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"Veterans For Equal Justice Under Law"
We believe we can best serve our purpose in the "American Veterans' Reform Movement" by establishing VERPA as a "Civilian Review Board." An independent public trust veterans' organization free from government control. Without question, the United States Congress has failed in its mandate to ensure "checks and balances" on power within the Department of Defense (DOD) and Vetreans Administration (VA.)
Under the provisions of the Inspectors General Act of 1978, (hereinafter "IG Act,") VERPA reasonably believes this body of law is not being enforced. The purpose of the IG Act was to ensure checks and balances on power within our government. Without question, there are honorable and dedicated Americans mandated under the IG Act who are attempting to do the right thing in the name of justice. However, when it comes down to protecting the integrity of the "system" or protecting individual rights, even if the actions of government servants is clearly wrong, the system will always prevail
To begin our efforts we are sounding the "Wake Up Call" throughout the nation of another body of law unknown to most Americans which allows intentional violations and obstruction of justice under the IG Act to go brushed under the carpet, this law being the "Feres Doctrine."
Overall, since December 1950, the Feres Doctrine, has directly denied servicemembers "due process of law" to redress human/constitutional rights abuses arising within the DOD. The doctrine may have benefited the federal treasury, however, it has destroyed American lives and led to "systemic abuses" within the military's legal and medical systems. Moreover, we are making the argument that the doctrine also allows abuses in the VA to go unchecked. The reason is that one of the primary justifications the Feres Doctrine exists is that the VA is the statutory system in place to address service-connected injuries. Hence, if injuries or injustices can be covered up arising in the military under the Feres ruling, so too will they in the VA.
WHAT IS THE FERES DOCTRINE
The 'Feres Doctrine," (hereinafter "doctrine") is an exception to the Federal Tort Claims Act of 1946, ("FTCA".) What is the FTCA?
The FTCA is a "federal statute" that states essentially, "THE KING CAN DO NO WRONG." Hence, it is legislation that allows American citizens injured by the negligent acts of government officials to sue for money damages in Federal District Courts to obtain redress of injuries. However, the exception to this law for the past half century is the inability of American servicemembers to redress every conceivable injury or injustice no matter how egregious arising from "activity incident to military service."
We at VERPA feel, the time has come wherein the doctrine must be reformed or repealed and new legislation enacted to prevent the continued atrocities attributed to this law's failure to ensure "checks and balances" on power within the DOD and VA.
Of course, we don't ask anyone to take our opinion at face value. Hence, we will provide below a dissenting opinion in the case of United States v. Johnson, 481 U.S. 681, 701, that might convince you to learn more about this issue. This opinion was written by Supreme Court Justice Scalia and joined by Justices Brennan, Marshall and Stevens explaining what we are advocating:
"Feres was wrongly decided and heartily deserves the
'widespread, almost universal criticism' it has received."
THE GOVERNMENT'S ARGUMENT
The government's argument for the past half century has always been that the doctrine is necessary to "maintain good order and discipline in the United States Armed Forces." VERPA believes this argument is moot with the existence of the Inspectors General Act of 1978 & Military Whistleblower Protection Act. However, the federal courts know this but have made it clear, Congress must act to address the doctrine.
An important factor must be explained. VERPA does not advocate the repeal of the "incident to service bar" with regard to combat injuries. This issue will be addressed in our goals to reform the VA. (The nexus with the doctrine and the VA is simple. If service-connected disabilities are brushed under the carpet by the military, then, they will be brushed under the carpet by the VA.)
VERPA does not advocate military personnel suing their superiors for money damages. We advocate reforms of the above cited laws to remove corrupted or incompetent commanders, doctors, lawyers, investigators from the DOD. Hence, the foundation for reform of the VA will follow in our opinion.
If the DOD informed potential servicemembers of the doctrine, do you think there would be a military?
The following is our link to the on-line petition. We ask you to review it and look over the comments of others who reasonably believe, they have been denied justice under the doctrine. You be the judge, as to whether the doctrine should be reformed for repeal for the good of the nation:
[Click on the above link to comment about an injury or injustice]