Wednesday, May 18, 2011
DoD embarrasses at Senate hearing
Today the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee held a hearing. It's one of two parts. They're exploring what happens as a service member becomes a veteran, how is the care effected, how easily and quickly are the resources accessed.
Next Wednesday, they hear from veterans. This morning they heard from the Defense Department represented by Deputy Secretary William Lynn and from the Veterans Affairs Department represented by Deputy Secretary W. Scott Gould.
It was a shambles.
The VA should be worried about that but take comfort in the fact that Lynn was such a disaster most didn't even notice Gould. Lynn not only called Patty Murray "Mister Chairman" (as C.I. documents in the snapshot), he was unable to answer questions directly.
At one point (this exchange is in the snapshot), he not only stammered and half-sentenced but he reminded me of just how biased Saturday Night Live is. They mocked the way Sarah Palin spoke, remember?
What was the point of that?
Lynn is an official with DoD. If anyone deserves mocking, it's him. (When you read his start and stop and find a new sentence approach in the snapshot below, you'll see what I mean.) But Saturday Night Live is politics for those who don't follow them. There is nothing smart (or fair) about the show.
If there was, they might be able to get on the ball with regards to what's going on with veterans care. Some skits and mocking on that could actually help people. So SNL will continue to be of little to no value (except as teacher's pet and brown noser).
Lynn was completely unprepared. Gould was able to at least twice stick him with the blame, leave him holding the bag, in the hearing because Lynn was so uninformed. Despite claiming that he'd done "a comprehensive review" before showing up for today's hearing.
Lynn spent most of the hearing repeating questions as sentences to eat up time and pretend like he had answered a question. Hey, I was stoned all senior year in high school (it was the sixties!) and I gave -- and heard others give -- more complete answers in oral pop quizes.
Talk about b.s.ing and just trying to get through a hearing.
At one point, Chair Patty Murray noted her disappointment with the level of information the Committee was getting. Senator Jon Tester also expressed disappointment.
And what kind of a witness is Lynn?
Every hearing, Tester brings up Montana and rural needs. That's his state. He doesn't duck out of the meetings and miss questions. So any witness going before the Committee should bone up on the Montana issues and probably have a Montana anecdote ready.
Tester noted that Native Americans serve in the armed forces at a higher number than any other ethnic or racial group. I did not know that. I found that interesting and told myself I'd include it here.
Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"