June 14, 2012. Chaos and violence continue, War Criminal Colin Powell
said his 2003 UN speech was about inspections but today let's slip the
decision to go to war was already made, CJR self-embarrasses with a
novel concept on journalistic ethics (If you marry, it wipes the slate
clean -- quick, someone tell Stephen Glass, Janet Cooke and so many
others!), the political crisis continues in Iraq, Senator Patty Murray
has some tough questions for Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and
Collie The Blot Powell
continues to plug his bad and co-written (Tony Koltz) book It Worked For Me: Killing and Lying
It's really amazing the way the liar keeps saying more than he means
to. But a War Criminal, like any other criminal, has a compulsion to
confess (as Freud and Theodor Reik both argued). You can't turn a trick
without a john and a whore. Presumably Colin played the role of the john for Kira Zalan (US News and World Reports)
We learn that Powell sees meaning when an elderly man is unable to pay
attention to a discussion both due to age and to illness but to Collie
it's a life lesson about division of labor. As usual, he discusses
the blot and for those fearing Colin's suddenly become part of the
Neville family, it's not a facial blot. It's the fecal smear on his
public image that won't wipe off. It's the lies he told the United
Nations in an attempt at kick starting the war on Iraq. Collie first
floated the blot on TV in an interview he gave to Barbara Walters
for ABC News. After it aired, September 2005, Ava and I wrote about it
says, unable to look at him while she does -- oh the drama!, "However,
you gave the world false, groundless reasons for going to war. You've
said, and I quote, 'I will forever be known as the one who made the case
for war.' Do you think this blot on your record will stay with you for
the rest of your life?"
Well it's a, it's a, of course it will. It's a blot. I'm the one who
presented it on behalf of the United Nations, uh, United States, to the
world. And it will always be uh, part of my, uh, my record.
Walters: How painful is it?
Powell: (shrugs) It was -- it *was* painful. (shifts, shrugs) It's painful now.
Has a less convincing scene ever been performed?
Such as when Powell informs Walters that the fault lies with the
intelligence community -- with those who knew but didn't come forward.
Unfortunately for Powell, FAIR's advisory steered everyone to a Los Angeles Times' article from July 15, 2004:
before Secretary of State Colin L. Powell was to present the case for
war with Iraq to the United Nations, State Department analysts found
dozens of factual problems in drafts of his speech, according to new
documents contained in the Senate report on intelligence failures
released last week.
Two memos included with the Senate report
listed objections that State Department experts lodged as they reviewed
successive drafts of the Powell speech. Although many of the claims
considered inflated or unsupported were removed through painstaking
debate by Powell and intelligence officials, the speech he ultimately
presented contained material that was in dispute among State Department
instead of discussing Iraq's weapons in terms of "possibilities" or
"estimates," Powell spoke before the United Nations last February with
"These are not assertions,"
Powell told the Security Council. "What we are giving you are facts and
conclusions based on solid intelligence."
qualified only one of his remarks during the 75-minute presentation,
saying there was some "controversy" over the intended use of
high-strength aluminum tubes. On all other issues, Powell left no room
for debate. He used the phrase "we know" 32 times.
Jonathan Schwarz (Mother Jones
) fact checked the lies here
The lies that you tell
will leave you alone
they'll catch you and trip you up,
Keep you hangin' around
-- "Love You By Heart," written by Carly Simon
Jacob Brackman and Libby Titus, first appears on Carly's Spy
Yes, liars usually will trip themselves up. Like today when Powell tells Kira Zalan:
when I gave it, people stopped and listened. And the president by that
time had already decided that combat would be necessary, he decided that
sometime in January. And now it's 5 February and I'm simply telling
people why it may be necessary.
These, these, these are the words
The words that maketh murder.
These, these, these are the words
The words that maketh murder.
