All posts by Charles Bloeser

Charles Bloeser is the creator of combatresearchandprose.com, a new open-source applied research initiative examining combat and those marked by it. His most recent publication chronicles a tragic story that a former client – a combat-haunted Vietnam veteran – asked him to tell, from his deathbed: http://www.strifeblog.org/2018/08/02/henry-a-wounded-soldier-forgotten-by-all-in-an-american-jail-by-all-except-his-brothers-who-fell-beside-him-in-vietnam https://combatresearchandprose.com https://charlesbloeser.com @combatresearch1 *“PROSE”: “the ordinary language people use in speaking or writing.” – Merriam Webster

Childhood sexual trauma threatens our Nation’s security. That’s why we can’t give child predators a free pass.

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Charles Bloeser huddling with client at client's state murder trial in Tennessee. photo by Jackson Sun 318 x 196

Charles Bloeser is a lawyer and the researcher behind the creation of combatresearchandprose.com, a new open-source applied research initiative examining combat and those marked by it. His most recent publication, in August 2018, reports how a cancer-stricken, combat-haunted Vietnam veteran fell between the cracks in a modern jail. It’s an account that, from that warrior’s deathbed, he asked author to share with those best able to keep the same thing from happening to others. STRIFE, at the Department of War Studies, Kings College London, gave him a way to do that. 

http://www.strifeblog.org/2018/08/02/henry-a-wounded-soldier-forgotten-by-all-in-an-american-jail-by-all-except-his-brothers-who-fell-beside-him-in-vietnam

SOMETIMES THE AMERICAN FOSTER CHILD SYSTEM WORKS QUITE EFFICIENTLY; IT JUST DOES SO THE WRONG WAY

“PROSE”: “the ordinary language people use in speaking or writing.”  – Merriam Webster

 

Homeless parents – veteran or otherwise – want their kids back, too.

 ‘time for some weaponized sarcasm.

 I’ve encountered rough-sleeping moms and dads who’ve been told by child welfare workers that they can get their children back if they’ll just find a suitable place for their family to live. Of course, these are the same parents who aren’t eligible for much of the family housing that would satisfy child services because their children aren’t with them at the time. No, I have to tell them. No. It doesn’t make sense to me either. No. I don’t know what they’re supposed to do.

Even if homeless parents manage to get that housing, it’s too often not enough to get their kids back. Much of the time, child services tells parents that they’ll get their children back if they find a safe place for the family to live so long as they complete courses on parenting and anger management and what not.

“It’ll be easy,” says the child services worker. She then gives the parents a list of the classes they must complete by a certain deadline, names of the relevant providers, and phone numbers the parents must call to enroll in the classes. More phone numbers for caring ones who don’t respect these parents enough to return their calls. Calls left every day for three weeks. Messages that echo panic as the deadline to complete the required courses nears. And even if a class provider or Child services staff does eventually, perhaps on the eve of their court date, call, it may be too late. By that time maybe the parents lost phone service again for non-payment. And perhaps there’s no time left on the parents’ free “minute phone.” After all, it eats up a lot of minutes when you have to call and leave a bunch of pointless messages.

It’s all very sad, of course. But who knows? Maybe the foster family that’s been caring for their children is growing attached to the kids. And the family has a steady income. Money lets them pay the electric bill so that no one has to sleep in a car. The kids can have stable education. And the foster family will take them to a house of worship every week. Just think of the opportunities these kids’ll get!

You know it and I know it. The parents are losers. There’s no way that they’ll ever do any of that for them. Come on everybody. This is nobody’s first trip to the rodeo. We all know those kids’ll get such a better life with that foster family. When the parents’ court day finally arrives after weeks of unreturned calls, the “best interest of the child” clearly demands that the worker testify to the judge under oath that the parents haven’t complied.

And now it’s the parents’ turn to testify to a judge who’s barely taller than the stack of deprived child files that she drew theirs from. But this is the first time that either parent has been to a court. It’s all new. The pedestrian court room is so full that it snaps its buttons, and family members and attorneys spill into the hallway. A baby cries, and a bailiff quickly tells a mother to take her infant outside.

