Each member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and every general at the Pentagon should take a field trip to Walter Reed Army Medical Center this week -- turf battles be damned -- and inspect firsthand the appalling conditions our wounded service members are enduring ["The Other Walter Reed," front page, Feb. 18-19].
The military's objective is twofold: accomplish the mission and attend to the welfare of the troops. Proper short-term and long-term care of the wounded is an important part of this objective.
The Post series made it clear that a bumbling, inept bureaucracy is inflicting cruel and unusual punishment on these soldiers and Marines and their families. The description of multiple computerized personnel systems that cannot communicate with one another prompts me to suggest that perhaps one of those multimillion-dollar defense contracts should be awarded to a competent company for a suite of integrated software modules that would free these soldiers from limbo.
And hurray for the Marine's mother who stayed by the bed of her son. There is nothing like a mother to ensure that her son and others are properly cared for while recovering.
MARY KAY DOWNES
Why not use those surplus, unused Katrina trailers to house the "warehoused" wounded on the Walter Reed grounds? If the hospital doesn't want such a visual reminder of its lack of professional integrity in caring for our wounded, the trailers can be parked on the White House lawn. There they can be a constant reminder to President Bush and the American people of how we take care of our veterans.
Members of Congress, be ashamed. After reading "The Other Walter Reed," I must ask all of you in the House and the Senate: Why are you diddling over a silly nonbinding resolution when our soldiers -- who have more courage and love of country in one finger than you have in your legislative body collectively -- are being treated so shabbily?
I was shocked as I read the "The Other Walter Reed" on Sunday. I was dismayed not only by the plight of the soldiers and Marines spotlighted but also by the one-sided nature of the reporting. It is hard to believe that The Post could not report one positive story regarding outpatient care at Walter Reed. As a retired Army Medical Corps officer and a former Walter Reed staff member, I know there are countless such tales.
In 2003, the military's Medical Hold Companies were overwhelmed by reservists with undocumented medical problems who had been newly activated. An influx of casualties from Iraq and Afghanistan greatly strained the system, which is still recovering. Maj. Gen. George W. Weightman, Walter Reed's commander, is a compassionate man and physician, and I know that he and his senior enlisted leadership are doing all they can to help our wounded soldiers and Marines.
While the article does bring to light a pressing problem, it was clear that its purpose was to provoke outrage over an emotionally charged issue.
JOHN H. CHILES