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From Newsweek:

March 20, 2007 - The poor conditions uncovered at Walter Reed Army Hospital may be only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to sub-standard treatment of veterans. At the Veterans Administration hospital in West Los Angeles, hospital administrators confirmed to NEWSWEEK and NBC News last week that five veterans there died of overdoses of illegal and prescription drugs in less than three months this winter. After learning that family and friends of a dead Iraq War veteran were about to go public, VA administrators ordered major policy changes at the 660-bed facility.
Link


Comments (Page 1)
on Mar 21, 2007
  
on Mar 21, 2007


JUST LIKE I SAID:

National Guard and Walter Reed Shows Inept Bush Admin.

By COL Gene
Posted Friday, March 02, 2007 on Bush Truth
Discussion: Politics




Hardly a day goes by when evidence of just how inept the Bush Administrations has been in almost every area of their responsibility.

Today the Congressional Commission evaluating the National Guard released its report. That report said 88% of National Guard Units are ineffective. The Iraq war has destroyed the effectiveness of the Guard units which are not capable of being deployed in combat and are unable to perform their state missions to deal with natural emergencies. They lack equipment, manpower and the extent of the damage done to 88% of National Guard units has never existed to the extent it does today. They have not been funded and the president’s 2008 Budget does not come close to addressing the needs of the National Guard.

On the same day a memo from the deputy Commander of Walter Reed Hospital dated 6 months ago told of the conditions that came to light this week. One of the major causes is the policy of the Bush Administration to privatize support services in the military. This is something Bush has done in both combat and non-combat zones. The company that was awarded the contract to maintain Walter Reed is IAP whose CEO was a former senior official of Halliburton. IAP reduced the hospital maintenance staff from 300 when it was run by the Army to 60 one year later. It now appears that at least some of the maintenance problems at Walter Reed are because of the Bush insistence that support services be taken out of the military and placed into the hands of private contractor who is more interested in their PROFIT then doing the job. It also turns out that IAP is the same company that was unable to deliver the needed ice after Katrina.

It is time for Congress to look at all areas of this government. The mismanagement and out right malfeasance in office of Bush and those he has appointed to run our government is beyond belief.
on Mar 21, 2007
It is time for Congress to look at all areas of this government. The mismanagement and out right malfeasance in office of Bush and those he has appointed to run our government is beyond belief.


absolutely. if this admin was a company, they'd be audited from top to bottom. heads would roll, the stock holders would have demanded it a long time ago. we have gotten 4 years of no oversight from congress, who is essentially our proxy representatives in the government and directly responsible for that oversight. and the result has been corruption, abuse of power and incompetence. i'm not for "fishing expeditions" but in this white house, it's gettin to be like they are just sittin in that proverbial barrel. we just gotta get the lid off.
on Mar 21, 2007
How is Congress to meet its responsibilities and look at the way this administration has run the country when Bush shields his staff from the congress? The use of Executive Privilege MUST go to the Supreme Court. Just when is the President allowed to keep what he and his subordinated have done from Congress and the American people?
on Mar 21, 2007
How is Congress to meet its responsibilities and look at the way this administration has run the country when Bush shields his staff from the congress?

good segue to the article i wrote after posting this...

Link

on Mar 21, 2007
Sorry to break up this love fest but reality must raise its ugly head.

Walter Reed hospital has been scheduled to close long before the war. The replacement hospital is not finished yet so areas that were closed were opened to help out.

What I love about the story is that as a disabled vet I have watched how vets have been treated the last 25 years and no one seemed to care when the Democrats and liberals are in power. If I remember correctly Walter Reed was slated for closure back in the 90's so this was not new or solely a democrat or republican thing. The best part is this is how governmet run health care will look like. Socialized medicen at its beet
on Mar 21, 2007
What I love about the story is that as a disabled vet I have watched how vets have been treated the last 25 years and no one seemed to care when the Democrats and liberals are in power. If I remember correctly Walter Reed was slated for closure back in the 90's so this was not new or solely a democrat or republican thing. The best part is this is how governmet run health care will look like. Socialized medicen at its beet


actually palladin,, i whole heartedly agree with you. people have spoken about this for a long time. did ya read the article i linked? 4 of the 5 od's were vietnam vets.

it had this to say, referring to your points...

