Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

The care within the VA system is hardly a new issue. It is good that it is getting attention.

For those who are appalled at the conditions, you would do well to consider the bureaucratic problems before embracing any nationalized single payer system of healthcare.

This is just a preview.

Gregg Anderle

Racine, WI

Mar 18 2007 - 8:42am

Web Letter

Before everyone pats themselves on the back for their own sensitivity to these issues, or blames "the mainstream media" for its own lack of compassion, try asking some of the 2,500,000+ Viet Nam veterans--and their families--about all this. These problems go back 40+ years, but we weren't a popular cause. Never were, never have been, never will be. Best pretend we never happened. So no reporters of ANY sort had any interest.

This nation--including most of your readers and yourselves--has a great deal to answer for. Exposing it a now is a good thing and our current crop of wounded warriors certainly deserves to be treated with utomost honor and respect. We have had more Viet Nam veterans "suicide out" than we have listed on The Wall--primarily due to lack of support, concern etc. upon "coming home" (which few of us have ever actually done).

I am not whining--much too old to think anyone would give a rat's patoot at this late stage--and I don't think we were or are much different from our grandfathers returning from WWI. However, the country shows no sign of ever realizing that responsibility for all of those they send does not end with the signing of some "peace" or "armistice" document. Nor does "support our troops" entail simply waving a flag sporadically or buying decals for the back of a minivan or SUV.

J Douglas Britton

Madison, WS

Mar 9 2007 - 2:14pm

Web Letter

Yes, as the last paragraph states,"it would have been far better if the Walter Reed story had exploded two or three years ago." But you have to take into consideration that two or three years ago the Oval Office, Congress and Senate were Republican-controlled and we all know that Republicans are stupid and do not read.

Rodney Wallace

Denver, CO

Mar 9 2007 - 1:56pm

Web Letter

The mainstream media lets us down every day.

Driven by relentless profit motive and the opression of the quarterly earnings report, big news media has been increasingly trivialized by the need to produce large earnings at the same time that its corporate owners have decreed a policy of killing stories that are overtly critical of the Bush administration - indeed of most any establishment venue.

Energy (oil) corporations, the drug lobby, agribusiness, American automakers and other spoilers have received a hall pass on some of their most horrible excesses. We, as a nation have accepted the de facto censorship of embedded reporters in Iraq and a ban on reporting the arrival of the dead and wounded here at home.

When some righteous soul uses the antique term: "the liberal media," I'm stunned by their dated view of the scene. There hasn't been a liberal media in the USA for years, maybe decades.

The media are ownwed by huge corporations, and their marching orders come from the boards of those huge corporations. We're lucky that a story like the Walter Reed scandal broke at all.

Perhaps you've noticed that there is virtually no mention of similar situations in large VA hospitals around the country. Please, let's not get carried away.

Gregory Von Dare

Los Angeles, CA

Mar 9 2007 - 12:23am

Web Letter

This happened ont he watch of Tom DeLay's right hand man and chief Republican fundraiser, ironically quoted here as concerned about the matter. He, too, knew about this since 2004. He admitted as much in an article in the March 7 Congressional Quarterly.

He was too busy raising money from government contractors like IAP who won the contract for running Walter Reed. Follow the money and see they paid the money concurrently with efforts to schedule hearings before his Government Reform Committee. He would either refuse to hold the hearings or he would feed the witnesses Q&As. His wife's "job" at ICG Government is to "prepare" witnesses for hearings before his committee.

Davis won the Chair of the Reform Committee over the more senior Chris Shays (R-CT) as punishment for Shays pushing for more campaign finance reform and for more oversight.

See for example http://www.raisingkaine.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=7487and www.tomdavistruth.com

Andrea Chamblee

Silver Spring, MD

Mar 8 2007 - 10:25pm

Web Letter

Walter Reed is only one of many stories, the vast majority of which will never be told, concerning government waste, indifference, and poor treatment of clients. It's not news that the DOD is tied up with red tape. What's interesting is that the Post could make an ordinary situation so important. Probably it's the name "Walter Reed." If this were happening in some facility in Mississippi, I doubt that the Post would ever have picked up the story.

We are witnessing one of the occasional spasms of concern that Congress exhibits over some governmental shortcoming. The American people are no more interested in paying close attention to this over a long period of time than is Maureen Dowd.

You can't sell enough newspapers to policy wonks to pay the rent. We should be grateful to see this happen on rare occasions, without blaming the media for not making it a regular occurrence.

Rob Spooner

Florence, Oregon

Mar 8 2007 - 5:03pm