Dear Soldiers: Your Government Lied to You

by Aaron Glantz

When young American men and women sign up to serve in US military, our government makes a basic promise to them: that if they are wounded in the line of duty they will get the care they need. Unfortunately, for tens of thousands of veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, that’s a promise that only exists on paper.On Feb. 18, 2007, the headline “Soldiers Face Neglect, Frustration at Army’s Top Medical Facility” splashed across the front page of one of the nation’s premier newspapers, the Washington Post. The article, which described unsafe conditions and substandard care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, began with the story of Army Specialist Jeremy Duncan, who was airlifted out of Iraq in February 2006 with a broken neck and a shredded left ear, “nearly dead from blood loss.”

“Behind the door of Army Spec. Jeremy Duncan’s room, part of the wall is torn and hangs in the air, weighted down with black mold,” the article read. “When the wounded combat engineer stands in his shower and looks up, he can see the bathtub on the floor above through a rotted hole. The entire building, constructed between the world wars, often smells like greasy carry-out. Signs of neglect are everywhere: mouse droppings, belly-up cockroaches, stained carpets, cheap mattresses.”

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