Who will rid us of these men?

Kiley Nicholson

Why are these two men still employed by the US Government?  Nicholson, the VA  Secretary is dismissive of veterans problems in spite of being a veteran himself.  Is that what he thinks he learned as a cadet at West Point?  I think not.

LTG Kevin Kiley is clearly a self-obsessed careerist who stopped being a real doctor a long time ago.  Why is he still Surgeon General of the Army as well as commanding general of the Army Medical Command.  Kiley’s insensitivity to soldiers and their families is now well established.  "I don’t do barracks inspections" he snarled at a House committee.  "I am trying not to say that I am not accountable" he said to the same committee.  At the very least he should be placed on the retired list in his permanent grade.  This would retire him as a two star.  Another retired soldier told me today that "a case can be made for an Article 134 Charge against Kiley for Neglect of Duty."  I agree.  pl


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28 Responses to Who will rid us of these men?

  1. Gozer says:

    I’m just glad my grandfather isn’t around to see things like this. He (along with my maternal grandfather) were old-old school military, of the sort that enlisted before 1941 and fought WWII and in Korea.
    I’d like to see either of them in their prime let loose on these shameless poseurs.

  2. Joe Northrop says:

    Seems they’ve met President Bush’s criteria to be awarded the Medal of Freedom.

  3. Joe Northrop says:

    Fred Kaplan’s piece in Slate today “Its Not Just Walter Reed” puts a fine point on the Administration’s hypocracy. Yearly budget cuts for VA and individual veterans, but shock and outrage when the Post rubs the Presidential nose in the truth.

  4. PSD says:

    Gates got rid of Harvey….now who’s going to “retire” Kiley? Talk about putting the fox in the henhouse–Kiley was overseeing this mess long before Weightman…..
    Will be interesting to see what Dole and Shalala do with their new commission. Too bad it sounds like talk talk talk and no action ONCE AGAIN!

  5. Cornfed says:

    Did anyone else note the way LTG Kiley phrased his “apology” at Monday’s hearing? He was sorry for not “meeting their expectations.” Their expectations – as if somehow it was their expectations which lay at the root of the problem rather than his failure to meet the obligations which had been entrusted to him.
    He didn’t even have it in him to make an unqualified apology at a time and a place where it would have cost him nothing.
    To me that says all there needs to be said about him.

  6. Mikey says:

    Hey, let’s cut Nicholson some slack, OK? He can’t chase after all those missing laptops & hard drives with millions of identities AND worry about facilities for the wounded. But seriously, a friend who works at a VA hospital said a previous administrator ensured his annual bonuses by consciously cancelling surgeries to keep costs down. Clearly, the same VA that loved to screw with us old Vietnam pukes has not “transformed.”

  7. Chris Marlowe says:

    Let’s not forget that Cheney’s office has not stopped doing more mischief in the ME and the world.
    The scope of damage they are causing America and the world is much larger than WR.

  8. semper fubar says:

    Will be interesting to see what Dole and Shalala do with their new commission.
    Well, if it’s like every other “commission” we’ve had in the last few decades, it means they’ve figured out a bi-partisan blue-ribbon way of sweeping the whole thing under the rug, making sure that no one of any importance or rank is to blame for anything.
    Dole and Shalala? Please.
    I’d laugh if the whole thing weren’t so pathetic and disgusting.
    Why can’t Congress just DO THEIR JOB? I thought that’s what we were paying them for. (Silly me)
    But really, why should members of the military get any better care than any other low-income American? Isn’t that the free-market way?

  9. Sandy says:

    Thank you for asking the question about Nicholson as well. Bush should have to answer to the chronyism that allows this truly incompetent appointee to stay in place….answering the questions on 60 Minutes and elsewhere on tv with the casual attitude and LIES as he has been doing. ENOUGH!!!
    I hope this mis-treatment of these American heroes, our soldiers, is finally…. finally ….the OUTRAGE that breaks the camel’s back. What MORE could possibly be needed for impeachment proceedings for Bush and Cheney? If the Dems have stuck a deal not to allow impeachment to go forth….NO MATTER WHAT THE REASON… we the public will know it….WILL find out about it.
    They too will be OUT in 2008!

  10. John O'Dwyer says:

    Your remark about retiring LTG Kiley reminds me of the splendid arrangement the British Navy had in the 18th century. Incompetent sea captains were promoted to the rank of “Vice Admiral of the Yellow”. The catch was that the officer in question was forbidden to set foot on the deck of a ship ever again. In effect, they were retired, with the face-saving consolation of receiving a vice-admiral’s pension rather than that of a captain. Time to revive the system, I think.

  11. Peter Principle says:

    In Roman times they would have sewn each of these guys into a sack along with a snake, a rooster and a dog, and then thrown them into the Tiber.
    Works for me.

