George W. Bush -- Making Healthy Men Lame and Blind , lest we forget the thousands of American servicement who, through the miracles of modern medicine, survived the sorts of debilitating wounds that would have killed them in previous wars. … ge=printer tells of the strained VA resouces in dealing with the influx of thousands of wounded soldiers from the war. … Apr26.html tells of the statistically greater incidence of head, neck, eye injuries in this war from the use of roadside bombs:

'For months the gravest wounds have been caused by roadside bombs – improvised explosives that negate the protection of Kevlar helmets by blowing shrapnel and dirt upward into the face. In addition, firefights with guerrillas have surged recently, causing a sharp rise in gunshot wounds to the only vital area not protected by body armor.

'“See all that dark stuff? That’s dead brain,” he said. “That ain’t gonna regenerate. And that’s not uncommon. That’s really not uncommon. We do craniotomies on average, lately, of one a day.”

'“We can save you,” the surgeon said. “You might not be what you were.”

‘Accurate statistics are not yet available on recovery from this new round of battlefield brain injuries, an obstacle that frustrates combat surgeons. But judging by medical literature and surgeons’ experience with their own patients, “three or four months from now 50 to 60 percent will be functional and doing things,” said Maj. Richard Gullick.

'“Functional,” he said, means “up and around, but with pretty significant disabilities,” including paralysis.

'The remaining 40 percent to 50 percent of patients include those whom the surgeons send to Europe, and on to the United States, with no prospect of regaining consciousness. The practice, subject to review after gathering feedback from families, assumes that loved ones will find value in holding the soldier’s hand before confronting the decision to remove life support. ’

And now we find out that the situation is even worse – the general running Walter Reed has been fired for incompetence finally.

[quote]The two-star general in charge of Walter Reed Army Medical Center was relieved of command on Thursday, following disclosures that wounded soldiers being treated as outpatients there were living in dilapidated quarters and enduring long waits for treatment.

The officer, Maj. Gen. George W. Weightman, a physician and a graduate of West Point, was fired because Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey “had lost trust and confidence” in his ability to make improvements in outpatient care at Walter Reed, the Army said in a brief statement.

The revelations about conditions at the hospital, one of the Army’s best-known and busiest centers for treating soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, have embarrassed the Army and prompted two investigations, several Congressional inquiries and a rush to clean up the accommodations for outpatients, where residents lived with mold on the walls, stained carpets and other problems.[/quote]

Meanwhile, the Bush top-1-percent multi-millionaire club get tax breaks out the wazoo…

But the firing was long overdue and probably not deep enough to get all the culprits – top officials knew of the problems and didn’t do squat.

[quote]Top officials at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, including the Army’s surgeon general, have heard complaints about outpatient neglect from family members, veterans groups and members of Congress for more than three years.

A procession of Pentagon and Walter Reed officials expressed surprise last week about the living conditions and bureaucratic nightmares faced by wounded soldiers staying at the D.C. medical facility. But as far back as 2003, the commander of Walter Reed, Lt. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley, who is now the Army’s top medical officer, was told that soldiers who were wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan were languishing and lost on the grounds, according to interviews.

A recent Washington Post series detailed conditions at Walter Reed, including those at Building 18, a dingy former hotel on Georgia Avenue where the wounded were housed among mice, mold, rot and cockroaches.

But according to interviews, Kiley, his successive commanders at Walter Reed and various top noncommissioned officers in charge of soldiers’ lives have heard a stream of complaints about outpatient treatment over the past several years. The complaints have surfaced at town hall meetings for staff and soldiers, at commanders’ “sensing sessions” in which soldiers or officers are encouraged to speak freely, and in several inspector general’s reports detailing building conditions, safety issues and other matters.[/quote]

Here’s a very telling bit – a Republican congressman who saw the problems and, rather than force the issue with the Bush adminstration, simply stopped going to Walter Reed. Out of sight, out of mind…

More on the continuing scandal – a Washington Post editorial:

Looks like it’s the Republicans in the Bush administration who are spitting on our troops when they come back from Iraq. Perhaps the 101st Fighting Keyboardists plan to go back to “contribute” to the war effort by visiting VA Hospitals and taunting our war wounded.

