Bob’s blog: Trouble at the V.A., separatists defy Putin, Warren on big banks

(CBS News) - We learned on Thursday that a House committee voted to subpoena Eric Shinseki, the head of the department of Veterans Affairs, over allegations that the agency employed secret wait lists for returning soldiers as they failed to receive timely medical care. It sounds to me from the reporting that's been done so far that there is obviously a serious and real problem here. The large bureaucracy at Veterans Affairs apparently just forgot why it exists in the first place.

We're all used to scandals in Washington and calls for heads to roll. In this case, maybe they should. But is that going to solve the problem? The government needs to get this tragedy straightened out immediately. Replacing people in Washington is probably just the start of it.

Bureaucracies often forget what they were set up to do, and their main objective instead becomes simply to perpetuate themselves. We saw a very similar pattern unfold at Walter Reed in 2007, when we learned that veterans at the hospital were being treated in sub-standard conditions. We've seen it in other government bureaucracies that become so large they forget whom they are supposed to serve.

There needs to be a thorough investigation into Veterans Affairs, and one would hope that while they're spending time looking at what went wrong, they will also change procedures immediately to correct these problems and take care of the people who have served their country. Our military deserves a lot more than this.

The head of the V.A. must be held accountable. But the first thing I think investigators need to focus on is making sure that the veterans who are waiting now get the help they need. This is a time when the government needs to spring into action and take care of its citizens.

We'll look into this story more thoroughly this Sunday on Face the Nation. It's shaping up to be a full show, because there is so much news now in so many different places. We've got to be ready for what happens in Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists have vowed to go ahead with a referendum on autonomy, defying Vladimir Putin's attempts to calm tensions with his western neighbor. On the program, we'll hear from Mike Rogers, R-Mich., the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who will keep us up to speed on the latest developments there.

Also joining us is former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who will offer his take on the situation in Ukraine, as well as his thoughts on America's role in world affairs. In addition, we'll speak with Elizabeth Warren, D.-Mass., who has a new book out, "A Fighting Chance." Warren is just on fire right now, and she's very controversial. But she's taking on the big banks and some of the moneyed interests and saying we've got to keep those groups from using their influence to hurt the middle class.

Plus, we have some rare good news this week. The Washington monument, which has been closed for repairs since the 2011 earthquake, is finally reopening to the public on Monday. CBS This Morning's Jan Crawford got the first look at the repaired monument. Hope you'll join us Sunday for a special preview.

Of course, no Sunday would be complete without our political panel, and we're pleased this week to welcome David Ignatius of The Washington Post, Michael Crowley of Time, and CBS News State Department Correspondent Margaret Brennan.

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