This is how we support our troops?!!

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Postby Haggis@wk » Thu Feb 22, 2007 4:46 pm

I saw the original story and thought two things immediately.

1. The story took some bad experiences by a few of our soldiers and turned it into an indictment of the entire military health care system. I can tell you from extensive personal experience with military hospitals over the last 40 years that anyone can find a dozen or so people who believe that any particular hospital is the worst example of medical care. On occasion, I'm been one of those people as has OT. I'm just not all that interested in anecdotal reporting.

2. I wondered how long it would take for some poster here to latch on to it as another example of how our government isn’t taking care of the troops. Not long, it turns out.

Want to make things easier for our wounded and ailing troops? Donate some time to a local VA hospital. Everyone of them have a volunteer program and are begging for people to donate some time. Don’t have the time? Donate money or just find a local group that sews items for the vets, wounded or not.

And if you don’t have the motivation to do any of the above, then complain to your damn congressman but do SOMETHING other than try to score bulletin board “points” by pointing out how shock, SHOCKED you are at this administration’s shortfalls.

Do something to get involved with these lads and ladies to brighten their lives or, quite frankly, I don’t give a damn about your concerns, real or manufactured.

P.S. And if the stories ARE true and the health case is completely terrible then why are you trying to convince me that the government is the best soultion to providing nationalized health care?

Please tell me what, exactly, do you think will change if we turn our care over to the same kinds of government bureaucracies that’s causing this outrage?
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Huh?

Postby hal 9000 » Thu Feb 22, 2007 10:56 pm

Shapley wrote:My point is simply that we will never achieve a state of readiness if that is the criteria we use. There will always be improvements available, and not everyone will have the improvements when called to duty. It doesn't matter who initiates the action, those who are called to act are called to do so with the materiel on hand.


Wait a sec. You have a point if we are talking about a hood mounted smart laser that uses AI to automatically lock into enemy threats here. I can see how soldiers might have to wait for such technology to be fitted to their humvees. But plates of iron? How frickin' hard is that to provide? Certainly we could have produced enough money to have these welded to the vehicles. We had no problems producing 10 billion dollars in cash, placing them on pallettes, and sending them to Iraq to help its government recover (and subsequently, said pallettes mysteriously disappeared anyway). :banghead:
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Postby OperaTenor » Thu Feb 22, 2007 11:37 pm

How many anecdotes does it take to qualify for a compendium of evidence? I've heard at least a dozen accounts of waiting lists for various services, shortages of treatments and supplies, and backlogs at military hospiitals around the country. Almost none of it from that evil, liberal MSM.

My Congressional reps have been duly informed of how I feel about it, not that they will do anything other than continue to rubber stamp GWB.
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Postby Shapley » Fri Feb 23, 2007 9:04 am

Hal wrote:
But plates of iron? How frickin' hard is that to provide? Certainly we could have produced enough money to have these welded to the vehicles.


The armour in question is a bit more comples than just 'plates of iron'.
Army To Upgrade Stryker, Humvee Armor

Besides which, it is probably not the time it takes to attach the armour in question, it is the time it takes Congress to authorize the expense, the time it takes to fabricate the armour, the time it takes to ship the armour, and the time the vehicles have to be out of service so the armour can be installed that is most likely the limiting factor.

V/R
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OT wrote:
I've heard at least a dozen accounts of waiting lists for various services, shortages of treatments and supplies, and backlogs at military hospiitals around the country.


And I heard of those when I was in high school, which was during the final days of the Vietnam War. And I heard of those when I was in the Navy, which was at at time we were told that Ronaldus Maximus' military spending was breaking the budget. It has always been thus. Didn't Jane Fonda do a movie about how badly the wounded Vietnam vets were being treated? Wasn't the lonely death of a homeless World War II veteran an issue during the reign of Ronaldus Maximus, which prompted all these reports of 'hundreds of homeless veterans?

If the Army had spent the money to maintain Walter Reed in tip-top condition, the Pentagon would be catching flack for wasting money on a facility that is slated for closure. There's no winning when it comes to government spending.

V/R
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Postby Shapley » Fri Feb 23, 2007 9:36 am

I did find this interesting:

The Army also has asked for $1.3 billion for Army Family Housing, of which $595 million is earmarked to upgrade 4,561 family homes, budget figures show.


If I did my math right, that comes to a little over $130,000 per home. That is to 'upgrade' the homes, not build new ones. I'm curious about these 'upgrades'. In many parts of the country you can build a new family home for $130,000.

Not that this is new. I remember when I was in the Navy, the Army was asking for $6,000,000 to 'upgrade' a dozen of the officers homes at the Presidio.

