Sunday, February 18, 2007

Support the Troops is Just a Catchphrase in Bushworld

Hey, man, we're just here for the photo op. caption: President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush talk with Sgt. Patrick Hagood of Anderson, S.C., Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2005, during their visit to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. White House photo by Paul Morse

Here's your compassionate conservatism. Walter Reed Army Medical Center is a frightening labrynth where soldiers and their families are left to cope basically on their own, a direct result of the starvation diet veteran's programs have been on via Bush's tax cutting war budgets. Plus, Chimpy McFlightsuit would rather scatter $10 billion dollars to a bunch of lowlife leeches like Halliburton than fund care for the soldiers he sends off to fight his war. Shame. Maybe Bush's handlers could send him into Building 18 so it will get cleaned up for the photo-op?

WaPo: Soldiers Face Neglect, Frustration At Army's Top Medical Facility

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.

This is the world of Building 18, not the kind of place where Duncan expected to recover when he was evacuated to Walter Reed Army Medical Center from Iraq last February with a broken neck and a shredded left ear, nearly dead from blood loss. But the old lodge, just outside the gates of the hospital and five miles up the road from the White House, has housed hundreds of maimed soldiers recuperating from injuries suffered in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.


While the hospital is a place of scrubbed-down order and daily miracles, with medical advances saving more soldiers than ever, the outpatients in the Other Walter Reed encounter a messy bureaucratic battlefield nearly as chaotic as the real battlefields they faced overseas.

On the worst days, soldiers say they feel like they are living a chapter of "Catch-22." The wounded manage other wounded. Soldiers dealing with psychological disorders of their own have been put in charge of others at risk of suicide.

Disengaged clerks, unqualified platoon sergeants and overworked case managers fumble with simple needs: feeding soldiers' families who are close to poverty, replacing a uniform ripped off by medics in the desert sand or helping a brain-damaged soldier remember his next appointment.

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