Colin Powell tells US News and World Reports that the decision to go to
war on Iraq was made a month before his UN speech. Strange because the
day of his speech, CNN reported (February 5, 2003)
a lunch that followed Powell's presentation, diplomats said he
responded to the French foreign minister's concerns about the impact war
with Iraq would have on the region by saying, "I wasn't talking about
war, but about strengthening inspections."
diplomats said Powell also made clear to Foreign Minister Dominique de
Villepin that the United States is not ready to go to war immediately,
and is interested in hearing France's proposals to strengthen
inspections with the added value of the evidence Powell presented.
Colin didn't just lie to the citizens of the world in his UN speech, he
continued to lie immediately after and lied to diplomats and France's
Foreign Minister. Colin Powell is a liar. He can pretend all he wants
but the record bears out the reality that he has repeatedly misled over
and over. That is lying.
And it's really sad
that someone known for doing so little on a national level (other than
War Crimes) gets so much press attention for a co-written clip job while
former US Senator Russ Feingold put real thought and real work into While America Sleeps: A Wake-Up Call for the Post-9/11 Era
and the press is far less likely to offer coverage (or swoon). Randy Hanson (Hudston Star-Observer) provides
coverage on a recent book discussion Feingold gave:
His chapter on the Iraq War is titled "The Iraq Deception."
I tried to do in the book is explain what happened because of our
general strategy in Iraq," Feingold said. "Everything we did was
defined on the basis of Iraq. And it was crazy, because Bush actually
said in his speeches over and over again that there were 60 or 65
countries where al-Qaeda was operating. His list included Afghanistan,
Uzbekistan, the Slavic republics, Ireland, England -- but not Iraq."
He said that while the United States was concentrating on holding Iraq, terrorist groups were expanding in other countries.
I thought 9/11 showed us is what happens when we're not alert. We
learned what it felt like to be taken completely by surprise," he said,
recalling how the big news story during the summer of 2001 had been
shark attacks in the country's coastal waters.
One book is mature and thoughtful, the other pure piffle. The one with nothing to offer gets the bulk of the media attention.
the immaturity that the press repeatedly embraces while pretending to
be 'high brow' in order to justify their refusal to cover actual news
stories. One example, refusing to explore serious ethical violations by
using matrimony as an excuse: "But that was in 2008, and they're
married now." Is that Margaret Carlson? No. No, it's much worse than
columnist Carlson. That's Erika Fry forced into covering the story for CJR
. I was on the phone earlier today with a CJR
friend for a half-hour, it was a pre-emptive call asking me to please understand . . . No, it doesn't work that way.
will allow that Erika Fry got stuck with the assignment (that's what I
was told, I do not know her and didn't speak to her). But she's an
assistant editor and it's Columbia Journalism Review. I'm real
damn sorry that your panties and boxers go dry when you have to
critique someone your wet dream Barack loves -- Brett McGurk. But I'm
genuinely sorry that you're such whores that you rush to minimize what
Brett McGurk is Barack Obama's
nominee for US Ambassador to Iraq. He's gotten into a lot of trouble
for numerous things but Fry ended up stuck writing about the e-mails.
E-mails became public last week (see the June 5th snapshot) that he had
exchanged with Gina Chon in 2008 when both were in Baghdad -- he was
working for the US government, she was working for the Wall St.
Journal. The Wall St. Journal let Chon go on Tuesday due to the fact
that she had concealed the affair in 2008 when McGurk was not only a US
government official but the primary source for her stories and she was
let go because she had shared stories she was working on with McGurk to
let him alter them (she stated in her defense that she was using him as a
sounding board for input).
Columbia JOURNALISM Review. And they rush to dismiss it. And they rush to treat it as no big deal. "But that was in 2008, and they're married now."
Who gives a damn?
doesn't change a thing. You either start having standards or you
don't. Right now, CJR has no standards at all. Judith Miller could go
back to work for the New York Times tomorrow and any argument CJR
might make would be pointless. Because right now, they're telling us,
that if you marry the source for whom you cater coverage too, it doesn't
matter that you misled readers and your editor and it doesn't matter
that your lover got copy approval of anything you turned in.
