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Veterans' Health Care
February 18, 2007 12:23 PM   Subscribe

Soldiers Face Neglect, Frustration At Army's Top Medical Facility. The Iraq war has transformed Walter Reed into "a holding ground for physically and psychologically damaged outpatients." Meanwhile, despite predictions that the cost of medical care for veterans will skyrocket, the Bush administration apparently plans to cut funding for veterans' health care. Tired of waiting for the government, more people are taking the initiative in developing alternative facilities to help veterans.
posted by homunculus (88 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
This was is going to cost the US more than Vietnam. Thanks, Ralph.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 12:34 PM on February 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Veterans are not troops.
posted by srboisvert at 12:41 PM on February 18, 2007


I swear I've seen a similar article on MeFi before, but a search yields nothing. (Certainly this is no double, but it would have been neat to see what the previous discussion yielded.) Crap.

Anyhow, the state of health care in general in the US is abominable at best. This is a flat out atrocity.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:45 PM on February 18, 2007


Related to the last link: Iraq War veterans are using Buddhist practices to make peace with themselves and the horrors of the battlefield
posted by homunculus at 12:58 PM on February 18, 2007


This is the tip of the iceberg.
posted by homunculus at 1:24 PM on February 18, 2007


... a major reason outpatients stay so long, a change from the days when injured soldiers were discharged as quickly as possible, is that the Army wants to be able to hang on to as many soldiers as it can, "because this is the first time this country has fought a war for so long with an all-volunteer force since the Revolution."

Did you interpret this the same way I did: That these soldiers with no limbs or severe mental problems are held in storage so that they can be sent back to Iraq or Iran or wherever the government decides to attack next? I hope I got that wrong.
posted by amberglow at 2:23 PM on February 18, 2007


I would like to see Bill Kristol ask those soldiers why they just can't be quiet for six to nine more months.
posted by scody at 2:23 PM on February 18, 2007


Support the Troops! In no significant way whatsoever!
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:35 PM on February 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


The liberal media does a poor job of taking Bush to task on such stuff.
posted by caddis at 2:56 PM on February 18, 2007


The liberal media does a poor job of taking Bush to task on such stuff.

Calling for accountability would be shrill.
posted by ryoshu at 3:16 PM on February 18, 2007


All troops become veterans unless they die on active duty. This war has seen advanced medical care enabling life for those who would have died on the battlefields in the past. These vets are now alive but crippled. Blast injuries from IEDs not only shred limbs but cause a greater increase in head and Burn injuries. Traumatic limb amputation, burn, & head injuries all require long term medical attention. The post speaks of problems at Walter Reed which treats active duty personnel. After your service gives you a medical discharges you become a veteran, wards of the Veterans Administration; lower down of the food chain, The VA has been chronically short funded for decades. For me this has not been an academic fact but personal as I am a patient, and have been a patient since the early 70's. At that time there were a lot of vets from WW2 who represented a significant voting block. As the veterans from WW2 died, this was coupled with a failure in Vietnam. This lost war was born on the backs of those “crazy” vets. Cutting funding at the VA became an easy out for legislators trying to balance a budget. With Iraqi, cutting the budget will become even easier; as a smaller voting block will stand in opposition. Speaking with the head primary care nurse of my local “VA Medical Center” a nurse who I have known for years, I asked if he had seen the Iraqi vets coming in. He said very few and then added that it took about 10 years for the Vietnam vets to show up. What a 20 year old wants is autonomy. It is a huge struggle for a young adult to say that he needs help; especially soldiers who have been drilled for years to not question authority and to make do with what they have. Here are 2 personal examples that I have experienced in the last year. I forgot to pick up my pain meds on a Friday. I called Saturday to ask if there was a way to pick up enough meds to last until Monday. “No they never prescribed any pain meds on weekends or during nighttime hours, period” they said. When asked what I was supposed to do I was told to go the local hospital ER. We both knew that as a new patient at the local ER I was never going to get any medication. Next I asked the nurse at the VA if I could be admitted as a patient. The answer was emphatic no. At my wits end I drove about 150 miles round trip to a fully staffed VA ER in another state. Who pulled up my records and said no problem here are your meds. I got to drive home with a tolerable amount of pain but worried about a DWI. The other incident was a request to revise scar tissue. I was sent to 2 very large VA hospitals (2-3 hours away). At both I was told that there was a waiting list so long that they were only were doing surgery for skin cancers and that outside that I would never be treated.
There are some really caring hard working people at the VA but you have to be around the system to know who they are. The idea of hiring a crippled vet flies in the face of logic. Who wants to be reminded about how precarious life is by working with a legless scared 20 tear old vet. To be 20 years old and have 50 years left as a cripple is beyond most peoples imagination. Vets will always be the pariah. Our country is led by a Vice President who when asked about his lack of military service answered with "I had other priorities in the '60s than military service." Presidential AWOL Bush had little interest in fulfilling his obligation, with his superiors preferring to look the other way. Even Teddy Kennedy fulfilled his commitment. The most prominent republican spokesperson is Chuck Hagel who won two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star all in Vietnam. He speaks knowingly of war in his oppositions. Why are Bush’s daughters not in service? Maybe patriotism is merely lip service; the only emotional investments from those whose sacrifices are the heavy taxes on large war profits. Well we have to take care of our own; taxes have to be minimized so they can function more efficiently so we can win the war. What a bitter reminder of lies and failed glory when we are confronted with a wheel chair bound blind vet. Maybe it best to give them substandard care or better yet to be “put down” like a dysfunctional dog in an animal shelter.
posted by Rancid Badger at 3:41 PM on February 18, 2007 [7 favorites]


