In response to Randy Wolbert’s personal attack on me (in a Letter to the Editor in last week’s Leader-Vindicator), first of all, I appreciate Randy’s response as I would appreciate it too if other veterans at that meeting would likewise express their opinion of what happened in that meeting — that is what democracy is all about.

On the attack of the VA employee, that is unfounded. However, if she felt attacked I will apologize. I told her in the hallway that the issue was not with her, but with the VA. I did appreciate her calling me some days later to come back to the program that aids vets in weight loss — I know that I need it, as do many vets. If you can be more specific in your wording as to how I attacked her, then that would help. I recall asking her about the Choice Care program and she responded she didn’t know much about it yet. She then went on to talk about the new VA hospital in Butler. I can attest to this fact: many vets I know who are not receiving good healthcare from the VA would be happy to get it in a MASH tent rather than worry about the building type. That was my point, but I still do not see where I attacked the young woman VA employee. However, if a majority of the veterans at that meeting, or the VA employee herself felt I did so, I will definitely apologize to her. I tend to go after government agencies and their corrupt practices rather than attack individuals.

As far as attacking a fellow veteran — Ignorant means unaware, that’s all. I do know that people might use it to marginalize someone by saying, “You’re ignorant!” I would be interested to hear what the other vets in the room heard, but I am sure I said, “You are ignorant of the facts,” as the VA originally labeled alcoholism as “Willful Misconduct.”

When I was involved in one of the first VA AA programs, after they decided to catch up with the American Medical Association who considered it an illness or disease; they have spent millions on helping vets with the issue. The VA in Butler has housing just for those with alcoholism as part of a long-term alcohol program. I don’t know the success of their program there, but as someone who worked in a one-year program as a group counselor with alcoholics, I do know our success rate was about 4 percent. That is about equal with the success of Alcoholics Anonymous. The bar-setting (pun intended) is based on being clean and sober for a period of one year. I think if you look it up, it is found that people in long-term care AA based programs do have a better success rate in general.

As for the rest of your attack, that is a matter of opinion and I think people will have to decide for themselves, that is why newspapers have opinion and letters to the editor sections.

My only attack of you is that you seem to follow the Fox News protocol of attacking an individual to marginalize them, rather than sticking to the facts.

In my opinion Fox News, since its inception, has been one of the biggest hate-mongering networks in the nation. It has with its hate rhetoric placed many Christians in a hard-right mode, hardly a Christ-like mode. Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly, have and did, both attack women and others with a fierceness that is not worthy of the majority of Americans to consider, but somehow, the network grew based on the seeds of hate. Most people who watch Fox attack individuals and stray from the facts. Many would be best left to their own thoughts and not the so called “No Spin” of Fox, as it leads people astray from any Christian concept. Again, my opinion.

Thanks for your attack, Randy; it’s unfounded in my opinion, but I look forward to any who were there to come to your aid. Game on!

JACK PAULDEN

Clarion

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