‘How dare we’: A tearful Montel Williams sounds off on VA scandal

Last month, 22-year veteran and television personality Montel Williams made headlines for an emotional speech he gave about the ongoing VA scandal during a Memorial Day picnic in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Despite their political differences, Glenn praised Williams’ willingness to speak so frankly about the issue and said he is “exactly right.” Williams later joined Glenn on the Glenn Beck Program to discuss what is seemingly a common sense way to begin to right some of the wrongs.

In the interview, Williams said President Obama could order a surge over the next 90 days simply by issuing an order as commander in chief. If reserve soldiers were brought back into service on temporary active duty, they could man military hospitals and clear out the backlog in 90 days.

“Why do we need to do it with military personnel? Hear me, please understand, our soldiers are in pain and right now you can’t send a person who doesn’t understand how to speak the speak to a soldier, to understand and get him to open up unless it’s another soldier,” Williams said. “So why don’t we employ the ones who are out of work right now?”

“Direct each branch of the service to do this today,” he continued. “90 days from now we’ll have a backlog cleared up and we’ll understand what the baseline is for what we now have to commit to, to pay for and to take care of our obligation and our debt to our soldiers.”

Williams started a petition on WhiteHouse.gov called #VASurge demanding this action from President Obama.

You can sign the petition HERE.

On radio this morning, Williams joined Glenn to further discuss the work he is doing to keep the VA scandal in the news and keep people informed as to what is happening to our veterans.

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“Glenn, thank you so much for keeping this alive and talking about this the way it needs to be discussed,” Williams said. “It’s absolutely an abomination that we can watch a nation react to those who protect and defend our freedoms… this way and not be aghast. Not be so upset. I get so angry having discussions right now.”

Williams believes the primary problem main problem with the VA is the lack of leadership from the top down. Looking at politicians’ reactions to the situation in Iraq and the desire to put troops on the ground, Williams finds himself disgusted that leaders in Washington are still willing to put our depleted military in harms’ way.

“We’re having a discussion over this past weekend… both sides of the House [about] how fast we put soldiers on the ground in Iraq. What do we got to do in Iraq,” Williams asked. “Let’s put more children to death in somebody else’s country when we have a problem, a crisis facing us right here that we can’t get the attention on.”

“Remember, in the last five days, you heard multiple numbers. There’s over 200 Marines that were already there… We’re going to put another 550 that were on a boat that were trying to be part of the extraction force. We have 300 advisors,” he continued. “How many people are really on the ground? And tomorrow, if one of them gets shot, they come back. We haven’t even told them, ‘We promise you we’ll take care of you’ So I don’t get it. Something is wrong.”

Williams is equally disturbed by the care we are giving illegal immigrants at Department of Defense facilities at the expense of caring for our veterans.

“There are 50,000 children that came across a border illegally. We’re opening up DOD facilities to make sure that we triage them,” he said. “These are refugees. We should help them. But how dare we let them go to a DOD facility before we let our own people, who fight for our lives, the same thing… How dare we make a decision to help other people’s children, and we won’t help our other children who put their lives on the line for us. How dare we.”

Williams encouraged Glenn’s listeners to sign the #VASurge petition of WhiteHouse.gov and to follow him on Twitter @Montel_Williams for updates on what he is working on.

“Montel, I really hope we have a chance to have dinner some time because I am really growing to like you. I’ve disagreed with your political stances, but I’ve always felt you were an honest and decent guy,” Glenn concluded. “I hope we get a chance to meet some day because my respect for you is growing immensely. You’re honest, and you actually do care about something. And that seems to be rare in people on television.”

  • Anonymous

    No one has asked Montel how many times he voted for obummer. You reap what you sow. And we all suffer.

  • Anonymous

    Patient neglect at Walter Reed Army Hospital
    Fact: Military spending is already 70% of the discretionary budget.
    That’s because many defense functions are in other agencies’ budgets:
    FBI and Cybersecurity ($17.6 billion), National Nuclear Security Administration ($11.7 billion), State Department ($42.6 billion), Homeland
    Security $38.2 billion. These total $175.4 billion. When added to the
    Defense department budget, and the OCO, the total is $738.8 billion.
    Fact: The U.S. military budget is greater than those of the next 10 largest spenders combined.
    The second biggest spender, China, only spent $166 billion, while our
    bitter enemy, Russia, spent $90.78 billion. Our greatest ally, UK,
    spent $60.8 billion — less than 10% of what the U.S. did. We spend $65.3 billion on the Veterans Administration . Substandard treatment of our Vets is nothing new .
    Walter Reed outpatient treatment, poor living conditions,
    undelivered mail, lack of caseworkers to oversee and facilitate patient
    care for amputees, brain injured, and psychologically disabled veterans;
    Walter Reed is not the only military hospital about which questions
    have been raised; also out there the underfunding of the VA.

