(Mis)Treatment Of U.S. Soldiers In Iraq

United Press International: Sick, wounded U.S. troops held in squalor
This is pretty pathetic. I really don’t have the words to describe the outrage. The Professor has emailed the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs and has, of course, posted this on his site. Perhaps it will receive the attention it needs as a result.

Hundreds of sick and wounded U.S. soldiers including many who served in the Iraq war are languishing in hot cement barracks here while they wait — sometimes for months — to see doctors.

The National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers’ living conditions are so substandard, and the medical care so poor, that many of them believe the Army is trying push them out with reduced benefits for their ailments. One document shown to UPI states that no more doctor appointments are available from Oct. 14 through Nov. 11 — Veterans Day.

“I have loved the Army. I have served the Army faithfully and I have done everything the Army has asked me to do,” said Sgt. 1st Class Willie Buckels, a truck master with the 296th Transportation Company. Buckels served in the Army Reserves for 27 years, including Operation Iraqi Freedom and the first Gulf War. “Now my whole idea about the U.S. Army has changed. I am treated like a third-class citizen.”

Since getting back from Iraq in May, Buckels, 52, has been trying to get doctors to find out why he has intense pain in the side of his abdomen since doubling over in pain there.

After waiting since May for a diagnosis, Buckels has accepted 20 percent of his benefits for bad knees and is going home to his family in Mississippi. “They have not found out what my side is doing yet, but they are still trying,” Buckels said.

One month after President Bush greeted soldiers at Fort Stewart — home of the famed Third Infantry Division — as heroes on their return from Iraq, approximately 600 sick or injured members of the Army Reserves and National Guard are warehoused in rows of spare, steamy and dark cement barracks in a sandy field, waiting for doctors to treat their wounds or illnesses.

Fubars of this type can, as noted above, change the perception of 27-year veterans. The Pentagon should be all over this and other issues, lest they lose the faith of more soldiers. Remember, we do have volunteer forces and extraordinarily competent ones at that. Losing them to this type of foolishness shouldn’t be an option.

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