Harvey leaves in disgrace.

Francis20harvey Gates said Harvey had resigned, but senior defense officials speaking on condition of anonymity said Gates had privately demanded that Harvey leave. Gates was displeased that the officer Harvey had chosen as interim commander of Walter Reed — Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley, the current Army surgeon general and a former commander of Walter Reed — has been accused by critics of long knowing about the problems there and not improving outpatient care.

"I am disappointed that some in the Army have not adequately appreciated the seriousness of the situation pertaining to outpatient care at Walter Reed," Gates said in the  briefing room. He took no questions from reporters."  Yahoo


I met Harvey a few years ago at a dinner in the "big city."  He was smug, arrogant, complacent and unwilling to listen to anyone who was not there to kiss his —.

The Regular Army colonel sitting next to me who was his military assistant looked like he was about to throw up behind the mask of soldierly submission to constitutional authority.  He had been a cadet at West Point when I was a professor there.

Harvey has paid the appropriate price for neglect of duty.

There are more people to be held accountable.  Obviously, the self obsessed LTG Kiley, the Surgeon General of the Army should be next, after that, I suggest that General Cody, the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army should be given a hard look.  The Vice Chief is reponsible for watching over the internal functioning of the Army while the Chief takes care of the Army’s external business and long term issues.   Cody failed.  pl


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53 Responses to Harvey leaves in disgrace.

  1. Chris Bray says:

    I’m not inclined to all-caps, but let’s do it anyway:
    Could we actually have a SecDef who holds leaders accountable? Imagine the implications.

  2. Chris Bray says:

    Second thought: I wonder if Harvey doomed himself by publicly saying, shortly after the WP article came out, that the failures at Walter Reed belonged to a few NCOs — thus proving that he didn’t get it. The failure at Walter Reed was maybe survivable, but the dumb-in-public…

  3. Walter Purvis says:

    Point of clarification: I’m not sure who you’re referring to when you say you met “this man.” I’m guessing you mean Harvey, but it could be Gates, and I really can’t tell from the context. Might want to specify the man’s name.

  4. Nancy Kimberlin says:

    I have been so disgusted with what is coming out about how our injured troops are being treated. Heads should roll. This is so wrong.
    This whole administration should be impeached or fired.
    Where were the Democrats when this was going on. They have been asleep at the wheel also.

  5. psd says:

    well, hallelujah! at least Gates is finally reacting in an appropriate manner and cutting off heads. All I can is LET ‘EM ROLL!
    my question is, Colonel, do you think that Schoomaker is really the guy to clean things up at WRAMC?

  6. W. Patrick Lang says:


  7. Chris Bray says:

    Shameful bullshit from Harvey in the Washington Post tonight:
    Later, in an interview, an emotional Harvey appeared both apologetic and defensive. “It’s unexcusable to have soldiers in that type of building,” he said, explaining why he resigned.
    But he also said that the Post stories lacked balance. “Where’s the other side of the story?” he asked, his voice rising. “Two articles in your paper have ruined the career of General Weightman, who is a very decent man, and then a captain . . . and the secretary of the Army. If that satisfies the populace, maybe this will stop further dismissals.”
    (end block quote)
    The “other side of the story”? Mold on the walls, soldiers with brain injuries languishing unattended, men with traumatic injuries housed in slums across the street from the surgeon general, who didn’t notice…
    Yeah, where’s the ~balance~? Where’s the explanation of the ~good news~ part?
    At least I’m beginning to understand the news stories that said Gates appeared to be shaking with anger when he announced Harvey’s departure. I know just how he feels.