    The problems at Walter Reed came to the public’s attention through a
    series of articles by Dana Priest beginning February 18, 2007. Following
    them, Gen. George Weightman who ran Walter Reed for 6 months resigned
    March 1, followed by the forced resignation of Secretary of the Army
    Francis Harvey the next day. Weightman’s boss Army Surgeon General Gen.
    Kevin “I don’t do barracks inspections at Walter Reed” Kiley who lived
    across from the notorious Building 18 and who had run the hospital from
    2002-2004 lasted one day as the new head of Walter Reed before he was
    removed. He resigned from the Army on March 12.

    One source of the difficulties at Walter Reed was the Base
    Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) decision on August 25, 2005 to
    close Walter Reed. Planned renovations were canceled. Another was the
    privatizing of support services at the hospital. The workforce dropped
    from 350 experienced professionals to 50 who were not and the contract
    was given to IAP. IAP began work at Walter Reed in 2003. In 2004, IAP
    lobbied successfully against an Army recommendation not to privatize the
    workforce. The OMB reversed the Army finding and the services contract
    was given to IAP in January 2006 although its implementation was delayed
    a year. IAP is run by two former KBR executives and had a well
    connected board of directors as well as being owned by a powerful
    holding company the Cerberus hedge fund.

    However, the generally low priority given to ongoing patient care for
    wounded soldiers was probably the single greatest reason for the woes
    at Walter Reed. It bears remembering that there were problems noted as
    early as 2004 and certainly by 2005 and that Walter Reed is located in
    the nation’s capital minutes from the White House, the Congress, and the
    offices of major media outlets. Washington didn’t know about Walter
    Reed because it didn’t want to know.

    The mindset which gives a higher priority to PR than care of the nation’s wounded continues. An August 2008
    USAToday story reported that barracks in Fort Sill, Oklahoma meant to
    relieve conditions experienced by veterans at Walter Reed had mold
    problems in their ventilation system. The situation had been known for
    months, but soldiers were ordered not to talk to the press about it. Chuck Roeder,
    the social services coordinator, who blew the whistle on conditions at
    the base was rewarded for his diligence by being forced out of his job.

  • http://www.thecontract.us Tom Scott Hudson

    It is a bureaucracy out of control. Everyone who is concerned about the future of this nation should pick up a copy of The Contract On The Government. It is the book the politicians and bureaucrats DO NOT want you to read. Find out more here: http://www.thecontract.us

  • olford

    It would be wise to be looking at what else obarry and company is about to pull. All the pressure be slammed on our country at the same time, you know another shoe will be hitting the floor anytime now. Dear Lord we turn to you for our guidance and decisions. In Jesus Name ! Amen

  • motherall

    He should have anticipated all of this when he chose to back and vote for color rather than substance and encourage others to do the same. He’s an intelligent man and had to hear the same campaign rhetoric I did. I knew a traitor was running for president and there is no excuse for Montel for backing color over integrity or morals.

  • George Scheide

    I didn’t vote for him but am still stuck with him.

  • Jack Williams

    I use veterans in Houston. Were just short of Doctors. Not sure it has to do wt monies. They work for a year or so then their gone, burned out. The saying out at Veterins is ‘yearly maintence is great just don’t get sick.’

  • Anonymous

    No unfortunately, it is we who are reaping what has been sown.

  • Dale

    I am going on 3 years waiting for my MRI for my Back issue and many others things. They VA last year goes yes you have a major back problem here is 40% closed my case, I had to get a lawyer from the DAV and re-open the case on my back that has been injured since 1997 on a training exercise. People help us veterans fight this fight.

  • Anonymous

    Montel seems to be like several Democrats I have spoken to recently. They all are shocked by what is taking place but they just can not bring themselves to say that maybe they were wrong in who they voted for.