These parents may have been told by an appointed lawyer who first met them today that they will get a turn to speak to the judge. So as one case after another gets called, they wait their turn and try to focus and think of what they might say to the judge in this unfamiliar place with unfamiliar rules. They try to listen to the cases called before theirs for clues, but it’s hard to hear from where they sit. A thin buzz hovers around and through them while along the sidelines lawyers have hushed conversations with police officers and child welfare workers and attorneys for the State.

It gets even harder for these parents to focus each time they hear the stern woman in the black robe say it is ordered that a family’s children will not be returned at this time and a new court date will be set for several months from now. When that happens, wailing drenches and saturates the anxious courtroom.

And as these parents watch that family leave the courtroom, they hear those parents shatter courtroom decorum. Their anger and frustration trigger a line of cops against the far wall. Tired cops who just got off night shift and now wait to testify in their various cases. Those cops don’t want to be here. Too many don’t want to be questioned about what they filed with the court. They wrote their reports. Shouldn’t that be good enough? But they show up anyway. There’s just too big a chance that if they don’t, their cases will be dismissed. And that doesn’t look good to their higher ups. And sometimes it leaves kids with a truly dangerous predator who has hurt or killed before. “You said it was a slam dunk!” that other mother screams at her lawyer as she slams open the door into the hallway.

But now that these parents get to speak to the judge, what will they say? Somehow that worker who told them that all she wants to see is for this family to be reunited forgot to tell these parents to get a spiral notebook at the dollar store. A notebook they should use to write a note about every date and time anything happens that has something to do with their children’s case. Especially every time they try to do what Child services told them to do to get their kids back and every time they called or tried to call anyone about their case. Yes, somehow that worker who cares so much about reuniting their family just forgot to tell them to do this. Of course, the same worker has no excuse for not telling them. This was the 300th time she’s testified in a case like this.

But in the worker’s defense, maybe she’s simply trying to make the whole process run smoother. Or, run at all. You know, so that the law’s insistence that “the best interests of the child” can actually mean something. For at least some of the kids. 

None of that can happen, of course, if the worker has to be bothered with one parent after another who’s prepared to contradict her testimony to the judge. With facts. With specificity. With credibility. She’s got too many kids on her caseload and too much paperwork already. She doesn’t have time for nonsense like that.

So, the worker testifies to the judge directly from her own notes, and her agency’s version of the parents’ compliance is the one the judge thinks is stronger. Far too often, unless the judge has a thorough – enough report from a court-appointed special advocate (CASA[i] worker) or a guardian ad-litem, almost the only thing the court will be allowed to consider as it decides whether to release the children to their parents is the sworn testimony of a government agency that cares.

After the lady in the black robes has heard from everyone who has a say in this proceeding, she finds that the parents have not complied and orders that it’s in the best interests of the children to stay in the care of child services. Without suitable family members anywhere close or who are suitable to take the kids in, the children will stay – either together or severed from one another – with whatever foster families the government puts the kids with. Another court date on the same issues is set for months from now. What else is the judge supposed to do in the brief minutes that she can spend on each case? 

Maybe these parents, the ones who don’t have any of the resources that many of us assume we own by birthright, will somehow find a way to satisfy the worker and the Court enough to recover their children. But they may not, and a court may sever these siblings’ relationships with their parents as neatly and cleanly as a nurse clips an umbilical cord.

So, after the frost melts in the shadowed spaces between the trees and gives way to families and picnic baskets at the edge of a Civil War battlefield, and after summer is spent and the colors that fall to the ground take on regal hues, twice, I’ll run into those parents again.

