VA Hospital Outrage - Paul Rieckhoff

May 22, 2014 - Ray Mabus 05/22/2014 Views: 11,895

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America director Paul Rieckhoff weighs in on the significance of the VA scandal and the ongoing challenges faced by veterans. (3:41)

SO, VETERANS, AS MUCH AS THIS ISA REAL SCANDAL-- AND IT IS-- I

DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT.

HERE TO MAKE ME TALK ABOUT IT ISTHE FOUNDER OF THE IRAQ AND

AFGHANISTANS VETERAN OF AMERICA,PAUL RIECKHOFF.

PAUL, THANK YOU SO MUCH FORJOINING ME.

>> THANK YOU, STEPHEN, GREAT TOTALK TO YOU.

>> Stephen: GOOD TO SEE YOU.

PAUL, PAUL, DO WE REALLY HAVE TOTALK ABOUT THE V.A.?

>> YES, ABSOLUTELY, YES.

>> Stephen: BUT HOW MUCHLONGER, HOW MUCH LONGER DO WE

HAVE TO TALK ABOUT THE VETERANS?

IT'S MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND.

I'VE GOT A PICNIC TO GO TO.

>> WELL, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TOTALK ABOUT IT FOR DECADES.

THESE VETERANS ARE GOING TO BEAROUND FOR A LONG TIME AND

THEY'RE AMAZING LEADERS AND THEYDESERVE THIS COUNTRY'S FULL CARE

AND SUPPORT AND, UNFORTUNATELY,WHEN YOU'RE AT YOUR PICNIC OR AT

THE BEACH, A LOT OF OUR VETERANSTHIS WEEKEND WILL BE AT

ARLINGTON PAYING THEIR RESPECTSTO THEIR FRIENDS THAT THEY LOST.

IT'S ABOUT TIME THIS COUNTRYSTEPPED UP AND REALLY SUPPORTED

OUR VETERANS. YOU HAVE BEENGREAT.

I'VE GOT TO GIVE YOU CREDIT.

THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING OURVETERANS.

YOU'VE ALWAYS HAD OUR BACKS ANDWE APPRECIATE THAT.

BUT NOW IT'S TIME FOR AMERICA TOFOLLOW YOUR LEAD, STEPHEN.

>> Stephen: ALL RIGHT, I WISHAMERICA WOULD BE MORE LIKE ME.

THANK YOU, PAUL.

HOW BIG OF A SCANDAL IS THIS ONA SCALE OF 1 TO BENGHAZI.

>> OH, WELL, YOU KNOW, IFBENGHAZI IS A POLITICAL

HEADACHE, THIS IS GOING TO BE ASTROKE.

I MEAN, THIS IS IS NOT GOINGAWAY.

IT'S REALLY BAD.

IT AFFECTS MILLIONS OF VETERANSWHO USE THE V.A. CARE.

IT'S BEEN IN 10 CITIES ALREADY.

WE THINK THERE MAY BE MORE.

AND THE INSPECTOR GENERAL AT THEVETERANS AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT IS

NOW INSPECTING 26 CITIES.

SO OUR MEMBERS, HUNDREDS OFTHOUSAND OF THEM NATIONWIDE ARE

OUTRAGED.

THEY'RE BETRAYED.

AND THEY NEED REAL LEADERSHIPAND REFORM AND ACTION FROM

SHINSEKI AND THE PRESIDENT ANDTHE ENTIRE COUNTRY.

>> Stephen: THERE HAVE BEEN SCANDALS AND MISMANAGEMENT AT

THE V.A. SINCE I WAS A KID.

WHY HAS THIS ONE BROKEN THROUGH?

>> I THINK THIS THE COUNTRY ISPAYING ATTENTION BECAUSE 40

VETERANS MAY HAVE DIED WAITINGAND THERE MAY HAVE BEEN

VETERANS WHO DIED WAITING INOTHER CITIES.

MAYBE IT'S A PERFECT STORM.

MAYBE THE COUNTRY IS FINALLY FEDUP HEARING STORY AFTER STORY

FROM THE V.A. ABOUT HOW OURVETERANS ARE BEING NEGLECTED AND

DISAPPOINTED AND MAYBE WE CANFINALLY BREAK THROUGH.

IF THERE'S A SILVER LINING IT'STHE COUNTRY FINALLY WAKES UP

AND UNDERSTANDS THAT OURVETERANS ARE A TREMENDOUS

RESOURCE. THEY DESERVE OURSUPPORT AND OUR LOVE AND

THEY DESERVE A V.A. THAT WORKS.WE'RE NOT ASKING FAIR LOT HERE.

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ).

>> Stephen: ALL RIGHT.

THE PRESIDENT SAID-- THEPRESIDENT SAID HE DID NOT HEAR

ABOUT THIS PARTICULAR SCANDALUNTIL HE SAW IT ON CNN.

>> RIGHT.

>> Stephen: CAN YOU BELIEVETHAT?

CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT PEOPLE AREWATCHING CNN?

( LAUGHTER )>> WELL, YOU KNOW, WHAT?

NOW CNN'S FINALLY GOT SOMETHINGTO COVER OTHER THAN THE PLANE.

AND THIS IS A REAL ISSUE.

THEY'VE BEEN AGGRESSIVE ON IT.

AND OTHER FOLKS IN THE MEDIAHAVE BEEN AGGRESSIVE ON IT.

AND THIS IS NOT GOING TO GOAWAY.

EVEN IF THE HEADLINES FADE WENEED EVERYBODY TO CONTINUE TO

STEP UP, HOLD PEOPLE INWASHINGTON ACCOUNTABLE AND

SUPPORT OUR VETERANS EVERY DAYOF THE YEAR.

>> Stephen: LET ME ASK YOU AQUESTION THAT I WOULD ONLY ASK

BECAUSE THIS IS VIA SATELLITEAND YOU'RE HUNDREDS OF MILES

AWAY.

IS THE V.A. HEALTH CARE SYSTEMTHE REASON YOU'RE STILL WAITING

FOR THAT HAIR TRANSPLANT?

>> NO, BUT YOU KNOW WHAT,STEPHEN?

THAT'S OKAY.

YOU KNOW WHAT, STEPHEN, I THINKIT'S ABOUT TIME YOU SHAVED YOUR

HEAD AGAIN.

AND YOU CAN DO IT FOR CHARITY--( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )

WE COULD HOOK YOU UP.

YOU LOOKED PRETTY GOOD.

AND WE'RE HAPPY TO HOOK YOU UP.

>> Stephen: MAYBE NEXT TIMEIF YOU'RE NOT HERE BY SATELLITE.

PAUL RIECKHOFF, THE I.A.V.A.

THANK YOU, PAUL.