Burr Vs. Vets: A Battle Of Official Statements

May 28, 2014

Republican US Sen. Richard Burr has been sparring with veterans service organizations.

The official statement might be the most passive aggressive technique in politics. And right now, there's a lot of passive aggression in the world of veterans affairs.

Last Friday, Senator Richard Burr (R - North Carolina) released an open letter to Veterans Service Organizations. It applauded the leadership of the American Legion for calling for the resignation of Eric Shinseki, the embattled secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Burr then went on to admonish other groups who have been less critical of the department in recent weeks:

It became clear at the hearing that most of the other VSOs attending appear to be more interested in defending the status quo within VA, protecting their relationships within the agency, and securing their access to the Secretary and his inner circle.

Thus began the official statements. The Disabled American Veterans is  one group Burr referred to in that letter. National Commander Joseph W. Johnston wrote the group is "outraged" that Burr chose the Memorial Day weekend to make the statement. The Paralyzed Veterans of America also issued an official statement, saying Burr is an embarrassment to Congress.

WUNC asked Sen. Burr for a comment. He responded with another official statement:

The reaction from some of the VSOs --VFW, DAV, and PVA-- seems to prove my point: they are far more outraged by my words than they have been thus far by any of the unfolding VA scandal or Secretary Shinseki's mismanagement of the agency. How many IG, Special Counsel, GAO, and Medical Investigator reports does it take to spur outrage and prompt action? Their position is even harder to understand in light of the statements made by the American Legion, IAVA, CVA, and others.