I just spent a couple of hours writing somethng that disappeared when I hit SAVE. Ever notice how the SUBJECT never gets lost during one of those episodes? I will now try to remember what I wrote. Unfortunately this will be the Cliff Notes version.
I am amused that the Army somehow
thinks that the appearance of change among their top brass will divert
our attention from the depth, breadth and longevity of their
This little tempest is just another Army SNAFU. For those of you who
missed boot camp,
SNAFU is a military acronym for Situation Normal -- All F**ked Up.
Never have so many tried so hard to cover so many asses. And this
is on one of their regular days.
Except for battlefield surgery, which may be the best in the world, Army medicine has always been a
crap shoot. Just ask non combatants what it's like getting medical
care on this side of the war. Years ago, a nurse friend of mine went apeshit
when she discovered that her husband, an officer, might die because of
an idiotic military dentist. The military threatened him with demotion if she
didn't shut up. That's how they like to handle their problems. for the most part.
Even battlefield medicine has
its troubles. Watch re-runs of M*A*S*H sometime. Beneath all the
joking around there's a river of truth. The show is based on life
among doctors on the front lines in Korea -- on the slim chance you've never seen an episode.
The Major Burns character was a total screw up. The other docs had to
watch out to make sure he didn't accidentally kill any wounded before, during or after surgery.
Since the show was a success, he was around for eleven years. If this
were real life, a few days of screwing up the lives of freshly
wounded soldiers and he would have been promoted to a desk job. Surgery
on the battlefield may be the only place where the hope for meritocracy exists in
But you can forget about any place else in the system. If the shit's
not rising, status quo is the order of the day. What's happening now
may seem like change, but it will just be more of the same.
In Viet Nam the troops had their own ways of dealing with incompetent
leadership. Too often a new second lieutenant, usually a white
college grad fresh from OCS, was brought in to lead a group of war
weary veterans, for the most part minorities, who had no patience with
inexperience accompanied by arrogance.
After the complaints of the grunts were ignored by upper management
time after time, they invented the sport of fragging. Basically a
live grenade would be thrown into the second lieutenant's tent while he was
sleeping and you can pretty much imagine the outcome.
Too bad we have never taken a lesson from the Israelis who let their troops choose their own leaders.
If it weren't for the fact that most Americans are fed up with sending
our young people to be wounded and killed in a war we shouldn't be
fighting in the first place, all these revelations about rats and
mildew in building eighteen at Walter Reed would have been met with a
This isn't the first revelation of incompetence in the Army medical
system you know. It's just been a long time since people were running for office
in the midst of a very unpopular war.
So when all is said and done, after a flurry of high profile firings, there will be
a lot of televised hand-wringing and finger-pointing. Congressional
committees will appear like mushrooms on a dead tree stump. Lunch will
be served. And Ted Koppel will comment.
Mostly there will just be a lot of noise. And an outcry full of sound and fury.