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The heartbreaking story of how poorly our wounded warriors were being treated at Walter Reed Medical Center has taken a few turns for the better.
I was expecting that if anyone were fired for this travesty, it would be some private or sergeant, as with the totally embarrassing conduct of our soldiers at Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq. I am glad I was wrong.
This week, the Secretary of the Army resigned, the two-star Commanding General of the hospital was fired, along with a captain and six or seven sergeants. Now, some of those fired, like the General, were at their posts for six months or less, which means the conditions were there for a lot longer than six months. I am telling you all this so that you get that many more are responsible for this mess, than just these few.
However, if we want real accountability, we still need to at least reprimand all those who were involved in this mess since 9/11.
While we are doing good things, we should also ban any use of soldiers, especially wounded ones, as back drops by any and all politicians. We got it right this time; we did not give any medals nor promotions for screwing up, nor did we allow the guilty to retire. The outrage in the press, in Congress and in the Army was finally enough to hold someone accountable for despicable care and a criminal act of leadership.
Our government did it right, those directly responsible have been fired. IT IS ABOUT DAMN TIME!
Now, let us not stop here. Let's fix the paper work fiasco that our wounded men and women and their families are subjected to in order to get the care they earned. Fix that now, please. Our best are in pain and those caring for them are crying with frustration.
Now, to the money issue and the war. Some in Congress want to do something to stop and or change how the war in Iraq is going. What I find interesting, is that the war in Afghanistan has gone “south” — but because it's a NATO operation (even though we are the main effort in NATO and in fact command it), we all seem to accept that, and are giving it some time, but not in Iraq.
I have been and will continue to be very critical of how we are fighting until we start getting it. However, we have to be real here. Soldiers are in combat, the surge has begun, the battle is being fought, give it a minute. Let's see what happens. (Also, lets stop calling anyone who disagrees with you on Iraq a coward or traitor and yes, you can disagree with a policy and still love and support soldiers in combat.)
I say let them have until the May/June time frame; by then our guys will have won a lot of battles and turned over some areas in Bagdhad to what is right now an incompetent fighting force called the Iraq military, and an even less competent Iraqi Police. If the Iraqi military does not run away, then the surge might work and we should let it ... but if, like the conditions now, the Iraqi military still on shows up with less than 60 percent of its force, and in fact continues to warn the civilian population that we are coming, then pull the damn plug.
If in the next 90 days we cannot show progress, then get our men and women home. Leave a force to train and help, maybe 50, 0000, and more civilian trainers and money. Do not abandon Iraq; that would be stupid. But leaving our men to be killed for a country that will not defend itself would be akin to murder.
Colonel David Hunt has over 29 years of military experience, including extensive operational experience in Special Operations, Counter Terrorism and Intelligence Operations. You can read his complete bio here.