MFSO Greets Shinseki Nomination With Cautious Optimism

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Sean Donahue, Communications Director -- 617-983-0710 (w), 978-809-8054 (c), press@mfso.org

MFSO Greets Shinseki Nomination With Cautious Optimism

Nationwide - Members of Military Families Speak Out,
a national organization of military families advocating an end to the war in
Iraq and for better care for veterans of that war, are cautiously optimistic
that the nomination of Gen. Eric Shinseki (USAR, ret.) to serve as Secretary of
Veterans Affairs will usher in an era of change at the troubled Veterans
Administration.

Shinseki gained national attention in 2003 when, as Army Chief of Staff, he
clashed with then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld over estimates of the
troop levels needed to stabilize post-war
Iraq.

Adele Kubein, the mother of a permanently disabled Iraq Veteran, and a member
of Military Families Speak Out, said:

"Though general Shinseki was correct
regarding the number of troops needed to maintain order during the
Iraq invasion and occupation, the invasion of
Iraq was wrong. Our loved ones have paid the
price as have the Iraqi people, particularly those most vulnerable. I sincerely
hope that General Shinseki will use his good judgment to help people like my
daughter who in addition to living in pain both mental and physical, has had to
struggle for almost five years to gain care from an overburdened Veteran's
Administration. I am heartened that we will have a person in the General's
position who knows what war is about and the challenges which face returning
troops. Ours is but one of thousands of families facing these ordeals. We need
help; I pray he will provide it."

Kubein's daughter served in the
Oregon National Guard in 2003 and 2004.

Stacy Hafley is a member of
Military Families Speak Out and the wife of a soldier who served in
Iraq with the
Army Reserves from 2004-2005.  Her
husband has suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Social Anxiety
Disorder, and severe depression since returning from
Iraq and has
been fighting to get the Veterans Administration to recognize his psychological
injuries as combat-related.  
She said:

"Under the leadership of Dr. James Peake,
the Veterans Administration has shown callous disregard for the intense
suffering of Veterans like my husband who are struggling with psychological
injuries.  My husband has described
his treatment at the hands of the Veterans Administration as frustrating and
belittling -- and has been outraged at the dismissive attitude the leadership of
the VA has demonstrated toward the epidemic of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
and suicide plaguing veterans of the war in Iraq.

"Gen. Shinseki has a reputation as a man
with integrity who is not afraid to face difficult truths.  I hope that as Secretary of Veterans
Affairs he will confront the Veterans' Administrations failure to recognize that
psychological wounds are just as real and just as debilitating as physical ones,
and will get our Veterans the compassionate  care that they need."

That optimism is tempered with
caution on the part of those who have experienced some of the Veterans
Administrations' worst failures. 
Military Families Speak Out members Kevin and Joyce Lucey are the parents
of Corporal Jeffrey Lucey, who served in
Iraq with the
Marine Corps Reserves in 2003. 
Corporal Lucey killed himself in 2004, just days after being denied
treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at a Veterans Administration
hospital.   Joyce Lucey
said:

"We have lost faith in our government
over the past years due to what our son and so many others
 experienced,. They returned home to a broken health care system
unprepared to deal with the hidden wounds that this tragic
conflict caused.

"We now have another government who will
nominate another General who will say that he will truly care for our
Veterans.  We have to ask though
where does his true allegiance lie - is it with the administration or will it be
with each and every veteran who will come to the agency seeking help? Will this
person pursue the establishment of an effective, efficient caring system which
will give birth to a creative and innovative environment which
will embrace the veteran and their loved ones or will we remain with the status
quo which has resulted in one tragedy after another - without any true
caring, just an effort to try to present one rationalization after another
imposing the responsibility on the traumatized veteran. This nation can no
longer tolerate the negligence towards her heroes; they have endured so many
tragedies. We now need to commit this nation and her government to truly give
the care and resources to those who have sacrificed so much for
all."

Kevin Lucey added:

"As we watched the past government fail so
miserably, we will stay ever so vigilant for all our warriors who have yet to
return to our shores. This administration must know that being a government
of, by, and for the people, we will never allow our loved ones to be abused or
neglected again.  It is time
for all of us to work together for our veterans and their loved ones. It is time
that all of us - as one nation - honor and truly care for the warrior and the
warriors' loved ones --  all of whom have sacrificed so
much."

###

Military Families Speak Out (MFSO) is an organization of people opposed to the war in Iraq who have relatives or loved ones who are currently in the military or who have served in the military since the buildup to the Iraq war in the fall of 2002. Formed by two families in November of 2002, we have contacts with military families throughout the United States, and in other countries around the world. Our membership currently includes over 3,400 military families, with new families joining daily.

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