Supporting the troops Bush Administration style: “Some do not properly understand the need to communicate to the wounded and their families that we have no higher priority than their care.”
Walter Reed Hospital in 1919.
The current scandal at the US Army Walter Reed hospital defies description. Listen to this quote again by the Secretary of Defense: “Some do not properly understand the need to communicate to the wounded and their families that we have no higher priority than their care.” Excuse me? This is a matter of communication? If the Bush Administration actually had no higher priority than the care of veteran’s health, there would be no need to communicate anything with anybody. This is yet another stunning example of the Bush administration in action: All spin, no traction.
And just so I don’t get accused of blowing this out of proportion, what is Bush’s reaction to the scandal? He will appoint a bi-partisan commission to investigate the quality of military health services. It takes a commission to determine that hospital rooms with rat feces, dead cockroaches, and mold are fucked up? There’s nothing to investigate, Bush is the commander in chief, he needs to order the Army to fix this. That his response is yet ever more politics is a symptom of how he has attacked every failure of his administration. That, and throwing yet more money at corrupt contractors.
For that appears to be in a nutshell what has gone on at Walter Reed. Bush privatized it at the beginning of his administration, threw buckets of money at a Haliburton spin-off, who promptly replaced all sorts of experienced staff with new inexperienced (cheap) hires. More experienced staff quit in disgust. And the situation has declined for years, in fact health care declined throughout the Veterans Administration while their budget doubled. This is no way to run a health care system for American heroes. Hell, it’s no way to run a war. But that’s a story for another blog.
Even if Bush does manage to fix this, it never should have happened in the first place. Hundreds of billions ostensibly spent to prevent terror, and he can’t prevent rats and cockroaches from invading our largest and most important Veteran’s hospital? Yeah, this is the man who people think is defending America. Jesus wept.
Here are some bipartisan links to the mess at Walter Reed:
Bloomberg.com: Walter Reed care spawns probes, political attacks
Forbes.cm: Army secretary resigns in scandal’s wake
Political Affairs.net: Privatization behind disaster at Walter Reed hospital
This upsets me to no end. The Bush administration has never seemed to place our soldier’s and veteran’s health and safety in very high regard. Hell, in 2005 a Pentagon spokesman even said that “…the cost of veterans’ benefits was “hurtful” to national security.” No, what is hurtful to national security is the Bush Administration.
(The above image pre-dates 1927 and is considered public domain under US copyright law.)