The Cost of Privatising the US Government

From Informed Comment

Secretary of the Army Francis Harvey was forced to resign Friday over the scandal of substandard conditions at a wing of Walter Reed Hospital. Note that all the time Donald Rumsfeld was in office, and despite horrible errors, no one ever had to resign, least of all– until the Dems won Congress– Rumsfeld himself. Over the Abu Ghraib torture scandal, Rumsfeld had said that to throw someone overboard in propitiation was not the way we did things in America (i.e. no one would be punished). Robert Gates is to be applauded for restoring the idea of accountability to Washington.

But everyone should pay attention especially to this para. in the WaPo report:

‘The committee also released an internal Army memorandum reportedly written in September in which the Walter Reed garrison commander, Col. Peter Garibaldi, warned Weightman that “patient care services are at risk of mission failure” because of staff shortages brought on by privatization of the support work force at the hospital.’

The privatization of patient care services is responsible for a lot of the problem here. And so is the privatization of services for US troops in Iraq punishing them. Indeed, the privatization of guard duties through the hiring of firms like Blackwater caused all that trouble at Falluja in the first place. KRB never delivered services to US troops with the speed and efficiency they deserved. The Bush-Cheney regime rewarded civilian firms with billions while they paid US GIs a pittance to risk their lives for their country. And then when they were wounded they were sent someplace with black mold on the walls. A full investigation into the full meaning of ‘privatization’ at the Pentagon for our troops would uncover epochal scandals.


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