Would You Let a Soldier Lay in His Own Piss?

News & Politics

The new head of Walter Reed Army Hospital would - and did.

As a followup to yesterday's post on the sacking of the head of Walter Reed Army Hospital because of the Washington Post exposé, we find today that the interim head of Walter Reed used to run the place. You would think that perhaps this was a good thing - bring someone in with experience in running the facility in the past. You would be wrong.

Apparently, Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley, the guy that's been appointed to head the hospital, was at the genesis of many of the reported problems. And he was one of the first people that the Pentagon trotted out of the gate to decry the WaPo expose that ran nearly two weeks ago. Here's the take on Kiley from the wife of a Republican congressman:

In 2004, Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.) and his wife stopped visiting the wounded at Walter Reed out of frustration. Young said he voiced concerns to commanders over troubling incidents he witnessed but was rebuffed or ignored. "When Bev or I would bring problems to the attention of authorities of Walter Reed, we were made to feel very uncomfortable," said Young, who began visiting the wounded recuperating at other facilities.
Beverly Young said she complained to Kiley several times. She once visited a soldier who was lying in urine on his mattress pad in the hospital. When a nurse ignored her, Young said, "I went flying down to Kevin Kiley's office again, and got nowhere. He has skirted this stuff for five years and blamed everyone else."
NPR's Morning Edition ran a quick piece on Kiley this morning that is worth a listen. Here's an excerpt:
And even last week, as the Pentagon promised swift action, Lt. Gen. Kiley was publicly blasting The Washington Post for what he called "one-sided reporting." So the decision to have Lt. Gen. Kiley lead Walter Reed in the interim has left some senior pentagon officials fuming. One said, in private, "they fired the wrong guy and promoted the wrong guy." …
For gawd's sake, this is like putting Michael Brown back in charge of FEMA!!

The Senate Armed Services Committee is meeting next week on the Walter Reed issues. That's not soon enough. Sen. Carl Levin needs to move on this TODAY, not next week. Kiley has absolutely no business being in charge of wounded vet medical care, whether it's an interim appointment or not.

You know what to do. If you're as outraged as I am, make the call this morning. I'm not blaming the GOP for this one - I'm blaming the Bush regime in general, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, specifically. And speaking of the GOP, we need to know - and we need to see - John McCain blasting out of the gates on this issue this morning. He has the bully pulpit, and military issues are his "pet project" as he careens toward the 2008 GOP presidential primaries.

Take a stand, Sen. McCain.

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