If that's the position CJR wants to take, then they are nothing but a joke.
get that sex sells," Fry lies. It's not about sex, it's about ethics.
If it were about sex, we'd talk about the doggie style encounter in a
hallway. We can do that. Brett McGurk was very 'popular' in Iraq.
Gina Chon wasn't the first woman he cheated on his wife with. (That may
or may not be news to Chon.) If Fry wants to make it about sex, we can
But don't dimiss sleeping with a
source, letting your lover vet your copy and misleading the public and
your editor as it being about sex or as ethical lapses that expire
because they two got married.
This is embarrassing and shame on CJR
for this nonsense. Again, I had to listen to half hour of excuses
today. I hadn't even read the piece. I return a voice mail and
suddenly it's "Well we . . . and we . . and we . . ." Wee wee? That
about sums it up. CJR has just pissed on journalism ethics. That's not a proud moment.
Nor is Erika Fry's inability to be factual. Fry writes, "For what it's worth, The Wall Street Journal
has said that Chon's relationship did not affect her reporting." That's
not what they said. They said, "At this time the Journal has found no
evidence that her coverage was tainted by her relationship with Mr.
McGurk." That's your first clue that Fry knows what happens is much
worse than she let on -- the fact that she has to distort what the Wall St. Journal actually said.
Wall Street Journal
reporter Gina Chon agreed to resign this afternoon after acknowledging
that while based in Iraq she violated the Dow Jones Code of Conduct by
sharing certain unpublished news articles with Brett McGurk, then a
member of the U.S. National Security Council in Iraq.
2008 Ms. Chon entered into a personal relationship with Mr. McGurk,
which she failed to disclose to her editor. At this time the Journal has
found no evidence that her coverage was tainted by her relationship
with Mr. McGurk.
Chon joined the Journal in 2005 in Detroit, followed by an assignment
as Iraq correspondent in Baghdad from 2007 to 2009. She also reported
for the Journal from Haiti in 2010 in the aftermath of the earthquake
and has served as a M&A reporter for Money & Investing in New
York since April 2010.
Erika Fry maybe shouldn't be writing about journalism ethics for CJR
when obviously she has ethical problems of her own as evidenced by
taking an "at this time" and turning it into something else. (For the
record, the paper only learned of what took place in Baghdad after the
e-mails surfaced. I was told the paper became aware of the problem on
Wednesday of last week. And that a number of journalists feel burned by
Chon's actions and the general consensus is that she didn't give the
paper a heads up and let them be completely blindsided.)
idea is to avoid relationships that could compromise a reporter's
judgment or give the appearance of playing favorites, said John K.
Hartman, a professor of journalism at Central Michigan University.
"Serious journalists know that it is imperative to avoid any conflict of
interest and any situation that might taint their reporting
perspective," he said. Sometimes, however, reporters "can take cozying
up to sources too far."
Similarly, journalists aren't supposed to disclose unpublished stories, lest it compromise the gathering of information.
Erika Fry, serious journalists know that. How serious do you think CJR
looks right now?They're married now, huffs Erika Fry. So if Bully Boy
Bush marries Tony Blair, that excuses the Iraq War? Matrimony has
nothing to do with the ethical violations. But let's play like we're as
stupid as Erika Fry hopes we are. So if Gina Chon and Brett McGurk
stay married another year, it matters even less. If they make it to ten
years then there was no ethical violation at all? It's funny because
Fry should be familiar with the code of ethics for journalism and I see
no 'matrimony card' that excuses any violation.
what's received less attention is the website that published those
emails, and the man who runs it. John Young founded Cryptome, a
clearinghouse for leaked documents from the military and intelligence
community, in 1996, roughly a decade before WikiLeaks existed. It has
since become a must-read for some people who track the intelligence
community and the military. "Cryptome has become part of the national
security information landscape," says Steven Aftergood, the director of
the project on government secrecy at the Federation of American
Scientists, a nonprofit think tank. "I check it every day," he adds.