If I’m careless, I’ll ask them, “so, how’s the family”?[ii]

 

Ponca City News article re swearing in as ADA. 350 x 267Researcher’s role as a participant in America’s “foster-child system”

The author’s responsibilities in criminal and civil matters while serving as an assistant district attorney for the State of Oklahoma were, among others:  

(a) reviewing child welfare reports to determine which warranted applications for judicial child removal orders and possible criminal prosecution;

(b) representing the State’s interests in civil “deprived child” actions arising from these cases, as well as in civil cases alleging actions by minors that, if done by an adult, would be criminal offenses and subject to prosecution;

(c) learning whether a crime committed against or by a child occurred on land and under circumstances that authorized the State of Oklahoma to act (the judicial district I served is a patchwork of jurisdictions that include a number of Indian tribes and in which the land that the State couldn’t touch might be no bigger than the lot where the crimes occurred);

(d) primary assistant D.A. on call to respond to ER, courthouse, or other locations in order to seek, if necessary, order from the judge authorizing the emergency commitment of persons deemed danger to self or others, an order which, in the absence of suitable family, resulted in kids going into foster care;

(e) took turns with other assistant D.A.’s on call to respond to scenes of suicide and other deaths when requested by law enforcement;

(f) on occasion, participating in case conferencing with other relevant actors re children placed in the custody of child services and perhaps housed in foster homes; and

(g) serving as the District Attorney’s representative at some of the informal foster parent gatherings held in that judicial district.

 

Mr. Richardson and attorney Charles Bloeser State of Tennessee carjacking and murder trial. 375 x 210Regardless of which side I’ve represented over the years, America’s foster system has always insisted on showing up, either openly or by lurking in the shadows in cases involving:

(a) criminal defendants, appellants, and petitioners who had been removed from their homes as children due to abuse, neglect or a parent’s inability to keep them housed, fed, and in school;

(b) clients whose children had been removed for any or all of the same reasons and who had not been reunited with their kids;

(c) persons arrested, charged and sometimes previously convicted for committing crimes against children, including sex crimes, assault, criminal neglect, and homicide; and

(d) persons who insisted on pleading guilty to crimes they didn’t commit or which the State couldn’t have proven at trial, under threat that child services would be sent into the home to remove their children if they did not plead guilty.

Feature Image courtesy National Military Family Association. Accessed on-line 5 Oct 2018. http://www.militaryfamily.org/kids-operation-purple/deployment.html

 

Endnotes

[i]“CASA/GAL volunteers are appointed by judges to watch over and advocate for abused and neglected children, to make sure they don’t get lost in the overburdened legal and social service system or languish in inappropriate group or foster homes. Volunteers stay with each case until it is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. For many abused children, their CASA/GAL volunteer will be the one constant adult presence in their lives.” National CASA Association | 800.628.3233 | www.casaforchildren.org

[ii]“Marine family opens heart, home to foster children”

By Lance Cpl. Harley Robinson | 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing | October 13, 2016

https://www.3rdmaw.marines.mil/News/News-Article-Display/Article/973309/marine-family-opens-heart-home-to-foster-children/

2018 Women’s Day article features U.S. Army Lt. Col. whose family has – despite deployment to Iraq – taken in 34 foster children since first being approved by state officials in 2013: https://www.womansday.com/relationships/family-friends/a20962937/military-family-foster-parents/

PDF of 2016 U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services/Children’s Bureau factsheet for military families considering adoption (which in many cases begins with fostering children who can’t be or aren’t returned to their families): https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/f_militia.pdf

 

 

Charles.photo.lawlibrary. 150 x 200Charles Bloeser is a lawyer and the researcher behind the creation of combatresearchandprose.com, a new open-source applied research initiative examining combat and those marked by it. His most recent publication, in August 2018, reports how a cancer-stricken, combat-haunted Vietnam veteran fell between the cracks in a modern jail. It’s an account that, from that warrior’s deathbed, he asked author to share with those best able to keep the same thing from happening to others. STRIFE, at the Department of War Studies, Kings College London, gave him a way to do that.  

http://www.strifeblog.org/2018/08/02/henry-a-wounded-soldier-forgotten-by-all-in-an-american-jail-by-all-except-his-brothers-who-fell-beside-him-in-vietnam

First Commandment from 750 Episcopal Churches with Formal Ties to LGBT Agenda: Don’t Piss Us Off

screenshot (942)Dear [Episcopal Church Presiding] Bishop Curry:

For the good of those both the Church and I care deeply about, please do not ignore this matter, Sir. In my 20 October 2018 letter of formal withdrawal from the Episcopal Church in America, I explained to you that:

“As recently as 6 October, I’ve again put in writing to the local U.S. Attorney’s office and to FBI cybercrime agents that I have no interest in seeing prosecutions and lawsuits against my adversaries in a fight over a structurally defective homeless assessment tool or adversaries from the Justice and National Security communities whom I inherited from my late father. For your convenience, I’ve attached a PDF of that document.”