  8. michael savoca says:

    What happened at Walter Reed is emblematic of what can happen when privateers seek to profit from public service AND place profits above principal while turning their back on the mission.
    In an article to be found in the Army Times: http://www.armytimes.com/news/2007/03/Weightmansubpoena/
    it appears there is documentation indicating that a private corporation supplanted government hospital workers, and in a prelude to the privatization of services at Walter Reed, line staffing for providing basic support services was reduced to less than one-sixth of the usual work force.
    This is a pattern. There is evidence that suggests privatization of our armed forces is a significant part in our country’s inability to prevail in Iraq. I have been told by two of my co-workers who are members of our National Guard and served tours of duty in Iraq, that their counterparts who were employed by private security companies were paid at ten times the rate of equivalent soldiers AND could refuse a direct order.
    I’ll bet there are more private contractors in Iraq than uniformed personnel. How can we ask our soldiers to put their lives on the line when war becomes more of a money making proposition. The war profiteers should be put on trial. We need a President like Harry Truman again. He went after those who cheated our country in a time of war. This current President is a disgrace.

  9. Brian Hart says:

    It seems obvious that LTG Kiley should be gone, but isn’t – Why not?

  10. Arun says:

    Col. Lang, how do people such as Harvey climb up the hierarchy in the first place?

  11. Brent Wiggans says:

    Harvey’s plea for the “other side of the story” is indicative of the expectation that no matter what malfeasance has occurred in this administration there are always mitigating circumstances, if only a fair and balanced media would report them. Perhaps Harvey’s parting shot at the Post will serve as yet another rallying point for all those righteous victims of Liberal Bias in the media.
    The posturing about “supporting our troops” on display in the debate over our Iraq war policy ought to embarrass a lot of people into silence, people who countenanced this ugly, shabby treatment of our casualties while disparaging the patriotism and backbone of anyone who questioned virtually anything about the policy or the conduct of the war.
    “More light. More light.”

  12. Frank Durkee says:

    A part of the reality is that this story got ‘legs’ by appearing in the Post and by having the Dems in control of Congress. The information has been ‘out there’ for at least 2 years in the public realm. It’s another illustration of Acton’s Dictum: “That pwere corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Having an adversarial media and an opposition Congress makes this stuff harder. I think that this is simply another demonstration of the managerial incompetency of this administration, based in great part on an almost religious incopacity to admit mistakes and thus to find it diffficult to correct them.

  13. confusedponderer says:

    interesting article, especially with the privatisation angle. If you cut your manpower down to a sixth, with equal work, you most probably get insufficient service, unless the job was insanely overstaffed before which is unlikely. That’s common sense.
    But maybe that’s all that was ‘economically feasible’ after assigning to the head of IAP Worldwide Services a CEO salary.
    If it is about caring and attending wounded or recovering soldiers the inevitable consequences of insufficient manpower can only result in ugly things happening.
    Profit generation is the primary interest in private enterprises. I am very unconvinced that privatisation of public services really is truly cheaper or offers superior utility. And I have my serious douts in the preventive effect of improved contracts, or the mysterious ‘corrective effect of the market’. The market won’t correct anything if the profit margin is too low; in that case there simply won’t be any investors.
    I’m old fashioned in that I think that it is distasteful to profit on treating recovering soldiers IMHO. I think the Red Cross has the priorities right in this respect.
    And as for contracts, the moron who negotiated (hopefully not a no bid affair) that contract ought to be careened for not putting a plug in staff cuts – but then, WRAMC staff stampede started well before that and apparently there was done little if anything to prevent it.
    The AIP folks ‘only’ agravated a bad situation by being even more reckless. So, the IAP managers weren’t the only culprits to blame for the failure at WRAMC. It’s encouraging to see that for the first time senior ranks get the boot. That is what command responsibility is about.
    Incompetence, lack of diligence, dereliction of duty, failure in command, insufficient contractor oversight – why didn’t that also happen over Gitmo or Abu Ghraib? Because there the affected were scraggy, bearded ‘maybe terrorists’, and not the brave men and weman every politico loves to support as vocal as possible and who served their country and sacrificed part of their health for it. In that case, certainly, a few bad apples won’t do. Bleh.

  14. D.Witt says:

    Col, I don’t know what you thought of David Hackworth, but he opened my eyes a long time ago to the debilitating effect on our military by the ‘perfumed princes,’ as he called careerist REMFs like these guys. God only knows what he and Dwight Eisenhower would say about the Harvey, Weightman and Kiley, and the corporate Hessians that Bushco is paying off with the national piggy bank, while our wounded troops are treated like annoying collateral damage.