Yesterday, some Senators weighed in on McGurk. Sunlen Miller (ABC News) reports
Senators John Barrasso, Jim DeMint, James Inhofe, Mike Lee, James Risch
and Marco Rubio wrote a letter to the White House explaining, "As
members of the committee, with the responsibility of providing advice
and consent, we write to respectfully urge you to reconsider this
nomination. There are strong concerns about Mr. McGurk's
qualifications, his ability to work with Iraqi officials, and now his
judgment." The six are Republicans. Matthew Lee (AP) reports
, "Earlier, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.
, the chairman of the committee, hinted that the nomination could be reconsidered. He said he had spoken with Vice President Joe Biden
about McGurk." Lee quotes Kerry stating, "I think there are some very
fair questions being asked and they need to be answered." Ted Barrett and Paul Courson (CNN) report
that Kerry is considering delaying the planned Tuesday Committee vote
on McGurk and quote him stating, "I need to talk to senators and
evaluate where we are. People have become aware of things they weren't,
so we have to evaluate." Al Kamen (Washington Post) adds
, "Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.)
, the panel's second-ranking Democrat, is said to have deep reservations about him as well."
Baghdad was slammed with bombings and 72 people were known to be dead. This morning Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports
that the death toll has risen "to 93 and 312 people wounded" according to the Ministry of the Interior. The Voice of Russia reports
"EU High Represenative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Catherine Ashton has condemned the series of terrorist attacks in
several Iraqi provinces that claimed dozens of lives." The State Dept
had nothing to say yesterday or today in their press briefings. The
White House spokesperson Jay Carney did acknowledge the bombings on
Jay Carney: With regard to
the violence, we strongly condemn the recent attacks in Iraq. The
targeting of innocent civilians and security forces is cowardly and
reprehensible. We offer our condolences to the families of the victims,
and support the continued efforts of Iraqi government forces to bring
those responsible to justice. I would simply say that it's important to
remember that while we have seen that extremist groups in Iraq are
still able to use violence and cause harm, we believe their capabilities
have been diminished in recent years. Also, Iraqis continue to reject
extremist tactics in support of peaceful methods of resolving their
disputes. There have been occasional periods where there have been
increases in violence, but overall violence is greatly decreased from
the time period that you referenced in particular. Also I think worth
noting is that Iraq hosted -- Baghdad hosted an important series of
negotiations not that long ago, and their ability to do that in a
secure way demonstrates the progress that they've made in that country
and in their capacity to provide security in a place like Baghdad.
The 2010 elections
found Iraqiya winning and Nouri digging in his heels and refusing to
surrender the post of prime minister despite coming in second. Because
Tehran and DC backed him, Nouri was able to have a public tantrum for 8
months and then get rewarded with a second term. The US brokered an
agreement, The Erbil Agreement, which gave Nouri a second term in return
for Nouri making concessions. The US government told the political
blocs this contract would be honored. Nouri used it to grab a second
term as prime minister and immediately tossed it aside. Since the
summer of 2011, the Kurds, Moqtada al-Sadr and Iraqiya have called on
Nouri to return to the Erbil Agreement. He has refused to do so.
the government was formed at the end of 2010, all efforts of power
sharing among Prime Minister Maliki and the main Sunni political bloc,
Iraqiya, the Kurds, and even some of his Shiite partners has faltered.