I’m not sure who to lay the blame on exactly, except Bush since he’s the commander-in-chief and the top executive of the gov’t - the buck stops here and all that. My younger brother, an Army Physician in the D.C. area observed that Gen. Weightman was a really decent guy, and was a sacrificial lamb. The problems were there before he took command last August, and the funding isn’t there to make the needed improvements. I guess Congress is also culpable. The Washington Post continues to call people to account. Apparently, the regional VA’s are even LESS prepared to deal with the returning vets than Walter Reed. Add this to another Iraq failure - poor planning for the consequences of war.


[quote=“Bodo”]I’m not sure who to lay the blame on exactly, except Bush since he’s the commander-in-chief and the top executive of the gov’t - the buck stops here and all that. My younger brother, an Army Physician in the D.C. area observed that Gen. Weightman was a really decent guy, and was a sacrificial lamb. The problems were there before he took command last August, and the funding isn’t there to make the needed improvements. I guess Congress is also culpable. The Washington Post continues to call people to account. Apparently, the regional VA’s are even LESS prepared to deal with the returning vets than Walter Reed. Add this to another Iraq failure - poor planning for the consequences of war.


Thanks for the further information – great to have a brother on the inside. I blame the Republicans entirely for the situation – they have consistently taken actions since the war began that everybody knew was going to screw up the VA system and, thus, impair the treatment of wounded soldiers. They had control of both houses of Congress and the White House while the situation was created and festered, and the buck does stop with Bush.

For a long time, the Republicans have claimed to do a better job of representing the needs of American troops, but those claims ring hollow for so many reasons. Now we have yet another blown out for the world to see. Every single time Bushbots deny that U.S. troops and their families are facing serious problems, they spit on our troops.

The whole idea of a volunteer military rests on the idea that we take care of our troops, a part of the equation that the tax-holiday Republicans don’t seem to understand. They envision an elitist America in which they throw change out the windows of their limousines to crippled vets… but only if they want to feel “good” about themselves.

“HO! What’s that?
Some legless scalliwag has
come to my door! Set the
dogs on him, Jeeves!”

You already posted that picture and exact statement. Cannot you come up with new and improved slurs against the Republican party. I find them highly gratifying and mostly flattering. Coins from the limousine? Am I eating grey poupon at the time? hooo hooo hahahah

I started watching “The Ground Truth” the other day. One guy was saying that there are warnings on cigarette boxes, but there are no warning on US military commericals, as in “May go to war and get blowed up.”

WTF do people THINK may happen when they join the MILITARY???

And look bubs, since WHEN has the government taken good care of disabled vets? Have you ever BEEN to a VA hospital? They’re the shitstain on the underwear of medical care.

I mean come ON, it’s the government! Running a hospital!

But yea, we should still blame Bush. I think future presidents will TRY to fuck up as much as Bush just soes the people and press will take notice of him.

[quote=“jdsmith”]I started watching “The Ground Truth” the other day. One guy was saying that there are warnings on cigarette boxes, but there are no warning on US military commericals, as in “May go to war and get blowed up.”

WTF do people THINK may happen when they join the MILITARY???[/quote]

jd – I agree entirely. Joining the military opens up the possibility of risk of a whole bunch of things. Part of our social contract includes a variety of implicit promises that matches with how our American society thinks. I don’t think those notions really change even when we switch from a draft-based system of “citizen soldiers” to a volunteer military.

As a society we at least aim or intend that our troops’ lives are not wasted – although individual American soldiers have sacrificed themselves deliberately there has often been a tangible gain with those sacrifices. We don’t lead “banzai” charges, fly kamikaze attacks or commit mass suicide.

So why would the Republicans spend so much goddam effort to cut and/or freeze budgets at peacetime levels at a time when the Iraq war is mass-producing seriously wounded people? The initial medical care that the troops get is good enough to bring back the kinds of people who would have died in previous wars – people with very severe “Johnny Got His Gun” wounds from the upwards blast of IEDs. However, it’s disgusting that a party would consciously decide to screw the wounded like this.