  15. TR Stone says:

    This is some what off topic, or maybe not in the bigger picture, has anyone read this article–Iraq: What Could Have Been, What Should Have Been… (http://www.sftt.org/cgi-bin/csNews/csNews.cgi?database=Unlisted%202007%2edb&command=viewone&id=12)?

  16. SusanUnPC says:

    To pick up on Michael Savoca’s comment here, it’s critical to place the privatization issue at the fore.
    For example, there were 300 gov’t employees, highly experienced, winnowed down to 60 and, according to one story (not sure if this is accurate), the entire crew of 300 has been replaced by a private company’s 50 employees.
    The head of the company is a former HALLIBURTON honcho.
    The best summary I’ve seen is a recommended diary at Daily Kos that’s also better written than most there: “What’s behind the conditions at Walter Reed? Privatization,” by smintheus
    ALSO, on Monday at 1:30pm ET, Harry Waxman’s appropriations subcommittee is holding a hearing. Waxman has the letter from Weightman’s staff complaining about the PRIVATIZATION, and more documents:
    Weightman is being allowed to testify. And I wonder if his firing by Harvey was necessary. Dana Priest said on Hardball Fri. afternoon that WR staff were upset by Weightman’s firing since they blame Kiley for most of the problems. I want to know if Weightman, as was his surbordinate, concerned about the privatization and wanted to do something about it. (And if Harvey didn’t like Weightman rattling that cage.)
    AND, will the Army do anything about the privatization of its medical facilities? Has that ship sailed? Or can IAP Worldwide Services’s 5-year, $125-million contract be rescinded for failure to maintain standards?

  17. smoke says:

    The only “other side of the story” that I can imagine would be that decision makers at a very high level of the present Administration consistently turned a deaf ear to pleas for more resources and to reports and warnings of deleterious effects at WR from ongoing BRAC and poorly implemeneted privatization plans.
    If that was the case, someone needed to involve Congress, which may have been impossible before this past November, or have gone public before the Post did it for them. Any indication that someone did tip off Post?
    Going public in the miltary will always raise sensitive issues about overall morale, in addition to the simple CYA considerations. Probably too often the one becomes the excuse for the other.
    The Army Times report certainly makes is sound as if Garrison Commander Garibaldi was working hard within the chain of command to get attention to the problems.
    Other suggestions from those with military experience about how to deal with such situations?

  18. W. Patrick Lang says:

    I know nothing of this General Schoomaker.

  19. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Chris Bray
    Yes. Gates is looking better and better.
    Tee captain was probably the CO of the medical “holding” unit that all these covalescents were assigned to. Typically a job like that is given to some “lame” character. Good riddance. pl

  20. W. Patrick Lang says:

    I don’t think this had anything to do with private contractors. It was a failure of command responsibility among army people. pl

  21. W. Patrick Lang says:

    He will go in disgrace as well pl

  22. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Harvey was a civilian politician not a soldier. pl

  23. Cloned Poster says:

    It is really bizarre that the first accountability victims of the Iraq war are the medics.

  24. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Col. Lang:
    Was this a failure of leadership or was it symptomatic of a fiscal problem?

  25. SusanUnPC says:

    A tidbit from the last part of the NYT story today:
    “Even though [DoD Secretary Gates] issued a statement Thursday endorsing the decision to remove General Weightman, he was not aware that the Army had chosen General Kiley to be the acting commander, an appointment that lasted just one day.”
    Did Harvey not “cc” Gates? Wow. Gates must have been angry and insulted.
    I wonder if that had to do with Gates’ press conf. yesterday to announce the firing of Harvey.
    Next paragraph: “‘It could have been almost anybody but Kiley,’ said a senior Pentagon official, who was granted anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss Mr. Gates’s thinking. ”
    “Army Secretary Is Ousted in Furor Over Hospital Care”

  26. James Pratt says:

    There is another health care scandal in the military not receiving the attention it should either in the media or veterans’ organizations: the high rate of suicides, several times that of the general population, of service men and women serving in Iraq or Kuwait and the combat veterans returned to the US. Surviving family members tell of suicidal vets being turned away by triage staff at VA hospitals.