The liberal media does a poor job of taking Bush to task on such stuff.

Calling for accountability would be shrill.


Frontline is broadcasting a four-part series News War on this topic:
“‘The battle between the White House and the national media is the battle over who controls the national agenda,’ says commentator Patrick Buchanan. Mark McKinnon, former media adviser to President George W. Bush, agrees: ‘The Washington press corps for years thought that unless you talked to The New York Times and CBS, that you weren't talking to the American public. Well, that's just not the case anymore.’ McKinnon feels that it is a White House prerogative to choose its own communications strategy: ‘Presidents … ought to determine who they want to talk to and when they want to talk to them,’ he says. But William Safire, author and former New York Times political columnist, fears that hostilities between the administration and the press could threaten the media's ability to hold government accountable. ‘The great check and balance that was built into the Constitution is under challenge,’ he says. ‘You've got to have a relationship between the government and the press that's adversarial, but not an enemy.’”
posted by ericb at 3:46 PM on February 18, 2007


You probably thought "Support the Troops" had something to do with supporting the troops. It doesn't...It means "Fuck the Troops."
posted by kirkaracha at 4:10 PM on February 18, 2007


There's an excellent article in this month's Discover Magazine about how the armed forces deal with the injuries, especially Traumatic Brain Injury. According to the article, the initial medical care that soldiers receive (while still in Iraq, for example) is intended to save them no matter what (i.e. no advance directives). The medics are so good at what they do that the end result is a large number of soldiers surviving that would otherwise have died.

Unfortunately I can't link the article (I subscribe and apparently the issue isn't out on newsstands yet.)
posted by nekton at 4:27 PM on February 18, 2007


Soldiers dealing with psychological disorders of their own have been put in charge of others at risk of suicide.

Not to gainsay the rest of the article, but this may not be a bad thing in and of itself -- one "inmates running the asylum" sitch a friend of mine experienced as a (civilian) psych inpatient was actually pretty beneficial because it gave the inpatients something in common to focus on -- something reality-based where they could make a positive difference on their fellow patients. The sense of purpose and community had an undeniable salutary effect, she said. Patients coming from milieux that emphasized unit cohesion could find this an invaluable antidote to the boredom of being warehoused without any real input or actitivity. People who are having problems of their own need to have those problems addressed, but it's helpful to give them something real and immediate to pay attention to that can give them the chance to make a positive difference -- just as the best thing you can do with a grieving person is to force him/her to keep his/her hands busy while coping with the grieving process. So this may give overworked, underresourced VA staff an opportunity to tap into the virtue of unit cohesion to help psychologically injured staff recuperate a bit by giving them some (hopefully limited) responsibility and oversight for their fellow patients.

