Just What Happened in this Afghanistan Hospital? [UPDATE: Some More Info on Gen. Caldwell]
NOTE: See bottom of the post for the update.
There could be a big potential scandal bubbling just under the surface in Afghanistan. According to The Blaze, General William Caldwell is accused of covering up horrifying conditions at a certain hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan–a hospital that is funded by YOUR taxpayer dollars. The Blaze quotes an AFP article which says:
The problems date back to 2010, when US officers expressed concerns about the possible embezzlement of funds from the Afghan-run Dawood National Military Hospital and the lack of treatment provided to wounded Afghan soldiers.
Some Afghan soldiers died of malnutrition at the hospital, in conditions that one retired Army colonel described as “Auschwitz-like.”
The reason for the cover up? It would make the 2010 elections more difficult for Democrats. The AFP article then quotes retired judge advocate general Col. Gerald Carozza, who says:
“The general did not want bad news to leave his command before the election – or AFTER the election,” Colonel Gerald Carozza, Jr., a now-retired US Army judge advocate, said in written testimony to the House Committee on Oversight.
“The general, like too many generals, was too concerned about the message, creating a stifling climate for those who had to deal with the reality,” Carozza said, comparing Dawood to the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz.
It’s all about controlling the message, and in an election year, particularly one where the deck was already stacked against the Democrats, doing so becomes all the more important. The article also mentions one Col. Mark Fassl, inspector general for the NATO-led training mission in the country, saying he heard Gen. Caldwell tell him, “How could we do this or make this request with elections coming?”
Right, because who cares if a few Afghans suffer if it could make a political party look bad? The Blaze gives a little more insight into conditions at the hospital:
In September 2011, The Wall Street Journal reported from Kabul that U.S. officers found that patients at the hospital were routinely dying of simple infections and starving to death, while corrupt doctors and nurses demanded bribes for food and basic care.
And as the same article reports, when Gen. Caldwell finally did decided to support a probe into the conditions at the hospital, he allowed it only on the conditions that it did not mention the horrifying conditions there. The AFP article mentions that an unnamed source said that Caldwell supported a probe of the hospital, but he wanted Afghan officials to take the lead. These two references might be to the same probe.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is looking into this, but even they might not be looking at all they should. Col. Carozza told them in a hearing that they shouldn’t just be focusing on the conditions there. They need to look at the cover up:
Carozza said he spoke to three officers who were called to a meeting with Caldwell, and all of them offered the same description of the general’s comments.
“Lt. Gen. Caldwell screamed at these three officers, waving his finger at them for trying to bring in the DOD IG,” Carozza said. The general was quoted as saying, “There is nothing wrong in this command that we can’t fix ourselves.”
Carozza said he was in a meeting with Caldwell’s deputy, Patton, when Patton “informed the group that Lt. Gen. Caldwell was upset about making the request to DOD IG so close to the election and we were to consider postponing it until afterwards.”
If all of this is true, heads need to roll. The conditions reported at this hospital and the shameless, self-serving cover up that apparently happened are a disgrace to the United States Military and an affront to human decency. The situation for us in Afghanistan is hard enough already, and this can only be another black eye for us. We need answers.
UPDATE: After a little research, I’ve discovered that General William Caldwell has posted a couple of times on the Huffington Post (not exactly a conservative or Republican outfit) and once at Think Progress. I don’t have any voter registration records on him, but combine the fact that he has posted on both of these sites with his reasons for the cover up and you get a little idea about what side of the political spectrum he is on.