“‘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.’”
"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."
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