What a difference a day makesposted by The Sailor @ 4:47 PM Permalink Yesterday (2.20.07):
White House Press Briefing:
Q The administration's mantra for a long time has been "support the troops." What is the reaction, then, when you read this series of stories in The Washington Post about troops coming home from Iraq, Afghanistan and being treated so poorly, apparently, based on this long investigation? What's the President's reaction?
MR. SNOW: There are a couple of things. First, it's not a mantra. [Sailor: I beg to disagree] I would really choose words carefully. It's a commitment to support the troops. And the President, as you know, has visited the wounded many times at Walter Reed and we are concerned about it. And the people who --
Q But is there any evidence that it was even looked at before the paper printed its two stories?
MR. SNOW: Yes.
Q The White House doesn't want to be on record with a more emphatic expression of amazement and upset about this?
MR. SNOW: No.
Q In December NPR ran a series looking at the quality of mental health care for Iraq veterans who have returned, showing that it's shocking how little care is provided to them. And several congresspeople -- Obama, Boxer and Bond -- sent a letter to the Pentagon, which you're referring us to, asking for an investigation, which they have not agreed to conduct. So you're referring us to the DoD, but they're not acting quickly on this. So does the President want them to act quickly?
MR. SNOW: And at this point I would refer you to the Department of Defense.
Q Do you think the President is going to say something about this later?
MR. SNOW: No.
Q You responded to me a moment ago that the administration was aware of this before the articles appeared in the paper.
MR. SNOW: That is my understanding.
Q So why isn't the President, why isn't his staff saying, let's get to the bottom of it now?
MR. SNOW: We are trying to get to the bottom of it, and the people who are responsible for getting to the bottom of it work on the other side of the river.
Bush calls for investigation at Walter ReedSo yesterday the WH says it already knew about the ongoing problem, but didn't do anything about it because it wasn't their job.
Army hospital under fire for poor conditions
At the White House, spokesman Tony Snow said he spoke with the president yesterday about Walter Reed and the president told him: "Find out what the problem is and fix it."
He said Bush "first learned of the troubling allegations regarding Walter Reed from the stories this weekend in The Washington Post.
The Post series documented tattered conditions at Building 18, including mold, rot, mice and cockroaches, but also a larger bureaucratic indifference that has impeded some soldiers' ability to recover from their wounds.
Today, the WH says they only know what they read in the papers and they're shocked I tell you, shocked! And something has to be done! And the president can order people to fix it!
I got news for you mr president, your 'support the troops' bumper magnet won't get you into heaven any more.*
*Normally I'd apologize for adapting a song title, but I've worked with John Prine and before I worked with him I was a fan of his songs. And I think he'd be just fine with this.