<$BlogRSDUrl$>

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Boo Fucking Hoo 

From a Washington Post story on Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey, forced to resign after a series of investigative reports revealed that Iraq war veterans at Walter Reed Hospital were living amid rot, mold, burst pipes, mice, mouse shit, and dead roaches:
Later, in an interview, an emotional Harvey appeared both apologetic and defensive. "It's unexcusable to have soldiers in that type of building," he said, explaining why he resigned.

But he also said that the Post stories lacked balance. "Where's the other side of the story?" he asked, his voice rising. "Two articles in your paper have ruined the career of General Weightman, who is a very decent man, and then a captain . . . and the secretary of the Army. If that satisfies the populace, maybe this will stop further dismissals."
And a fond hasta la vista to you, fuckbucket!

The former commander of Walter Reed, Major General George Weightman, was dead meat as soon as the Navy Times broke the news that hospital patients were being punished for airing their greivances to the media. His immediate replacement, Army Surgeon General Kevin Kiley, lasted less than a day after the Post published the following allegations by a Republican Senator:
In 2004, Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.) and his wife stopped visiting the wounded at Walter Reed out of frustration. Young said he voiced concerns to commanders over troubling incidents he witnessed but was rebuffed or ignored. "When Bev or I would bring problems to the attention of authorities of Walter Reed, we were made to feel very uncomfortable," said Young, who began visiting the wounded recuperating at other facilities.

Beverly Young said she complained to Kiley several times. She once visited a soldier who was lying in urine on his mattress pad in the hospital. When a nurse ignored her, Young said, "I went flying down to Kevin Kiley's office again, and got nowhere. He has skirted this stuff for five years and blamed everyone else."
Kudos to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and President Bush for their timely vow to investigate "allegations of substandard treatment of wounded soldiers" mere days after the story erupted into a national scandal. More of the same in future, please.

UPDATE (3/3, via our one-and-onliest colleague Avedon Carol): That noted left-wing rag the Army Times is reporting that the shameful treatment of vets at Walter Reed is but one more result of Privatization Gone Wild:
Committee Chairman Henry Waxman and subcommittee Chairman John Tierney asked Weightman to testify about an internal memo that showed privatization of services at Walter Reed could put “patient care services… at risk of mission failure.”

But Army officials refused to allow Weightman to appear before the committee after he was relieved of command.

“The Army was unable to provide a satisfactory explanation for the decision to prevent General Weightman from testifying,” committee members said in a statement today.

The committee wants to learn more about a letter written in September by Garrison Commander Peter Garibaldi to Weightman.

The memorandum “describes how 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.

They also found that more than 300 federal employees providing facilities management services at Walter Reed had drooped to fewer than 60 by Feb. 3, 2007, the day before IAP took over facilities management. IAP replaced the remaining 60 employees with only 50 private workers.

“The conditions that have been described at Walter Reed are disgraceful,” the letter states. “Part of our mission on the Oversight Committee is to investigate what led to the breakdown in services. It would be reprehensible if the deplorable conditions were caused or aggravated by an ideological commitment to privatize government services regardless of the costs to taxpayers and the consequences for wounded soldiers.”

| | Technorati Links | to Del.icio.us