Letters to the Editor

Placing blame

March 9, 2007


To the editor:

I read with interest the Journal-World's editorial on Walter Reed Army Medical Center. It seems as if you were laying the blame on the local hospital leadership. Before going too far down that track, perhaps you should read Article I, Section 8 of our Constitution; "The Congress shall have Power - to raise and support Armies. ..."

The current administration has tried to fight the war in Iraq on the cheap. Every effort to hold down funding has been employed. This includes underfunding military people programs, like Walter Reed, across the board (likewise replacement equipment programs).

The outgoing congressional leadership (to include former Congressman Ryun), in cooperation with the administration, holds the distinction for underfunding these programs. We certainly would not want to ask anyone to sacrifice to support the war (other than the soldiers and their families).

The recently installed Democratic majority in the Congress had nothing to do with this shortfall any more than they hold responsibility for the underfunding of facilities at Fort Riley. In fact, they have tried to increase funding in these areas where possible given their past minority status.

The complexities of the budgeting process of the Department of Defense would take many times the 250-word limit imposed on letters to describe. I think it is fair to say, however, that the current leadership at Walter Reed had little if anything to do with the problems published. Look higher up the food chain - much higher!

George Lippencott, Lawrence


roysbigtoys 11 years, 1 month ago

Walter Reed Army Medical Center is a PERFECT example of what government run health care would be like.Walter Reed and many other VA facilities have been poorly run for decades. Government run programs are full of waste and inefficiencys........public schools,Social Securty,medicare, welfare,are just a few examples. Unfortunately, governments seldom ever fix a problem,they usually create more. Our troops deserve much better,but with the Dems wanting to cut funding for our troops (like they always do),I doubt they will really want to help.Instead they will try and use this for political gain.

jonas 11 years, 1 month ago

Right-Thinker: You just wanted to use the word "robust" didn't you?

mmmmmm. . . robust!!!!

mick 11 years, 1 month ago

Thankfully we have a new Congress who will actually do something about this mess.

jonas 11 years, 1 month ago

mick: Yeah right. Let me know when that happens. I'll be sleeping.

Jamesaust 11 years, 1 month ago

Pilgrim - While I'm sure there's a long list of names, yes, THIS IS GEORGE BUSH'S FAULT.

Is there anything that this irresponsible playboy will take responsibility for? Just whose budget do you think has been cutting funding for veteran's services in the middle of war? You know, saying you 'support the troops' at some point requires that you cease abandoning them!

BigDog 11 years, 1 month ago

This is not a new issue as far as the VA hospitals it has just been magnified now with the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. I did an internship at a VA in Topeka in the 90s, I heard some of the same complaint then from veterans. Too bad it takes another war to realize the issues at veterans hospitals.

mick 11 years, 1 month ago

The veterans come last at the Topeka VA. It is just an employment program for overprivileged white-collar employees. The Leavenworth VA is the opposite. It is excellent.

mick 11 years, 1 month ago

Current budgetary constraints? What current budgetary constraints? There's a $600 Billion pentagon budget.

mick 11 years, 1 month ago

I think that what is most relevent here is that we are talking about a mere 140K troops in a third world country and we can't even manage that. A Russia or a China could easily muster 100 times that many troops. We are excellent when it comes to blowing things up with billion-dollar fighters but we have shown the world that we are no superpower. We have blown it. The trust of our allies, our moral standing- gone. The idea that we would come together if we had to- forget it. We won't even defend our borders against illegal immigration. Most of the world views us as a rogue nation.

mick 11 years, 1 month ago

The Republicans don't care about you. The Democrats don't care about you. Neither party cares about this country. They don't care about the will of the people. Just look at immigration as an example. Over 70% want illegals out but they don't care. It's all a big game to them.

deec 11 years, 1 month ago

No, couranna said her parents came here after their land was seized. She/he was born here. You know, an American citizen.

paladin 11 years, 1 month ago

Veterans in this country, and probably elsewhere, have always been, with the possible exception of WWII, shunned, spurned, neglected, ignored, and swept under the rug. They have been used and thrown away in our throw-away society. Consider the Civil War, WWI, and the Nam. Their purpose was served. Then it was always up to them to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, if they have legs and feet on which to wear boots, and take responsibility for their lives and continue, re-start, living the "American Dream". The welfare and health care of veterans has always been sub-standard to poor to non-existent. Not any kind of care we would accept for our own families. In a broad sense, the vets are our family. Don't many of them sacrifice their lives so that we can go on living a good life, and free? Why all this attention now to the perennial problem of what to do with worn-out, used-up vets. Perhaps, its the manifestation of our, we the people, overwhelming burden of guilt for sending them off to die for no good reason, in a misguided, immoral, and illegal "war". This reality is our responsibility and they are our responsibility. Right?

Jamesaust 11 years, 1 month ago

right_thinker: "I never said he hasn't made mistakes."

Please list these mistakes.

prioress 11 years, 1 month ago

mick: The Republicans don't care about you. The Democrats don't care about you. Neither party cares about this country. They don't care about the will of the people. Just look at immigration as an example. Over 70% want illegals out but they don't care. It's all a big game to them.

Mick: Some truth in what you say. The immigration thing always interests me. George Will pointed out one could put a bus on the Mexican border and line the others up to "assemble" the illegals. The last bus would be parked near the Canadian border. How much do you want your taxes increased to get them all to "get on the bus?"

