The highly troubled Department of Veteran’s Affairs secretary has, as so many before him, become ensnared in a case of stolen valor. The incident happened last year when Secretary Robert McDonald was meeting with homeless veterans. A homeless man told him that he was in Special Forces. In a lapse of judgement, Secretary McDonald replied, “Special Forces? What years? I was in Special Forces.”
In reality, McDonald is a veteran of the 82nd Airborne, certainly nothing to be ashamed of. Why he made the faux pas of claiming to have served in Special Forces was probably a momentary lapse in judgement as he attempted to build some rapport with the homeless man. None the less, Americans expect more of their governmental officials, particularly the Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs.
A high powered corporate CEO in his previous career, McDonald was brought into help clean up Veteran’s Affairs amid an epidemic of veteran suicides and a VA treatment process which is hopelessly backlogged. This recent scandal breaking in the media only serves to distract from the big picture: as a country we have failed to properly treat many of our veterans whom have been diagnosed with PTSD and TBI.
Someone like McDonald should have known better and should have known that his words would have repercussions. To his credit, he has been candid about the incident and admitted to his mistake. Hopefully McDonald is able to push through this scandal and get back to the very important work resting largely on his shoulders.