As a result, the three security ministries that were supposed to be
shared among all of the political blocs remain under the prime
cabinet as it functions now allows the prime minister to rule by
decree. Those bylaws were supposed to be revised. That has never
happened. An oil law was also supposed to be passed, and that hasn't
happened. As a result, mistrust has grown on all sides.
late April, the primary Sunni bloc--Iraqiya--the main Kurdish bloc, and
Sadr's Shiite lawmakers have all come out in favor of a vote of no
confidence against Maliki. This effort climaxed last weekend when the
president of Iraq, Jalal Talabani, was asked to call for a vote of no
confidence in the parliament. But Talabani, who is a Kurd but has very
close ties with Maliki, at the end of the day said that there were not enough signatures
to call for such a vote. So now Maliki's main competitors--the Iraqiya
block, the Sadrists and the Kurds--are trying to gain more signatures to
force Talabani to call a vote of no confidence. But if not, they are
saying they're still going to call Maliki to the parliament--which
technically they can do--for hearings, for questioning, and then after
that, they want to call for a vote for no confidence. All of that
shows the trust has broken down in Iraqi politics.
Jalal? An angry Jalal is seen at Alsumaria denying
reports about him in recent days. Jalal's upset with the fall out over
his actions. He's pissed that Kurds in the Kurdish Alliance and Ayad
Allawi have come forward with how he (Jalal) said he could take out
Nouri al-Maliki. He's ticked off that his stock is falling. He's upset
about rumors that the PUK is exploring new public faces. (He's
78-years-old, they should have a different public face.) As Al Rafidayn notes
, so many are upset with Jalal that he's had to prepare a public letter for the PUK to distribute to its members.
a bombing in Falluja today targeting police -- eight people were harmed
(dead and wounded -- there are no numbers for either category). It was a car bombing and abumlances arrived on the scene, police said
. In other security news today, Alsumaria reports
the Ministry of the Interior is telling the media that a small spy
plane was shot down today in Baghdad by the First Brigade (Iraqi
police). Since there is no mention of a pilot being dead, wounded or
captured, this was most likely an unmanned drone. Which means, it was
most likely a US drone.
Today, the White House issued the following statement:
Office of the Vice President
For Immediate Release
June 14, 2012
Statement on National Security Advisor to the Vice President Tony Blinken's Travel
Security Advisor to the Vice President Tony Blinken visited Iraq on
June 13-14 and met with a range of senior Iraqi leaders, including Prime
Minister Maliki, Deputy Prime Minister Shahristani, and KRG President
Barzani. He also spoke by telephone with President Talabani, Foreign
Minister Zebari, and Council of Representatives Speaker Nujaifi. NSA
Blinken made clear to all his interlocutors that the United States takes
no side in the current political situation, but favors any solution
that is reached by the Iraqis themselves, in accordance with Iraqi law
and the constitution, and is achieved in a clear and transparent manner
that does not promote or lead to violence. He urged Iraqi leaders to
move quickly to alleviate current tensions in order to refocus energy on
critical state-building challenges, including preparations for
provincial and local elections next year. He underscored that the
United States calls on Iraq's neighbors to support Iraq's sovereign
right to choose its own government. He also stressed that the Iraqi
and American people have sacrificed greatly for Iraq's constitutional
and democratic system, which continues to have our unwavering support.
mention of the fact that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has
personally invited and/or urged Nouri and KRG President Massoud Barzani
to come to DC for what State doesn't want to be called "peace talks."
(But that's what they would be.)
In yesterday's snapshot
we noted Wednesday's Senate Veterans Affairs Committee with regards to
employment rights and with regards to burn pits. Last night at her
site, Kat covered Ranking Member Richard Burr's proposed bill
The plan was to continue coverage of the hearing today. We'll do that
tomorrow. Among the reasons for that is that we included a portion of a
news release from Senator Patty Murray's office in yesterday's snapshot
and we need to include it in full. Senator Patty Murray is the Chair
of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. Her office issued the
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
CONTACT: Murray Press Office
Under Pressure from Sen. Murray, Panetta Announces Military-Wide Review of Behavioral and Mental Health Diagnoses Since 2001
Panetta to Murray: "I am not satisfied either"; "still huge gaps" in how departments diagnose PTSD and other conditions; announces that all branches of military will undergo major review of diagnoses
D.C.) – Today, under questioning from Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of
the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta
announced that he has ordered the heads of every branch of the U.S.
military to review diagnoses for the invisible wounds of war going back
to 2001. The Secretary's announcement comes after Murray worked to spur a
similar review by the Army which arose from hundreds of soldiers being misdiagnosed and in many cases accused of faking the symptoms of PTSD at Madigan Army Medical Center in Washington state.
