Darkest of the Dark: Utterly Incoherent Tom Coburn Says It's Too Expensive To Try to Stop 22 Veterans A Day From Killing Themselves
Despite an epidemic of astonishing proportions - 22 veterans a day so broken by grief, shame, horror or trauma they resolve not to live another day - retiring, grandstanding, incoherent obstructionist Sen. Tom "Dr.No" Coburn, R-Okla., took his final stand against humanity by single-handedly blocking the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, which had broad bi-partisan support and would have cost $22 million, or about the same as three and a half-hours of the Iraq War. From Paul Rieckhoff, founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), "This is why people hate Washington."
The suicide prevention bill would expand access to mental health services for veterans suffering from depression and other forms of PTSD from their questionable service at a cost of $22 million over five years - a laughably small sliver of the estimated $6 trillion cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. It is named for Clay Hunt, a Marine who served in both wars, earned a Purple Heart, came home to be celebrated as a "poster boy" vet who served others in projects like Team Rubicon and Ride 2 Recovery but who, unable to heal, killed himself in 2011. Hunt's parents and veterans' groups had tirelessly advocated for the bill, which had already passed in the House and was expected to pass in the Senate - until Coburn, a former doctor, blocked it with a baffling, ego-fuelled speech about his grandfather in World War 1 and how he too had treated patients "with the demons these young men and women have" and he had failed them and every veteran should get a smile at the V.A. "regardless of how long his hair is" and "the love...needs to be there” and so that's why he doesn't want to pay for them to maybe stay alive.
Veterans quickly blasted the move and supporters of the bill, which is almost everyone, vowed to bring it back in 90 days in the next Coburn-less Congress. By then, noted Rieckhoff, another 1,980 more veterans could die by suicide, a figure he entirely justifiably called "sickening." Covering the story, the usually calm Rachel Maddow was almost speechless with rage. Coburn's last despicable act, she noted, is "what he will be remembered for."
"Twenty-two veterans a day, Senator," she said, shaking her head. "Sleep well."
Veterans rally for the bill