The Republican challenger in the U.S. Senate race doubts the sincerity of U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) when it comes to helping veterans. State Sen. Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove) says the problems with VA hospitals have gotten worse during Durbin’s time in Congress. He says Durbin has been disrespectful of veterans, and referenced comments Durbin made when interrogation techniques being used on suspected terrorists in 2005.
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“Now he likes to talk about the veterans, but this is the same senator who talked about a comparison of our military with the Nazis and Pol Pot,” Oberweis said. Durbin’s comparison of the U.S. military to the Nazis and Pol Pot was not a general statement, but rather one directed at the military handling interrogation of terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, as described by an FBI agent.
Durbin didn’t directly respond to that attack, but said Congress has taken steps to address problems in the VA. “We joined on a bipartisan basis to say if you are too far away from a VA facility, you can go to the hospital near you and bill the VA,” Durbin said. Durbin has said the VA became overwhelmed with disability claims from Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, and needs more funding to keep up.