  12. Chris Bray says:

    “In Roman times they would have sewn each of these guys into a sack along with a snake, a rooster and a dog, and then thrown them into the Tiber.”
    Kind of mean to the dog, though, yeah?
    Fond memories of reading “Once an Eagle” while an enlisted soldier at Fort Benning, and having officers stop me to talk about how much they loved that book. There was a whole cult of soldier caring and aggresive integrity. But that was a long time ago.

  13. Will says:

    I share the sentiment but the Roman punishment you recommend was prescribed for particide. Ouch for the innocent animals, though.
    “the punishment for patricide in Ancient Rome was for the criminal to be beaten over the whole of their body so that blood poured from their wounds, then forced to crawl into a sack into which was sewn a snake, a dog, a monkey and a rooster. The sack was then thrown into the river Tiber so it flowed out to sea! ”
    What we have here is killing our own “young.”
    There should be a stiffer punishment for sending young men to war and then not taking care of their wounds and their families.
    The veteran community saw this coming a long time ago when the Pentagon’s Dr. Chu testified to Congress that the veteran care mandate hurt combat readiness. Then the VA budget would get gutted in committee. And Walter E. Jones, Jr. and Ron Paul and others would raise hell.
    Principi, the last D of VA administrator had plans for a seamless transition, where the active duty medical records would be electronically transferred to the VA. When he left, they were abandoned.
    VA needs to be fully funded like Medicare. Whatever the department needs to take care of the veterans, that’s what its budget is, now some arbitrary executive number.
    If you want the piper to play, you have to pay for the tune.

  14. zenpundit says:

    Medical care for veterans easily contains enough horror stories that should a sustained media circus occur, Kiley will not be retired, he will be court-martialed.
    The story has not pierced the attention barrier of mass public. The political junkies yes, but not the majority of Americans.

  15. Thanks for posting on this Pat. I’ve been doing the same since the story broke about WR. I’m a vet married to active duty and these shameful men and their behavior sickens me to my core. Someone tell me how is the republicans support the troops?

  16. smoke says:

    Article 134? Is that why Kiley is still there? Once he is resigns, he is not susceptible to military law, is he?
    I had been thinking that maybe the Army had run out of replacement generals and Bush had run out of replacement cronies (for Nicholson).

  17. pbrownlee says:

    Any of this sound familiar?
    “In the Royal Navy of the early 19th Century, promotion beyond the rank of captain was purely by seniority. If you lived long enough, you made rear admiral regardless of merit or performance. Now suppose the time came when a certain Captain Smith was next in line for promotion, but Captain Brown, next junior to him on the list, was better qualified or had better political connections or whatever. The Admiralty really wants to promote Brown, but it cannot jump him ahead of Smith. It promotes them both, but assigns Brown to a command as a rear admiral of the blue and leaves Smith sitting on the beach without an assignment–nowhere to hoist his admiral’s flag. Technically, Smith has become a ‘rear admiral without distinction of squadron’.
    “But everyone knew that admirals were all of a particular color–blue, white, or red. So people began referring to officers like Smith as ‘admirals of the yellow’ as a kind of grim joke, or at least it was grim to Smith and other ‘yellow admirals’.
    “The prospect of being ‘yellowed’ looms large in the fortunes of Captain Jack Aubrey in the later volumes of Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin novels. Since the last book is entitled ‘Blue at the Mizzen’ it is not giving away the ending to say that Aubrey avoids this fate worse than death.
    “Joe McMillan, 12 September 2002
    “Yellow Admiral was a term used in Britain to denote a post-captain promoted to rear admiral on retirement but without serving in that rank. They were promoted to flag rank and placed on the retired list on the following day, so that they did nor automatically swell the rear-admirals’ list. The term was in use between 1815 and 1864.
    Source: The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea (1976)”
    As someone else has pointed out, they fly no yellow ensign (absence of ensign combined with absence of mizzen) — but keen observers will note that they often seem to choose a yellow tie.
    Nelson at Trafalgar was Vice-Admiral of the White, I think.

  18. W. Patrick Lang says:

    If Kiley were to resign his commission and his resignation were accepted, then he would lose his retired pay and would be peyond the reach of UCMJ.
    If he is merely “relieved of command” then he is fully vulnerable. pl

  19. Jerry Thompson says:

    Chu too.

  20. plp says:

    Slightly off topic. Has anyone noticed the nearly doubling of the number of injured since the “surge”? See: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/iraq_casualties.htm
    Also, note the ration of injury-to-death. It is mush higher than in the previous conflicts. There was an article in Spiegel, which I can find anymore, that suggested that the increase in the ratio was due to better armor. But, although this armor can protect body parts, it is useless against brain injury. The article followed an American solder married to a German woman who as a result of a combat sustained injury lost some years of his memory and required prolonged rehabilitation. Thus, military hospitals could be simply strained by the high numbers injured and the severity of their injuries.
    After adjusting for the high injury-to-death ratio, our losses in Iraq seem to be substantial to say the least. Let’s average the monthly number of injured to 600, + 60 killed = 660, that is 7920 per year. How many of the injured could return? Can the military trust a solder, who lost some of his memory, with a gun? Let say half of the injured could come back, that is still a meat grinder that “works” at the rate of 4320 bodies per year; and twice that rate after the “surge”.

