“Sir, You Are Dead. It Says So Right Here.”

From UPI: "Marine Joe Morris, who served two tours in Iraq, had been getting a disability check related to his service for seven years until something went wrong in April. He contacted [U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs] officials on April 14 after his check didn't come, but apparently that wasn't enough to prove that he was still breathing."

To make it worse, the VA reported his "death" to the Social Security Administration, who then passed it on all the credit bureaus, so now he is pronounced dead all over – complicating his financial life.

Despite Morris’s insistence that the report of his death was an exaggeration, to use Mark Twain's words, the VA still claims he’s dead. If you read the Breitbart article, make sure to check out the comments. Many are both funny and apropos, some with a dark twist to them. Here are a few:

"Why do some people insist on arguing? I don't know who this Joe Morris guy is, but if the VA says he's dead then he's dead. Even the Social Security Administration agrees. In fact I'm willing to bet that there is a 97% consensus among government agencies that he's dead. And they are the experts so unless he can produce some medical school diploma to show he's qualified to make an intelligent assessment of his condition, then he should leave it to the experts. Damned stupid death denier."

"To err is human, to really screw things up requires a government worker."

"It has often been said that going to the VA is a vet's second chance to give his life for his country."

My own military service was confined to three years in the Swedish military. It mostly took the form of going through various officers’ academies and related training programs, so there wasn’t any real chance of sudden hot lead exposure. That said, I can relate to the impenetrable bureaucracy. If bureaucrats rather than General Eisenhower had been in charge of the Normandy invasion, I have a feeling the French would call their country Frankreich these days.

The lesson for procurement is this: Don't be a slave to your process. Empower even the lowest level users to break protocol (in a documented way) when needed.

Good luck to Mr. Morris. I hope the VA finds the "resurrect" button in their HR program!

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