THE VAULT

The Longest Wait
March 5, 2007 by Julius Serpentine

Don't worry, son... I'm okay.

Squalid living conditions for outpatients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center have caused a massive uproar. The hospital has been primarily caring for troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. Army officials figured that if a soldier can survive gunshots and shrapnel, they are more than equipped to deal with rats and mold spores. Besides, according to multiple viewings of First Blood, rats are an excellent source of protein.

Despite believing that the world’s finest soldiers could overcome the simplistic political and social circumstances of the Walter Reed rats, army officials were shocked when many Americans found the conditions to be horribly disrespectful to the injured veterans. On top of the deplorable conditions, many veterans have found it nearly impossible to schedule follow up appointments for their injuries due to bureaucratic tape. While tape generally can fix many problems, missing limbs is not one of them. Taped on severed limbs cause more harm than good.

The shear number of injured soldiers coming in from the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan has overwhelmed the staff at Walter Reed. In order to prevent the morale of the hospital from further decreasing because of the scandal Secretary Francis J. Harvey has resigned. After his resignation Harvey said, “We can’t have them so demoralized that they leave. I figured, what the heck, if I offer my resignation that may stop all this bleeding.” What the heck, maybe having a well thought-out plan in Iraq and Afghanistan could also stop the bleeding. Though, the paper that the resignation was written on, plus the adhesive from the bureaucratic tape, could combine to form a single device capable of stopping bleeding. This theoretical device could be called a bandage.

Bandages are fine for smaller injuries but are not so useful against deeply rooted, degenerative diseases. Harvey, a few days before resigning, appointed Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley, the Army’s surgeon general and former commander of Walter Reed, to once again take over the medical center. Kiley headed Walter Reed from 2002 to 2004 and had been informed of the problems with outpatient care as far back as 2003. Many believe that Kiley actually created the culture that is responsible for these problems. With this in mind, it seems that with so much first-hand knowledge about the deficiencies, Kiley is the perfect person to fix them. Hopefully, this move will spurn on the Phillip Morris Companies to cure lung cancer.

President Bush has ordered a review of the conditions in the nation’s entire network of military and veteran hospitals, after the problems at Walter Reed, regarded as the foremost military medical facility in the country, came to light. This scandal has been quite embarrassing for the Bush administration at a time when support for the war in Iraq is dissolving. This could be problematic in the next few months because, like a scary, explosive fawn, insurgents are expected to emerge this spring and throwing themselves in front of large vehicles.

The relatively newly elected Democratic Congress is calling for more information about the conditions of hospitals, to which Republican Senator Trent Lott responded, “Investigations are not always the best way to go, but I think we ought to do whatever’s necessary.” Senator Lott did not definitively suggest a better way of getting information besides investigating and asking questions, but rumors suggest that a magic 8-ball may be involved. 1-900-PSYCHIC-HUSSIES has also been put on his speed dial, just in case. If questions must be asked let it cost taxpayers $5.99 the first minute and $2.99 for each additional minute.

Slantmouth hopes that the problems caring for recently injured veterans improve quickly. A resignation or two and a couple of firings is one thing, but actually fixing the problem is a different subject all together. Hopefully, real leaders with a great plan will take over the military hospital system and give veterans the care they need. In the meantime, veterans may have to look forward to more inept leadership, but by now they must be used to that.

~Julius Serpentine