Walter Reed CO Out On His Ear
WASHINGTON (AP) The Army on Thursday fired the general in charge of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, saying he was the wrong person to fix embarrassing failures in the treatment of war-injured soldiers that have soiled the institution's reputation as a first-class hospital.
Less than a week after Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited Walter Reed and said those responsible would be "held accountable," the Army announced it had relieved Maj. Gen. George W. Weightman of command. He is a physician who had headed the hospital for only six months.
In a brief announcement, the Army said service leaders had "lost trust and confidence" in Weightman's leadership abilities "to address needed solutions for soldier outpatient care." It said the decision to fire him was made by Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey.
The Left will holler "scapegoating" and they'll point to today's action as proof things were messed up at W.Reed, but the action is highly effective crisis management. I've managed communications for in a lot of crisis situations, and in any crisis of this scale, the viability of existing leadership must be quickly addressed and resolved.
Firing Weightman underscores the seriousness with with the Administration is addressing the situation, as the Sec. Def. said today:
"The care and welfare of our wounded men and women in uniform demand the highest standard of excellence and commitment that we can muster as a government. When this standard is not met, I will insist on swift and direct corrective action and, where appropriate, accountability up the chain of command."
That, my friends, is more powerful than a million excuses and 20 million side-steps. The Administration has not tried to underplay or explain away the issue; it's acknowledged the problem forthrightly. (Take out your WWCD bracelet and ask yourself, "What would Clinton do?" Probably not this.)
In addition to underscoring the Admin's resolve, the action creates a clean deck for Weightman's replacement, and that's the most important point. After all, this isn't about PR, it's about getting our wounded warriors the best medical treatment possible, which is exactly what they deserve.