(OTOH, as I type this, Ohio News Network is reporting that the Ohio National Guard has equipment shortages, due in part to forced neglect and attrition in extended deployments you-know-where -- so sorry if I got all positive and stuff for a minute there.)
posted by pax digita at 5:44 PM on February 18, 2007


nekton, would that be Dead Men Walking?
posted by taosbat at 6:05 PM on February 18, 2007


Hey, I put the magnetic ribbon on my SUV and threw away my Dixie Chicks CD. That's just not enough for some people, I guess.
posted by 2sheets at 6:05 PM on February 18, 2007


What else can we expect from a coward "president" who shirked his own reserve duty, yet adores throwing other people's children into whatever bloody farrago he can scare Americans into taking seriously? In the end, I think we'll find that this fake war was begun solely for the purpose of profiteering and silencing opposition, paid for with our citizens' lives and the sweat of our brows.

Go to the Hell you believe in, President Failure.
posted by SaintCynr at 7:33 PM on February 18, 2007


Irreconcilable Differences
posted by homunculus at 8:03 PM on February 18, 2007


As a recently wounded National Guardsman, amputee, and current patient of Walter Reed, I can tell you honestly that the stories are unfortunately true. I hate living at Walter Reed as an out-patient. Ive been living away from home now for over a year and a half. I just want to go home and learn to live life with one four-fingered arm.

If you want my two cents go to www.jrsalzman.com/weblog/.

Knowing that you're standing in a long line of people waiting to get screwed is pretty disconcerting.
posted by Logboy at 9:16 PM on February 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Logboy, have they told you anything about when you can be discharged? Are you undergoing therapy still? (and i'm glad you're alive, and apologize for your injuries--we never should have sent any of you) Do they want to send you back?

Military amputee uninvited from Bush event because the press would see him with no legs
posted by amberglow at 9:49 PM on February 18, 2007


Please remember this when you think about freedom. This isn't a dream, this isn’t some fictional story about patriotism, this isn't some story I'm writing to be a hero. This is my life here at Walter Reed. I am the true cost of freedom. Welcome to my life.

All of you people are fucking heros.

Hang in there and keep on writing Logboy.
posted by three blind mice at 10:41 PM on February 18, 2007


Logboy: I'm not even American.

But thank you. I know how horrifically inadequate those words are for what you have undergone, and what you will deal with for the rest of your life. Nevertheless, thank you. Thank you for having the bravery that so many of us do not.

I don't know what else to say.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:13 PM on February 18, 2007


I'm dumbfounded, at myself. In all the shit that's hit the fan since the fucked election of 2000, I've felt fortunate I was living abroad. Now this gets in my face.

For all the times I've felt bad for being in no position to aid the political effort at cleaning up this mess, I was never took seriously any desire to return to the States. Now? I wish I was back in Silversprings, MD (where I last lived, state-side), so I could go volunteer to work for these guys.

So, where's the D.A.V. in all this? Checking their site I don't see them saying much. I have no idea how politicized they are, however. Just happend to think of them first in this context.
posted by Goofyy at 11:20 PM on February 18, 2007


scratch that 'was' up there. I never took myself seriously, I meant.

FYI: D.A.V. = Disabled American Veterans.
posted by Goofyy at 11:24 PM on February 18, 2007


Rancid: you should think about paragraphs next time.
posted by pwedza at 12:16 AM on February 19, 2007


If the Democrats that regained power recently really wanted to show they've actually got backbones, they should tax the corporations that have made windfall millions off this war to give veterans medical care. It would go a long way toward restoring faith in government that has dwindled in the last six years.

And it never will happen.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 5:50 AM on February 19, 2007


Stopping War for Profit: Greenwald on Olbermann
posted by homunculus at 9:51 AM on February 19, 2007


After the civil war many veterans hospitals were built entirely from women's fundraising efforts and private donations. The government was not prepared to care for the wounded and maimed veterans at all.
posted by JJ86 at 9:53 AM on February 19, 2007


We need to do right by our vets - this is a crime: Told to wait, a Marine dies.

