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Kiley and Nicholson need to go NOW!

As I sit watching the hearings at the Walter Reed medical center I am not shocked at how we treat our returning veterans. We have a sickening pattern of sweeping our veterans under the rug after they return from wars which we have sent them to fight. There are many heads that need to roll over this and while Def. Secretary Gates has started, the two people that really need to go are Sec. of Vets Affairs Jim Nicholson and Army Surgeon General Kiley.

Fire Nicholson now!

Jim Nicholson has stood silently as he knew full well what was going on. Not only that but in his recent interview with Bob Woodruff he was read a list of the numbers of soldiers seeking care for serious issues and has the gall to say that many soldiers who seek care are seeking only dental care. What an outrage. He is another Bush political appointment with no resume of skills for his job - another Mike Brown. He is supposed to be the voice for soldiers who all to frequently suffer in silence. What's worse is that this disgrace of a man tried to say that the American people provide veteran care out of the goodness of their hearts - it is our duty to care for those who have done their duty. He has let them down and needs to be fired.

Kiley must go too!

Gen Kevin Kiley tried to blame the conditions in the outpatient building on soldiers leaving food in their rooms. He should not only be fired but he should be given a court martial due to gross negligence. Had this story not been broken by Dana Priest he would still be silent. Kiley is a disgrace not only to his uniform but to the medical profession. This building that our wounded soldiers were forced to stay in makes a homeless shelter look like the Ritz Carlton. He knew what was going on and should not be allowed to treat animals much less our returning veterans.

Not a new problem

The way our country has treated returning veterans has been a problem since the American Revolution. Our government denied Gulf War syndrome in the last Gulf War, denied the harmful effects of Agent Orange in Vietnam, denied PTSD and a host of other ways we have sought to sweep our vets under the rug. Wars leave physical and mental scars on our vets and they don't need our sympathy as much as they need us to step up to the plate as these soldiers did in the face of our enemies.

On top of all this, the Bush admin says that those who speak out against the war or want to get out of this war do not support the troops while they send them into a war that they can't possibly win then brush them aside when they return home. This is a chance for Democrats to step up and do something for the vets that 6 years of GOP control of government refused to do. Bush can't possibly veto a bill now. If we can waste 400 billion dollars on a bad idea of a war we can make sure no veteran who has served in a war goes without medical or mental health care, no veteran should ever go homeless, no veteran should have to go through a mile of red-tape to get care. There should always be a presumption of truth never be told they are faking (hell, even if they are "working the system" they have earned the right). It could help the party to defend against those who say the Dems are weak on defense and more importantly it would be doing the right thing - a novel concept in Washington. There is political will right now to do something so all the Dems in Congress - GET ON IT NOW!!!

The Bush administration has cut and run from it's responsibility to the troops and have been talking about privatizing some of this health care - this is exactly the wrong thing to do. We don't need more of Bush's supporters getting rich on this war, we need to take care of our vets.

Posted by Tom Snediker at March 5, 2007 10:04 AM
Comments
Comment #210578

I had so hoped that this military generation would not be subjected to the abuse, and treated as despicably as those who came and went before them. I am a “veteran” of the VietNam war and I still hurt for those we turned our backs on, or worse, criticized and condemned.
We simply can’t allow this administration to think that we have another generation of disposable “warriors” to serve merely for Bush’s personal gains !!! These men/women deserve the best we can give them….it’s a fair trade.

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at March 5, 2007 2:19 PM
Comment #210580

Tom,

I agree with your article, especially what you said about Nicholson.

There will probably be some important-sounding speeches and maybe even some investigations from Congress.
However, the possibility of meaningful legislation from the Democrats is probably even less likely than Bush firing these guys. And that’s saying something.

I hope I’m wrong, but it’s not without reason we call this one The Do-Nothing Congress.

Posted by: TheTraveler at March 5, 2007 2:47 PM
Comment #210581

The most disgusting part of this problem is that this is old news. I have no excuse other than I didn’t know.

Traveller,
I’m confused… You’re referring to this session as the “do-nothing” Congress?

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at March 5, 2007 2:56 PM
Comment #210582

Traveller,

What would you consider “meaningful” legislation?

Posted by: bobo at March 5, 2007 3:02 PM
Comment #210589

Dave1-20-2009,

You’re referring to this session as the “do-nothing” Congress?

