Thursday, February 22, 2007

That much-derided MSM does some good

The Bush Administration has been spurred to action by the WaPo story about decrepit facilities at Walter Reed:

Swift Action Promised at Walter Reed
Investigations Urged as Army Moves to Make Repairs, Improve Staffing

By Dana Priest and Anne Hull
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, February 21, 2007; Page A08

The White House and congressional leaders called yesterday for swift investigation and repair of the problems plaguing outpatient care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, as veterans groups and members of Congress in both parties expressed outrage over substandard housing and the slow, dysfunctional bureaucracy there.

Top Army officials yesterday visited Building 18, the decrepit former hotel housing more than 80 recovering soldiers, outside the gates of the medical center. Army Secretary Francis Harvey and Vice Chief of Staff Richard Cody toured the building and spoke to soldiers as workers in protective masks stripped mold from the walls and tore up soiled carpets.

At the White House, press secretary Tony Snow said that he spoke with President Bush yesterday about Walter Reed and that the president told him: "Find out what the problem is and fix it."

Snow said Bush "first learned of the troubling allegations regarding Walter Reed from the stories this weekend in The Washington Post. He is deeply concerned and wants any problems identified and fixed." The spokesman said he did not know why the president, who has visited the facility many times in the past five years, had not heard about these problems before. . .

Of course, such repairs cost money. Congress can easily cut the bloated budget to pay for this, however. I suggest Congress starts with the $20 million it has earmarked for an Iraq victory celebration.

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