Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Crisis Over Treatment Of War Wounded Intensifies

The crisis over treatment of the Iraq and Afghanistan war wounded is only intensifying, as the days go by, and it has already become obvious that this is another Hurricane Katrina, in which the Bush Administration was derelict in failing to come up with a proper treatment plan for victims of the disaster. The failure apparently extends well beyond the outpatient facilities of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

This Administration long ago sadly earned a record of incompetence in such matters, and it seems worse than just incompetence. It's that they do not care enough to get it right, and do not take sufficient steps to make it right. The President has assigned former Sen. Robert Dole and Health and Human Relations Secretary Donna Shalala to a bipartisan panel to look into the mess. They have a lot to do, and we can only remember that repeated assurances by the President that he has corrected the Katrina shortcomings have proved to be untrue.

Paul D. Eaton, a retired Army major general writing in Tuesday's New York Times detailed, in fact, how intentional budget shortfalls left our war wounded without adequate care. This will long be a matter of shame for our government.

The matter is a simple one. We sent these soldiers to the Middle East to fight a nasty and protracted war against some of the most evil forces of all history, ones that threaten the U.S. welfare directly and attack our forces with suicide bombings, beheadings and other foul means.

Now, when those men and women survive their injuries, we absolutely must see that they and their families get all the care and support they need.

It was bad enough when the military was impeding photographing the coffins of war dead. Now, that they aren't adequate treating the wounded, it is far worse.

Heads have already rolled on this one, but the ultimate responsibility is the President's.

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It is ironic that at the same there is a verdict in the Libby case, which saw the denigration of press freedoms in Washington, a judge in the Middle West has enjoined the Kansas City Star from publishing an investigative article. The case is under appeal, but one time after another, now, an overweening justice system is impinging on the First Amendment to the Constitution. Freedom of the press is far more important to this country than a bunch of corrupt judges and prosecutors.

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