Monday, March 05, 2007

Walter Reed Debacle

The "outrage" over conditions at Walter Reed isn't ringing true for me. Of course, Army officials knew about the way veterans are being treated within the system. Salon published an article a year ago, but it didn't have the visibility of the most recent series. So, heads are rolling, numerous articles and interviews are being aired, but we all know that the attention span of the American public, and especially our politicians, is short. They'll get as much mileage out of their "outrage" as possible and then move on to other things.

The next perceived crisis or event or whatever will turn the public's attention elsewhere and the injustice will continue.

This is clear to all the families of victims of uninvestigated non-combat deaths. We get the limited attention of politicians, but nothing is ever done to right the wrongs. Even major articles about the problem of uninvestigated non-combat deaths, as poignant and fact-filled as they are, have had only limited effect on reform of the military.

Military personnel are used, abused, and thrown to the side of the street in America. Like trash. Once they are no longer useful, they are forgotten.

Paul Krugman, in today's New York Times, wrote an editorial called, "Valor and Squalor" about the Walter Reed debacle. It is a "Times Select" article, so I will not paste it in its entirety. Here is an excerpt:

The redoubtable Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight
and Government Reform, points out that IAP Worldwide Services, a company run by
two former Halliburton executives, received a large contract to run Walter Reed
under suspicious circumstances: the Army reversed the results of an audit
concluding that government employees could do the job more cheaply.

And Mr. Waxman, who will be holding a hearing on the issue today, appears to have solid
evidence, including an internal Walter Reed memo from last year, that the
prospect of privatization led to a FEMA-type exodus of skilled personnel.

You may be able to pick up a paper copy of the NY Times if you don't subscribe online. I am planning to listen as much as I can to today's hearings.

--submitted by Braveheart

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