Supporting Our Soldiers

Supporting our troops has been a Republican mantra, and a lie, from the start. CQ has an article detailing senior Republicans' knowledge of the problems at Walter Reed long before the current dustup:

Senior Republicans who knew about problems at Walter Reed Army Medical Center while their party controlled Congress insist they did all they could to prod the Pentagon to fix them.

But C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla., former chairman of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, said he stopped short of going public with the hospital’s problems to avoid embarrassing the Army while it was fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Young and Thomas M. Davis III, R-Va., the former chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, both acknowledged in interviews that they were aware of patient care problems at Walter Reed long before The Washington Post exposed them two weeks ago.

These losers avoided doing their duty to avoid embarassing whom? The Army? Or George Bush? I hope their constituents pick somebody a bit more conscientious in the future.

Young said his wife, Beverly, found one Walter Reed patient lying in his hospital bed without sheets or blankets, having soiled himself. Another, who suffered from a battlefield brain injury, had fallen out of his bed three times, even after Young had told Kiley about the problem, the lawmaker said. And he said a third patient, who had an aneurysm, died after a respiratory therapist ignored family warnings about the patient’s fragile condition and treated him anyway.

“We got in Gen. Kiley’s face on a regular basis,” Young said, adding that he even contacted the commander of the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda in the hopes of getting better care there for the patient with the aneurysm, though doctors at Walter Reed declined to transfer him.

“What else do you want me to do? I am not going to go into a hospital and push my way into a medical situation,” Young said after the hearing.

Young said he “separates my life as a member of Congress and the work I do on a volunteer basis,” visiting military hospitals with his wife almost every week.

His personal life might be laudable, but his duties under the Constitution are more far reaching. Unfortunately he forgot that he had some such duties beyond serving as a loyal party flack.

General Kiley certainly deserves to be fired for this and prosecuted for lying to Congress in his previous testimony, but I doubt that he was just lazy and corrupt. He was almost certainly being pushed not to be a squeaky wheel by those at Rumsfeld's level and above.


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