An investigation by the Associated Press has revealed that the Veterans Administration is posting guards at Confederate cemeteries
in the wake of Charlottesville to protect them from vandalism. But most of those cemeteries are in the North, hardly a hot spot for vandalism of Confederate sites...and that security? It's not federal law enforcement. It's a private contracting firm, Westmoreland Protection Agency, which subcontracted the work out to other companies. Please join in asking the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to spend money on supporting veterans in need instead of on security for Confederate statues.
A year's contract with Westmoreland cost $2.3 million. That's a lot of money for a questionable security need, although the VA insists it was necessary. Those are taxpayer dollars, and we have questions we need the VA to answer, especially since the agency has been accused of failing vets, leaving them with unconscionable wait times for health care and other services after serving our country.
Why is the agency using a private security contractor rather than providing security internally? Choosing a contractor often involves spending more money, and that's $2.3 million our veterans could really use.
How long is this security going to continue? These contracts have a way of expanding, especially when it comes to needs with no clear end date. Until every Confederate monument is down, there will always be a risk from members of the public frustrated with these monuments to traitors and their lost cause.
How many facilities will this cover? The AP discovered at least eight cemeteries, with signs that more sites might be on the way. The public needs information about how the VA decides which facilities warrant extra protection, and whether guards at these sites are actually preventing cemetery vandalism. So we're asking the VA: Please end the private security contract for statues and use the money instead on living veterans who need support and healthcare.Photo credit: Mark Fischer/Creative Commons