Harping on the Harped / Forget the Soldiers

Even though I touched on this a few days ago, it still gets under my skin that not only where brave young men and women thrust so needlessly into wars for the sole purpose of satiating the machismo of BushCo, but that they have returned home only to be tossed aside like dirty laundry.

The fallout of the current Walter Reed crisis won’t go away, and rightfully so.

In recent days, the commander at Walter Reed, Maj. Gen. George Weightman, and the Army’s surgeon general, Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley, have been all over TV, saying the problems at the facility are being fixed and that they are “extremely proud” of the work their staffs are doing.

But the point is that crumbling infrastructure, inhumane bureaucracy and inadequate treatment for mental disorders have been known about for years and have been permitted to continue.

The month before The Post’s series ran, a conference on “quality of life” problems faced by soldiers, their families and civilian staff at Walter Reed found a long list of “issues.” They included: soldiers not getting benefits to travel as scheduled; lack of direction for emergency family care; unequal benefits based on the locale where a soldier is injured and not on the extent of injuries; and no overall plan to help wounded warriors through their convalescence.

Then there is this lengthy report from the Army Times:

The numbers of people approved for permanent or temporary disability retirement in the Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force have stayed relatively stable since 2001.

But in the Army – in the midst of a war – the number of soldiers approved for permanent disability retirement has plunged by more than two-thirds, from 642 in 2001 to 209 in 2005, according to a Government Accountability Office report last year. That decline has come even as the war in Iraq has intensified and the total number of soldiers wounded or injured there has soared above 15,000.

Not to sound like a broken record but realities such as these, on top of the horror one finds in battle, are injustices that will surely come back to haunt these individuals and the places they call home for generations to come.

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One Comment

  1. Posted February 2, 2010 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    There is obviously a lot to learn. There are some good points here.

    Robert Shumake


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