  27. michael savoca says:

    Colonel Lang, I respect the claim that commanding officers are responsible for the gross failures at Walter Reed. They are in charge. However, I believe that testimony before representative Waxman’s committee will show that the Army was “induced” by civilian leadership, to increase the operating cost estimates for Walter Reed and thus allow private corporations to get underneath, with plenty of room for profit margin. Commanding officers should never have allowed the submission of artificially increased operating cost estimates no matter how much pressure was exerted by a corrupt civilian leadership. But, I am disgusted by this administration’s accelerated application of private contractors for the primary purpose of enriching political supporters of their regime during a time of War. If we truly have law and tradition that places civilian leadership over our armed forces then civilian leaders and private contractors must be brought to justice.

  28. smoke says:

    Pat Lang –
    This may all well be a failure of command.
    After looking at some of the stories by Shirah, which SusanUnPC points to, it does look like the process of bidding out services at WR was marred by irregularities.
    In a competition between federal employees and private bidder IAP, the employees’ bid initially was lowest. After the bids were submitted certain conditions were changed, and someone recalculated the bids. This time IAP was low.
    A lobbyist for the employees asserted that “at one point during the 16-month period between the initial decision in favor of the MEO and its subsequent reversal in favor of an award to IAP, the Army asked DOD if it could cancel the competition and DOD instructed the Army to finish the competition.”
    This leaves it unclear where decisions about management, personnel, and the competition for the services contract were being made.

  29. mlaw230 says:

    It appears that there may be something to the private contracting angle, i.e. facilities maintenance and support functions first sold to the highest bidder and then stripped down before final contract, thus setting the level of service very, very low, the level of profit very,very high, and beyond the effective command and control of the active duty military hierarchy.
    If true this is just more evidene of kleptocracy.

  30. W. Patrick Lang says:

    I see that political animosity towards the Bush Administration is more important to some of you than all else.
    Rumsfeld’s mania for privatization may well have been a factor in the medical mess. Gates’ actions with regard to Harvey and ASD for medical affairs indicate that he will follow that trail as well as that of the malfeasance and neglect of duty of military command.
    Nevertheless WRAMC is an army facility, run by the army and army officers are the principal culprits in this matter. pl

  31. ked says:

    ironically, the WRAMC may turn out to be “the canary in the coal mine” for many issues that have festered in the Army in recent years. rampant careerism, outsourcing for the benefit of the private sector (delivering less capability and value), techno-wow and ppts trumping scholarship and soldiering – like any big accident, there is enough blame to go around for everyone.

  32. charlottemom says:

    The VA medical establishment has been sub-par for sometime. Speaking for a family member – vets from first Gulf War have received spotty care. Agree that this shake up is overdue. My question is why now. Have conditions worsened so much or is this a cover for removing Sec of Army. I don’t know much about the recently removed Sec. What is/was his position on the Iraq War, the Surge and perhaps strikes on Iran? Any chance there is any political manuvering here? I’m heartened that the VA mess is being addressed but is there any other angle by which to view this new accountability of this Bush/Gales administration. Am i too cynical?

  33. Sandy says:

    And, what about that idiot (former RNC chairman) Jim Nicholson, Veterans Affairs Secretary — telling Bob Woodruff most vets were in need of DENTAL treatment (or however he said it)!!!
    Who is making HIM accountable for such outrageous LIES?

  34. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Walter Reed is not a VA hospital. pl

  35. W. Patrick Lang says:

    He is a cabinet officer and answerable only to the president and the congress. pl

  36. mlaw230 says:

    Perhaps animosity has something to do with it, but I come by it honestly. The military no longer appears to run on traditional military principals.
    First, the VA and WR are two different animals. WR is supposed to be an active duty facility subject to military discipline and chain of command, while the VA is essentialy a civilian agency that happens to be for the benefit of veterans.
    Second, it is all well and good to have accountability, anywhere, be it military or civilian, but responsibility without authority to act, or appropriate resources is a disaster.
    I am told that Weightman has been in command of WR for 6 months and that he and his staff warned of potential “mission failure” five months ago.
    The military should see care of its wounded as a sacred duty, but the business community would not. WR is slated to close. Why put more resources into a defunct structure and institution?
    You have a military installation being run on business principals. There are some governmental functions that cannot be run successfully on business principals, the military is one of them, and treatment of the wounded is a big part of that.

