Former Veterans Sec. Principi in WSJ: “Make the VA Great, or Help Veterans Elsewhere”
Alexandria, Virginia – Former Secretary of Veterans Affairs Tony Principi, a long-time member of The Spectrum Group, responded to the Wall Street Journal’s article by Tiffany Smiley, “Make the VA Great Again”, in “Letters to the Editor”. The Spectrum Group now partners with Mr. Principi on BRAC, healthcare, and related work. WSJ members can read the letter in print here; the published text is below.
Make the VA Great, or Help Veterans Elsewhere: The VA should focus on combat-wounded veterans first.
Regarding Tiffany Smiley’s “Make the VA Great Again” (op-ed, Dec. 28): While we honor all who have served our nation in uniform, our highest responsibility as a nation is to do all we can to serve those who, like Capt. Scotty Smiley, were wounded or injured in combat areas. They are the reason the Department of Veterans Affairs exists and should get first priority for both world-class health care and disability compensation claims processing.
In his second inaugural address, President Abraham Lincoln demanded of Americans “to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and his widow, and his orphan.” Those words have shone like a beacon since then, reminding us of our nation’s eternal responsibility to those who have served and sacrificed on our behalf.
Those who would make the VA great again in the new administration must focus on caring for those who have fought for us and now need our help to ensure the department’s limited resources are focused on its core mission, rather than dispersed in an effort to remedy every possible problem for every veteran. When everyone is first priority, no one is.
As Lincoln said at another time, “we—even we here—hold the power, and bear the responsibility.” It takes courage to do what is right. I hope we will find that courage.
Anthony J. Principi
St. Michaels, Md.
Mr. Principi was Secretary of Veterans Affairs, 2001-05.