Walter Reed Hospital: Mice, Mold and Roaches

Believe it or not, there is other news in the world this week besides Anna Nicole Smith and Britney Spears. But you wouldn't know that if you are watching MSNBC or Fox today. For the last few hours, both networks have been showing almost non-stop live coverage of the Smith trial. More than a week after she died, the insanity continues.

The Washington Post reported Saturday that staffers responsible for managing outpatients at Walter Reed have had caseloads of more than 125 patients each. Recovering soldiers face bureaucratic delays, overworked case managers and appalling living conditions, including black mold, cheap mattresses and cockroaches.

This news is an absolute outrage. And it's shameful. It is absolutely inexcusable that our wounded troops are coming home to such an unprepared and overwhelmed health care system (and please note, Walter Reed is not even a VA facility). Responsibility for this tragedy goes straight to the top. We at IAVA are demanding swift action from the President, Department of Defense and Congress to correct these problems. It is disgraceful that our country has sent troops to war without ensuring adequate care for the wounded.

Since that report was released, IAVA has been leading the charge to keep this critical story in the headlines and demand action from our elected officials.

My fellow Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans have vowed to continue our fight for proper care and resources for this newest generation of American veterans.

Last week IAVA member veterans from all over the country met with dozens of members of Congress who pledged to do all they can to care for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Many will stand with us soon to support a critical bill for our troops and veterans called S-117: The Lane Evan Veterans Health and Benefits Improvement Act of 2007. (Please click the link to learn more and find out how you can help)

I hope I can count on the same lawmakers in the coming days to remedy these awful problems at Walter Reed. They must ensure that no man or woman in uniform comes home to such an unacceptable standard of care. If congress can make that guarantee, the news would be something truly worthy of non-stop coverage by the cable news networks.