Retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal said that if the United States is going to keep its "covenant" with its servicemen, the Veterans Affairs Department must fix the problems that are affecting the healthcare of America's veterans.
Speaking on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Wednesday, McChrystal said he believes the problems are more a reflection of departmental bureaucracy and less with the care veterans are receiving.
"It's a big bureaucracy," he said. "And it needs to be fixed."
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Former Defense Secretary Robert "Gates said it best: Veterans deserve a concierge-like treatment," he said. "I think the actual treatment they receive, medical treatment, is very good, but I'm not an expert. But I do know that the frustration is with bureaucracy, and so that's what we should focus on, that's what we should try to help people with."
The comments came on the heels of reports that the VA probe
into abuses at veterans hospitals across the country has expanded to 26 facilities and against the background of growing calls for Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign.
The general didn't directly respond to a question as to whether he believes Shinseki should resign.
McChrystal also reiterated that war changes soldiers and that they rely on the VA and federal government for help.
"When someone goes to war, they come back different," he said. "They don't always come back damaged. Many people come back better, more resilient, more experienced. But everybody comes back a bit different."
McChrystal was appointed by President Barack Obama as Commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan in 2009. He resigned in 2010 after a Rolling Stone
article quoted him and members of his staff criticizing the Obama administration.
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