  21. jonst says:

    Who will rid us of these men? I don’t know but I have a hunch it won’t be any of the people who attended this event:

  22. arbogast says:

    Among the ranks of doctors in the United States, particularly and especially those doctors drawn to administrative positions, Kiley does not stand out.
    Yes, there are truly superb doctors in the US. Men and women who care and work hard.
    But for every one of those, there is a Kiley.

  23. ali says:

    Not to be out done by the colonies there’s now a Walter Reed type scandal across the pond. Being British it’s just more squalid and mean spiritedly officious than the American version:
    “He said the blame did not lie with NHS staff, but with a ‘lack of leadership and drive’ by senior military medical officers and government ministers in addressing the need to provide purely military-run care for at least the most serious casualties. Guthrie said that Blair and other senior figures who had visited Selly Oak had been misled about the level of care currently being provided. ‘They were presented with a whitewashed version,’ he said. Top military and political leaders, Guthrie added, ‘seem more interested in finding excuses for why things are not good than in correcting them’.”
    “Soon, there will be no military hospitals left in Britain. That is a result of budget cuts, justified by Cold War detente and the diminished likelihood of mass mobilisation. The Ministry of Defence was right to judge that it could not afford hospitals of its own, but in failing to fund dedicated wards at a time when British forces were being sent into combat, it has shown a terrible lack of foresight.”
    “An extraordinary sheaf of letters sent to the Ministry of Defence and the NHS and passed on by military sources to The Observer chronicles a series of alleged failings in basic care and services given to UK soldiers.

    The operation on their son finished at 8pm and left their son in ‘acute agony’. His ordeal had only just begun.
    ‘The pain team is only on duty 9am to 5pm and it was only at 10.30am the next day that his pain was addressed. Presumably the call-out is too expensive,’ wrote one couple from Oxfordshire.

    Though help was eventually forthcoming, they say, the problems remained. ‘When they [the pills] were administered, Jamie was given the wrong tablets,’ his parents wrote. The family, from Bristol, says that, during their son’s stay in Selly Oak, his colostomy bag was twice allowed to overflow. During the night of 29 November, he was forced to lie in his faeces. His wounds, according to his parents’ testimony, actually worsened following his life-saving operation, the pressure sores on his heel deteriorating so much that he required skin-grafts.
    Twenty days from now, the last of Britain’s military hospitals will close. Little more than a decade ago, Britain had eight such institutions. During the First World War, there were 20, with at least 9,200 beds reserved for soldiers.
    ‘We will be the only country in the civilised world without a dedicated military hospital’, said Hampshire councillor Peter Edgar, who is campaigning against the imminent closure of the Royal Naval Hospital Haslar in Gosport.”

  24. BadTux says:

    Good news: Kiley resigned today.

  25. smoke says:

    N=1, a military nurse, is posting some interesting analysis at tpm cafe concerning what s/he sees as the roots of the problems at Water Reed and elsewhere.
    N=1 summarizes problems briefly as “mission creep”, but goes on to analyze a number of factors. Includes: 1)new emphasis on biz management of hospital beds, so patients are pushed into outpatient faster; 2) new military determination to retain as many soldiers as possible; 3) more grave, long lasting injuries requiring long periods of subacute care; 4) nature of injuries and drugs taken leaves many outpatients particularly unsuited to taking care of themselves and managing their own outpatient care; 5) past military medicine has generally involved acute care, with slower cases getting a little extra hospital-bedtime, and then release from military, into VA, or return to active duty; that is, past military medicine had little need to address subacute care, which was done elsewhere if needed. 6) Possible failure to anticpate number and nature of injuries; or failure at high levels to provide resources in timely manner.
    Also, Genl Weightman is seen as one who, in 6 mos on the job, had recognized and started to address the problems.
    My quick summary doesn’t do justice to N=1’s knowledge, analysis, or anguish. Better to read the whole post.

  26. This morning (13 March) NPR had a bit on a soldier with wounds from a sniper’s bullet (that caused some nerve damage) and PTSD who (it is not clear from the article) appears to be on extended NG duty while they determine his disability status. In the same article they quoted a Dr. Sally Satel of the American Enterprise Institute concerning PTSD (her advice was “get a job”) who down played the notion of combat stress. Ironically, a VA study (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070313/hl_nm/mental_illness_dc) showed that up to 31% of the returning soldiers had a “psychosocial diagnosis” (which is code for PTSD) suggesting that there is a lot more out there than most of us know.
    I was taught that the purpose fo the medical corps was to preserve the fighting force during times of war. That is a laudable goal, but when turned on its head it becomes “preserve the money” or “preserve your ass” if you want to get that star. Hence the prevalency of Kiley types at the upper echelons under this administration. I hope that Gates will correct some of that under the pressure he must be getting now.

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