Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

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.”

with 4 comments

walter_reed_1919.JPG
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

eMediawire: Walter Reed Hospital Called Gross Violation of the Patient Rights of Veterans by National Institute of Patient Rights

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.)

Written by unitedcats

March 3, 2007 at 3:47 pm

4 Responses

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  1. This makes me wonder about links to a Minnesota story about a solider who was turned away from 2 VA hospitals when he presented with “suidcidal thoughts.” He killed himself a few days later.

    In other words, does it seem that this lack of “support for our troops” extend far beyond Walter Reed and throughout the system?

    Add to that the resistence to the movement to NOT return exhausted troops into the field of conflict saying that requiring them to have adequate time to rest (not to mention adequate body armour and equipment) is in itself “anti-troop.”

    Another example of this administrations actions contradicting it’s words and the American people (for the most part) allowing the wool to be pulled over our eyes.

    notfainthearted

    March 3, 2007 at 4:40 pm

  2. Understand: soldiers who are injured beyond capability to return to service are a drain on national security as defined by the Bush administration.

    whig

    March 3, 2007 at 4:44 pm

  3. It’s an appalling situation and as I was looking for other material I ran across some articles you might be interested in on this page http://www.sciencedaily.com/upi/?feed=TopNews&article=UPI-1-20070305-18182300-bc-us-walterreed-lynch-crn.xml

    timethief

    March 5, 2007 at 5:33 pm

  4. This country used to be one of the best in the world when it came to how we treated our Veterans. I don’t know how we got here, but the fact that the people ruling the country have taken great pains for decades to avoid actually serving in the military is definitely part of the problem. Thanks for the link.
    JMO —Doug

    unitedcats

    March 6, 2007 at 9:05 am


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