VA Leaders Tasked with the Impossible: Stop Misinformation


    There’s always been the commitment to take care of our veterans. However, the Department of Veteran Affairs has had to deal with a small budget and a massive number of veterans – many of which who are not tapped into the latest technology.

    A new proposal would require VA leaders to do the impossible: address extremism and stop misinformation.

    Sure, would the Democrats like them to address world peace as well?

    Democratic lawmakers want to make sure that something like the January 6 Capitol riot never happens again. They’ve become obsessed with sniffing out extremism in both the military and the veteran communities. Why? Many of those who participated in the riots were either current or former members of the military.

    House lawmakers figure that the best way to address extremism within the veteran communities is to pass it on to VA officials. After all, the VA sees more veterans on a daily basis than anyone else, right?

    Misinformation and extremism run rampant online. There’s the concern that veterans don’t know how to make sense out of what they’re seeing. What is and is not misinformation? What is and is not extremism?

    While one veteran may be able to see a particular group or event as an act of extremism, another one may view it as a chance to be patriotic and connect with other veterans.

    Perhaps the biggest concern is not that the VA leaders need to address this. The bigger concern is who will determine what is and isn’t misinformation? Let’s face it – the media hasn’t been a big help in this department. Former President Donald Trump was constantly fighting against “fake news.” Twitter even blocked his account because of “misinformation” that was being spread.

    Clearly, we can’t trust just anyone to determine if something is “misinformation” or “extremism.”

    The House lawmakers, let’s face it, are really only concerned about the right-wing flavor of extremism. If Antifa or Black Lives Matter want to recruit veterans and riot in the streets, there’s no issue. We’re only supposed to be concerned if there’s a large gathering of conservatives. Oh, no – they might be talking about ways to save the country instead of watching it go to hell at the hands of liberals.

    According to the budget proposal by the House Appropriations Committee, “efforts to spread extremist views and conspiracy theories among the veteran community have had severely damaging effects.” The statement adds that these effects include spreading conspiracy theories that may have motivated people to participate in the “Capitol insurrection.”

    This is all getting a bit extreme in and of itself. According to the House budget proposal, the VA would also be required to create a program that is comprehensive and evidence-based so that veterans can be educated about such things as “malign influences.”

    There’s genuine concern that veterans are being radicalized without ever knowing it.

    However, there’s a lot of gray areas. What a veteran reads and what a veteran talks about is a lot different than what a veteran may actually go out and do.

    What happened to being well-read? A veteran may want to read some of the extremist campaigns online. By doing so, they’re not breaking any laws.

    The VA cannot and should not control every move that a veteran makes. If they read a disinformation campaign online or they chat in an online extremist group, it’s not the same as marching through the Capitol with AR-15s strapped to their chests.

    The committee may be trying to play a role in prevention but they are also trying to put too much pressure on the VA.

    Let’s let the VA focus on healthcare for all of the veterans first. When it doesn’t take a veteran four months to see a doctor, then, maybe, we can let the VA talk about misinformation. But only if we can determine what really is misinformation and what is simply an uncomfortable truth for the liberals.


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