Never, ever should anyone in the Bush Administration be allowed to utter the phrase "we support the troops." This week, we saw just how the Bush Administration has neglected and abused the troops who were injured in the Bush-led war. The Washington Post series on Walter Reed has exposed the brutal treatment experienced by injured U.S. soldiers and their families at the hands of the Bush-led government that sent them to war. Unfortunately, Walter Reed, the flagship medical facility in the Army, is just the tip of the iceberg.
Columnist Ann McFeatters visited Walter Reed this week. She isn't buying the spin from the military leaders:
But the point is that crumbling infrastructure, inhumane bureaucracy and inadequate treatment for mental disorders have been known about for years and have been permitted to continue.While the Army is responsible for Walter Reed, there is a larger problem. And, that starts at the top.
The month before The Post’s series ran, a conference on “quality of life” problems faced by soldiers, their families and civilian staff at Walter Reed found a long list of “issues.” They included: soldiers not getting benefits to travel as scheduled; lack of direction for emergency family care; unequal benefits based on the locale where a soldier is injured and not on the extent of injuries; and no overall plan to help wounded warriors through their convalescence.
Given that Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld had no real plans for the post-war period, it's not a surprise that the care of our soldiers never registered with them. "Support the troops" makes a great slogan. But, as we all know, actions speak louder than words with that crowd. McFeatters nails the situation:
When former defense chief Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush were planning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, did they never think to determine how the wounded would be helped? Did they not know that today’s injured soldiers are dealing with far more horrific injuries than in the past because battlefield medicine keeps more of them alive?Bush's administration broke the Army. They're breaking the lives of wounded soldiers. Ultimately, they're breaking this country. Aren't we really better than all of this?
Walter Reed is supposed to close in 2011. But facilities to handle its patients have not been built, renovated or expanded. Funds may not be scarce for cool new weapons, but they are exceedingly scarce for real soldiers.
If the Army is broken, as many believe, Rumsfeld and Bush broke it. And fixing it is proving more difficult than fixing the courageous soldiers the administration sent to war and who came back broken.
Thanks to (Army Vet) John in Boston for the heads up on this one.