Thursday, March 01, 2007

Walter Reed Commander Relieved 
The Washington Post has the dope:

The head of the U.S. Army's top hospital was removed from his post on Thursday after troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan were found to be living in shoddy conditions and struggling with a complex bureaucracy.

An Army statement said top officials had lost confidence in Maj. Gen. George Weightman's ability "to address needed solutions for soldier outpatient care" at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

"The care and welfare of our wounded men and women in uniform demand the highest standard of excellence and commitment that we can muster as a government," Defense Secretary Robert Gates said.

"When this standard is not met, I will insist on swift and direct corrective action and, where appropriate, accountability up the chain of command," he said in a statement.

This might explain the inept handling of the affair on the part of the Pentagon: There may have been a debate raging over whether General Weightman should be relieved of command, and the Pentagon press office was playing for time for the Secretary of the Army and the SECDEF to conduct their own inquiries, gather the appropriate facts, and make a decision.

Still, the Army looks bad.

The Army is temporarily tapping the current head of medical for the post - who himself is a former Walter Reed commander. According to MSNBC, he himself may have been part of the problem, though.

Don't know how long he was in command there, though.

The challenge for the new guy is going to be in dividing his time and attention between putting command emphasis on fixing Walter Reed while simultaneously being proactive and aggressive in resourcing medical efforts forward. Tough spot, and a lot will depend on CENTCOM's J-1 and their own medical experts.

Fortunately, our doctors, medical platoon leaders and platoon sergeants, and PAs are incredibly resourceful in solving problems forward.

I have more faith in them, for example, then in a Medical Command that at various points, assigned my light infantry battalion, then engaged in combat in Ramadi a gynecologist and a psychiatrist as our battalion surgeons.

Just sayin'.

Splash, out


Some more thoughts on Kiley "re-taking the hill" at WRAMC....

IMHO, this is the kind of thing you get when you make doctors & lawyers generals. Isn't one mind-altering ego trip per person enough?
Yeah, I had the same thought. There are loads of exceptions. But for the most part, these guys achieve lofty commands without ever having first commanded a company of troops or led a platoon of soldiers.

They give away the captain rank to these guys as soon as they get out of law school or med school and as soldiers and leaders they are way behind their peers in the rest of the Army.

And they can be great doctors and get good evals as doctors and move their way up the line without ever having proven themselves in command.

And this is the result.
Well, I dunno - let's not forget that Weightman is a West Pointer from the class of '73. That means he probably spent some time in front of a platoon before he went to med school. Back then, everyone went straight into the combat arms.

The striking thing about it is not that this behavior is atypical of general officers - it's that it's practically emblematic of it, at least some of them. I think that's the point Phil Carter is making.

The sad thing about Carter's essay is that he thinks Petraeus is somehow not also emblematic of it - that he's some kind of a maverick outsider who rose against the odds. That's not the case - he's pretty much a straight-up-the-middle top block green-bleeder West Point star man all-Army type (and I formed this impression by working for him for two years) who got to the top because his superiors liked him. He may or may not succeed in Iraq, but that success or failure will result in a qualitatively different judgment on the Army's senior leadership and its selection system than Carter imagines.

I just hope he can pull it together - we need to win this thing.
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