National Opinions

VA finally led by someone who "gets it"

At last, America's military veterans seem to have a secretary of Veterans Affairs who gets it. VA Secretary Robert McDonald, former chairman, president and CEO of Proctor & Gamble, has made clear in his words and early deeds that there must be sweeping systemic changes at the VA, along with a change in the "culture" that permeates the VA. The new secretary celebrated Veterans Day by issuing a sweeping reorganization plan designed to finally make the system work. He has also fired 35 VA employees for concealing VA hospital backlogs and begun procedures to remove 1,000 more.

But McDonald still may not grasp the full malevolent extent to which cultural VA mindset has fostered what veterans feel is a VA policy of delay and deny toward the claims filed by veterans (or, VA "customers," as the ex-P&G head now wants his department to call veterans.)

Martin Schram, columnist, McClatchy-Tribune