Paul  Weyrich

Since the invasion of Iraq nearly four years ago promises made to our military men and women have been broken so many times that I have lost count. First, they were told it would all be over in a few months. It wasn't. After Baghdad fell there were unexpected problems with almost everything from the Iraqi civilian population to the equipment issued by the military. Many of our soldiers were sitting ducks as they patrolled the streets of places like Sadr City in unarmored vehicles. Rather than wade through the military bureaucracy, which kept reassuring them that everything was being done for their safety, soldiers took to scavenging for metal and re-enforcing their own vehicles. While Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld's press conferences assured the American public that everything was fine, the situation became so critical that private citizens were donating money and steel plating to protect our troops!

Those wounded in action have had a particularly rough time. Many were wounded by Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), a popular weapon that is frequently used by terrorists and Islamic radicals. An IED is inexpensive, easy to assemble and causes particularly brutal injuries. If not killed outright many soldiers have serious brain injuries, scars over their bodies and frequently lose limbs. Our wounded soldiers were promised excellent medical care, which they seem to get on the battlefield. Returning home, however, they are met with overcrowded Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals, long waits and poor follow-up. Some of the worst examples recently have been uncovered at Walter Reed Hospital, in Washington D.C., more or less the flagship of Army hospitals.

Paul Weyrich

Paul M. Weyrich is the late Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation.
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