I also explained that:

“My promise not to seek prison or money from those two groups does not, of course, extend without limit to adversaries and enemies trying, for other reasons, to destroy me and my high-quality record as a published lawyer and researcher. . . .”

ckb article excerpt with image 376 x 650Because it appears that the Episcopal Church of America and its LGBT allies at St. Philips Tucson and in at least 750 other local Episcopal churches are daring me to sue for money damages, let me make this more concrete for you. But I encourage you, Bishop, not to mistake my repeated good faith efforts to avoid litigation as an unwillingness to sue. Having spent years defending my clients against teams of lawyers and legions of federal agents prosecuting criminal conspiracies that stretch across the country and, sometimes, overseas, this is the kind of fight that’s damned exciting and, to some extent, fun. That’s true even though it would be my trial lawyers and their investigators who would do all the work.

 

The actions of the Episcopal Church and its LGBT allies create multiple venues for such a lawsuit, but it’s hard to ignore the local story: the same nonprofit CEO who told me in her COO’s presence at the end of June 2017 that, “I’m not going to let you threaten a million-dollar grant” is also one of few felons who has documented experience masterminding (U.S. Court of Appeals word) and running a nationwide criminal conspiracy. Her COO joined Primavera Foundation after spending years working at the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation. And, as you well know, I’m the author of a 2004 article advocating for a federal constitutional amendment that would define “marriage” as being only a union between one man and one woman. And let’s not forget my late father, Bishop – an American military veteran who publicly resigned his post as the State of Arizona’s AIDS Health Program Manager after LGBT politics were strangling his efforts to get funding for infants born HIV-positive.

mogadishu image and related 726 x 494
It’s reported that 150 LGBT activists signed a letter demanding that a decorated Delta Force warrior who was among those tasked with commanding U.S. Special Operations forces in “the First” Battle of Mogadishu – a tragic humanitarian mission gone wrong – be fired from his university teaching job where he was able to pass on hard-earned lessons to those the United States might send on similar missions in the future. Why? The three-star general told a joke at their expense.

The reason, Sir, that I keep trying to avoid suing the Episcopal Church, its leadership, and its allies in the LGBT communities is that I think even a legal victory with large compensatory and perhaps huge punitive damage awards will produce more losers than winners. Here’s how I put it to the woman who saw me awarded Primavera volunteer-of-the-year, hired me for Primavera Foundation, served as my immediate supervisor there, and who put in writing that I “embody” Primavera Foundation’s “guiding principles”:

My former church and some of its allies are playing with fire, Kay. And it’s not so much because what I’ve learned about wounded warriors like my grandad, has so transformed me in 2018. It’s because a very public civil defamation lawsuit against the Episcopal Church in America, et al. will have few limits on where the trial lawyers and law firm investigators can go in the pursuit of evidence that might be admissible in a public trial.

There will, for example, be little to stand in the way of plaintiff’s attorney hauling in Fr. Mark Schultz, putting him under oath and then spending days, if necessary, interrogating him as to the specifics of who, what, when, where, and why. This would be a contingency fee case that some lawyers and funders would see as a chance for payback against those who’ve, to their way of thinking, shoved down their throats a political agenda they didn’t want.

dad image arizona republic 168 x 175
USArmy and USAF veteran Carl H. Bloeser, M.P.H., M.A.P.A. image courtesy Arizona Republic

As far as I’m concerned, Kay, the only real benefits of waging a very public case like this, in the current political and media environment, is that it will bring more attention to a lot of folks we thank for their service without being willing to listen to them; and significant money damages that a jury may award can be put into more methodologically sound research into the causes of suicide among past and present members of the Armed Forces, e.g., “Operation Deep Dive” at University of Alabama. There would be a lot more losers.

