Sunday, March 11, 2007

Enter the Dragons 
Nobody will take care of wounded warriors better than another warrior.

The Army has selected a warrior officer to take over Walter Reed.


Meanwhile, here's the former commander, a decidedly nonwarrior officer, as described by Dana Milbank at the Washington Post.

Kevin Kiley, the three-star general in charge of all army medical facilities, seemed stumped as he testified Monday about his responsibility for the Walter Reed scandal.

"I'm trying not to say that I'm not accountable," he told members of the House oversight committee.

But try as he might, he couldn't fix blame on himself.

How could he not have known that wounded soldiers were living in squalid conditions across the street from his own home? "I don't do barracks inspections at Walter Reed," he said.

Very well, General. Warriors do.

The entire article is fascinating -- and devastating.

The close:

Whatever the merits of Weightman's dismissal, the problems at Walter Reed have not disappeared with him. Before Monday's hearing, a patient with a prosthetic arm tried to get in but was stopped by a guard, who asked if the young man was supposed to be in the hearing. "I'd like to be," the soldier said.

"It's preselected, unfortunately," the guard replied. The young amputee walked away. Inside, three rows of seats had been reserved for the Army; almost all were empty.

Splash, out


Additionally, one of my active duty buddies told me that Infantry Branch (HRC) sent out a note looking for 3 Majors for assignment at Walter Reed.
Hey, it's great we all give a shit about military medical treatment and the VA now, but where was the outcry 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago? It was awful when I was in, it is apparently awful now.

Don't kid yourself that anybody on Capitol Hill cares about this. It's a fine tool with which to bash Bush and the surprisingly independent military commanders, like that Petraeus chap who shamed the Senate in his confirmation hearings. When the need for Bush & Brass bashing has passed, you'll have a better chance of finding hen's teeth, than a Member of Congress who could give a flying fuck at a rolling donut about MilMed. Those who actually care should hustle and do some work on the substantive issues, of what is needed, while the pressure is on DOD and Congress is casting around for something to do here. When the moment passes, it will be a dead issue for another 50 years.

FWIW, a lot of the stuff that's come out about a lack of career counseling and after care is sort of crap - maybe true for individual cases but not true across the board. My employer has participated in job fairs with dozens (if not hundreds) of other .gov, contractor and private sector employers, and my wife's employer (which has few ties to the military and is in fact very left leaning and pacifistic) has worked to set up some training to help first time private sector job seekers. I actually hired a disabled vet (11B) whose resume I received at one of the career fairs to work as one of my administrators, and have first hand knowledge of three or four similarly situated vets being hired by my employer in other areas; my wife's firm has hired two or three. It isn't a picnic out there for disabled vets, they have to be self starters, but very many people will extend a hand to help them out if they are capable of doing the work - and they have a stellar rep for good character and work ethic once they are on the job based on the feedback I've received. I guess what I'm saying is I have direct first hand knowledge that at least some of the allegations being made in the WaPo about lack of vocational rehab opportunities and career assistance are plain lies.
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