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Tonight on AC360: The Battlefield at Home
(Photo credit: MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP/GettyImages)
November 22nd, 2012
07:00 PM ET

Tonight on AC360: The Battlefield at Home

Anderson Cooper presents a special hour at 8 and 10 p.m. ET tonight on the myriad of challenges facing U.S. veterans when they return from battle.

Drew Griffin has been investigating charities accused of shameful deception, including allegations that they collect money with a promise of helping wounded veterans, but never deliver. These questionable charities target and exploit generous donors who think they're making a difference in the lives of service members. In tonight's show you'll see what happens when Drew confronts the president of one organization.

In Randi Kaye's report you'll meet a veteran who returned from Afghanistan, as his wife says, a shell of the man he once was. Mike Rioux's injuries make it impossible for him to have a job and support his family. One problem he never anticipated was how difficult it would be to get benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Randi asks Veterans Affairs Assistant Secretary Tommy Sowers why the wait time for help can be months, even years.

If you'd like to contribute to organizations helping veterans and others in need, visit CNN's Impact Your World and Charity Navigator.


Filed under: Anderson Cooper • Drew Griffin • Randi Kaye • Veteran's Day • Veterans
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Richard Campos

    Just now, Saturday evening, having the opportunity to watch the "Battlefield at Home" program on Anderson Cooper 360, so grateful for dvr's that I could record for later viewing and that by chance of going through tv guide I saw it listed and recorded it.

    Do wish to say that the Fact of the VA taking so long in processing claims is not new, you can ask a number of Vietnam Veterans who have filed a claim as to how long it took them as well to have the claim processed. The real shame is that one would think that the VA would have learned from our experiences, me included, in the processing and completion of claims filed and the length of time it took back even then and would have figured out a quicker process.

    I don't believe that because it's going from paper to electronic that's causing the delay's if anything before they began changing over to electronic processing one would think they would've check the system(s) before doing any actual processing and make sure it would be working correctly and quickly.

    November 25, 2012 at 12:09 am |
  2. Pasquale Lamperelli

    Mr. Cooper,

    I want to thank you for this educational show to the public. I am a veteran of the Iraq war. I am coming to you for hopefully some help. I was an Infantry soldier in the 101st Airborne. I did a year tour in Baghdad in 2005-2006. I seen enough to make any man lose all faith in life. I lost one of my friends in my arms. My unit was cut off and surrounded and taking heavy fire one night. Each man fought bravely and we eventually made it out but, not with those lose of David Weir who took a bullet to the head. Bryan Berry and I tried our hardest to keep David alive but, he unfortunately died. I made it through my tour un harmed, well i at leasr thought I did. I suffer from severe PTSD; one doctor said this to me "Your PTSD is so bad you are on the same level of depression as a suicidal patient, the only thing stopping you from killing yourself is you not believing in suicide." As a person that is hard to hear, The reason I explain all this out is it is clear just by this short story I have provided I have PTSD. Well about a year and a half ago I applied for my benefits. I just recently recieved a letter in the mail. I was rated 10% for my tinitis and 0% for my hearing loss. MY PTSD and TBI clain have been deferred. They claim to need more information. I got on that plane when my President asked me to go fight. I didn't complain or tell him he will have to wait on my answer to go and that my answer is "deferred". I went and I fought and now I feel as if the VA is saying they need to get more information like to say "i don't know if your service was good enough". I seen things these doctors couldn't imagine in their worst nightmare. They wouldn't last an hour in my mind seeing the images I see but, yet they feel they have the right to tell me my case is "deferred". My question to you Mr. Cooper is through your investigation did you discover and information that us soldiers can use the help fight the VA and not have to wait years to hear back from them. We stood up for our country when it came time for war, we need someone to stand up for us in our new war at home. I thank you for doing so!! You sir are our hero. I hope to hear back from you regarding this matter.

    Thank You,
    Pasquale Lamperelli

    November 23, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  3. michael tanner usn ret

    you talk about unfair. the guys and girls that come home missing limbs and have to fight to get a paultry 50%. you should do a poll with va to see how many woman in the service had a hysterectomy that does nothing no pain. dosnt stop them from working. people dont stare. you dont need a prosthetic limb to be able to work or drink a cup of coffee. but they get an automatic 50% no questions asked. doesnt seem fair to me. but this is our wonderfull government at its finest.

    November 23, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  4. Reggie Johnston

    I find it so hard to believe that after all the men and women of this country have sacrificed and given while serving in the military, that it is so difficult for them to receive the care that they need, they fought in the war and now they have to fight to survive. So many have debilitating illnesses and they have to PROVE that they need help, they do not get it when they ASK for it, i know this from my own experiences with the VA, i have been fighting for 8 years to PROVE to the VA that i need assistance, after fighting and going thru the appeals process for 6 years, i was finally granted 60 percent service connected disabled, 16 months later, THEY TOOK IT AWAY. It is so discouraging the way veterans are treated, i can truly empathize and sympathize with what our veterans and active military are going thru, AS A VETERAN myself. We should receive respect and dignity, instead we are called liars and we are not believed.

    November 23, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
  5. don

    Even when granted disability the care is a joke, abandonment of care of a veteran in a wheelchair–AKA attempted murder. when reported received armed threats along with his caregiver. Despite documented malpractice VA denies the malpractice and despite admitting the armed threat have done t[noting to the agents who committed the act and have left the veteran in utter distress. the veteran was diagnosed with sever PTSD yet they continue to inflict emotional damages upon him relating to these events. despite the admission the caregiver also has ben ignored delayed and denied justice in the matter. Complete disregard to VA policy and heinous disregard to law. this is the stuff that need be exposed for the protection of all veterans but media has ignored the matter as well

    November 23, 2012 at 5:07 am |
  6. Jimmie Lee

    I've been waiting on my VA results since August 2011, you think after 20 years of service, I'll get better service back.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
  7. Dave Rivera

    Great reporting Anderson, I have information on the Veterans Administration on their Fudicary department how they have and continue to rob thousands of US Veterans of their monies for years. Email me if you would like to know more.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
  8. Jim Daniels

    I am a Viet Vam combat vet and am appalled at those that make money on the pain I suffered for them. Go after them Andersen & CNN.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  9. DavidR

    Congress does hearings on sports and steroids yet they do not regulate or investigate charities for veterans? Guess they wouldn't get as much TV time.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  10. Reinand Ortiz

    It is a national shame how veterans are treated after they have put their lives in the line of danger for their country!

    November 22, 2012 at 8:14 pm |