Summary of address given to Portland, Oregon School Board, January 14, 2002
I appreciate the opportunity to present this vital information to this Board, regarding the proposed reintroduction of military recruiters into our High Schools, as required by the Education Bill recently signed into law by President Bush, which links continuing receipt of federal school funding dollars to recruiting in the High Schools.
While VDP believes that military service is a duty of citizenship, we also believe that Uncle Sam has a CONTRACTUAL DUTY of FULL DISCLOSURE to warn our America's patriotic youngsters during the recruiting/enlistment CONTRACT process, concerning the well-hidden potential consequences of being injured in the military. In that regard, please consider the following questions as they relate to Oregon's patriotic school students contemplating military service:
1. Do enlistees have a right to know that if they are injured on a foreign battlefield defending America and her Constitution, that for the rest of their lives they will be relegated to the whims of the Veterans Administration system. They can be subjected to illegal and systemic denial of their disability benefits, which is a negation of their right to the protections of the Constitution. Because of entrenched VA policies, many meritorious claims are denied, even though the injuries were sustained while in active duty on foreign soil defending the protections of the constiution for their fellow countrymen.
2. Do patriotic students have a right to know that if they are injured in the military defending our American System of Justice that they can be denied the protections of that system in regard to their military injuries. Further, by written law, veterans with service injuries do not have the right to spend any money to hire attorneys to protect their legal rights against the wrongful decsions of the VA Offices and Court of Appeals.
3. Do Oregon's high school students and all others contemplating military service have a right to know that if they are injured in the military, that they, in the words of United States Senator Ron Wyden (who has been outspoken about this mockery of justice for decades), will be "relegated to a legal no man's land." Wyden has also emphasized that the ongoing lack of meaningful rights for veterans is a "mockery of justice," and an "outrageous denial of fundamental rights."
4. Do Oregon's youngsters have a right to know that if they are injured in the military defending America, and are later wrongfully and/or illegally denied VA disability compensation or continuing VA medical care treating war injuries, and accordingly file suit against Uncle Sam, that he will argue in court that such "VA BENEFITS INVOLVE NO AGREEMENT OF THE PARTIES", therefore such injured vets have no legal, enforceable or contractual right to such benefits. See: Levy v. Brown, U.S. Court of Veterans Appeals, No. 92-1174.
5. Do unsuspecting high school students have a right to know that if they are injured in the military defending America, that their claims will ultimately be under the discretion of VA managers who are often primarily indifferent to compliance with the law, and the goal of fair, just and lawful treatment of military injured veterans, but are driven by the lure of cash bonuses and promotions for keeping budgetary goals.
6. Do patriotic high school students in Oregon, have a right to know that the federal government has for decades regarded service-connected disability compensation and medical care as being nothing more than "GRATUITIES" and unearned gifts, which confer no legal rights to gratuity recipients? Do they have a right to know that continuing VA medical care for military injuries, and disability compensation, are considered by the government to be nothing but SOCIAL WELFARE instead of legal entitlements?
7. Do Oregon's patriotic youngsters contemplating have a right to know the truth about courageous attorneys throughout America, denouncing the VA system at issue herein? Note the following examples:
a. Attorneys Joseph Koltz and David Mirhoseini in a letter, dated November 3, 1997, addressed to U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb denounced what they termed: "government sponsored criminal activity" and urged the court to call for a special grand jury to investigate.
b. In an article entitled: "Veteran's Benefit Cases Minefield," dated June 1998, Thomas W. Andrews, a Des Moines, Iowa attorney, called the entire veterans benefits system "corrupt and corrupting" and indicated that he would "not again accept another veteran's case. Never. Ever." He emphasized the following:
"I have taken one case to the Court of Veterans Appeals. Six years later-after remand after remand after remand-the case still languishes through the institutional arrogance of a system that holds no respect for the law."
Note: the ABC News 20-20 piece cited herein, revealed that ABC News conducted its own search into the CAVC "court," which revealed that out of 14,000 cases heard since 1989, that "only 18 were decided unequivocally in favor of the veteran." Special court, special justice - - how else can illegal systemic POLICIES which negate Due Process of Law, survive!
c. In a letter, dated July 26, 1999, a Boulder, Colorado attorney Sean Kendall indicates the following:
"The VA has one of the highest loss rates of any government on appeal. This is because the agency is repeatedly unable to follow the law. . . The VA has no interest in granting your claim; they will use every regulation, delay and tactic to avoid paying. This is an agency that regularly ignores the law and violates due process in order to grant as few claims as possible."
8. Do patriotic Oregon high school students and other contemplating military service, have a right to know that in order to perpetuate its illegal benefits denial policies and contempt for the law, that the VA during 1986, "BLACKMAILED" into submission, the national veterans organizations which historically had been the watchdogs of veterans legal rights, by threatening those organizations financial survival.
America MUST treat her young patriotic Americans honorably, truthfully and lawfully.
Philip E. Cushman
For more details, see the Open Letter to Presidential Candidates in 2000 from Vets for Due Process and National Veterans Organization [Note: None of the candidates replied.].