Tuesday, July 17, 2007


The AP is reporting that Jim Nicholson, the secretary of veterans affairs, just resigned due to pressure from the Walter Reed scandal. A November 2005 Fox News interview revealed that he said he "often" visited Walter Reed with his wife, and even went so far as to say:

And the thing [veterans] -- they actually tug my arm on and say, Secretary, there's one thing you could do for me. And that is, could you get me back to my unit? They have been over there. They have now seen the media coverage of this war. And they see the differences. And they have seen all the good things that are going on over there and the progress that's been made. And they feel very good about what they were doing. And they - - they want to go back. Some of them have -- wounded so badly, they will never be able to go back. But that's what they want to do.

As touching as his spin is, many returning soldiers faced grossly inadequate care at Walter Reed. At least someone is resigning for incompetence.

UPDATE: Although the early AP wire report said that the resignation was due to the Walter Reed scandal, it appears that the reasons for his resignation were far more diverse than originally reported. Now, the story points to the missing data files from the VA, and a statement just released from Rep. Phil Hare attributes the resignation to "a disability claims backlog of 600,000, staffing shortages at our vet centers, and ongoing challenges at Walter Reed and other medical facilities that care for our wounded soldiers."

Although the Walter Reed isn't a VA hospital, the scandal has given attention to how veterans are treated. While the VA has good care, it's been severely understaffed and underfunded in recent years, especially in light a of a new generation of veterans that will return with wounds on the inside as well as the outside.

--Kay Steiger

Cross-posted at TAPPED.

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