Hogan's Alley

Friday, March 02, 2007

Walter Reed, Firing of Weightman Apparently Solves Nothing

I took yesterday's news about the discharge of Gen. Weightman at Walter Reed as a hopeful sign that serious change was on the horizon at the sorry outpatient facilities at that institution. Today's editorial in the Washington Post points out that Weightman's replacement will be the same man who ran the place for two years before Weightman's meager six month tenure.

The Army Surgeon General, Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley is that man. When the current story broke it was Kiley who pooh-poohed the story, minimizing it as insignificant in the face of all the good medical care provided there. It was he who ran the place for two years while it was overwhelmed by the numbers of soldiers returning injured from Iraq since the explosion in sectarian fighting following the destruction of the Golden Mosque in 2004. According to Sen Lieberman on this morning's Imus in the Morning Show, the facility used to handle 100 patients at a time and is now having to manage 600, without appropriate increases in the staffing or the facilities.

Putting him in charge is a guarantee that nothing substantive will change there.

Today, Bush has announced he will appoint a "bipartisan commission" to review and correct the problems at Walter Reed. This follows on Defense Sec. Robert Gates' announcement of a similar commission last week. We can hope that this is a sincere effort, but the proof will be in the names of those who are appointed, their speed in conducting their study and the forthrightness of their recommendations.

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