I didn’t start the fight with my former church and some of its allies. But I’ve been trying for months to get this damned thing resolved peaceably so that we can all get back to those we claim we care about.. . .

dad quote 900 x 509

Complete text of dad’s remarks to Eagle Forum following his public resignation as the State of Arizona’s AIDS Health Program Manager:
https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn:aaid:scds:US:476ec4a0-7778-4f3f-b55e-e74f65acf09e

Bishop Curry, you and the Episcopal Church’s leadership and lawyers have had ample time to observe, analyze and consider a number of the items that will likely be admitted into evidence if this damned thing has to go to a public lawsuit, an invasive and uncomfortable discovery process, and public trial. These items also provide you a pretty clear idea of what plaintiff’s lawyers and investigators will go after and who’ll get dragged in for deposition first.

That being said, Bishop, a confluence of factors has brought together some de facto allies for which the Episcopal Church should not be held responsible. So that you can have a better idea of who, exactly, is included in the following language, I’ve provided below three items from the relevant timeline. Because a lawsuit hasn’t been filed yet and because it’s unclear what all will be uncovered in the discovery process, all I can say for now is that it appears the greatest headaches for the Episcopal Church and its LGBT allies begin with acts on and after 23 January 2018.

As recently as 6 October, I’ve again put in writing to the local U.S. Attorney’s office and to FBI cybercrime agents that I have no interest in seeing prosecutions and lawsuits against my adversaries in a fight over a structurally defective homeless assessment tool or adversaries from the Justice and National Security communities whom I inherited from my late father. . . .

22 January 2018

Having concluded that U.S. acceptance of a fatally defective survey assessment tool was just one of several symptoms of a much bigger problem, i.e. the failure by the 93% of persons in the U.S. who’ve never served in the military to understand even the most elementary facts of life for those who’ve served and their families, this lawyer/researcher/ author pivots his complete research agenda toward addressing that bigger problem. I would later detail what changed on 23 January 2018 to former City of Philadelphia and current City of Tucson Deputy IT Director Howell Herring and his wife, Mary Hickert Herring (St. Philips Vestry) – fellow Sewanee alumni and 3-year EfM mentors at St. Philips in the Hills –

The two of you have the right mix of information and resources to allay people’s concerns that I will again use Facebook, LinkedIn, or G+ to share with private citizens and the public policy crowd direct links to: (a) the VI-SPDAT and its scoring instructions, (b) a May 2014 VI-SPDAT promotional video featuring its creator’s claims about the “power” of the “science” that produced his survey, (c) a July 26, 2014 OrgCode blogpost in which the same guy states that “the VI-SPDAT is why I’m going to the White House” today, and (d) the June 26, 2017 OrgCode company blogpost where that same foreign national makes damning admissions about how he really created the thing.

January 22 is the last day that I let folks on social media know that items a through d exist or gave them a way to see and judge them for themselves. My research agenda since then has been and will be for the foreseeable future, addressing for the national security / defense / veteran policy crowd a more entrenched problem that hurts many more people. I already have a past and present track record of turning out work these folks care about and with the quality that they expect.  https://combatresearchandprose.com/about-this-researcher/

 

report to fr robt 750 x 4183 June 2018

Six (6) months after I suggested – in a holiday food line – to a St. Philips Tucson clergy member that we meet – he finally followed up on my suggestion. I explained to him by email on this date that “January 22 of this year I shifted the focus of my work away from that survey instrument . . . Hence, my research agenda since January has wholly focused on trying to bridge that vet-civilian gap, at least in the minds of those who make and influence policy. . . .”

