outraged. First that individual needs to look over the wall of the fortress and view the thousands of Disabled Veterans with requests for treatment or disability who are courageously fighting against the unjust tactics of deny and Delay.

I encourage my fellow veterans write and tell your story. I suggest the survivors of

veterans, the widows and sons and daughters, forward their experience. Tell how the

Veteran you know would hopefully check the mailbox for some word from the Veterans

Administration. and be silent in his disappointment. And in a tragic number of cases, go

to his grave with this issue unresolved. Of the 1500 prisoners of war who were so

brutally and inhumanly treated at the Mukden Camp' only 200 are still alive. Can we

afford to wait? Is not our inertia another form of torture to those who have survived? Go

to your local library. Duplicate the list of all the Senators. This is not a state issue, but a national one. Fire off the letter that will serve as a weapon of truth. Send your letters to each and every Senator in the United States Congress. Trust that one Senator will look past the fortress and into the injustice of this issue. Let a single Senator rise up and say.........."Enough. Let us end this national disgrace."Veterans: ".Rage-Rage- Against The Dying of the Light."

A Personal Account: Similar to The Experience of Many

When I returned home after being 14 months as a POW, I was awarded a 30% disability

for the trauma I experienced when the B-24 bomber I was piloting was shot down over

Berlin, my negative experience as a Prisoner of War, and the difficulty I was having in

my attempt to live a normal post-war life. An additional 10% and the Purple Heart was

awarded for a wound received in combat. As with many other veterans of my generation,

I attended college, married, and started a career. I had two sons, Bruce and Glenn. On

September 7, 1976, my son Glenn was in the Army and on peace-time maneuvers in

Germany. As an observer, he was seated on top of a personnel carrier. A U.S. tank

came down the road in back of him, swung its cannon around, struck him in the head and

crushed his skull. He was killed instantly. There is no way I can describe the effect the

loss of that precious life had on his family and friends. During the ensuing years, I did the best I could. My company went bankrupt. Work attempts failed. Finally, In March of 1987, I went to the Veterans Administration with the intention of gaining assistance and increasing my 30% disability. I had an evaluation by a Dr. John Stoddart at the V.A.. Upon his recommendation, my disability was cut from 30 % to 10%. "How could they do that!" is the usual response when I relate that story. Appropriate question. I filed an appeal.

"Denied". I filed another appeal. The years grind away. I was 63 years old when I filed my claim. I am now 71. And, eight years later, this issue is still unresolved.