Monday, March 05, 2007

Walter Reed Is The Direct Result of Republican Policy Choices

It will be important to keep the media on track on this story. I heard Jim Miklaszewski on Imus this morning claiming this is just how things get done by the military bureaucracy. Not so. This is not a story about government incompetence. As Paul Krugman points out today, improvements in the Veterans Administration during the Clinton years made the VA one of the best health care systems in the country. Government did that. Good, responsible government dedicated to using the power of the purse wisely. Democrats in charge. People who believe that government works.

The problem with Walter Reed and military medical care is not government incompetence. It's the Bush Administration's Republican attack upon government, in their effort to fulfill Grover Norquist's desire to shrink the federal government until it can be drowned in a bathtub. These are deliberate policy choices, not just incompetence. They have attacked good government from within. The functioning system at Walter Reed and at Veterans Administration facilities around the country has been attacked with the weapon of privatization. Why? Partly, so rich corporations like Halliburton can continue to rake in billions in profits. But it is also part of their insidious attack upon government, to make government look as bad as they always claim it is. They are trying to destroy our government from within. This isn't just incompetence. It's their policy. Starve the federal government, then claim government itself doesn't work and privatize everything.

They must be stopped.

WaPo: 'It Is Just Not Walter Reed'
Soldiers Share Troubling Stories Of Military Health Care Across U.S.

Paul Krugman, NYTimes: Valor and Squalor (TimesSelect wall; also here and here).

AirForceTimes: Soldiers at Walter Reed Building 18 moved

Steve Young, OpEdNews: Johnny Gets His Gun Again: Walter Reed Reveals Right's Bloody Secret

WaPo: Walter Reed Hearing to Put Spotlight on Kiley's Leadership

Political Affairs Magazine: Privatization Behind Disaster at Walter Reed Hospital

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