Vets Dying in Line is No Fairytale – VA Secretary’s Absurd Disney Comparison a Disgrace to Heroes

Retired Army 1st Sgt. William Staude, of Elliott, Pa., salutes soldiers from the 316th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, stationed in Coraopolis, Pa., as they march past him during the Veterans Day parade in downtown Pittsburgh, Nov. 11.

Veterans are literally dying waiting in line for care.  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is abdicating a solemn duty to those who have sacrificed their all for our freedom.

The freedom we enjoy as Americans has been bought with the blood of heroes.  Sometimes they have paid the ultimate price, giving the last full measure of devotion for a grateful nation. Today – Memorial Day – we honor their memory.  Others have paid a different price, suffering debilitating injuries, PTSD, loss of limbs, and more.  Still others are aging (far too quickly as the result of their dedicated service).  All are in need of care.  All were promised care.  All deserve care.

But instead of care, many are receiving carelessness – waiting inordinate amounts of time just to receive basic, and in some cases lifesaving, care.  Many are dying – hundreds of thousands according to a recent Inspector General’s report.

Heroes who sacrificed their all for our nation are dying waiting in line at the VA for care.  The enemy didn’t take their lives.  Their own nation is.  It’s an absolute disgrace – one that every American should be outraged, incensed, and motivated to action by.

No one should care more than the VA Secretary, but the Obama Administration’s VA Secretary clearly does not.  Months after scandal ripped through the VA and it was revealed that vets were dying instead of receiving the care they so desperately need, the VA Secretary still doesn’t get it.

Last week he literally compared waiting in line for care at the VA to waiting in line to ride the rides at Disney World.  Veterans are dying.  And he has the unmitigated gall to insult their honor and the sacrifice they made by comparing the denial of care (to delay is to deny, especially in this context) to the inconvenience of long lines at an amusement park.

VA Secretary Robert McDonald stated:

“When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? Or what’s important? What’s important is, what’s your satisfaction with the experience? And what I would like to move to, eventually, is that kind of measure.”

Beyond the bizarre insensitivity of his remarks, the VA Secretary was factually false.

Thankfully, Disney would have none of it, and responded.  A spokesman for Disney stated that the VA Secretary’s comments were “factually untrue,” explaining:

We continually push the boundaries to give our guests the best experience possible. A large team of highly trained industrial engineers are tasked with improving our guest’s experiences, from transportation, to guest flow, to ride comfort and certainly wait times.

If Disney can measure wait times for its rides, why can’t the Obama Administration measure wait times for our veterans?  In fact, Disney goes the extra mile for vets giving them discounted tickets.  Disney arguably treats vets (who it proudly helps with employment opportunities through its Heroes Work Here program) better than the VA itself.

Our heroes deserve better.  They pledged service to our nation; our nation pledged to care for them.  They upheld their promise; our nation is breaking ours.  It’s shameful and must end.

The Obama Administration’s bad comparisons fall flat; its word choices are as poor as the service it is providing to our veterans.  That must change.  We can and must do better.

This Memorial Day as we honor the fallen, let us not forget our solemn vow to the living.

Matthew Clark is Senior Counsel for Digital Advocacy with the ACLJ and Contributing Editor at RedState. Follow Matthew Clark: @_MatthewClark.