Robert Bateman believes that the above exchange shows “what ‘Congressional Oversight’ is supposed to be about”:
Tammy Duckworth, who lost both legs and had her arm sewn back on, mostly, lays it down. A businessman is called out. It seems his company got something like $500 million in contracts from the government, primarily because his company was a “small business, disabled veteran owned.” His disability? When he was in prep-school, he twisted his ankle playing football. The prep school was the one at Monmouth, which is the feeder for West Point, but if you come in from civilian life, it has no military obligation at all. …
Representative Duckworth, who knows something about sacrifice to your nation, tears this man a new orifice. And I, for one, would ask that everyone, regardless of politics, forward the clip. This man, and those like him, hurt us.
RedState’s streiff blames the system, not Braulio Castillo:
Stipulated: the VA system is broken. Stipulated: an industry exists to help veterans get a VA awarded service connected disability rating. Stipulated: the military services are a part of that system. Regardless of what “Doctor” Duckworth might think of Mr. Castillo’s injuries, the facts are that he applied for the disability rating and the VA granted him that rating.
Marc Herman attempts to sort out why Castillo’s VA disability rating is higher than Duckworth’s:
How did Duckworth’s terrible injuries—she was hit with a rocket-propelled grenade—justify a lower VA disability benefit than Castillo’s old football knock? Well, the GAO has looked into how the VA assigns disability ratings several times over the past few decades, most recently late last year. It found the system to be pretty much a disaster, which is significant in a country where 2.4 million people have served in conflicts over the past decade-plus. Duckworth notes that the average wait for a disabled soldier to get a VA review of his or her injury is nearly nine months. … As long ago as 1988, the GAO looked into the matter, and found that the disability assessment system hadn’t been broadly updated since 1945. …
What sort of conditions might have shown up in a medical chart after 1945 but not before? Anything they’d invented by the time of the Vietnam war, say. Helicopters, for example. Or Agent Orange.