Friday May 17, 2013

The tragic suicide of the troubled veteran Edward Passetto should give us all pause for serious concern. In the words of Yogi Berra, it is "deja vu all over again." Let me explain.

In our highly questionable drive to shrink our federal government to a size where we can drown it in a bathtub, our office of Veterans Affairs is hardly over-staffed and surely under-funded. And, yes, badly inefficient.

We, the voting public -- yes, you and I -- share the responsibility and it isn’t as though this condition is new. That’s where Yogi’s famous observation comes into play.

We combat veterans of World War II well recall the "Dog Faces" friend Bill Mauldin, the "Stars And Stripes" cartoonist who antagonized General Patton to the point where Patton ordered him arrested if he entered an area that was under his jurisdiction. It took an order from Eisenhower to lift Patton’s arrest warrant.

The last cartoon Mauldin published showed his two protagonists, Willy and Joe, now wearing civvies, visiting one of their injured buddies in a Veterans Administration hospital. Their friend’s legs are both in casts suspended by cables from the ceiling. They are sharing smokes. Their buddy is just lighting up as he asks, "How’s things on the outside boys? Am I still a war hero or a drain on th’ taxpayer?"

Which is it? Your vote is your answer.

ROBERT ALLARDYCE

Pittsfield