  • Anonymous

    ARE YOU SHOCKED ……… A RAMPAGE HOPE AND CHANGE FORGET IT .. NGR .. LOOSE IN THE WHITE HOUSE … HE’S TO BUSY PLAYING GOLF TO GIVE A RATS ANUS ABOUT YOU AMERICAN WHITE MICE ………….. R-E-A-L-L-Y.;

  • Anonymous

    Ultimately, it’s not whether one stumbles and falls it’s whether or not one chooses to pick one’s self back up and continue on the path of truth. Pray that your wisdom is bestowed upon Mr. Williams and this entire travesty gets cleaned up.

  • Steve

    My cousin works for the VA – he told me, point blank, that the VA is just about the most bureaucratic, lazy organization he’s ever been a part of (he’s doing graduate work there, not necessarily by choice).

    He even said that one time there was some work that he saw needed to be done that wasn’t part of his duties or job description, and he did it anyway because he already had finished his work for the day. When his boss found out about it, instead of praising him like the owner of a small business would, he was reprimanded and told that he would be fired on the spot if he ever did someone else’s work ever again.

    Now, I’m no genius, but I’m pretty sure this is the fundamental problem with all bureaucratic institutions – everyone has their place, they are to do no more or no less than they are told. It’s no wonder why veterans are dying…the VA clearly has an established pace that they’d like to move at, and anything faster than that is unacceptable. In the example of my cousin, the VA branch he worked for would have rather seen the work NOT be done at ALL, rather than just letting him do some “extra work” that he was more than willing to do. The VA and all other government institutions are an example of accepted mediocrity at its finest; they don’t do a very good job, nor do they want to.

  • desshunt.95

    so every single thing happening is all because obama was voted in to office? i am anti obama but to say everything taking place is all because of obama. or even assuming every democrat voted for obama is just silly and helps divide us.

  • Anonymous

    At least Montel has seen the light after opening his eyes. I know so many people who haven’t got a clue for what is going on with this administration. Most people I speak to don’t even want to hear any of these scandals and evil things that go on infront of their eyes. That is the biggest problem. They have a little time to watch the news on TV and take it all as truth. Then, you have the rigged way of voting and it makes voting easier for people who don’t care. Throw in the multiple votes that are done by the diehard dems and you can see what is going to happen this November and again in 2016.

  • Anonymous

    If Mr. Williams voted for Pres. Obama, perhaps this tragedy will inspire Mr. Williams (and many others) to not vote for the next Pied Piper.

  • desshunt.95

    lets bash him for a mistake instead or praise him for the great thing he is trying to do. lets blame every problem i america on obama. there isnt anyyyone is in office hurting our people. just obama huh?

  • Anonymous

    dess, thank you for your opinion but it doesn’t sound to me that you are “anti Obama” as you said. But, just for arguments sake, please tell me is Obama responsible for any of what’s going on? Generally his only knowledge comes from what he read in the newspaper, so do you think that he is indeed “in charge”?

  • Josh

    Whats the background on Ken Fisher? What has he done and why should he be secretary?

  • desshunt.95

    just because i dont bash the man and think he is the root cause of every problem does not mean i am pro obama. you can be against something without bashing it every moment. yes obama is a liar, and he is NOT for the american people. he is for his own muslim agenda and thats it. with that being said, it is foolish to blame every single problem on the man. a president has power but not all of it. thats why things are voted on. i have a problem with every news story i see turning in to you damn democrats or you damn liberals. or you voted for obama thats what you get. this mentality is sick and it destroys our people. dem lib repub, athiest jew etc. no matter who hold that title as president, there will ALWAY be corruption until we people stick together and make all those guilty people in congress, all these news stories reporting lies, all these funds we donate to foreign countries instead of spending it on our own people, we will never be united until we focus on the TRUE issue. if its not obama it wil be someone else. obama is one of the worst yes but corruption and deciet were around long before this man. my grampa has had trouble with the va long before obama. this is because money hungry greedy liars are running things. because we as people would rather focus on banning guns and banning christ from schools than supporting our people and fighting for a good cause. our priorities as a nation are disgusting and when this montel williams speaks up the first thing i see people sayin is he voted for obama thats what he gets instead of wow this is a BLACK man finally coming to his senses and speaking against obama. applaud this man. instead we bash him. that to me is also part of the problem.

