As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, March 02, 2007

Meet The New Boss

Worse than the old boss.

Yesterday’s management shake-up at Walter Reed looks increasingly suspect. The Washington Post reports today that the hospital chief who was relieved of duty, Army Maj. Gen. George W. Weightman, is “well respected in the military medical community and well liked among the staff at Walter Reed.” He had been at the hospital for just half a year, and “instituted some changes to improve outpatient care.”

Weightman is being replaced for now by Army surgeon general Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley. As ThinkProgress documented yesterday, Kiley has known for years about the neglect and deplorable conditions at Walter Reed. Kiley was personally told about injured veterans who were “languishing and lost on the grounds,” sharing drugs and “drinking themselves to death,” and reportedly did nothing to address the problems. In one stunning case, Kiley took no action when personally informed that a soldier was sleeping in his own urine.

This had the feel of a whitewash, with Weightman being the fall guy. The staff at the medical center, meanwhile, can't stand Kiley, who let the outpatient facilities slip into this disrepair.

Waxman's going to haul both these guys into his committee for field hearings on this at Walter Reed. Those should be revealing. In the meantime, there's no way that Kevin Kiley should be running this facility.

UPDATE: Rules Committee Chair Rep. Louise Slaughter wants Kiley out today:

“The Department of Defense needs to make a choice: does it care about our wounded veterans, or does it care about public relations?” Rep. Slaughter said today. “While I was glad to see that initial steps had been taken to change the leadership at Walter Reed, yesterday’s news of Mr. Kiley’s appointment was simply baffling. How can a man who stood by for years while American soldiers suffered needlessly be expected to enact real reforms?”

“The outrage of the American public over the conditions at Walter Reed will not be pacified by simply shuffling the deck,” Rep. Slaughter said. “Secretary Gates must immediately remove from command anyone who allowed its facilities to fall into such a state of disrepair.”

“Our wounded soldiers deserve nothing less than the best health care this country can provide and the best leadership to ensure they receive that care.”

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