Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Assault on Dignity

Just when I think I have reached the limits of my disgust and anger at the Walter Reed 'medical hold' scandal, another outrage comes to light, and new heights are achieved.

I have avoided this topic because it just offends me on so many levels. It offends me as a healthcare professional. It offends me as the daughter, sister and wife of a Sailor, a Soldier and an Airman, respectively. It offends me as an American Citizen, ostensibly served by the sacrifices of our military. It offends me as a human being.

Honestly, I don’t believe I am in possession of a single, solitary unoffended sensibility.

The level of disgust and outrage I feel is not compatible with a reasoned discussion of the subject, and this topic is too important to me to alienate anyone with an invective-laden tirade that questions the parentage of various command level medical officers and elected officials.


How dare those soldiers in Building 18 talk to the press and allow the public to become aware of the conditions troops in medical hold have had to deal with, and the indignities they have already suffered?

The troops in medical hold have been told they will now roll out at 0600, and have their quarters ready for inspection by 0700. Not to worry, amputees and others with special needs! They have break-away uniforms for you!

These are combat veterans who have paid a heavy price with a precious coin, at the behest of their government, and they are being treated like they are back in basic training. It is outrageous. It is maddening. It is unconscionable.

And no matter how the pentagon tries to spin it from the lower levels while Gates expresses his outrage, this is a retaliatory move, and the interests of the troops are not being served.

I am curious about something and have been since the story broke. Suddenly elected officials are demanding accountability, and medical officers are falling all over themselves to accept responsibility.

Well, Duh. Command knew what the deal was. Command always knows, and don’t believe otherwise. Those soldiers weren’t sequestered to Bedlam, unsupervised, existing entirely in a vacuum.

My first thought was to wonder where the hell they have been for the last four years.

Are they admitting that all those trips out to Walter Reed with news crews in tow were just 15-minute photo-ops; benefiting only the politicians by having pictures snapped while they look admiringly at a plucky amputee who just wants to get back to his unit?

Are they admitting, ipso facto, that those soldiers cease to matter as soon as the lens-caps go back on and the mics go dead, and their utility to the politician has been expended?

I think we should trawl the nets and find those pictures and hang them around the necks of the media whores who send our young men and women off to fight and die in unjust and unjustified wars – the media whores who are deeply concerned for 15 minutes while the cameras roll – the media whores who allowed troops who did their duty live in squalor as they struggle to recover from war wounds.

Failing to step up and do what’s right, neglecting ones responsibilities – these are the kinds of things that prompt me to press a hot iron against your flesh to brand the word feckless onto your person.

[Cross-posted from Watching Those We Chose]


mbg said...

We have agreed this whole shebang has been a cluster-fuck from the very start. This latest is just a continuation of how the admin views those who serve--they don't care one fuck about those who either die or are wounded and then put in a hell-hole like this. Man, you think there is no new low to sink to, but under this admin, there always is.

opit said...

Who signed the standing order ? I presume it's posted or the officer in charge known. Time to apply more heat.