Crispian Paul 11 years, 1 month ago


Check out this article entitled: "Justice Department: FBI acted illegally on data Audit finds agency misused Patriot Act to obtain information on citizens"

This has been a point of contention many have with the president and his cronies. That the Patriot Act and FISA were used to obtain information about the actions of US citizens who were decidedly NOT suspected of terrorism.

jcantspell 11 years, 1 month ago

It seems wounded veterans have always been treated poorly threw out time May be all the solders shooed protest or go on strike till things get better

Jamesaust 11 years, 1 month ago

right_thinker - As I recall, the voices favoring more troops were loud and clear for years. Heck, even tin-soldier Kerry was clear in 2004 - Iraq needed a new U.S. President and more troops. He wanted to to expand the size of the U.S. military overall. Would that those troops existed right now.

Bomb them some more? Is there a bombing target that you're aware of that remained unbombed? Bomb the Sunnis? the Shiites? Who?

That sad disconnect in your comments is that you, on one hand, believe strongly that it was vital to reset the course of Iraq, but, on the other hand, don't seem to connect the spectacular loss of Iraq to Bush. God only knows what "blowback" will result from having bungled the whole thing. Having abandoned the war on terror to fight a war to spank Saddam, Bush has ended up with failure at both.

Don't let your peevish irksomeness at the so-wrong-they're-right crowd limit your righteous anger at the screw-up-in-chief. Failure is common enough as it is; it must be punished lest it occur even more frequently. What will the final number of dead necessary to satisfy W's ego?

budwhysir 11 years, 1 month ago

Point those fingers, raise those eye brows and disagree to agree on disagreeing on the agreable facts of disagreement

Mispelled words and all, I agree to disagree even with those that agree with my disagreement. Even though you may not agree, I am sure you can not argue about disagreeing with my disagreement right? or wrong???

agree?? disagree? AGREED

budwhysir 11 years, 1 month ago

I blame my computer for forcing me to read this letter.

Richard Heckler 11 years, 1 month ago

Privatization of Services at Walter Reed Criticized Meanwhile Vermont Congressman Peter Welch said a major factor in the conditions at Walter Reed might be the result of the privatization of services. Welch cited a five-year $120 million contract given to a company called IAP Worldwide Services, which is operated by a former Halliburton executive. The Corporate Research Project is reporting IAP has close ties to the Republican Party. Ownership of the company is controlled by the giant hedge fund Cerberus, whose chair is former Bush Administration Treasury Secretary John Snow. The IAP board of directors includes former Vice President Dan Quayle and retired Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Michael Hagee.

deec 11 years, 1 month ago

5 March 2007

WASHINGTON, March 5 (HalliburtonWatch.org) -- A private military contractor headed by a former senior Halliburton executive is providing poor and decrepit hospital conditions for injured war veterans at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, a congressional committee has found.

In a previously undisclosed memo provided to the House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, a garrison commander at the Walter Reed facility criticized the military's outsourcing of patient care to Florida-based IAP Worldwide Services, headed by former Halliburton executive Al Neffgen. Neffgen was previously employed as the chief operating officer for KBR Government Operations, a subsidiary of Halliburton that handles the company's military contracts in Iraq."

paladin 11 years, 1 month ago

The absurdest tragicomedy continues. When will it end? Who will end it? Will it end before its too late? The fools are frolicking on the terrace, while the castle burns to ruin.

deec 11 years, 1 month ago

So I take it you are okay with serving troops contaminated food, not treating water to prevent water-borne illness, cost-plus contracts, untrained "interrogators", etc. as long as these insider-connected companies with direct ties to the White House make huge profits? Are you also okay with your tax dollars funding those profits?

Richard Heckler 11 years, 1 month ago


Iraq Vets Come Home Physically, Mentally Butchered by Aaron Glantz On New Year's Eve, the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq passed 3,000. By Tuesday, the death toll had reached 3,004 31 more than died in the Sep. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

But the number of injured has far outstripped the dead, with the Veterans Administration reporting that more than 150,000 veterans of the Iraq war are receiving disability benefits.

Advances in military technology are keeping the death rate much lower than during the Vietnam War and World War Two, Dr. Col. Vito Imbascini, an urologist and state surgeon with the California Army National Guard, told IPS, but soldiers who survive attacks are often severely disabled for life.

"If you lost an arm or a leg in Vietnam, you were also tremendously injured in your chest and abdomen, which were not protected by the armor plates back then," he said. "Now, your heart and chest and lungs and heart are protected by armor, leaving only your extremities exposed."

Dr. Imbascini just returned from a four-month deployment to Germany, where he treated the worst of the U.S. war wounded. He said that an extremely high number of wounded soldiers are coming home with their arms or legs amputated. Imbascini said he amputated the genitals of one or two men every day.

paladin 11 years, 1 month ago

The truth speaks for itself. If you're willing enough and open-minded enough and smart enough and desperate enough and care enough about someone other than yourself and you're not too drunk on booze, money, material wealth, false belief in big lies and mis-guided loyalty, or a false sense of power and you're empathetic enough and you're sick and tired enough of injustice and you PAY ATTENTION. Are you paying attention? The truth is evident. Its not that hard. Probably easier if you're a Vet with no legs.

prioress 11 years, 1 month ago

Given your statements above, couldn't we replace the word "Sudan" with the word "Iraq"?

Nope; they be black, bubba and there isn't enough oil to worry about.

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