26 July 2018

Assistant U.S. Attorney Monte Cress Clausen (D-AZ – Tucson), who had honorably served as my opposing counsel in a late 1990s civil case that my late father brought against the U.S. Army for acts arising at Ft. Huachuca, learned by telephone call from the Arizona Bar’s lead lawyer that he had wrongly believed (for 18 years??) that I filed against him the only bar complaint of his career (per 26 July 2018 follow-up email to Charles Bloeser from Arizona Bar lead bar counsel Maret Vasella).

Both he and I learned on that same day that my late father who, during the last 20 years of his life pissed off a lot of folks in the national security and justice communities, filed a bar complaint against Monte in 2001. Both dad’s first name and mine begin with the letter “C.” Even though that matter had been decided in Monte’s favor and was subsequently expunged, the Justice Department lawyer’s likely well-intentioned but erroneous belief that I was the one who filed the bar complaint against him had, according to a fellow Rotarian who spoke with him at a Rotary event the evening of 7 July 2018, caused him sufficient distress that he didn’t want to meet with me toward resolving these matters.

Bishop Curry, I’ve previously suggested some actions that you, the Episcopal Church, and some of its allies can take that would suggest good faith and perhaps move us away from the need for me to sue. Perhaps I’m mistaken, but I’ve not seen any evidence of these actions or other good faith actions being taken. In fact, in the same way that my electronic communication and social media access seemed to change significantly for the worse after I sought the help of my owned damned EfM mentor at St. Philips and his wife, now on Vestry there (both fellow Sewanee alumni), my ability to do, disseminate, and fund the work I do for past and present service members and their families gets harder each time I ask you to do the right thing. I’ve already sent you proof of new, brutally effective defamatory conduct taken against me at a late November “haven” meeting at St. Philips.

If you have not previously considered this matter to be as fraught with risk as it is, I encourage you do reevaluate.

Charles L.K. Bloeser, M.A., J.D.

 

 

Charles.photo.lawlibrary. 150 x 200Charles Bloeser is a lawyer and the researcher behind the creation of combatresearchandprose.com, a new open-source applied research initiative examining combat and those marked by it. His most recent publication, in August 2018, reports how a cancer-stricken, combat-haunted Vietnam veteran fell between the cracks in a modern jail. It’s an account that, from that warrior’s deathbed, he asked author to share with those best able to keep the same thing from happening to others. STRIFE, at the Department of War Studies, Kings College London, gave him a way to do that. 

http://www.strifeblog.org/2018/08/02/henry-a-wounded-soldier-forgotten-by-all-in-an-american-jail-by-all-except-his-brothers-who-fell-beside-him-in-vietnam

UNDERSERVED: Marines are nearly ten times more likely to be excluded from VA services than their counterparts in the Air Force

“PROSE”: “the ordinary language people use in speaking or writing.” – Merriam Webster

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By far more than anyone else, United States Marines and their supporters have reacted to and commented on this solemn, snow-shrouded image that I posted on Facebook mere hours ago. It’s an anecdotal truth for this author that those in and around the USMC are quick, respectful, and openly compassionate when it comes to honoring the noble dead. Collectively, the kind of fight that our Marines take to America’s enemies is a lot different than that we ask of our airmen. So, WTF? The VA has effectively decided that Marines are more than five times more “Dishonorable” than Airmen.

Here’s an excerpt from the following March 2016 report as accessed online 21 December 2018:
Swords to Plowshares, in conjunction with National Veterans Legal Services Program and the Veterans Legal Clinic at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School have published Underserved: How the VA Wrongfully Excludes Veterans with Bad Paper.

Complete report available at:

https://www.swords-to-plowshares.org/2016/03/30/underserved/

Not all who have served are “veterans” in the eyes of the Department of Veterans Affairs. If the veteran has less than a General discharge, the VA creates obstacles to getting health care, benefits, homeless resources and other services. Most of these veterans are simply turned away. Congress never meant for eligibility to be so exclusive, it intended that only veterans who served dishonorably be denied access. The VA’s own discretionary policies unnecessarily deny hundreds of thousands veterans benefits, who are often those most in need of the VA’s support. These former service members are more likely to have mental health disabilities and twice as likely to commit suicide. They are more likely to be homeless and to be involved with the criminal justice system.