Not just this session. The “all talk and no action” problem has been going on for quite some time. The practice of putting politics before policy did not change when the parties flipped.

bobo,

What would you consider “meaningful” legislation?

Laws that actually solve these problems and give our vets decent health care. Neither party has done much about this in the past. As Tom said in his article, this has been a problem throughout most of our history.

Posted by: TheTraveler at March 5, 2007 3:31 PM
Comment #210590

Tom,

I really hope the Democrats do not make the mistake of thinking all we wanted was for them to have power.
I am waiting for them to investigate the war, those who have profitted and those who failed to manage it, those who now choose to ignore the human cost of it and do it soon. If they do not let’s get rid of them.
There are many issues the Democrats ran on in 06. We must hold them accountable if they fail to deliver.
This is a situation that needs thorough and immediate action. Anything less is political bullshit

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at March 5, 2007 3:43 PM
Comment #210591

trav,

Only the right wing is calling this session a “do-nothing”. You really don’t believe it’s a bit early for all that rhetoric? (Of course doing nothing is a hell of alot better than starting a war, no?)

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at March 5, 2007 3:45 PM
Comment #210593

Laws that actually solve these problems and give our vets decent health care.

Given the Republican Party’s position on health care funding in general, I hope you’ll revisit your comment when Congress actually casts a vote on this.

Posted by: bobo at March 5, 2007 4:03 PM
Comment #210597

Dave,

Only the right wing is calling this session a “do-nothing”.

Not really. A lot of Democrats are angry with the current lack of action in Congress, especially about Iraq. That was their big issue during the election and yet they refuse to support or even suggest any change in strategy or troop levels. They refuse to work with the administration even if it’s just to suggest changes!

You really don’t believe it’s a bit early for all that rhetoric?

Not after the joke that was the non-binding resolution…
I agree with Andre’s 3:43pm post and yet I disagree (for the most part) with his position on Iraq. Would that be possible if the democrats were doing anything on the issue?

bobo,

I hope you’ll revisit your comment when Congress actually casts a vote on this.

I will.

Posted by: TheTraveler at March 5, 2007 4:28 PM
Comment #210598

Here is some additional information, as well as supporting, from the Huffinton Post.. Still, it appears clear where the call for action is coming from.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-benen/the-right-explains-the-wa_b_42672.html

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at March 5, 2007 4:45 PM
Comment #210605

Good article Tom. Just like FEMA and Iraq, this is a matter of incompetence and lack of leadership.

Posted by: American Pundit at March 5, 2007 5:40 PM
Comment #210614

Great time for this to come up as we look at health care.

Imagine universal health coverage run by the feds!!

Ouch!!

Craig

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 5, 2007 6:39 PM
Comment #210631

WR is an Army hospital. This is not the same as the VA. By most accounts I have heard from friends and accounts I have read here VA care is pretty decent.The VA has been held up as a large public health system that works. They also negotiate drug prices etc. I was waiting cynically for them to be crippled by budget cuts and mis-direction by the neo-cons for just that reason. Indeed their budget is being cut. Its an old right wing trick. Starve a program until it does not work and then attack it for not working. I was just curious as to just how craven they could be. Again I was not disapointed. There is no moral minimum with some.

This is not to disimilar from the REPS in the senate blocking action and then complaining that the DEMS are not doing anything.

Posted by: bills at March 5, 2007 8:14 PM
Comment #210637

Tom Snediker,
Excellent article.

Here in SC we recently case of Veteran injustice. I wish I could pull his name from my memory. A veteran was virtually begging for the Army to help him. He moved in to a motel, because he was afraid he would hurt one of his children or his wife, due to a major head wound he received while in Iraq several years ago. His wife was commuting form their home to the motel to bring him food, supplies, etc.

Even his psychiatrist agreed he needed further hospitalization. The Army apparently didn’t agree.

Fortunately, this entire situation was “straighten” out, after a third evaluation this man was returned to the hospital.

I’m going to try to see if I can find the article.

Posted by: Linda H. at March 5, 2007 8:32 PM
Comment #210645


Craig Holmes: Congress in investigating what impact privatization of patient care is having on services. Privatization of services at Walter Reed has caused an exodus of skilled and experienced personnel after the Army awarded a $120-million contract to IAP World Wide Services which is run by Al Neffgen, a former senior Haliburton official.

