December 2000/January 2001
Hail To The Chief
By George C. Duggins
The election of George W. Bush brings to the White House for the second
time a member of the Vietnam War generation. Mr. Bush served during the
war years in the U.S. Air Force National Guard in Texas. We have every
reason to believe that, as President, Mr. Bush will be responsive to the
needs of his fellow Vietnam War era veterans and their families.
Vietnam Veterans of America expects the Bush Administration to follow
through on the promises Mr. Bush made in these pages in the
August/September issue. In response to questions VVA submitted to him--and
to his opponent, Al Gore--Bush said that all those "who value the
often heroic sacrifice of our brave veterans will have a determined ally
when I am President of the United States." That is a good framework
within which to begin a new administration.
Mr. Bush emphasized that he would make "quality health care"
in the VA an "integral part" of his commitment to veterans. He
said he would create a "Veterans Health Care Task Force," which
would be made up of officials from the VA, VSOs, and VA health care
providers, to "ensure swift and appropriate implementation of the
Veterans Millennium Health Care Act and to make the VA health care system
more responsive to veterans’ needs." That is a very promising first
step. VVA has every intention of being among the VSOs with whom Mr. Bush
and VA Secretary-designate Anthony Principi will consult on VA health care
The President-elect told us he strongly supported the G.I. Bill--a
program that, he said, has been "a vital benefit for veterans and
military personnel." He said he would review the G.I. Bill after
being elected "to see where increased educational opportunities for
veterans can be found." VVA will hold him to that promise and we will
keep a close eye on his efforts to preserve, extend, and protect veterans'
preference for federal jobs. We also expect him to continue to use
Department of Labor programs to help large numbers of veterans find jobs.
On the crucial issue of POW/MIAs, Mr. Bush said he supported "the
need for the fullest possible accounting of those who served in American
military conflicts," and said he would make the fullest possible
accounting "a high priority for our nation." Again, this is the
news Vietnam veterans want to hear and we will closely monitor the
situation during the next four years.
President-elect Bush has made promising promises to veterans. Vietnam
Veterans of America promises to hold him to those promises.