"The Pentagon and the VA are losing the battle on mental and behavioral health conditions," Murray told the Secretary at today's hearing. Murray also noted that the Army has already begun a system-wide review saying "This
is not just an Army disability evaluation system. This is a joint DOD
and VA program covering all of the services. Why has the Department not
taken the lead in evaluating and making improvements to this system?"
"What I've asked is the other service chiefs to implement the same approach that the Army's taken" Secretary Panetta responded. "…I'm
not satisfied either. We're doing everything we can to try to build a
better system between the Pentagon, the Department of Defense and VA.
But there are still huge gaps in terms of the differences in terms of
how they approach these cases and how they diagnose the cases and how
they deal with them, and frankly, that's a whole area we have to do much
full transcript of the exchange between Senator Murray and Secretary
Panetta at today's hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee
Mr. Secretary, I want to continue the thought process of Senator
Murkowski. I, too, am very alarmed by the suicide rate of our service
members and our veterans. New analysis is showing us that every day in
2012 one of our service members committed suicide and you just commented
on outpacing combat deaths. In our veteran population, we know a
veteran commits suicide every 80 minutes. Every 80 minutes.
I think we can agree on two things. First of all, our service members
and their families have risen to the challenge. They've done everything
that their countries asked of them throughout the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan, we're all eternally grateful.
the Pentagon and the V.A. are losing the battle on mental and
behavioral health conditions that are confronting a lot of our service
members, loved ones, and as we just talked about is resulting on such
extreme things as suicide.
Panetta our service members and veterans can't get needed treatment
access to needed resource without correct diagnosis. This has been a
problem for soldiers in my home state of Washington. At Madigan to date,
over 100 soldiers and counting have had their correct PTSD diagnosis
restored after being told they were exaggerating their symptoms,
lying, and accused of shirking their duties.
understandably, a lot of our service members trust and confidence in
the disability evaluation system has been seriously shaken in the wake
of these events. As you know, I have continually raised concerns about
the consistency and accuracy of behavioral health evaluations and
diagnosis within the entire disability evaluation system, and have
offered my recommendations on how to improve the system. And as you also
know the Army has taken some critically important steps forward and
beginning to address these concerns.
McHugh has announced a sweeping, comprehensive Army wide review of
behavioral diagnosis back to 2001 to correct the errors of the past and
to make sure the service members get the care and services that they
need and that they deserve.
wanted to ask you today, but this is not just an Army disability
evaluation system. This is a joint Department of Defense and V.A.
program covers all of the services.
So I wanted to ask you why the department has not taken the lead in evaluating in taking the lead to the entire system?
Senator, we are. What I've asked is the other service chiefs to
implement the same approach that the Army's taken here...
MURRAY: To go back and go back to 2001 and review all cases?
PANETTA: That's correct.
MURRAY: Throughout the entire system?
PANETTA: That's correct.
OK, so they are all following the Army's lead and we are told the
evaluation and the progress of that. Who is heading that up?
PANETTA: Our undersecretary for personnel and for health care. That's the individual that you need to...
I would very much like to be kept inform as all of our members of
Congress would. I think this needs to be transparent and clear. We need
to make sure that people are accessing the system, getting back if they
need it and the only way to get that is to be clear, open and honest
didn't know we were looking at all of the other services and I would
like more information and to be informed on that as soon as possible
about how that's taking place and what the timetable is and how that's
going to occur.
I appreciate your leadership on this, Senator. I'm not satisfied
either. I think the misdiagnosis that took place, what's happening in
this area between -- we're doing everything we can to try to build a
better system between the Pentagon, the Department of Defense and V.A.
