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Hull/Priest: 'It Is Just Not Walter Reed' - Soldiers Share Troubling Stories...

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-05-07 07:41 AM
Original message
Hull/Priest: 'It Is Just Not Walter Reed' - Soldiers Share Troubling Stories...
Edited on Mon Mar-05-07 08:28 AM by babylonsister
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...

'It Is Just Not Walter Reed'
Soldiers Share Troubling Stories Of Military Health Care Across U.S.

By Anne Hull and Dana Priest
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, March 5, 2007; A01

Ray Oliva went into the spare bedroom in his home in Kelseyville, Calif., to wrestle with his feelings. He didn't know a single soldier at Walter Reed, but he felt he knew them all. He worried about the wounded who were entering the world of military health care, which he knew all too well. His own VA hospital in Livermore was a mess. The gown he wore was torn. The wheelchairs were old and broken.

"It is just not Walter Reed," Oliva slowly tapped out on his keyboard at 4:23 in the afternoon on Friday. "The VA hospitals are not good either except for the staff who work so hard. It brings tears to my eyes when I see my brothers and sisters having to deal with these conditions. I am 70 years old, some say older than dirt but when I am with my brothers and sisters we become one and are made whole again."

Oliva is but one quaking voice in a vast outpouring of accounts filled with emotion and anger about the mistreatment of wounded outpatients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Stories of neglect and substandard care have flooded in from soldiers, their family members, veterans, doctors and nurses working inside the system. They describe depressing living conditions for outpatients at other military bases around the country, from Fort Lewis in Washington state to Fort Dix in New Jersey. They tell stories -- their own versions, not verified -- of callous responses to combat stress and a system ill equipped to handle another generation of psychologically scarred vets.

The official reaction to the revelations at Walter Reed has been swift, and it has exposed the potential political costs of ignoring Oliva's 24.3 million comrades -- America's veterans -- many of whom are among the last standing supporters of the Iraq war. In just two weeks, the Army secretary has been fired, a two-star general relieved of command and two special commissions appointed; congressional subcommittees are lining up for hearings, the first today at Walter Reed; and the president, in his weekly radio address, redoubled promises to do right by the all-volunteer force, 1.5 million of whom have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But much deeper has been the reaction outside Washington, including from many of the 600,000 new veterans who left the service after Iraq and Afghanistan. Wrenching questions have dominated blogs, talk shows, editorial cartoons, VFW spaghetti suppers and the solitary late nights of soldiers and former soldiers who fire off e-mails to reporters, members of Congress and the White House -- looking, finally, for attention and solutions.

Several forces converged to create this intense reaction. A new Democratic majority in Congress is willing to criticize the administration. Senior retired officers pounded the Pentagon with sharp questions about what was going on. Up to 40 percent of the troops fighting in Iraq are National Guard members and reservists -- "our neighbors," said Ron Glasser, a physician and author of a book about the wounded. "It all adds up and reaches a kind of tipping point," he said. On top of all that, America had believed the government's assurances that the wounded were being taken care of. "The country is embarrassed" to know otherwise, Glasser said.

more...
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-05-07 09:12 AM
Response to Original message
1. Kick for new article. nt
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-05-07 01:08 PM
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2. .
:wtf: :shrug:
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KingofNewOrleans Donating Member (650 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-05-07 01:23 PM
Response to Original message
3. So who could have possible anticipated
that two wars and the casualties caused by war would put a strain on the VA and active military medical systems? Who could have possibly had the foresight to think that financial resources would have to be added to keep the system up to any sort of standard? Clearly, it just required too much thinking for the administration to cope with this. Still, if it hadn't been for these "uppity" soldiers, they could have gotten by with it. Darn soldiers.
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-05-07 01:33 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Belated welcome to DU, KingofNewOrleans! The whole
debacle is despicable. Support the troops my hind quarters. Did they actually think they'd get away with the neglect we've seen? I'm so glad the soldiers, and a very few fearless journalists, exposed this mess.
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NDP Donating Member (375 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-05-07 01:58 PM
Response to Original message
5. I'm sick of the way the media are covering this story. First of all, there would be no hearings
Edited on Mon Mar-05-07 02:04 PM by NDP
if the Republicans were still in charge because they are the ones who have been underfunding veterans' care for years! No one in the media are saying anything about that. It's just a bunch of crap about how "heart-wrenching the testimonials are." Oooh, ooh, the emotion. Ooh, ooh, so sad. Ooh, ooh.

What about whose to blame for this crap! God, I hate the media. They are supposed to be "informing," not trying to be a freaking soap opera.

They are doing all that they can not to blame the Republicans or the Bush administration for any of this. They are trying to act like the problem is "government," that the "Army medical system" is to blame, instead of the people who have been underfunding it for the past few years. After all, many of the people who favor a single-payer health care system often, wink, wink, cite the health care system for the military, so, wink, wink, "let's undercut that argument."

With the way they are covering this story. Bring up the VA at your own risk, from now on.

They want us all to focus on the "tearful testimonials."

No way. Focus on who's culpable. That's your freaking job, unless you didn't know.
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-05-07 02:08 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. BECAUSE OF the media, Kiley and Weightman are being drilled at Walter Reed even as
I type. They are being held accountable. What more do you want at this point. This is the opening salvo; stay tuned. I think this is a stunning development considering the story broke only about 2 weeks ago.
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fed-up Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-05-07 06:07 PM
Response to Original message
7. kick/rec n/t
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