City, county and state hospitals are often able to do it. However, I think we cannot evade the responsibility we have to these people and putting Halliburton in charge of our hospitals doesn’t seem to make sense either.

I do blame him for getting American troops into this war and his party for working way too hard to ensure the VA system was underfunded. The American people will have it on their conscience if they allow this to continue – it’s our responsibility as citizens to do something now that we know about it. Taking care of wounded soldiers should not be a partisan issue but the GOP has staked out some mighty evil territory this time.

Hey Fred - I thought you were telling us how well funded the VA is? If so, why are they RIF’ing people?

This sorry episode has that “final nail in the coffin” feel to it. I mean, I meean, in case anyone had a shred of doubt left about “the evil bastards” this really has clarified things completely hasn’t it? Seriously though.

OK MFGR, I’m going through your links now that I have some time.

The first link, all war wounded, lost limbs and such. Many of the pictures show the men looking pretty healthy, despite their wounds. So I guess this isn’t your underfunded hospital link.

The pictures are gruesome, but war photos always are. This being the most recent most well documented war, we are privy to many of the moments that in other wars were private.

What is better, to isolate the men and allow them to recover without the added stress/guilt/shame that they might feel being seeing by outsiders; or to let the press in and allow these men to be seen as they are, wounded, but still high spirited?

I think part of your concern here is was this war worth the cost, the human cost? I’ve been saying this all along, there is no such thing as a humane war. Trying to fight one is suicide. We had overwhelming force and we didn’t use it. That was stupid.

The second link:
The VA has ALWAYS been slow to my knowledge. It took me months and months to get my disability pay started as well as my severence package. This was in 1988, no war time there. The system is now getting 60,000 new claims per month and the wait is 160days. That’s a long time, but not abnormally long from my experience. What IS different is that the guys needed it are not like me, just wanting to get my check and buy beer. They are blown up guys who can’t work, who need a LOT of therapy. They need to be in the system faster. No doubt.

Still, IF this is true, I refuse to explain it away. It’s fucked up:

However, this is 2-3 years old; and it doesn’t say how much staff was cut. The mani thing is that it is quite old and a newer report really is necessary before we can slam Bush.

Third link:
This link is even older.

This one is fresh:[quote]
President Bush has ordered a top-to-bottom investigation into the medical care available to returning veterans, the White House said today, a day after the firing of the two-star general in charge of Walter Reed Army Medical Center over shabby conditions there.[/quote]
Like I said, from my experience in naval Hospitals and the VA, they have always been a mess. But being inundated with seriously injured men and women from war wounds after a long time not doing this clearly shows that the VA is lacking in experience to deal with the problems in the best possible manner.

Good on Bush for firing this guy and ordering an investigation.

In 2004, Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.) and his wife stopped visiting the wounded at Walter Reed out of frustration. Young said he voiced concerns to commanders over troubling incidents he witnessed but was rebuffed or ignored. “When Bev or I would bring problems to the attention of authorities of Walter Reed, we were made to feel very uncomfortable,” said Young, who began visiting the wounded recuperating at other facilities.[/quote]
Thanks idiot. You felt bad so you stopped making waves. :fume:

VA hospitals are not like other hospitals. Lots of the guys have been in the system for years and are used to lousy care. I’m glad that people are complaining about it, because it looks like the VA will be busy for the forseeable future. :s

Still appropriate.

If the shoe fits…

If you like, I can arrange for you to visit a VA Hospital next time you’re back stateside. Bodo can as well. I just have to ask that you please not laugh at the wounded vets to their faces. Some of them, multiple amputees or not, could probably find the will to kick some Bushbot ass.

[quote] Army officials said they accept responsibility but denied knowing about most of the problems.

“As we’ve seen, in the last couple of weeks, we have failed to meet our own standards at Walter Reed. For that, I’m both personally and professionally sorry,” said Lt. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley, who was in charge of Walter Reed from 2002 until 2004, when he became Army surgeon general.

