Two weeks after breaking
the Walter Reed scandal, The Washington Post
's Anne Hull and Dana Priest report
on the avalanche of correspondence they've received from vets detailing similar conditions at VA outpatient facilities across the country:
Hundreds of soldiers contacted The Washington Post through telephone calls and e-mails, many of them describing their bleak existence in Medhold.
From Fort Campbell in Kentucky: "There were yellow signs on the door stating our barracks had asbestos."
From Fort Bragg in North Carolina: "They are on my [expletive] like a diaper. . . . there are people getting chewed up everyday."
From Fort Dix in New Jersey: "Scare tactics are used against soldiers who will write sworn statement to assist fellow soldiers for their medical needs."
From Fort Irwin in California: "Most of us have had to sign waivers where we understand that the housing we were in failed to meet minimal government standards."
It's clear that this was a scandal waiting to break. And now that it's broken, lawmakers can't get enough of it -- even though the deplorable condition of the VA (a backlog of 400,000 benefit claims) was no great secret. The difference, of course, is that what was acceptable has become unacceptable:
For years, politicians have received letters from veterans complaining of bad care across the country. Last week, Walter Reed was besieged by members of Congress who toured the hospital and Building 18 to gain first-hand knowledge of the conditions. Many of them have been visiting patients in the hospital for years, but now they are issuing news releases decrying the mistreatment of the wounded.