Hopefully, you’ve read this Washington Post story on the conditions some soldiers face at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. In case you haven’t, this is why you should:
Behind the door of Army Spec. Jeremy Duncan’s room, part of the wall is torn and hangs in the air, weighted down with black mold. When the wounded combat engineer stands in his shower and looks up, he can see the bathtub on the floor above through a rotted hole. The entire building, constructed between the world wars, often smells like greasy carry-out. Signs of neglect are everywhere: mouse droppings, belly-up cockroaches, stained carpets, cheap mattresses.
[ . . . ]
The common perception of Walter Reed is of a surgical hospital that shines as the crown jewel of military medicine. But 5 1/2 years of sustained combat have transformed the venerable 113-acre institution into something else entirely — a holding ground for physically and psychologically damaged outpatients. Almost 700 of them — the majority soldiers, with some Marines — have been released from hospital beds but still need treatment or are awaiting bureaucratic decisions before being discharged or returned to active duty.
This is unacceptable. Not unacceptable as in, yes, Congress should make improving care a priority, and candidates should make it an issue. It’s unacceptable as in this needs to be fixed tomorrow. Now. Call your Congressional rep and tell him or her that if they want to make their words in these inane “support the troops” debates mean a goddamn thing, then they’ll jump on this now. I’m serious. Call them. And don’t take anything less than “Yes, I will do something.” for an answer. We owe it to ourselves, to our country, and to every single soldier that’s had his or her life shattered for this obscene adventure that is Bush’s war. He might not give a damn about these soldiers, but we certainly should.
I have visited Walter Reed many times and the place is top-notch. The Post is business of selling papers and controversay does it. I’m sure there’s the other side of the story and we shouldn’t jump off a cliff by reading one side.
I’d like you to be right, Chuck. I, myself, benefited from 20 years of Army medical care. But too much of this fits, here.
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