Americans are truly outraged about the Walter Reed story, but what message have they taken away this week? As this segment on NPR says this story is capable of completely derailing the Bush administration.
It is very important that the public understand what the Bush administration's role was in this failure of policy. As I wrote earlier, the rightwing machine is already out talking about how this is a big government (Democratic) problem. If they successfully paint this idea in the minds of the American public, they will once more skate responsiblity for their actions and be free to carry on as usual.
Today, one of the biggest stories on Google is how Bush is stepping in to fix the problem with no mention that he owns responsibility for this mess. Here is what the Christian Broadcasting News is reporting.
This story line has the effect of once more smearing "government" instead of emphasizing the difference between a Bush bureaucracy and what is possible when someone who cares about making things work for people rather than only their rich backers is in charge.
Just as Clinton's FEMA worked beautifully, so did the VA medical system. It is under Bush that things got so bad.
Besides starting an unnecessary war which greatly stressed the system, Bush and his ideologically corrupt minons refused to hear about the problems and focused their attention on diverting tax dollars to the rich. Former TPMMuckraker Justin Rood has uncovered the fact that the "complicated system" that exists today could have been made significantly better for a mere $1 Million (via TPMMuckraker).
As Krugman says, the problem we see with the treatment for the wounded soldiers is the same as what we saw with New Orleans. The Bush administration is ideologicially concerned first and foremost for funneling profits to their cronies. Everything else is secondary.
If you don't read any of the other links, read Krugman.
Indeed, according to Rood, Bush continues to place confidence in the very people who refused to change the systems that had been identified as problematic:
Yesterday, President Bush put VA Secretary Nicholson in charge of an interagency task force to determine what can be done to deliver benefits and health care now to thousands of wounded vets who have struggled to receive care.
The announcement came almost exactly two years after Nicholson had received the newly designed system, itself the result of an internal VA task force studying how to make sure wounded soldiers were "seamlessly" transitioned from military service to veteran status with the care and benefits they'd earned.
...Sullivan ... reacted with dismay at yesterday's announcement that Nicholson would be leading the new effort to make sure wounded veterans get the care and benefits they deserve.
"I don't think it's a good idea for the people responsible for the problem to be in charge of fixing it," he told ABC News.
This is the story we need to make sure the public takes away from this scandal. Otherwise, nothing can or will get fixed, despite the announcement of a new bipartisan commission to "fix" things. There must finally be some accountability for the Bush administration and their ideology that places greed over human needs.
The day must come.