Originally created 07/04/99

Defends congressman over VA funds

Chuck Pardue (letter, June 29), suing lawyer and former chairman of the Richmond County Democratic Party, calls for Rep.Charlie Norwood, R-Ga., to resign Congress, because President Bill Clinton's budget is short of money for our veterans. Therefore, the Clinton-appointed VA Secretary Togo West may allow layoffs at the Augusta VA.

Let's look at the logic. Mr. Pardue voted for President Clinton, a man who loathes the military, dodged the draft, gutted defense spending to the point we can no longer meet the Department of Defense mission of fighting two regional conflicts simultaneously and now has a FY2000 budget that cuts benefits to the veterans he refused to serve with.

By the way, the Clinton budget in question received exactly two votes out of 435 House members.

Rep. Norwood did not vote for or support the man who cut veterans benefits. Mr. Pardue did. Is Mr. Pardue calling for the president to resign? Absolutely not. For that matter, did he call for Sen. Max Cleland, D-Ga., to resign the Senate? If Rep. Norwood is to take the fall for Mr. Clinton, Sen. Cleland would certainly be more to blame due to the fact that he at least is a member of Mr. Clinton's political party.

With the help and insistence of Rep. Norwood the Republican budget restores the money for veterans that was cut by Mr. Clinton. But even that hasn't stopped Slick Willie from going after the veterans. He now has VA Secretary West saying the layoffs were never due to lack of money, but instead because the VA has fewer patients and, therefore, must be more efficient. In spite of the fact that current VA patients constantly complain about the shortages in quality care.

It's right to be concerned for our veterans. It's wrong for Mr. Pardue to demagogue and politicize the issue for personal and political gain for himself and his political protege, David Bell. Or is Mr. Pardue just being stupid in his remarks?

To ask Rep. Norwood to resign, the one veteran who is truly fighting for veterans, is in the words of Gen. McAuliffe at the Battle of the Bulge, "Nuts."

George Paschall, Appling


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