V/R
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Postby jamiebk » Fri Feb 23, 2007 9:59 am

I work in San Francisco and drive through the Presidio everyday. I also spend a good deal of time there as it is a really nice recreational area. My line of work is related to and supports the construction industry.

As you may know, it is an area of significant historical importance. Unfortunately, the military did not take very good care of it or the huge number of buildings. There are many issues to deal with. Toxic waste remediation, lead paint abatement, asbestos abatement and the like need to be preformed in order to preserve the historical homes/buildings on the base. Renovation is almost always more expensive than "new" construction. I guess the main decision is whether to simply raze the facilities or try to preserve a part of our important history. That's probably a philosophical discussion for another thread, but I could easily see where re-construction costs could reach these proportions.

With respect to your other point about the $130,000 per home for upgrades; here too, I review a lot of these types of contracts. This is not an exorbitant sum. Usually such modifications involve ADA compliance, removal of asbestos and lead, new heating systems, new energy efficient windows, roofs, bathrooms and kitchens. If you think in terms of what it would cost to renovate a single family home to this extent, it would easily run into this dollar amount. Speaking from experience, I am currently replacing all of the windows in my home...price tag - $14,000 for that alone. A couple of years ago we gutted the kitchen to the tune of $60,000. It adds up fast.
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Postby Haggis@wk » Fri Feb 23, 2007 10:00 am

OperaTenor wrote:How many anecdotes does it take to qualify for a compendium of evidence?


none, that's why they are called anecdotes


OperaTenor wrote:I've heard at least a dozen accounts of waiting lists for various services, shortages of treatments and supplies, and backlogs at military hospiitals around the country. Almost none of it from that evil, liberal MSM.


Sounds like a good definition of universal health care, I refer to my earlier post

OperaTenor wrote:My Congressional reps have been duly informed of how I feel about it, not that they will do anything other than continue to rubber stamp GWB.


Whose fault is that? the Democrats control the purse strings they can spend whatever they want on military health care and the president couldn't do a thing about it.


http://www.san-diego.med.va.gov/volunteering.htm
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Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Fri Feb 23, 2007 11:45 am

There's a thing called the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA). It details lots and lots and lots of requirements governing the process of designing, acquiring, funding, and maintaining any military acquisition - facilities, materiel, supplies, you name it. It also requires me to take classes. And then there are the service regulations supporting and facilitating and expanding the legislation.

I so don't feel like trying to explain it on a bulletin board. Anyone with scads of time to waste, and a high trivia tolerance, is invited to look into the thing.
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Postby analog » Fri Feb 23, 2007 1:17 pm

Selma hit the mark on the issue of humvee armor.
The bureaucracy has to specify, bid, and project manage probably even toilet paper procurement. Everyone knew it would take years to get those humvees retrofitted with armor through channels. (As it has.)

I thought at the time Rummie missed an opportunity when he got blindsided by that young man's question. He shoulda loaded a C5 with 1/4" sheet steel and had it shipped to the personal attention of that soldier. Along with a truckload of acetylene welding outfits, steaks & beer.
And a couple engineers to make official drawings of what the troops improvised.

Heck - the military could afford sheet titanium - but I hear it's hard for amateurs to weld.

a.
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Postby barfle » Sat Feb 24, 2007 1:35 am

Shapley wrote:My point is simply that we will never achieve a state of readiness if that is the criteria we use. There will always be improvements available, and not everyone will have the improvements when called to duty. It doesn't matter who initiates the action, those who are called to act are called to do so with the materiel on hand.

And my point is the ones doing the calling in this case 1) had the knowledge ahead of time that we were going to war, 2) should have known the materiel situation, but 3) did not provide proper materiel in spite of 1) and 2).
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Postby OperaTenor » Sat Feb 24, 2007 5:40 am

Bingo.
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Postby piqaboo » Sat Feb 24, 2007 7:40 am

haggis wrote:I'm just not all that interested in anecdotal reporting.

Well, except for those anecdotes related by bloggers you enjoy reading.
Face it, Haggis, you are just as biased as the rest of us. :P
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Postby Haggis@wk » Sat Feb 24, 2007 10:55 am

piqaboo wrote:
haggis wrote:I'm just not all that interested in anecdotal reporting.

Well, except for those anecdotes related by bloggers you enjoy reading.
Face it, Haggis, you are just as biased as the rest of us. :P


I'm shocked SHOCKED that anyone would think I'm biased.... :rotfl:
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Postby Haggis@wk » Sat Mar 10, 2007 5:54 pm

I haven't commented much on this story, mostly because I believed it to be old news.

Anyone who reads newspapers knows that the VA has chronic problems in serving veterans and has done so for decades.