  37. W. Patrick Lang says:

    You do not know that this is a case of a “military installation being run on business principals” You are merely choosing to believe that before the investigation is finished. pl

  38. mlaw230 says:

    Fair enough, I don’t know that as yet with certainty, but what I do know is this:
    1)The problems identified at WR deal primarily with facility maintenance, support, and communication.
    2) Those services were privatized after a lengthy battle with Federal Workers in 2006.
    3) The federal government performed the necessary functions at WR with 300 employees, the private contractor is charged with the same duties and attempts to do so with 50.
    4) The federal employee “group” was the low bidder until the bid criteria was recalculated 1/2 way through the process.
    5) The federal employee group and the ultimate bidder were bidding under a privatization process ostensibly designed to apply business principals to this function.
    6) The private group that won the bid is owned by former executives of Haliburton.
    7) The minority leader of the Senate explained on TV today that the disgraceful conditions at WR exist because WR was to be closed and it did not make sense, presumably business sense, to invest additional capital.

  39. walrus says:

    When ever you observe a situation that makes you ask yourself “How could anyone let something like this happen?”, be it Walter Read or Enron, I suggest you should direct your attention to the possibility of what is termed “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” in the management of the organisation concerned.
    Col Lang’s mention of Harvey’s behaviour at a dinner strongly suggests narcissism to me (“He was smug, arrogant, complacent and unwilling to listen to anyone who was not there to kiss his —“).
    The trouble is that narcissists are often intelligent, hard working, and charming (when they want to be) and will devote their lives to getting ahead and promoting themselves – managing “up” to their superiors, they often reach very great heights in management.
    The trouble is however, that they are “broken”. They have no ability to empathize and no regard at all for the “little people” below them.
    It is thus perfectly possible for Harvey to mention “the other side of the story” because in his eyes, all that matters is himself, and being unable to empathise he simply doesn’t “get it”.
    He cannot picture himself lieing in a rat infested moldy ward and the associated feelings. He cannot picture what a parent would feel seeing their son in such conditions, because he cannot empathise. Therefore he is incapable of taking corrective action because he cannot understand the problem. He cannot understand the rage of the American people.
    There are many of these people in positions of power. They can usually be discovered through the following symptoms:
    1. They have a huge sense of entitlement, nothing is too good for them.
    2. They believe rules, and law are for little people, they don’t apply to them.
    3. They simply don’t care about their subordinates and will discard them once they are no longer of use.
    4. Because of their lack of empathy, they can make ruthless, cold decisions and still sleep at night.
    5. They only talk to “special” people, not their subordinates. This leads to very poor decision making.
    I’ve seen a few in action in business and its not pretty. The Walter Read debacle has all the hallmarks of a few narcissistics in the chain of command.
    I could go on…..

  40. Will says:

    methinks the former sec’y of the Army Harvey was a erstwhile defense contractor. Would i be wrong?
    that’s the dumbya-shooter criterion of elgibility.

  41. charlottemom says:

    What began as a WR scandal is now enveloping the VA medical establishment (Walter Reed as Army facility not VA facility noted). Also intriguing is E. Shoomaker being brought in. Is this a good thing? Is this current evaluation of VA health care masking something else? I’m not in any way suggesting that a massive evaluation & cleanup of VA is not warranted. It is. I also like this new & novel idea of officer accountablity too. Finally. But there are other potential angles to pick up on. Example: Have/are the Iraq/Afghan military casualties thus far been undercounted and massaged in such that these VA facilities are completely overwhelmed (more that before). Will this new found investigative media check VA patients vs gov’s casualty numbers. I’m curious. Care by contractors? If so Who, etc.