The fact that four of the five drug-overdose deaths occurred among Vietnam-era veterans points up the continuing problems facing veterans of that war, which ended 32 years ago. Thousands still suffer from PTSD and substance-abuse problems. One resident of the VA domiciliary, Mike Vasquez of Los Angeles, says the experience of Vietnam veterans--who make up a sizable part of Los Angeles’ homeless population--should give the public an indication of what lies ahead. “If you want to know what’s going to happen to the Iraq veteran,” said Vasquez, who has served time in prison on drug charges, “look at the Vietnam veteran.”

on Mar 21, 2007
What I love about the story is that as a disabled vet I have watched how vets have been treated the last 25 years and no one seemed to care when the Democrats and liberals are in power. If I remember correctly Walter Reed was slated for closure back in the 90's so this was not new or solely a democrat or republican thing. The best part is this is how governmet run health care will look like. Socialized medicen at its beet


Exactly.  This is exactly the type of bureaucratic mess government run health care would look like.  Unbelievable they want this type of system.


on Mar 21, 2007
Exactly. This is exactly the type of bureaucratic mess government run health care would look like.


while i appreciate the feedback, it's funy how the righties are trying to change the subject from the VA problem and seeking a solution and just attacking government health care...something i never mentioned in this piece.

any thoughts on oversight and how we might possibly improve the system? i know ya'll are against any kind of plan that might insure everyone...we know that,,,granted...but how do you feel about what seems is the neglect by the "private" elements of the soldiers recoveries that have been reported? seems that outsourcing has been responsible for some of the neglect over the years.



Outsourcing shares blame for Walter Reed problems
By DANIEL FRIEDMAN
March 06, 2007

The scandal over care for wounded veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington has focused for weeks on bureaucratic delays and badly maintained barracks, but in recent days lawmakers have pointed fingers at another culprit: competitive sourcing.

At a Monday hearing, a House subcommittee honed in on a long public-private competition that reduced non-medical civilian staff at the facility. Members forced Army officials to concede that in combination with the planned closure of Walter Reed, the competition disrupted operations at the medical facility.

“We probably could have done better,” Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley, who commanded Walter Reed from 2002 to 2004, told the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on national security. “Maybe we shouldn’t have done it at all.”

on Mar 21, 2007
while i appreciate the feedback, it's funy how the righties are trying to change the subject from the VA problem and seeking a solution and just attacking government health care...something i never mentioned in this piece.


After the Civil war veterans had to report to Washington DC. Each month in order to collect their benefits. They would have to wait in line as the clerk went through the files found the correct file then brought it to his desk then removed the red ribbon that sealed the file. That ribbon was colored red and where we get the term red tape. Veterans have been shoved into every inconvenient corner of the bureaucratic monster we call our government. It has been this way since the civil war so I blame both parties. It is not a change in the subject at all, one is an example for the other. This is how we treat the people that laid their lives and limbs on the line for our national beliefs with the promise that we would be taken care of no matter what. Then when the war is over and their bodies and minds are bent and broken they waited for the Government leaders to keep their word. After each time after each conflict we were told we were no longer a priority. We were the priority when the nation needed protection but when the danger passed we were worthless to the politicians and the public never knew or cared what happened to those men and women. Now that it is politically helpful for one side they scream that this is horrible and we should take care of our veterans. These same politicians have been in congress for decades and did nothing but cut benefits for us mean, rotten baby killing, homophobic, sexist, hateful military people. What I mean to say is that the people responsible for caring for our military is the Congress, Democrat or Republican controlled is not the question because both parties have failed to take care of the military they were sworn to protect and care for. Even with this deplorable treatment we vets stood by our country. I personally don’t approve of people who want the military disbanded acting like they what to help us now in order to use it as a club to beat the president over the head with. The President writes the budget but the Congress approves the budget. The Congress and add as well as subtract money and projects to and from the budget. This bad treatment of our vets has been going on for years as I said but not at the executive level alone.