Logboy, it does my heart good to see you posting here again! Many of us have been concerned about you and following your blog looking for word on how you are faring. I am so sorry to hear that your care falls short of what it should be, short of what we owe you for what you have done for your country. I will be emailing my congresspeople and including your recent blog post, too.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:22 AM on February 19, 2007


Let us know what we can do, Logboy, besides yelling at our congresspeople.

(My offer to help out anyone to get them discharged under DADT still stands for anyone who needs it, by the way)
posted by amberglow at 11:21 AM on February 19, 2007


Do you need pjs/clothes/books/etc or anything like that? Do the other soldiers? Post your address. All of us have stuff we could send to make things a little more bearable.
posted by amberglow at 11:22 AM on February 19, 2007


The Hotel Aftermath is the second part of the Washington Post series.

Wounded and waiting, from the Army Times. "A slow medical evaluation process leaves many injured troops in limbo."
posted by kirkaracha at 2:27 PM on February 19, 2007


(I've had CNN on all afternoon, and haven't seen one single thing about any of this at all--pathetic. Hours on missing climbers tho.)
posted by amberglow at 2:47 PM on February 19, 2007


...Here is a substantive example of the reality of who supports the troops and who does not. The Washington Post reported last week that the Army, which has suffered the largest number of fatalities, began the Iraq war in 2003 with an estimated $56-billion shortage of equipment - including advanced Humvees equipped with armor kits designed to reduce troop deaths from roadside bombs.

Well, guess what? Nearly four years later, the Army, the Marine Corps and the National Guard still do not have an adequate number of Humvees equipped with the needed FRAG Kit 5 armor manufactured with more flexible materials that slow projectiles and contain debris, thus causing fewer deaths.

Is this support of our troops?

Pentagon brass and the president have known about these shortages from the beginning. And, while saber rattling, they have known all along that serious shortages of the new armor have been responsible, directly and indirectly, for hundreds of U.S. deaths.

Is this support of our troops?

It is not. ...

posted by amberglow at 3:12 PM on February 19, 2007


Chris Matthews is talking about this story on Hardball tonight - he has Dana Priest on. I would be surprised if Olbermann doesn't discuss it too, and perhaps Imus tomorrow morning. This is one of those stories the blogs should mobilize behind too.
posted by madamjujujive at 4:19 PM on February 19, 2007


One of my former students is working at a QUERI center for traumatic head injuries at the local VA medical center. Apparently, they're discovering that a lot of the survivors (who wouldn't have survived in previous actions due to the lack of body armor) have closed-head trauma that leads to subtle neurological deficits as well as PTSD-like symptoms. The systems are being overwhelmed and at the same time there is zero continuity of care between the battlefield, the DOD hospitals and clinics, and the VA facilities. This includes a lack of compatibility between the electronic medical records. I sure wish someone was in charge of something besides making more money for defense contractors and beating the American chest.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:40 PM on February 19, 2007


Chris Matthews is talking about this story on Hardball tonight - he has Dana Priest on.

Here's the video interview.
posted by ericb at 5:40 PM on February 19, 2007


the company i work for has the va contract for ambulance transport and everyone absolutely hates dealing with them. every time i go to the place i expect to deal with laziness and incompetence and they never let me down. the emergency room always tells us to take patients to another hospital, they just don't want to do anything. i was in the er one day and overheard a nurse tell an incoming crew they didn't have any beds, so they had to divert to the next closest place. i was picking up the lone patient and looked around at about fifteen empty beds. complete lazy bullshit.
i've got too many stories to share, of my own and others i hear in gossip/bitch sessions with co-workers. just one example though, real quick. i was picking up a wwII vet and specifically asked if they needed oxygen. nurse said nope, he's been on room air the whole time. driving along i'm doing my cya extensive recheck of the guy and lo and behold he's getting blue around the mouth and extremities. his o2 sat was around 65%!!!! that's fucking typical of the place, they're fucking dangerous. someone less thorough then me, or if he didn't have an attentive family waiting, he would be dead. i'm getting all pissed off just thinking about the place. and it fucking gets me that i'm the one that "doesn't support our troops" cause i don't beat the war drum.
posted by andywolf at 9:02 PM on February 19, 2007


Senior Walter Reed official is under investigation because of Wash Post investigation.
posted by ericb at 8:23 AM on February 20, 2007


