Sunday, November 11, 2007

CQ: Tom Davis and others knew about Walter Reed problems

It's one of those "open secrets." It's one of those things that everybody "in the know" knows, but something that the Republican corporate media in Virginia refuses to talk about. I'm looking at you, Richmond Times Dispatch.

Here's the thing: Tom Davis and other senior Republicans knew about the terrible conditions at Walter Reed Army Hospital and did nothing about it. In fact, they did less than nothing: they covered it up, they prevented much needed help from reaching American servicemen when they were in dire need.

From Congressional Quarterly, March 7, 2007:
But C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla., former chairman of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, said he stopped short of going public with the hospital’s problems to avoid embarrassing the Army while it was fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Young and Thomas M. Davis III, R-Va., the former chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, both acknowledged in interviews that they were aware of patient care problems at Walter Reed long before The Washington Post exposed them two weeks ago.

At a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing Wednesday, Young detailed his efforts to assist patients at Walter Reed during visits he or his wife made to the hospital as early as 2003. He described repeatedly confronting the hospital’s then commander, Gen. Kevin C. Kiley, about patients who, they discovered, had received poor care.

Young said his wife, Beverly, found one Walter Reed patient lying in his hospital bed without sheets or blankets, having soiled himself. Another, who suffered from a battlefield brain injury, had fallen out of his bed three times, even after Young had told Kiley about the problem, the lawmaker said. And he said a third patient, who had an aneurysm, died after a respiratory therapist ignored family warnings about the patient’s fragile condition and treated him anyway.[1]
Now to be fair, these senior Republicans claim they did everything they could to get these men help. They say that they held their tongues to avoid embarrassing the U.S. Army. If you believe them you are a fool.

These men are politicians, and in 2004 they were covering for their party's presidential candidate during an election year. As for Davis' role:
Davis, the former chairman of the committee with responsibility for oversight of government programs, said his options also were limited. He said his committee staff first learned in 2004 about problems with wounded soldiers’ health care while investigating their pay problems.

At a February 2005 hearing on care for wounded Army Guard and Reserve soldiers, Davis said, “I’m appalled that these men and women not only have had to face the recovery from their war wounds, but are simultaneously forced to navigate a confusing and seemingly uncaring system of benefits.”

Davis said he directed the Government Accountability Office to conduct several studies, “some of them coming from complaints from veterans that were stationed” at Walter Reed.

Davis’ committee staff aides fielded calls and attempted to help wounded soldiers and their families who called with complaints about pay and health care problems. At the committee’s March 5 hearing at Walter Reed, Annette L. McLeod testified that only after calling Davis’ office in 2006 did she make progress in getting proper care for her husband, Army National Guard Spec. Wendell W. McLeod Jr., who was injured while deployed in Iraq.

But Davis says he never pressed other committees or Republican leaders for legislation or new money to address problems his staff had identified.[2]
The simple reality is that Davis and his Republican buddies were too gutless to take on George W. Bush and protect these American servicemen when they had the chance.

For more reading on the Walter Reed Army Medical Center neglect scandal, go to this page and consult the list of references.

1 comment:

afausser said...

Disgusting. Thanks.