Kiley has said he had been aware of some issues, including an October service assessment citing problems with Walter Reed staffing, medical evaluations and patient handling. But Kiley told senators he was not aware of specific problems, including a backlog of maintenance orders and a lack of staff to conduct room inspections.

Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman, an independent, said Congress might need to revisit an earlier decision to close Walter Reed in light of the increasing number of wounded troops from Iraq. Sen. John Warner, R-Va., said lawmakers should examine its own oversight process.

Democrats have pledged to add money to the administration’s request for war spending to take care of wounded active-duty troops and improve health care for retired veterans. [/quote]

Is itplausable that he didn’t know about specific problems? Yes. That would be his underlings’ job to know. Did they report back to him? hmm

And the Democrats at the ready with cash to throw!!


Like I said, VA hospitals are not like any other hospital. The staff is military; the patients are military, retired military or wounded veterans.

You just don’t understand VA Hospital culture. :wink:[quote]

Lt. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley, Army surgeon general and head of Walter Reed until 2004, apologized for what he called housing conditions that did “not meet our standards.” He said renovations were under way.

He also said a team had been sent to 11 other installations to make sure there are not similar problems.

Staff Sgt. John Daniel Shannon, who lost his left eye and suffered brain injuries from a rifle wound, said that after he was discharged from Walter Reed, he was given a map of the grounds and eventually found his way to outpatient quarters by wandering around and asking for directions.

Then, he says, he “sat in my room for a couple of weeks, wondering when someone would contact” him about continuing treatment.

Spc. Jeremy Duncan, who lost sight in one eye, suffered a fractured neck and almost lost his left arm when a homemade bomb exploded, said he was housed in a building with holes in the wall and mold. [/quote]
If they are going out to see if they can find problems at other VA hospitals, they’d best bring a lot of legal pads.

As for the two examples: A Staff Sgt. WAITING for someone to contact him? That’s stupid. And this is the thing with VA hospitals. The patients have this tendency to up and leave without informing anyone.

The guy who said there were holes in the walls. Was he in the Staff Sgts’ old room? And there was Mold? MOLD! Heavens!!! MOLD!!!

CLEAN IT SOLDIER! You got one good arm!

Seriously, I would rather see these guys get their primary care for serious wounds at the VA and then have their local medical facilities pick up their cases. Send them home. VA hospitals and VA hopistal housing? Avoid them as much as possible.

I think everybody can agree now that the GOP push to cut or freeze-at-peacetime-levels the spending for VA hospitals was a bad idea. However, there were many of us who have argued this point for a few years now. The fact that the overflow of wounded vets has gotten out of hand is not a mystery to anybody who cares even a bit about responsible government. And I lay the responsibility for this firmly at the Republicans’ door. They got us into the war and they worked overtime to play games with the VA hospitals’ funding.

VA hospitals have had problems for a long time, but the answer is not to work actively to ensure that they get even worse. There were a lot of creative options out there if any of these bastards in the Bush administration cared a bit.

Again, the vets should never be a political issue, but the GOP has established a firm position on this one. Those who oppose screwing the troops need to stand up and be counted now.

Fred would prefer to laugh at the soldiers’ plight. “hooo hooo hahahah” is the expression he used. Personally I don’t agree.

[quote]The military medical system must be redirected to meet the needs of the large numbers of seriously wounded soldiers now returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, rather than mainly serving the aging veterans of earlier conflicts, the leaders of a new presidential panel said today.

“I’m concerned there may be flaws in the system,” President Bush said as he formally appointed Bob Dole and Donna Shalala today to head the bipartisan nine-member commission. “I’m concerned that soldiers and their families are not getting the treatment they deserve,” Mr. Bush added. “Any report of medical neglect will be taken seriously by this administration. I’m confident that Congress and we will address problems quickly.”

