Senator: Walter Reed will be like Abu Ghraib

The new acting commander? The man who was reportedly warned about problems at the medical facility for years but did little or nothing in response.

Published March 2, 2007 1:42PM (EST)

The new acting commander for the Walter Reed Army Medical Center: Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley, who reportedly was alerted to problems with soldiers' care more than two months and maybe as long as four years ago but apparently did little or nothing to address them.

Coming soon: Michael Brown returns to FEMA, and Target hires Claude Allen to oversee security.

No, wait, the Allen appointment would be funny. This isn't. A few years back, the wife of Republican Rep. Bill Young complained to Kiley after discovering, during a trip to visit soldiers at Walter Reed, that one of the injured men there was lying in urine on a mattress pad in his hospital bed. As the Washington Post reported earlier this week, Beverly Young says she told Kiley about it and "got nowhere." "He has skirted this stuff for five years and blamed everyone else," she said.

As the Kansas City Star reports, Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill is calling for Kiley to resign as the Army's top medical officer, a move that would, presumably, also mean his resignation as acting chief of Walter Reed. But while she's been in Washington only a couple of months now, McCaskill seems to have a pretty good grasp of how these things work, at least when the Bush administration is involved. She has reportedly told aides that she thinks the Walter Reed scandal will ultimately shake out the way Abu Ghraib did: "It's going to be like the prison," she said. "The guys at the bottom will be held accountable, and the guys at the top will not."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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