Jon Stewart: Government Mistreatment of Veterans Goes Way Back

Friday, 23 May 2014 07:09 AM

By Greg Richter

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With Democrats stressing that wait times for veterans at VA hospitals stretches back to the Bush administration and former Bush official Karl Rove saying the problem goes back before that, "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart took a look Thursday night at the complete history of veteran treatment in the United States.

"As traditions go, mistreating our veterans is a fully bipartisan endeavor," Stewart said, starting with a 1988 Washington Post article that reported on the Veterans Administration directing researchers to under-report the number of VA hospitals with high mortality rates.

He also covered the failure of the Reagan administration to admit federal liability for use of Agent Orange in Vietnam and a 1932 march on Washington by World War I veterans demanding the bonuses they'd been promised 15 years earlier.

"Said the U.S. government: Would you accept that bonus in the form of tear gas and an escort of tanks?" Stewart said over film footage of the veterans being pushed from the streets.

Skipping back to the Revolutionary War, Stewart talked about a group of former soldiers who took Congress hostage in 1783 over promised pensions they didn’t receive. The leaders of the group were sentenced to death, but those sentences were later commuted.

"Let's pretend that this current VA crisis is an anomaly created by one unusually callous and ineffective president," Stewart said. "Or … we can finally admit that America has had for over 200 years a great bipartisan tradition of honoring those who have fought for our freedom by [expletive] them over once they give their guns back."

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