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee said the budget for veterans’ health care has not grown enough to cope with the number of service members being wounded in combat, or to handle their disability claims. Senator Daniel Akaka, Democrat of Hawaii, said the budget pinch meant that veterans’ affairs offices were short-staffed, leading to delays in processing new claims.

As a result, he said, federal agencies were “two months short of the goal” of processing claims within 120 days.

Senator Jon Tester, Democrat of Montana, said that there were too few doctors, nurses and other health workers in the system to handle the influx of war wounded, “and we are burning them out.” He, too, called for more funds for treating and assisting veterans.

Mr. Dole, a former Republican senator and presidential candidate, was himself grievously wounded in World War II. Ms. Shalala is a former secretary of Health and Humans Services. The commission is being set up to investigate how wounded soldiers are treated and helped with the transition back to civil society.

“If we come up with good suggestions, we could change the system over the next 30 years,” Mr. Dole said.

He said that while American military and veterans’ hospitals now generally provide high quality inpatient treatment, they do not do as well with outpatient and transitional care. “It’s when we move them out that’s the problem,” he said.

The commission was formed in the wake of revelations about unsanitary living conditions, treatment lapses and bureaucratic failings at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, one of the nation’s premier military hospitals. Soldiers who were treated there have told of being discharged only a few days after suffering serious wounds, and of having to fight their way through a confusing and unresponsive bureaucracy to get the outpatient treatment they needed.

Meanwhile, members of the Senate Veterans Affairs committee complained at a hearing today that veterans have to wait too long before their disability claims are judged and paid.

Senator Akaka, said there was a “public perception that the Veterans Administration is failing to meet the needs of veterans.”

The ranking Republican on the committee. Senator Larry E. Craig of Idaho, added, “It may be time to make fundamental changes to the system.”

Senator John D. Rockefeller, Democrat of West Virginia, read a letter from a veteran who was told he would have to wait six to eight months before he could get any payments for his disability. The veteran wrote that he might be forced to sleep in his truck, until it is repossessed for failure to make payments on it.

Speaking after her appointment as co-chairwoman of the presidential panel, Ms. Shalala said part of the commission’s task would be to recognize that health care has changed, and that a transition back to normal life after acute care needs more attention.

Mr. Dole noted that during World War II, “they treated you and sent you home.”

But health care officials now know that “mental symptoms may not manifest until months” after a soldier returns home, Senator Craig said at the hearing.

The combat in Iraq and Afghanistan has led to a sharp increase in the number of new disability claims being filed by veterans — up 38 percent since 2000, according to Daniel L. Cooper, the undersecretary of Veterans Affairs.
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Anyone have a problem with Bob Dole leading this panel?

Bob Dole was a great guy, and I hope at his advanced age he’s the right guy for what looks to be an exhausting task, but I think he could do a great job of shaming the current crop of Republicans into taking care of our war wounded. (Apparently the “hooo hooo hahahah” viewpoint is the status quo among the Bushbots, but Dole can wipe the smirks off their faces.) When he retired from the Senate in 1996 to run against Clinton, I stopped by his office as our families had some history (good history) together in the Great Depression era – he sent a nice note from the campaign trail that, as a relief from the usual politician letters, wasn’t one of those autopen things.

Donna Shalala’s also pretty darn great, and I think it’s a good pairing for her to be working with Dole on this.

You think? Great. Now, why not find my statement to back up the above assertion.

Wonder what I would find if I looked to children and cancer? old people and nursing homes? AIDS and inner city slumsters? small towns and recuperative physical therapy? Yes, folks, all of these things and more are out there to prove that our medical system is underfunded and that government officials do not care. What shall we do about it? But to have MFGR striding the planks as a man who cares about vets. That is too much. Simply too much. Perhaps, we should visit just such a hospital together and let the vets decide who they would prefer to have “show concern” for their welfare. They may not know who “Chouteau” is but they would know instinctively what to do with the type: Crush it underfoot or drive it off back into its native environment: the gutter. You missed your calling MFGR. You should have been a union organizer in the 1950s along with Jimmy Hoffa. As it is, you are a lawyer… haha somehow not far off the mark, eh?