By: Greg Mitchell
A column by regular E&P contributor Joseph L. Galloway looking at The Washington Post’s revelations on conditions for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans at Walter Reed Army Hospital has drawn one of the strongest email responses in months.
Galloway is the legendary war reporter, recipient of a Bronze Star, recently retired from Knight Ridder but still writing military affairs columns for McClatchy and Tribune Media Services. He co-authored the book “We Were Soldiers Once…and Young.”
We have printed several responses in our daily Letters section the past few days. Here are a few more that have just come in. For the Galloway column:
As a Colonel with 3 trips in the sand box during our most recent venture, and a well deserved sense of skepticism of anything written by any member of the media … I, nevertheless, will always stop to read what you have to say. I can’t say I’ve never disagreed with you, but I have always respected what you have had to say. Your article on the “Walter Reed Scandal” was perfect.
When I was in command, I made “We Were Soldiers…” required reading for everyone under me. I bought autographed copies for my subordinate commanders and told them that it was their bible and I was not to catch them without it nearby. In fact, at Commander’s Calls I would read to them from Chapter 25. When I was in command our first ROE was “Take care of your people not yourself.” When I left command, my people made that the centerpiece theme for my going away, and to this day I have hanging on the wall in my office, from several commands, mementos that remind me I lived by what I taught.
It angers me beyond words to discover our brave men and women have been subjected to such neglect. When will we ever learn?
The situation at Walter Reed is disgraceful, disgusting and a prime example of how inept and uncaring many of our elected officials are.
Politicians who are responsible for care of wounded wets should be canned and punished. Military ineptness of this magnitude would result in courtmartials. Where is accountabliity and responsibility among these disgraceful people?
Here’s hoping these will be intense public outrage and demands for “impeachment” of those responsible, including the president. He has visited Walter Reed several times and done nothing.
I am a 30 year career veteran and am sickened by the disgusting treatment of our nearly 30,000 wounded veterans.
Please keep this situation on your front page in hope that sensible and effective action will be taken by those in authority.
J. K. Rea
I would like to suggest that there isn’t any way that the administration of the hospital is liable. Every one of us who has paid any attention to the Army while serving in it knows that there never is enough money available in the places where it is needed most.
I can think of innumerable examples where funds have been requested for legitimate, necessary activities or materiel, but where it has been denied. Let’s peel back the layers of the proverbial onion and learn whether WRAMC officials requested the funds that were necessary for proper operations of the hospital. I’ll bet the likely answer is that the facilities in question are maintained by contractors who won the contract at the lowest bid and who are squeezing every bit of profit from the agreement.
Unfortunately for hospital administrators, there won’t be any privates or specialists to indict as there were at Abu Ghraib. After the hurried investigation, colonels and senior civilians will be sacked, but the folks truly responsible for the shoddy conditions–contractors, those who approved the contracts, and the senior defense officials who advocated the contracts–will rest comfortably in their elitist digs.
Galloway did an excellent job of getting all the left-wing, moonbat talking points into one column. Keith Olbermann must be green with envy.
Cpl. Kevin Groenhagen, USMC
Thank you for informing me about “our troops” and the hospital conditions. Much appreciated.
Thank you for the very pertinent article on the condition of Walter Reed and the treatment of our patriotic service men and woman. If Walter Reed is the Crown Jewel of the military hospitals I can only imagine what the non crown jewel facilities and medical staff are like.
I have a suggested solution: line up the executive branch from the prez on down and the members of congress and the senate along with the Miltary Officers with oversight responsibility, have them all drop their pants and have expert rifle(wo)men shoot off one testicle of each one in line. Have them treated in these facilities.
Man, things would come up to snuff real fast.
Just read your article online, It disgusts me and makes me very very angry about the conditions they have been in….I am former USAF, this really bothers me a great deal…more needs to be done to take care of these people who gave so much..what can we do? Who do we contact? Thanks.
Very well done……you said it perfectly…..one additional point…..where in hell was the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars when all this was going on? I am a veteran and I am always seeing pictures of their officers and high minions schmoozing over at the white house….maybe they should be in dock with the administration……they collect millions of dollars from veterans and all this to happen, just down the street from their plush offices on capitol hill…
I am sure Galloway knows this, but these poor kids have no advocate out there….they are alone in this physical evaluation board (PEB) process that sets their degree of disability, and therefore their pension. The service medical administrative types (medical service corps) likes to drag these administrative proceedings out as long as it can, the law allows them to stretch them out to 5 years, I believe. By so doing, the poor GI is in a outpatient status at a hospital, sometimes thousands of miles from his family. The name of the game is to wear them down (the GIs) to sign for a low amount (which is generally the first government offer) because they are tired and want to go home. This is rank injustice.
If I were Sec Gates, I would muster all of the retired General Officers (and maybe Colonels) who live in the Washington Military District or environs and assign each each of them one or more of these out patient
GI’s to shepherd through this process, and tolerate absolutely no rubbish from a GS3 clerk or rent-a-temp clerk working on those medical records, and doing the scheduling…..I would also get a bunch of vehicles and drivers over there to pick these folks up and take them to their appointments, and bring them back afterwards……We should be ashamed as americans of this debacle…
Joe, great article! Thanks for writing it.
I want to thank you for telling like it is in the real world that Bush and Cheney have yet to see or want to admit to. I am an ex-Marine and my youngest son just completed
OCS in August and will become a 2nd Lietenant this fall. I am not at all crazy about his enlistment just for the reasons your article talks about.
I have often thought myself, how can Bush look at himself in the mirror each morning and not have the courage to STOP this insanity in IRAQ. He just totally ignored the Baker Hamilton study, that told him to start a slow pullout and have the Iraqis start being responsible for their country. I don’t know how many billions he has spent, but between the war and Katrina he has been on a sailors binge.
I know George, Laura, Dick and Lynn have not a worry in the world when it comes to their safety daily, but they could care less about the young men and women serving our nation in the Middle East….I only wish that Bush would listen to somebody, but he will not admit fault. He will go down in my life time as the worst politician of our generation.
Thank you for writing such an enlightening article about our veterans and the sorry state they return to in some cases.
El Campo, TX