  42. sectorwatch says:

    The quotes from Sec. Harvey, his ignorance of the problems at WR, and deflection of blame to anyone else are strikingly familiar to his private sector actions in multiple scenarios. As a former high level staffer in his prior private positions, when under fire the reaction was the same, taking no responsibility, claiming no knowledge, and letting others take the blame. Re: how hw got into the position, one needs to only look at the Carlyle group, or other influencers on he hill. He came from one of their heavily invested defense contractors that went awry due to underinvestment in infrastucture. Sound familiar?

  43. charlottemom says:

    What began as a WR scandal is now enveloping the VA medical establishment (Walter Reed as Army facility not VA facility noted). Also intriguing is E. Shoomaker being brought in. Is this a good thing? Is this current evaluation of VA health care masking something else? I’m not in any way suggesting that a massive evaluation & cleanup of VA is not warranted. It is. I also like this new & novel idea of officer accountablity too. Finally. But there are other potential angles to pick up on. Example: Let’s take another look at the Iraq/Afghan military casualties thus far. Have they been been undercounted and massaged in such that these VA facilities are now completely overwhelmed (more that before). Will this new found investigative media check VA patients vs gov’s casualty numbers. I’m curious– think there’s a story there. Also care delivered by contractors? If so who, how much paid etc.

  44. charlottemom says:

    As I watch the news and see story after story on the sorry state of troop medical care and cry by public and congress to clean up the leadership. First, absolutely veteran care needs to be addressed and accountability too. However, I fear that this admin is once again using troops – this time as a shield for removing and cleaning house in military ranks. Why now? What of that story of military generals resigning if Iran strikes were to occur. True? If so, could this be the cover. Col. Lang knows more than I ever would about the military players in all this. Any chance these stories are related. All the while, pressure continues to build in ME (Egypt angry at Isreal), neocon Cohen appointed on Fri to Defense Policy Board, China military build up, financial markets roiling, etc). Congress is now fully redirected and concerned re veteran care issues. Signs of war in Iran? Am i too paranoid?

  45. Will says:

    Dr. Harvey, I see. Metallurgy. Article doesn’t indicate he ever served a day in the military, however; plenty of experience in the military-industrial complex.

  46. Chris Marlowe says:

    While it may be too early to say if outsourcing to contractors is to blame for this scandal, it would pay to see if the fingerprints of Grover “Shrink the government to bathtub size” Norquist and generous Republican contributors are involved in some of the outsourced “care” at Walter Reed. That would make for some interesting investigations.
    My gut tells me that this is the tip of the iceberg in terms of the kind of care all Americans, civilian and military, will get unless they are in the privileged class. The US military who are KIA will be the lucky ones, at least they won’t have to deal with lousy medical care and can get a proper military funeral.
    Privatization is the Cheney/Norquist code word for crony capitalism and Republican party fundraising; it’s just that most Americans haven’t figured that out yet. The idea is simple: cut down the size of government (except large defense weapons contracts; these companies are large Republican donors), cut taxes to keep the idiot base happy, and contract former government services out to your largest donors’ companies. (Most Americans have been really slow in figuring this out. To think that they believe that the US government actually has their interests at heart. What a novel idea!)
    In the meantime, wage a long war against “terrorists” with no end in sight so that the American people can be distracted from problems which have been created by American politicians. Blame all their pain and suffering on the “fanatics” and “Islamofascist terrorists”.
    And don’t get me started how the Cheney/Abrams dream of empire is the first empire which has been charged to a credit card in history. Who issues the credit card? The People’s Bank of China and the Ministry of Finance of the People’s Republic of China. You can add the central banks of Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan as bit players.
    After all, what’s a few trillion dollars among friends? Oh, I forgot, we’re not sure if China is a friend or enemy.
    Long story short: Americans are royally screwed.

