VA drops the ball on veteran suicide prevention

And Trump's mismanagement is the main reason why:

Suicide prevention efforts by the Department of Veterans Affairs fell off sharply in the last two years, even though reducing the high suicide rate among veterans is the agency’s top clinical priority, according to a new report.

With the department’s top management in turmoil, the suicide prevention effort lacked leadership, planning meetings were repeatedly canceled, millions of dollars budgeted for outreach went unspent, and the television and radio ads that had been broadcast thousands of times across the country in previous years went all but silent.

If something like this had happened on Obama's watch, Congressional Republicans would be holding hearings back to back, and Fox News would have endless coverage of the failure. But Trump? Crickets. One of the most important gauges of how effective an executive is performing is the performance of subordinate institutions that fall under his (or her) authority, and by all measures, Trump has failed miserably in that category. But his failure with the VA has been breathtaking, and with fatal consequences:

“At a time when 20 veterans a day still die by suicide, V.A. should be doing everything in its power to inform the public about the resources available to veterans in crisis,” Representative Tim Walz, the Minnesota Democrat who requested the investigation, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, V.A. failed to do that.”

Mr. Walz attributed the problems to “a deeply troubling level of incompetence” at the agency after a number of experienced senior staff members resigned over differences with President Trump’s political appointees.

Among those who left was Dr. Caitlin Thompson, the director of the agency’s suicide prevention office. In an interview, she said she resigned in July 2017 because of repeated changes in how the office was overseen and because she felt mounting pressure to produce work that would be politically flashy but have little impact on veterans’ lives.

Bolding mine, because that highlights one of the most stark inconsistencies between Campaign Trump and President Trump. We heard a lot of noise from both him and his supporters about how his "outside the Beltline" approach would "cut through the red tape" and "get things done." In actuality, he has perfected the art of form over function, and has shown zero interest in any policy idea that doesn't somehow elevate him in the eyes of his exceedingly delusional fanbase.

But Trump's blatant narcissism aside, this editorial correction caught my eye and punched me in the stomach:

A photo caption with an earlier version of this article misstated the time period during which 1,892 veterans and service members died by suicide. It was from January to March of 2014, not the whole year.

Three months, and a body count of 1,892, who had already endured the physical and emotional hardships of military service. Numbers and statistics have a habit of turning into noise in your head, and "22 suicides per day" doesn't automatically quantity itself into quarterly or annual figures. But this particular war is killing more Americans than all other wars combined, post-Vietnam.

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