But there are still huge gaps in terms of the differences in terms of
how they approach these cases and how they diagnose the cases and how
they deal with them, and frankly, that's a whole area we have to do much
You can't imagine what it's like to talk to a soldier who was told he
had PTSD, his family was working with him, and then when he went to the
disability evaluation system, was told he was a liar or malingerer. He
was taken out of it and he went out in the civilian world not being
treated. That's a horrendous offense.
know, I chair -- I am chair of the veterans affairs committee and I
held a hearing on the joint disability evaluation system, and I just
have to tell you I am really troubled by what with I'm hearing.
is continuing to climb, the number of service members cases meeting
timeliness goals is unacceptably low, the amount of time it takes to
provide benefits to the service member who is transitioning through the
system has risen each year since we began this.
response to these problems we heard from the Departments of Defense and
Veterans Affairs together about how five years after -- five years
after the Walter Reed scandal, they are just now beginning to map out
business processes to find room for improvement. You know, that's just
all of this really believed this was being taken head-on, that we were
dealing with it and five years out. Unacceptable numbers we're seeing.
I wanted to ask you what you are doing at your level to deal with this,
five years into this program and we're still hearing statements from
Army leaders about how the disability system is fundamentally flawed,
adversarial, and, tell me what I'm going to do.
Let me do this. Secretary Shinseki and I have been meeting on a regular
basis to try to do what we can to implement improvements and frankly,
we're not satisfied either by the progress being made here. Part of it
is bureaucratic. Part of it is systems and part of it is the
MURRAY: You can't imagine what it sounds like to hear that.
PANETTA: Pardon me?
MURRAY: It's bureaucratic. I mean that -- if you're in the system, that's not the word you want to hear.
You know, I see it every day. I'm in charge of a very big bureaucracy.
And the fact is that sometimes just the bureaucratic nature of a large
departments prevents it from being agile enough to respond and do what
needs to be done. And so a large part of this is making sure people are
willing to operate out of the box and do what needs to be done in order
to improve these systems. What I would offer to you is let Secretary
Shinseki and I sit down with you and walk through the steps we're taking
to try to see if we can try to shake the system...
I really appreciate that commitment. I know you have not been there the
entire five years, but I will tell you this, we've been told for five
years that the DOD and V.A. are sitting down on a regular basis
talking to soldiers that are stuck in the disability evaluation system.
There are bureaucratic delays. The people that are supposed to be
helping them they're training them because they've been in the system
longer than the trainers that are supposed to work with them. Their
families are facing you know horrendous challenges as they try to figure
out what the future brings months on end.
know people at the top are saying that this is fundamentally fudged,
you want to hear who the people at the bottom who are in it are saying.
I totally appreciate your saying that to me today, but sitting down and
talking with Secretary Shinseki is something we've been hearing for a
long time. We need some recommendations and we need to move forward and
we need to be a top priority out of the Pentagon as we transition now
out of Afghanistan, this is not going to get more simple.
to that the complexities of now going back and reviewing all of these
PTSD and behavioral health cases, you have people who are in the IDES
(ph) system right now who are saying what's going to happen to me while
you go back and review all these people? Are we putting personnel into
deal with this? Or now am I going to take another back seat while we
deal with that?
This is complex, it's hard. It's problematic, but it needs every single effort from top to bottom.
Listen, I share all of your frustrations, and my job is to make sure
that we don't come here with more excuses and that we come here with
I truly appreciate that comment. I want to work with you. All my
efforts are at your disposal. We do a fantastic job of training on you
are men and women to go into the service. We still today have not gotten
this right in making sure that we transition back home.
have families and soldiers and Airmen and -- throughout the service who
are really stuck in a process they shouldn't be stuck in. We've got to
get this right and we've got it get it right now and we need every
effort at it and I will sit down with you the minute we tell you you're
available, but I want more than a meeting.
PANETTA: OK, I agree.
U.S. Senator Patty Murray
202-224-2834 - press office
202--224-0228 - direct