PBS Newshour on the situation at Walter Reed. Video available here.
posted by ericb at 10:53 AM on February 20, 2007


Americablog is all over this:
Pentagon intentionally hiding 1/2 of Iraq injured and wounded -- no wonder the health care budget for those troops isn't enough

posted by amberglow at 9:57 PM on February 20, 2007


Apparently, Bush is fine with U.S. troops living in squalid conditions — as long as no one else knows about it.
posted by amberglow at 10:06 PM on February 20, 2007


Crooks and Liars found out that they need calling cards and backpacks.
posted by amberglow at 10:13 PM on February 20, 2007


Air Force Times: The Army’s vice chief of staff today said a “breakdown in leadership” is responsible for the widespread administrative problems faced by some wounded war veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.

Meanwhile, the military’s top civilian health official said that while he was “surprised” to learn of the problems, he and other leaders are aggressively seeking solutions.
...

posted by amberglow at 9:52 PM on February 21, 2007


Hey sir, you know, I was living in Iraq and now I'm living here. Life is good.
posted by taosbat at 5:23 PM on February 22, 2007


Damned liberal media!
posted by homunculus at 12:50 PM on February 25, 2007


GIs Petition Congress To End Iraq War: More Than 1,000 Military Personnel Sign Petition Urging Withdrawal
posted by homunculus at 12:52 PM on February 25, 2007


Soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s Medical Hold Unit say they have been told they will wake up at 6 a.m. every morning and have their rooms ready for inspection at 7 a.m., and that they must not speak to the media.

“Some soldiers believe this is a form of punishment for the trouble soldiers caused by talking to the media,”
one Medical Hold Unit soldier said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. ...

posted by amberglow at 10:15 AM on February 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Military Press Crackdown Extends Further Than Walter Reed
posted by homunculus at 6:51 PM on February 28, 2007


A procession of Pentagon and Walter Reed officials expressed surprise last week about the living conditions and bureaucratic nightmares faced by wounded soldiers staying at the D.C. medical facility. But as far back as 2003, the commander of Walter Reed, Lt. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley, who is now the Army's top medical officer, was told that soldiers who were wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan were languishing and lost on the grounds, according to interviews.
posted by taosbat at 8:49 PM on February 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


that's unbelievable, taos

(i say that, knowing it's expected when it's the GOP and this Administration--incompetence, coverup, and lies first and foremost always)
posted by amberglow at 9:46 PM on February 28, 2007


Unfortunately, amberglow, I think anyone who ever served in our military would find the notion of a 3-star CYA REMF playing off the soldiers in his care and blowing off his job entirely believable. Lt. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley clearly doesn't give a rat's ass.
posted by taosbat at 8:14 AM on March 1, 2007


The news just keeps on coming.
posted by homunculus at 9:50 AM on March 1, 2007


Army hospital chief [Maj. Gen. George Weightman] removed from post
posted by taosbat at 12:16 PM on March 1, 2007


In today’s Washington Post, Rep. Bill Young (R-FL) admits that he has known of the neglect and deplorable conditions at Walter Reed for years, but didn’t do anything because when he approached hospital officials, they made him “feel very uncomfortable.”
Young’s excuse is pathetic. From 1999-2005, he served as chairman of the Appropriations Committee, which controls all federal discretionary spending. Young could have easily subpoenaed the Army and conducted a thorough public investigation. ...

posted by amberglow at 12:28 PM on March 1, 2007


...Weightman's duties at Walter Reed will be assumed temporarily by Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley, the commander of U.S. Medical Command, until a permanent replacement is found, Harvey said...
posted by taosbat at 12:49 PM on March 1, 2007


Kiley, who knew for years, replaces Weightman, who knew for years??? Typical.
posted by amberglow at 1:52 PM on March 1, 2007


Yup, typical.

&... I have $8- copays on my VA Rx's courtesy of BushCo (probably will go up in the next month or so). The nearest VA support center is a little over 70 miles away in Santa Fe. The hospital is in Albuquerque.

My local clinic is about 20 minutes from home down the river road. I get my office visits free. It's a long distance call to talk to them, 'though, because it's in the next county.

