Jumping feet first onto the newest the-government-will-kill-you bandwagon is RNC chairman Michael Steele, who said on Fox today that a Veterans Affairs manual is “encouraging them [veterans] to commit suicide.”
“I mean, this is crazy coming from the government, and this is exactly what concerns people and puts them in fear of what the government control of health care will look like,” Steele said.
Steele was talking about what’s been called the “death book,” a VA pamphlet on setting up advance directives such as living wills. Starting with an op-ed last Tuesday written by George W. Bush’s “faith czar,” Jim Towey, conservative media has been swarming over claims that the pamphlet encourages disabled veterans to evaluate whether they’re a “burden” to their families, in effect telling them to commit suicide.
“Just look at the situation with our veterans, when you have a manual out there telling our veterans stuff like, ‘are you really of value to your community,’ you know, encouraging them to commit suicide,” Steele said today.
The pamphlet, of course, does nothing of the sort.However, a fact sheet released by the White House says it was pulled for revision in 2007, when a panel found it “to be too negative in tone and not sufficiently sensitive to the perspectives of veterans with pro-life perspectives and veterans living with life-long disabling conditions.”
The administration went into pushback mode this morning, releasing the fact sheet and a timeline of the booklet to some reporters, including Greg Sargent.
Fox News has been especially persistent in following the meme, grilling VA undersecretary Tammy Duckworth about it on Sunday and discussing it on Monday with National Review Online editor Jonah Goldberg. Goldberg compared to pamphlet with Nazi eugenics.