KEY FINDINGS FROM THE REPORT

  • Marines are nearly ten times more likely to be excluded from VA services than their counterparts in the Air Force
  • Current era service members are excluded at higher rates than other eras– more than twice the rate for Vietnam Era veterans and nearly four times the rate for World War II Era veterans
  • Mental health and combat have little effect on eligibility
  • 3 out of 4 veterans with bad-paper discharges who served in combat and who have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder are denied eligibility by the Board of Veterans’ Appeals

.  .  .

(Excerpted from p. 12 and following)

VA Regulations Result in Unequal Exclusion Rates Between Branches

The historically unprecedented exclusion rate today
is due almost enti rely to the VA’s discretionary choice
to presume ineligibility for veterans who received
administrative Other Than Honorable discharges.
That choice deprives tens of thousands of veterans of
needed care, despite the fact that their service would
not be considered “Dishonorable”—and was not
deemed Dishonorable by the military. What is more, significant disparities exist among the administrative separati on practices of the various service branches. The Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps each has its own separation regulations and policies. Moreover, within each branch, different units and commands may implement those regulations and policies in a different manner. Thus, service members who engage in similar misconduct may receive disparate treatment: one may be retained, another may be discharged under General conditions, another discharged under Other Than Honorable conditions.

This is due to different leadership styles, not differences in degrees of “dishonor.” A report of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on discharge characterization documented the range of discharge practices and ascribed disparities to differences in leadership and management styles rather than a measurable difference in “honor” or “character.” The GAO compared Marines and Airmen with the same misconduct, service length, and performance history, and found that the Air Force was thirteen times more likely to give a discharge Under Honorable conditions than the Marine Corps.

Because the VA presumptively excludes veterans
with non-punitive Other Than Honorable discharges,
this discrepancy results in significant differences
in VA eligibility. For service members with equivalent conduct histories, Airmen are 13 times more
likely than Marines to be deemed presumptively
eligible—and recognized as a “veteran”—by the VA.
This results in significant differences in aggregate.
Whereas 98% of veterans who have served in the Air
Force since 2001 can access the VA when they leave
the service, only 88% of Marines from the period are
presumptively recognized as “veterans” by the VA.
(See Table K.9). The VA has effectively decided that
Marines are more than five times more “Dishonorable” than Airmen.

This disparity provides a potent reminder for why Congress decided to exclude only veterans who received or should have received a Dishonorable discharge by Court-Martial. Although there are wide discrepancies among services in their administrative discharge practices, the service branches are remarkably similar in how they use punitive discharges. Congress specifically noted that the discretion given to commanders for administrative separations can result in unfair outcomes, and gave veterans the benefit of the doubt by only excluding those who received or deserved a Dishonorable discharge by court-martial. Because the VA’s regulations have presumptively excluded all veterans with administrative Other Than Honorable discharges, the VA is failing to act in accordance with Congress’s decision.
Eligibility Decisions Fail To Adequately Consider Mental Health Conditions that May Have Contributed to Discharge.

Overall, the VA’s COD regulations prevent consideration—except in narrow and specifi c circumstances—of facts that Congress intended the VA to take into account: mitigating factors, extenuating circum-
stances, and positive facts. As one example, the VA’s regulations provide little room for consideration
of whether any mental health condition explains
or mitigates the conduct that led to the veteran’s
bad-paper discharge. It is deeply unfair—and contrary to Congress’s intent—to exclude veterans from basic veteran services for behavior that is symptomatic of mental health conditions that may be related to their service.

It is well established that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), depression, operational stress, and other mental health conditions can lead to behavioral changes. In some cases, military commanders incorrectly attribute those behaviors to bad character, rather than as signs of distress and disease. Indeed, a 2010 study of Marines who deployed to Iraq found that those who were diagnosed with PTSD were eleven times more likely to be discharged for misconduct and eight times more likely to be discharged for substance abuse than Marines without a PTSD diagnosis.