The Santa Fe folks arraigned with the local mental health center for me to get grief counseling here in Taos when my son died because they agreed that 70ish miles was too far for either them or me to drive routinely.

Last week, the mental health center informed me that I had used up my free crisis visits so I started a $5- copay. That's cheaper than driving to Santa Fe; but, the VA told me the counseling was going to be free.

And that's not even my VA benefit. It's extended to certain family members because Robert died while on active duty. They never even told my ex about it.
posted by taosbat at 5:56 PM on March 1, 2007


& I don't get dental nor eye.
posted by taosbat at 6:07 PM on March 1, 2007


Whitewash
posted by taosbat at 9:36 AM on March 2, 2007


Lieberman v. Slaughter
posted by taosbat at 1:14 PM on March 2, 2007


Secretary of the Army Francis J. Harvey has resigned.
posted by ericb at 1:18 PM on March 2, 2007


Next up ... a Pulitzer Prize for Dana Priest.
posted by ericb at 1:19 PM on March 2, 2007


Now they're saying "Defense Secretary Robert Gates fired Army Secretary Francis Harvey on Friday..."

I wonder whose skeleton LTG Kiley knows about.

Next up ... another Pulitzer Prize for Dana Priest.

I just knew you'd want that fixed.
posted by taosbat at 4:09 PM on March 2, 2007


Did Privatization at Walter Reed Put Troops at Risk?--... the Army’s decision to privatize support services at Walter Reed Army Medical Center was causing an exodus of ‘highly skilled and experienced personnel,’” the committee’s letter states. “According to multiple sources, the decision to privatize support services at Walter Reed led to a precipitous drop in support personnel at Walter Reed.”

The letter said Walter Reed also awarded a five-year, $120-million contract to IAP Worldwide Services, which is run by Al Neffgen, a former senior Halliburton official....

posted by amberglow at 4:37 PM on March 2, 2007


Senior defense officials speaking on condition of anonymity told The Associated Press that Gates had asked Harvey to leave. He was displeased that Harvey, after firing Maj. Gen. George Weightman as the head of Army Medical Center, chose to name as Weightman's temporary replacement another general whose role in the controversy was still in question...

Army officials said that Maj. Gen. Eric R. Schoomaker will be the new commander of Walter Reed Army Medical Center and North Atlantic Regional Medical Command. Schoomaker currently is the commanding general of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command at Fort Detrick, Md...

posted by taosbat at 9:07 PM on March 2, 2007


On Election Day, IAB was awarded another 25 mil one-bid contract for Walter Reed, lasting til 2011.
posted by amberglow at 5:37 AM on March 5, 2007


SSG John Daniel Shannon, Annette McCloud, SPC Jeremy Duncan
posted by taosbat at 7:03 PM on March 5, 2007


Walter Reed Hearing: “Lives shattered in service to their country.”
posted by amberglow at 8:50 PM on March 5, 2007


more on McLeod: ...a Walter Reed staff member tried to reclassify her husband as mentally retarded to prevent him from receiving necessary, but costly medical care. ...
posted by amberglow at 8:54 PM on March 5, 2007


A look from 2003 til now at how the GOP and Administration have been neglecting and cutting help for our troops
posted by amberglow at 11:21 PM on March 5, 2007


Kiley Blames ‘Junior Level’ Leadership For Walter Reed Scandal
posted by taosbat at 7:51 AM on March 6, 2007


"I am a wounded soldier's wife, and we have been dealing with these injuries for almost three years now," Heather Pepper wrote in an e-mail. "I can't say that it gets better, because for us it hasn't yet. My husband hasn't had any kind of treatment since he was retired on Dec. 31, 2005." ... "It's gonna be out in the open for maybe six or eight months, then it's gonna go back to the way it was," he says. "Once it's not in the public's eye anymore, it goes away."
posted by taosbat at 8:28 AM on March 6, 2007


The Daily Show Slams Bush Over Walter Reed Scandal
posted by homunculus at 8:11 PM on March 6, 2007


"Fundamental Responsibility" for Walter Reed Lies with Bush and Rumsfeld
"There is plenty of blame to go around. Officials at Walter Reed were egregiously negligent. The Army’s high command, and the Joint Chiefs above them, were too weak-kneed or obtuse to demand adequate resources for medical care — just as they were too fearful for their own careers to demand adequate troops to fight the Iraq war to begin with.

