Saturday, November 22, 2008

Attn: Obama Transition Team re Max Cleland

In consideration of Max Cleland as Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs
Willie Hager
Crackerswamp, Fl -I write this from the perspective of someone who has actively worked at the grassroots level with Veterans, dating back to 1972; in that light, I wholeheartedly endorse Max Cleland for this cabinet post. One that is so important to all who have served, or will in the future, serve America, in the armed forces.

I am also encouraging all of my fellow Veterans to participate in a public call for this appointment, as a unified body politic. In addition, I (and I hope all of you, as well) will be making efforts to gain support from with-in the ranks of the existing organizations to which I belong, or have a history with.

This includes Vietnam Veterans Against The War, the VFW, and Vietnam Veterans of Florida, State Coalition, and the IVAW, regardless of any other considerations that these organizations might be fostering at this moment. I hope that all of you will join me in doing the same.

Max is one of us. He is not a political opportunist, nor a lackey of anyone's doctrine or political party, nor is he running for any other office. He is a pragmatist who has been there, and who speaks the language of Veterans...something we call "VetSpeak", here at

He is not an operative of anyone's political agenda, or an operative of any organization or political party. He is also not a man who hesitates to Speak Truth to Power when the chips are down. In addition; he never, ever, abandons the troops when the incoming fire seems overwhelming, or when it is the seemingly politically expedient thing to other words, Brothers and Sisters who have also served; he has our backs! This, regardless of which war we may have served in, since WWII, The Big One...or which political party we support.

He is knowledgeable, articulate, charismatic, and mission oriented...and, yes, Jimmi Hendrix; he is experienced! I mean, he has already been there 'n done that, after all. As is referenced here in a posting that I found at, who is formally endorsing Max, and where I found this quote; “Max has the experience, he served as head of the VA under Jimmy Carter. He served as a US Senator. He knows veterans, he knows the issues, he knows the job ( see,”

Hell, he has most everyone's respect, if not their direct support; with the exception, of course, of the Swift Boat clones and their operatives, who have already done their best to destroy his character with their slanderous dribble. Just as they did to John Kerry's, and just as they are, at this very moment, attempting to do over at

Appointment to any other post would be under-utilization of his talents, abilities, and experience, not to mention a throwaway to Democratic Party favorites. Ones who have less experience, or heart, or sense of purpose. We are not the Democratic Party; we are America's Veterans, joined in blood and service as a result of having faced mortal danger, back-to-back, during America's most troubled and dangerous times...regardless of political affiliation. We are entitled to an honest broker and advocate to oversee our affairs, as such.

I don't see this as a contest twixt he and Tammy Duckworth (divide and conquer tactics), as some have suggested that it should be. I see this as the positioning of someone to this most important post who has in their heart the best interests, and the best quality of life possible for America's Veterans, and who has an eye towards implementation of their most pressing priorities. This, as opposed to the positioning of someone to protect the current appalling administrative situation at the V.A. A situation that routinely denies Veterans, at every opportunity, the well-earned, blood-soaked, and traumatizing entitlements, that they so richly deserve.

This is about the positioning of an advocate, in face of confining budgetary considerations. Considerations that are top heavy in administrative costs, and short on "service". In short, we need a new paradigm for Veterans' care. A re-vamped, efficient and caring delivery system for Veterans. One that advocates for the Veteran, rather than makes every effort to screen them out and deny benefits, and which employs a draconian, self-serving appeals process. I believe that, based on history and experience; Max Cleland is just such a person.

Speak out; don't let them make this about choosing up sides between Duckworth and Cleland, thereby creating schisms amongst our own ranks. Don't lose sight of the ball, or the goal line. Make it about choosing the most demonstrably experienced, qualified individual for the job. Speak out for the sake of all Veterans, all the time; rather than when it is simply politically expedient, or might garner a few more votes.

Semper Fi!