Sent: Sat, 7 Apr 2007 12:56 AM
Subject: Open letter to Larry Bailey and GOE
From the desk of
Veteran’s Rights Advocate
To: Larry Bailey
CEO – Gathering of Eagles
April 7, 2007,
I regret to inform you that I will no longer support the GOE under your leadership. Although I was extremely proud to attend the March 17th rally in DC, certain issues have come to light that I personally find deplorable.
It is very obvious from your email below that you harbor a great deal of contempt and resentment for the Department of Veterans Affairs, American labor union members, and even your fellow veterans.
When processing PTSD disability claims, the VA has a policy of giving the veteran the benefit of the doubt when a case is border line. This means that in some cases less severe cases of PTSD are approved for disability compensation payments. This also means that claims are paid that might not be paid otherwise. The logic behind this practice is to insure no veteran suffering from PTSD is denied. According to your email, this has caused an incredible number of phony veterans receiving undeserved benefits. Apparently, if you had your way you would shake down the veteran community and weed out these veterans. Unlike the imposters that falsely claim military awards they did not earn, or people falsely claiming to be a POW, PTSD is a medical condition which is better left to the professionals to evaluate. Would you please tell me what medical education you have that qualifies you to make such determinations? You have no right to second guess VA awards in a quest to expose phonies. Are you aware by making such a broad statement about the large number of veterans ripping off the system you are suggesting that a large number of the 30,000 veterans that attended the GOE rally are phonies? Personally, I would rather see 3 veterans acquire questionable disability claims than one legitimately ill veteran do without. Your suggested ‘which hunt’ will only cause unnecessary grief within the veteran community and require the veterans to prove themselves yet once more. I’m afraid I cannot stand by and allow you to do this.
You also seem to harbor a great deal of bitterness towards labor unions and their members. Once again, are you aware that a very large number of veterans groups like Rolling Thunder members are also labor union members? Does ‘Made in the USA’ mean anything to you?
I suggest instead of picking up the book ‘Stolen Valor’ for guidance, you pick up the Bible instead. Your current attitude does nothing to unite this country’s former military personnel. If fact, your approach reminds me more of the Salem Witch Hunts. Attacking the veteran and blaming them for the problems within the VA is a very divisive and harmful act.
As for my personal and current position on recruiting and enlistment, I have been working with Operation Firing For Effect for over a year now on finding ways to improve enlistment. Our objective is to save the all volunteer military and avoid the Draft. We are also promoting a voter’s registration drive and encouraging veterans to get involved in politics. Your accusation that I have recently publicly discouraged young people from enlisting in the U.S military is nothing short of a lie. However, many families are doing just that and I don’t blame them one bit.
Mr. Bailey, I have been actively involved in veterans’ affairs for over 20 years now. Before me, my father worked for the VA in Jacksonville Florida. I possess knowledge and experience the far surpasses that of most employees that work for the VA. Your definition of Mandatory Funding is inaccurate and very misleading. I suggest you read up on what mandating full funding for the VA would mean.
Now, I’m certain you are a Patriot that really loves our country. And I am aware of your outstanding service in the Navy. But, with a single email you have discouraged many GOE supporters and severely damaged the future of GOE. I strongly suggest you step aside and allow someone with some sort of realistic vision and compassion for our veterans take over GOE. Otherwise, I foresee the movement that was powerful in the beginning rapidly become an impotent group elitists and veteran supremacists incapable of promoting positive change for our veterans. You simply cannot hate everyone and expect good things to come from that.
I have read your most recent GOE newsletter and once again – no mention of what was done with the surplus funds raised. In your newsletter you didn’t address any issues of importance to our veterans, and you gave no direction for the GOE. You did however encourage everyone to ‘buy’ a GOE banner. What exactly would that banner stand for? Trashing American labor union members? Shaking down fellow veterans? Or just to show hatred towards the VA healthcare system and everything it stands for?
As it stands now, I am withdrawing my support of your vision for GOE’s future. I personally think you are a danger to efforts to unite this country’s veterans. Under new leadership I might reconsider joining the GOE again. But, for now, I have far more important issues to address.
The sad part of this entire situation is, many fine people were hoping that the GOE was the beginning of something far bigger and valuable. The GOE gave many people hope. I’m afraid they all are going to be extremely disappointed with your direction and goals.
LARRY BAILEY email below.
Date: 4/4/2007 11:46:11 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Sent from the Internet (Details)
While I truly support each and every veteran's receiving the medical care he/she deserves, I DO NOT subscribe to Firebase's methodology.
In addition to my objection to your encouraging young men and women not to enlist in the Armed Forces, it is clear that this is a Big Labor ploy to make the VA even more dependent on labor unions. It has long been clear, furthermore, that far too many veterans and phonies are bilking the VA out of hundreds of millions of dollars, and Congress will not allow the VA to do the investigation that is necessary to stop the fraud. Unless and until the fraudulent VA claimants are ferreted out and dealt with, I will not lend ANY support to any effort to give that corrupt agency another nickel. I am surprised that you would advocate pumping billions more down that bureaucratic rathole.
On the other hand, I WILL support any effort that enables needy and DESERVING veterans the right to obtain service-related medical care from the private sector.
I ask the following of you:
(1) please refrain from linking your organizations to Gathering of Eagles;
(2) while I would not forbid you to broadcast from GOE II on May 26th, please do not do that;
(3) please do not, under any circumstances, imply that GOE and Firebase/Fire for Effect are part of the same organization; and
(4) please cancel my upcoming interview two weeks from now on Stardust.
Jere, this is not personal, as I believe you to be an honorable man and deserving veteran. It is just that I think your methodology is wrong and that I take exception to the clear attempt by Gene Simes to link GOE with Firebase. I did not appreciate that.