  • desshunt.95

    srry for typos was in car

  • Rachel

    Ok. I would like to make some clarification here, that ARE NOT making anyone’s radar.

    1). People are all up in arms about “waiting lists,” and I would like to see some clarifications about WHICH waiting lists these Vets are on. I know people who work in the local VA hospital, and you want to know which two waiting lists are the longest?
    Hearing tests and eyesight tests. (Over 60% of the total waiting lists).

    2). 90 days. Yes, that is one heck of a long time, but let me ask people this: How long of a wait do you have when you need to see a specialist? Roughly 90+ is quite normal for the Southwest region (especially for Medicare/Medicaid patients).
    Also, the VA hospitals are for speciality care, NOT PRIMARY. So, again, 90 days fits with the normal wait times here in the Southwest.

    3). Yes. The administration of the VA is filled (mostly) with grouches who don’t give a damn because by golly they have their “tenured” government job and that impacts how quickly certain things get done. However, the actual providers? First off, even when you account for “other” costs, VA Doctors, PAs, and NPs get paid between $10,000 – $100,000 less per year than those in private practices around the Southwest (this might be different for other regions of the US). Secondly, these providers are having to deal with chronic understaffing just like everyone else. So why make them villains because they can’t see everyone faster than anyone else in town? Thirdly, the VA can only pay Medicare rates for surgeries, including cancer treatments, which drastically drops the number of outside facilities that will see/do surgery on VA patients.

    Yes, one VA in one state screwed up. But, please, can everyone stop jumping to conclusions and stop making villains out of all VA hospitals because of one hospital’s screw up?
    Thanks.
    ~Relative of one VA provider just trying to set the records straight

  • Anonymous

    That’s good advice for all of us!

  • Anonymous

    What your cousin’s boss DIDN’T say was that he was upset at what your cousin did because it violated union rules,
    and the boss was afraid the union would file a grievance if they found out about what your cousin did. A grievance would reflect poorly on your cousin’s boss (most likely resulting in a reduced bonus). The VA medical system is 80+% SEIU (union). SEIU is but one of the hindrances to proper care for our veterans. The overwhelming hindrance to proper veteran care is the VA medical system itself. Why do we we even need it? Answer: Because somebodies are making money off of it. Why does GI Joe need to go to a wholly separate medical system for routine care, or even acute injury care? Case in point is the Boston Marathon bombing tragedy. Every single acutely injured victim was successfully treated by LOCAL hospital staff. So why an entirely separate entity for veterans only. The VA system is wasteful and, as we all now know, inefficient and in some cases, a killing machine. The current VA medical system needs to be abolished and vets should be allowed to go to their local private hospitals. Just give them an ID card like you’d get from any health insurance provider, let the vet go where he or she pleases and the facility can bill the VA.
    If you think it will never happen, here’s a heads up: I just got my new VAMC ID card. It has a group number on it. Why do you think it has a group number since I go to a local VAMC for my health care?

  • Steve

    I assumed it was a union issue we were dealing with here, though you’re right, my cousin didn’t specifically say they’re union-run. I assumed it was a union issue because that type of behavior is the exact type of behavior one would expect out of a union organization – I did not want to say for sure though because I didn’t know that for a fact.

    Your idea of abolishing the VA as a whole and allowing for veterans to have a government issued ID card that will allow them care in a civilian hospital is incredible, and full of total common sense – it’s just too bad that we have a government that has proven time and time again that if an idea has a lot of common sense, they’ll do the exact opposite with a smile on their face.

    I truly hope your idea catches on, it’s a good one.

  • bigbabart1

    really, so u are saying that ppl who fought for us should wait 8 years before see doctors? and with my health care I can see specialist next day. but they have to wait 90 day to 8 years to see specialist.

  • 8gary8

    Few doubt it is easy to be hoodwinked by charismatic rhetoric. Moreover, few should be expected to “have anticipated” such a politicizing, partisan, president.

  • Anonymous

    Barry have stopped deportation , tied the hands of Border agents and border states to do anything. We have WIDE OPEN borders with zero security for our nation. THAT IS BARRY’s doing. Place the blame where is belongs.

  • Anonymous

    I’m a Navy veteran, and will be taking my NCLEX for nursing licensure in a couple of weeks. I would be very happy to work in a VA facility! If those of us who are aware of the insufficiencies don’t stand up and do what we can to help improve things, who will?