The Defense Dept. “systemically” tried to replace federal workers at Walter Reed with private companies for facilities management, patient care and guard duty. Although this process began in 2000, the push to privatize support services was greatly accelerated under President Bush’s competitive sourcing initiative which was launched in 2002.

Posted by: jlw at March 5, 2007 11:13 PM
Comment #210651

Tom Snediker, terrific article. I agree 100%.
And BillS and jlw, very good points.

Posted by: Adrienne at March 6, 2007 2:07 AM
Comment #210659

What a nasty “apology” during yesterday’s testimony in the Walter Reed fiasco…the general “apologized” to the mother of the badly wounded soldier by saying “I apologize; I’m sorry we didn’t meet HER expectations”….what the heck kind of “apology” is that? It’s certainly NOT taking any responsibility for the awful conditions…

All mothers of wounded soldiers must get together…they will do a better job investigating and cleaning up this mess than the “officials”, by far!

Posted by: Lynne at March 6, 2007 9:16 AM
Comment #210666

Lynne

In all honesty, what exactly has this administration or any of its generals excepted responsibility for. It been scandal after scandal, the passing of buck after buck, and firing and more firings. This all reeks of total ineptitude if you ask me. But then this realization is something that has been coming to the forefront for sometime now.

Posted by: ILdem at March 6, 2007 10:59 AM
Comment #210669

Lynne

Sorry, I meant accepted not excepted. Just an old age brainf—t.

Posted by: ILdem at March 6, 2007 11:01 AM
Comment #210670

Lynne, it is disgusting. ILdem, you’re right, it’s just more of the same.
Check out this article: We’re All at Walter Reed

Posted by: Adrienne at March 6, 2007 11:10 AM
Comment #210671

Adrienne

Thanks for the link. It was a very revealing article. It makes me wonder how con men like Bush and Cheney can retain their positions in office. Impeachment is looking better with each passing day. I am hoping our legislature takes a serious stand against the war, and serious misjudgements of this administration even if it means cutting funding. It is time to end this thing once and for all simply because it is the right and proper thing to do, regardless of political repurcussion.

I see nothing to be gained for this country by way of allowing these militant minded, power hungry, money grubbing, egotistical war mongers, to continue their sick maligned agenda.

Posted by: ILdem at March 6, 2007 11:44 AM
Comment #210686

General Schoomaker had the ugliest, most appalling attitude of everyone there testifying. He’s embarrassed. Too damn bad.

And Kiley is a weasel who danced around every question and is only worried about his reputation, not the troops.

Posted by: womanmarine at March 6, 2007 1:17 PM
Comment #210792

Why do we have to go to British papers to read that Bush is sending more troops to Iraq than he requested for the surge? Why do US papers, radio, TV not tell us this news????

“Ian Black, Middle East editor
Wednesday March 7, 2007
The Guardian


The US could send an extra 7,000 troops to implement President George Bush’s controversial Iraqi security plan, it emerged last night as the country suffered one of its worst recent days of bloodshed when at least 100 Shia Muslim pilgrims were killed and scores more injured. Most died in Hilla, south of Baghdad, in a twin suicide bombing blamed on Sunni extremists.
Gordon England, deputy secretary of defence, revealed that army commanders were requesting reinforcements beyond the 21,500 personnel already earmarked for the so-called “surge” into the capital.

“At this point, our expectation is the number of … troops could go above 21,500 by about 4,000, maybe as many as 7,000,” the official told the House of Representatives Budget committee in Washington.

The news that yet more men are likely to be joining the nearly 140,000 US troops already serving in Iraq came as Mr Bush insisted there were “encouraging signs” that his strategy was working. On Monday US forces suffered their deadliest losses in nearly a month - when nine soldiers were killed in explosions in Sunni areas north of Baghdad, bringing total casualties since March 2003 to at least 3,185.”

Posted by: Rachel at March 6, 2007 9:26 PM
Comment #210912

The problem with the military is that they only have to answer to the next person above them…they never have to answer to those under their command nor to the American people…hence, no accountability nor responsibility is necessary.

Posted by: Lynne at March 7, 2007 12:37 PM
Comment #210965

My dad is VietNam veteran.This crap that this president is doing to our veterans,just drove him to tears tonight.

Posted by: the libertine at March 7, 2007 7:19 PM
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