It turns out the Department of Defense held focus groups at Walter Reed Medical Center. The Force Health Protection and Readiness department met with wounded soldiers monthly to “monitor Army healthcare and provide military officials with direct information about it,” Salon reports. That’s a good thing, right? Well, not exactly. It turns out they’ve been holding these group discussions since before the start of wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan, yet have neglected to employ the information garnered to affect any real change. But, how could they — the DoD kept no records of the interviews.
This not only speaks to the blatant neglect on the part of the department to remedy problems within the system but shows that the DoD has not been forthcoming throughout the investigation into the conditions at Walter Reed. In February, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Dr. William Winkenwerder Jr claimed all the accusations being thrown at the facility caught him by surprise. If the DoD was conducting focus groups, I am pretty sure the man tasked with overseeing military medicine would know it. Right? Although, I guess ignorance of your agency’s actions is common practice within government departments under the Bush administration. I mean, AG Alberto Gonzales was “not involved” in the firing of nearly 10 percent of the nation’s U.S. Attorneys.
In our last issue, Mother Jones provides more insight into the administration’s maltreatment of the nation’s soldiers.