This shows the government can not be trusted to handle health care for a nation when they can’t even take care of a few million veterans. How the hell will they be able to take care of three hundred million plus people?
on Mar 21, 2007
The cold hard truth is the Va system has always sucked, I was treated like some kind of pariah in 1966 under President Johnson's "great society" The VA has always sucked under both the democrats and republican administrations. As usual colon gangrene wants to blame bush. he is and will always be a one note blogger.

Sean I know you know better than this blame Bush for what is an ongoing problem.

This is why I have my own health insurance.
on Mar 21, 2007
Sean I know you know better than this blame Bush for what is an ongoing problem.


oh, i don't blame him for the care sucking historically. i do think this is one of those "unintended consequences" that this war has produced. i do think they could have done better, especially considering thieir rhetoric about how much more they care than anyone else. and i do think if the administration was a company and this and everything else this admin has bungled, we, as stockholders, would be demanding changes much more adamantly than anyone (except maybe the "impeach bush now" crowd) has even suggested thus far.

the hearings and investigations that are going on from all parties, from the white house, to the pentagon to congress, are all entirely appropriate, in my view. but unfortunately, none of them will do anything for vets now,,,and i'd like to see the administration use some "executive authority" and get some real substinative things done now. or perhaps congress do some "emergency resolutions?" it may not be sexy or cost effective, but not everything a goverment does is or should be in my view. the bottom line is those who have served our nation honorably are suffering needlessly, and they deserve so much better. the biggest question that needs an answer is who is gonna step up and make a difference for the better, NOW.
on Mar 21, 2007
. the biggest question that needs an answer is who is gonna step up and make a difference for the better, NOW.


no one. with all the bullshit going on in congress all the circus shows, all the investigations, it's all just a bunch of "showtime" and not a damn thing is getting done. The left has proved one thing to me now that they are in power. they are just as corrupt, just as mean spirited, just as full of shit as the right is.

Now I am done, I hear the bed calling me.

peace.
on Mar 21, 2007
Can’t be done because the people in power have been for years talking down the military. Since the Vietnam war two factions have been attacking the military from within. Anti-war idiots don’t want the U.S. to have a military. Anything that will make the military weak and unattractive is what they want. First they got rid of the G.I. bill because it was too expensive to pay for killers to get an education and make a better life. It is better to have people on welfare than serving in the military. The next group wants to get rid of the military in order to take the money saved and use it on social programs. In both camps the military is bad which is why we have problems in the system. The more problems we have the better they like it. I remember when Mr. Carter took office and the cuts in the military was cut to the bone, then when the hostages were taken in Iran the first thing the American people screamed was send in the Marines. “Teach those rag heads a lesson!” The problem was that the cuts were so deep and so hard that no branch of the military could do anything other than wish we had trained people to do the job. Anyone remember training with one tank of gas per vehicle per month? Going to the store to buy our own toilet paper and cleaning supplies for the barracks? I remember that, I remember 30 rounds of blank ammunition per Marine per training exercise that lasted a week. We were hurting bad and the nation was weak and worse yet seen as weak to the rest of the world. It showed the world that we could not fight a gorilla war and that is just what we are in now.
on Mar 21, 2007
When I was stuck in the Salt Lake City VA hospital back in the 90s, was the substandard treatment I recieved the fault of Clinton? Using the short-sighted and complete lack of memory used by the "hate Bush at all cost" crowd, I guess so. All the Walter Reed, the military medical corps and the VA medical system does well is prove to everyone in the US that socialized medicine is no answer.

While I was the guest of that VA hospital my sister came to see me...

"This is the most depressing place I have ever been". This was her observation of the mood and spirit of the place.