Hollywood made a movie about it called Article 99 fifteen years ago to capitalize on the controversy over it then.

However, I underestimated the national scope of this story. It's obviously more intense now with the war on terror, especially in Iraq, and the shortcomings of the system need more exposure.

It wasn't one of my better decisions.

Although I would point out that if our Veteran's "National Healh Plan" can't take care of a slim percentage of the American population how can anyone think that a real NHP would do any better for ALL Americans?
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Postby Shapley » Mon Mar 19, 2007 12:20 pm

Maintenance contracts for Walter Reed were put on hold while the employees of Walter Reed and the only contracting firm which bid to offer privatized services, IAP Worldwide Services, duked it out over the maintenance contract. The move to privatize was begun during the Clinton Presidency, and was moved forward by President Bush. The Army sought to privatize the services as a cost-saving measure, but it was opposed by government employees at Walter Reed and by Democrats in Congress.

Measure to Block Walter Reed Outsourcing Fails in Senate

Employees Lose Bid To Block Outsourcing at Walter Reed

[Rep. Eleanonr Holmes] Norton and four colleagues last week sent Secretary of the Army Francis Harvey a letter urging him to hold off on signing a contract for Walter Reed, noting that "highly unusual circumstances ... demand sustained congressional scrutiny and if necessary, decisive congressional intervention."


Congress itself, led by Democrats Eleanor Holmes Norton and Sen. Barbara Mikulski, delayed the implementation of contracts to for the maintenance of Walter Reed Army Medical Center. IAP was not given final approval to begin operations at Walter Reed until weeks before the Washinton Post story ran.

If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would suspect that the story was part of an ongoing effort to prevent the privatization of services at Walter Reed. But not being one, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt, even though the timing does seem suspicious...
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Postby OperaTenor » Mon Mar 19, 2007 5:05 pm

Pretty tall order for Democrats in a Republican-majority Senate.

Taking partisanship to nauseating levels.

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Postby Shapley » Tue Mar 20, 2007 9:04 am

I'm merely pointing out the facts. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton and Sen. Barbara Mikulski were opposed to the privatization of maintenance at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and have expended a considerable amount of effort ensuring that the contract has been delayed. They finally lost the fight, and the contract was signed with IAP Worldwide Services. A couple of weeks later, the Washington Post runs a story on the horrible conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, citing maintenance problems among other issues. No mention of the legal wrangling that has tied up the contract for that maintenance, or who was behind it.

Eleanor Holmes Norton has been very vocal about her opposition to the privatization contract, and has taken credit for the delays, as pointed out in the links I posted.

I just thought I'd point out the truth. You're welcome to post anything you have to the contrary. I didn't find the names of the other Congresspersons involved in the blocking, and I don't have time to look today because I have to go to a funeral. You are welcome to search for that information. You may find a Republican or two in the list, I don't know. I do doubt it, however, since the area surrounding Walter Reed is highly Democratic and the staff is unionized. In addition, Republicans typically favour privatization.

V/R
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Postby Shapley » Tue Mar 20, 2007 9:30 am

Last edited by Shapley on Wed Dec 05, 2007 10:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby OperaTenor » Tue Mar 20, 2007 9:39 am

For anything to have happened, there would have to have been more than one or two Republicans "on the list".

This whole Republicans-are-always-right-and-Democrats-are-always-wrong meme is a bit tedious.
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Postby Shapley » Tue Mar 20, 2007 10:09 am

This whole Republicans-are-always-right-and-Democrats-are-always-wrong meme is a bit tedious.


Nowhere in my post did I say that. I have not even said that Privatization is right or wrong. I've merely pointed out that there is an ongoing effort by a limited number of Democrats to prevent the privatization efforts at Watler Reed, and that the Washington Post story appeared only a couple of weeks after their efforts were lost.

It does not require a majority to prevent things from happening. Senior Senators and Congressmen, such as Ms. Norton and Ms. Mikulski, weild a lot of power and have connections inside and outside of the Congress which can be used to block the implementation of agreed-upon processes.

You will note that the Washington Post story and it's aftermath seem to have played out in the direction that those two wanted. Walter Reed will not be closed and the privatization effort is being 'reviewed'. Without the Washington Post story, this probablly would not have happened. Add in the testimony of various Union Representatives who will point to IAW Worldwide's role (overlooking the limited duration of that role), and you'll probably find that it will bend a few sympathetic ears to the cause.

The Base Closure Commission was set up to eliminate the ability of powerful Congresspersons from overriding the Pentagon's closure requests. It would appear that Ms. Norton and Ms. Mikulski have found an end-run around that safeguard. I welcome your evidence to the contrary...

V/R
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