  47. Will says:

    Never underestimate the power of the mainstream media (“MSM”) such as the WASH POST to shape our opinion. SALON’s (the online magazine from the “muffled zone”) Mark Benjamin
    has been writing about conditions at Walter Reed MC for two years, apparently in more detail, w/o making an impact.
    Salon was there first on Walter Reed

  48. Jon Stopa says:

    When the Decider cut Vet benefits back in 2003, he was flip-floping (it says here) about invading Iraq, and I realized that he was bent on war, and being a cheap Republican, he was cutting benefits to make it cost less. Gee, bigger tax cuts!

  49. VietnamVet says:

    Colonel Lang. The outpatient services meltdown at Walter Reed Hospital is a direct result of privatization. Today, Jim Nicholson, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, fell on his sword, and accepted blame for the poor treatment of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans. Except the VA has absolutely nothing to do with the care at Walter Reed military hospital. The VA in my personal experience is working all right and has not been privatized.
    The overriding ideology of the Bush Administration is “Greed is good. Government is evil”. Contract out services, make money, deteriorate services. When government becomes pure graft, it ceases to work. Iraq, New Orleans, and Walter Reed are all the direct result of the federal government having been flushed down the toilet by the Bush Administration.
    The Bush Administration and the corporate media will spew all sorts of propaganda and ship humiliated staffers back to AEI but will never ever admit that the root cause of their never ending failures is graft and ideology.

  50. charlottemom says:

    Interesting that WR and veteran health care scandal is being described (and dare I say contained) by Bush admin and media as a “military leadership” issue. No doubt that’s part of it, but does that mean sec. VA and others stay and military leadership goes. Waiting to see where this story now goes.

  51. W. Patrick Lang says:

    These medical officers are of no significance in anything other than medical affairs. They are of no significance in regard to any geopolitical or strategic decision
    Vietnam vet
    I don’t see how you can so unequivocally say that the WR mess is all about privatization. Clearly, any number of officers at WR and in the office of the Surgeon General were derelict in their duty in not dealing with their duties properly, ignoring the plight of wounded and convalescent soldiers and in failing to DEMAND proper resourcing of their commands. pl

  52. Cornfed says:

    Command is a sacred trust, that’s the nugget of it. Regardless of any other considerations or challenges he may have faced Walter Reed’s commander had a duty to serve those placed in his care. No excuses. You don’t get to blow that off because it’s hard work. You don’t get to blow it off because actions in the furtherance of that duty might upset someone above you in the chain of command or damage your career. You don’t get to blow it off because some decision made by some yo-ho in the executive branch or congress has made the job more challenging. Those people who have been entrusted to you come first. Period.
    The failure at Walter Reed was a failure to grasp and act on this fundamental-as-breathing concept.
    That we are not hearing similar stories out of Bethesda is telling.
    I’d also like to add that personally, I’ve had just about enough of “accepting responsibility.” Those are weasel words, nothing more and they screech in my ears like nails on a blackboard. If things have reached the point where you are forced to accept responsibility you no longer should be allowed the privilege of holding it. At that point the only thing you ought to be allowed to accept is the consequences.
    But having said all that, I do think that a concern about privatization is not wholly fueled by the dreaded Bush Derangement Syndrome. I’m trying wicked hard, Col. Lang, to be objective in this. To me the issue is one of exacerbation. Privatization appears to have been, from the information generally available, a multiplier. It may have made the results of failed leadership worse even as failed leadership may have worsened the results of privatization. Each fed on the other to the detriment of vulnerable people. Proper leadership would have prevented or swiftly corrected the situation. That’s what should have happened, ideally that’s what should happen in the future. But in the event that it may not, I can’t help but to want to look closely and carefully at all the factors which may have led to the mess at Walter Reed.
    I hope that’s reasonable. I hope that’s fair.

  53. VietnamVet says:

    No doubt the Generals are responsible for Walter Reed or for that matter Iraq. George W Bush is ultimately responsible, no matter how the White House spins their propaganda. The experience of the 70’s Army must have been so horrible that the General Officers vowed never to draft soldiers again. The Volunteer Army made privatization necessary. Cooks, supply specialists and mechanics are needed as grunts. Privatization spread through out the Department of Defense even into outpatient care. The revolving door, streamlining the procurement process and no oversight made graft and mission failure inevitable.

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