Yet, the VA’s regulati ons contain only one narrow
provision related to mental health: misconduct
leading to discharge may be overlooked if the veteran
was “insane” at the time of the misconduct leading
to discharge. The VA’s definition of “insanity” is
antiquated—out of step with the practices of modern
psychology and psychiatry, which no longer deem
people “insane.” . . .

Eligibility Decisions Do Not Consider Whether the Veteran Served In Combat or Other Hardship Conditions

Another example of the failure of the VA’s regulations is the absence of any generally applicable provision for considering whether the veteran served in hardship conditions, including whether the veteran served in combat. . . .

https://www.swords-to-plowshares.org/2016/03/30/underserved/

Among additional expert analyses of what bad paper discharges do to those who’ve served and their families is:

“Bad Papers”: The Invisible and Increasing Costs of War for Excluded Veterans

Ali R. Tayyeb and Jennifer Greenburg (2017)
Paper (pdf)
https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/papers/2017/bad-papers-invisible-and-increasing-costs-war-excluded-veterans

In a forthcoming article, this author points to another problem facing those with bad paper discharges:

“Veterans with bad paper discharges can get screwed all the way around. Not only are they often – but not always – excluded from VA services and healthcare, they “may be excluded from access to community resources also; many community programs follow the eligibility requirements set by the VA.”
Research Review: Underserved, How the VA Wrongfully Excludes Veterans With Bad Paper. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) iava.org/blog May 3, 2016
https://iava.org/blogs/research-review-underserved-how-the-va-wrongfully-excludes￾veterans-with-bad-paper/

BAD PAPER UPDATE

Veterans may sue over discharges they say were result of untreated mental health problems

http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/veterans_may_sue_over_discharges_they_say_were_result_of_untreated_mental_h

Shawnee Warrior Tecumseh: “If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.”

So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.

“Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none.

“When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.

“When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”

 

This version of a warrior’s reflections on pursuing a life unencumbered by a fear of death, as well as the following remarks and featured image are pulled from http://nativeheritageproject.com. I’m indebted to a great American and great friend, who posted the foregoing guiding principles on social media.

This beautiful passage is attributed to Tecumseh, although it is disputed and also attributed to some of the Wapasha Chiefs, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse and Wovoka.

“Tecumseh did indeed die as a hero.  Mortally wounded, as shown in the carving above, Tecumseh gave the orders, “One of my legs is shot off! But leave me one or two guns loaded — I am going to have a last shot. Be quick and go!”

OHS_AL00198

The following background quote re Shawnee warrior Tecumseh is taken from a 1995 Smithsonian Magazine article by Bil Gibson and accessed at smithsonianmag.com:

“Tecumseh was a warrior at 15; later he became a renowned field commander and a charismatic orator. By the early 1800s he had conceived of a Pan-Indian federation. In this union he hoped old tribal rivalries would be set aside so that the indigenous people of the Great Lakes and Mississippi Valley could act as one in resisting the advancing whites. From a base on the Tippecanoe River in northern Indiana, he traveled from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico promoting this federation. His ambition was probably an impossible one; the Indian population of this territory was then less than 100,000 and that of the United States nearly seven million. Still, rumors of what he was up to greatly alarmed many frontier whites, including William Henry Harrison, the federal governor of the Indiana Territory. Formerly a Regular Army officer, Harrison negotiated with Tecumseh face-to-face on two occasions and assessed him as “one of those uncommon geniuses who spring up occasionally to produce revolutions and overturn the established order of things.”

Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-dying-tecumseh-97830806/#dhtS2Vs96sdezZgq.99

FEATURE IMAGE, summary description, and linked-to add’l information courtesy office of the Architect of the Capitol:

DEATH OF TECUMSEH

Death of Tecumseh frieze

“Tecumseh, a brilliant Indian chief, warrior and orator, is shown being fatally shot by Colonel Johnson at the Battle of the Thames in Upper Canada during the War of 1812. Tecumseh and his followers joined forces with the British to resist the encroachment of settlers on Indian territory. With Tecumseh’s death, however, the momentum and power of the Indian confederacy was broken. (1813)”

https://www.aoc.gov/art/frieze-american-history/death-tecumseh