But the fundamental responsibility rests with the president and his former defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, who stubbornly insisted on going to war without sufficient resources — and then sought to hide the costs of their disastrous mistakes from the American public.

Is it any surprise that the war’s wounded have been hidden away in the shadows of moldy buildings by an administration that refused to let photographers take pictures of returning coffins? Or a White House that keeps claiming that victory in this failed and ever more costly war is always just a few more months away?

The Walter Reed revelations once again put the lie to the president’s claim that everything is being done to support America’s troops. Just as the administration has been shockingly slow to provide the necessary body armor for troops in Iraq and notably complacent about rotating exhausted troops back into the war, so, too, has it been reluctant to confront the large casualty toll from Iraq and Afghanistan. Military doctors have been amazingly proficient about saving lives that would have been lost in earlier wars. But as we now know, the injured survivors too often fall through the cracks."
posted by ericb at 8:36 AM on March 7, 2007


Clinton calls for new GI 'Bill of Rights'

"This administration is frankly unable to run a two-car parade..."
posted by taosbat at 12:04 PM on March 8, 2007


House panel told of warnings about VA

A former Veterans Affairs official said Thursday he warned the department as early as August 2005 of backlogs in the VA health care system but officials instead shelved a program aimed at alleviating delays.
posted by taosbat at 6:24 PM on March 8, 2007


Rep. Gingrey Blames Soldiers For Walter Reed Squalor: ‘If You Leave Food Around You’ll Get Mice’
posted by ericb at 11:54 AM on March 9, 2007


I looked at ericb's link and then was poking around Think Progress and I looked at this article, Veterans receive unequal treatment from VA, and the fourth comment is a suicide note signed rachel kinnardi. I sent the comment link to Think Progress. I don't know what else to do.
posted by taosbat at 12:30 PM on March 9, 2007


east PEORIA - The anguish Kathy Bachman felt nearly three years ago when her son was being treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center is just as fresh now as it was then...
posted by taosbat at 1:01 PM on March 10, 2007


The Army and Marine Corps, bearing the brunt of the burden in Iraq and Afghanistan, tend to give their wounded troops lower disability ratings than the Navy and Air Force, according to Defense Department data.

The result: Soldiers and Marines receive an average of several hundred dollars per month less in disability retired pay than sailors and airmen.

Break those numbers down a different way and the system shows another inequity: All services tend to grant officers disability ratings of 50% or higher at a significantly greater rate than enlisted members.

Critics say those figures support their contention that the Army, in particular, purposely tries to hold down costs by giving low ratings to enlisted soldiers who far outnumber officers going through the lengthy, convoluted system...
posted by taosbat at 8:46 AM on March 11, 2007


Defence Secretary Des Browne has responded to claims of neglect towards British troops wounded in conflict by promising the best possible treatment...
posted by taosbat at 12:34 PM on March 11, 2007


Today on CBS’s Face the Nation, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) called on the Bush administration to remove Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley from his post as Army surgeon general, and to fire Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson, whose appointment “looks like a Brownie situation.”

“This is a political appointment,” McCaskill said of Nicholson. “This is somebody who has spent a whole lot of the last few years defending everything about the White House.” CBS host Bob Schieffer piled on, saying “in at least two television appearances that I have seen him…he seemed unfamiliar with the services that were being offered by his own agency.” Watch it:
posted by taosbat at 1:43 PM on March 11, 2007


Former Walter Reed chief Gen. Kiley retires
posted by taosbat at 10:09 AM on March 12, 2007



Former Walter Reed chief Gen. Kiley retires



finally! Now we need all the GOP Congresspeople who knew about this and did nothing to be indicted or forced to resign too.
posted by amberglow at 3:01 PM on March 12, 2007


Would that it should play out so, amberglow.
posted by taosbat at 5:24 PM on March 12, 2007


"Wounded Warriors" is a collection of veterans coverage from the McClatchy Washington Bureau, McClatchy Newspapers, and other sources.
posted by taosbat at 2:04 PM on March 14, 2007


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