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 Ann Coulter Reply


 March, 2007


 Ann Coulter - Blaming janitors for Walter Reed flap

Cursing the Darkness and the Candle

By Al Owens
It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness, goes that Chinese proverb. This week Ann Coulter wants you to curse the candle too! She’s tongue lashing some “useless and slothful” janitors to blunt yet another Bush Administration embarrassment.

Oh she claims it’s those finger-pointing Democrats who’re using the mess down at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center as a battering ram against George W. Bush. I’m surprised she hasn’t called for the rats in Building 18 to be indicted for treason, since they’re probably Democrats too!

There is something really cheesy (a very bad pun) about this week’s Ann Coulter column. To blame civil servants when, the head of the hospital (Major General George W. Weightman), the Army Secretary (Francis Harvey) and the Army surgeon general (Lieutenant General Kevin Kiley) are all out of jobs as a result of the deplorable conditions at Walter Reed – is outrageous.

The President of the United States knows a good scandal when he sees one (and he’s seeing a lot of them these days) so he’s even chipping in with his own investigative commission headed by Democrat Donna Shalala and Republican Bob Dole. I guess he also knows there’s a little more going on at Walter Reed than a mere shortage of rattraps and workers who’re too lazy to set them.

There’s something uniquely George Bush about all of this.

Let’s closely inspect the record. It’s one that has nothing whatsoever to do with untouchable civil servants. It all began with an internal memo sent last fall to the ex-head of Walter Reed Hospital, Gen. Weightman. (That memo can be found online, and it’s startling) The writer of the memo, Garrison Commander Peter Garibaldi, wrote that the wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan had caused a significant increase in the workload at the hospital. In short, war means war casualties. The hospital was using pre-war data to staff a wartime casualty load.
Garibaldi went further. He claimed that because of the loss of support staff at the hospital it could face, what he called, “mission failure”. We’d later discover that mold on the walls, and rats in the halls of Walter Reed, was a pretty good sign that the mission is failing.

But the loss of personnel isn’t the personnel’s fault. Just about everybody, except Ann Coulter, understands those maintenance workers were pushed out of their jobs thanks to a contract that allowed the hospital to become privatized. IAP Worldwide Services, headed by a former high-ranking Halliburton operative, had taken over in January when there were 393 support staff positions. Last month that number had dropped to around 100.
So much for the notion that it was the neglect by those featherbedded janitors that caused the deteriorating conditions at Walter Reed.

Ann Coulter’s deflection from the source of the problems at Walter Reed is artful – but wrong. It’s just another jab at the Democrats whom she claims are, “pretending to give a damn about the troops by wailing about conditions”, there. How does she make this stuff up?

It is the Democrats who’ve started to move rapidly toward rectifying the shabby conditions at Walter Reed. They launched hearings to look into the matter. That was several days before the head Republican (who pretends to give a damn about the troops) decided to appoint his commission to look into the matter. A matter that had been under his nose for months, but since he champions privatization he didn’t act until the entire United States of America gasped in shock at what’s happening at Walter Reed.

Isn’t it time conservatives just relaxed and allowed these scandals to hit them in their bellies, rather than taking their shortcomings out on janitors? The answers to these serious problems can’t be found in broom closets. They should be questioning, as the rest of us are, the White House.

Let’s look at that other scandal. The one Ann Coulter avoided in this week’s column. Those U.S. Attorneys that have been sent out to pasture, perhaps for not being part of the Bush Administration’s fan club. (The one that’s shrinking at light speed)

Oh those conservatives and their talking points. I just love this one. “Those attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president”. If I hear that one again I’ll scream. Everybody knows for whose pleasure they serve. But they aren’t hired to SERVICE the president.

Those U.S. Attorneys weren’t hired to conduct political witch hunts, nor should be fired because they don’t conduct them. Ann Coulter needs to look into whether their janitors advised them not to become rag dolls for the president.
That way the president and his eager-to-please Attorney General won’t have to admit that “mistakes were made”, without ever having to admit they were the ones who made them.

They can simply express their shock when they discovered that janitors had overstepped their authority by filling those U.S. Attorney’s heads with nonsense about upholding their oaths of office.

They can then express their misgivings at the fact that those janitors are civil servants who don’t “serve at the pleasure of the president”. Although at this rate (and with the help of his fellow conservatives) the president is well on the way of becoming our Janitor-in-Chief!