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March 18, 2007


Wasn't there a story, some months ago, that Walter Reed was going to be closed altogether? It caused quite a stir. IIRC - and I might not - the reason given was that WR was outmoded and in substandard condition. I also remember a lot of protests, on the basis that WR was too important to close.

If that was in fact the reason given, it seems to have been accurate. There could be any number of reasons the closure didn't go forward - lack of sufficient medical centers elsewhere, push-back by the politicians who represent that district - but there does seem to be a gap between the "Walter Reed is closing" story and these latest revelations.

Those pictures show years and years worth of neglect. If Walter Reed should have closed, then why didn't it? If it was still needed for wounded soldiers - if there weren't enough other VA or DoD hospitals elsewhere - then why was't it repaired?

As much as I despise the Bush Administration, I'd need to know more about the closure-or-repair decision and implementation tree before I laid responsibility for this entirely at their feet.

i know all i need to know -- if it's been an ongoing problem, all the more blame to be laid at the administration's feet for not bringing it up earlier. this is not the way we should be finding out about this.

The pictures are from Building 40, the old Walter Reed Army Institute of Research building that was close at least three years ago and decommissioned. The operations were shifted to the new WRAIR building in Forest Glen Maryland.

One of the reasons of BRAC was to keep from spending millions of refurbish Building 40 and Building 37 the AFIP Building.

Congress was bragging about taking Walter Reed off the BRAC List (what is really did was just defund the BRAC process for Walter Reed) without realizing that the Army will now have to spend millions to fix a building that no one wants or needs.

Superdestroyer is correct that Walter Reed is still on the BRAC list, but the funding to carry out the closing has been withheld; now the Pentagon supplemental that will be voted on in the next two weeks contains a measure to take it off the BRAC list -- but I don't know how much money it appropriates, and for what, related to WR.

The Dem's version of the supplemental bill is on the web somewhere, but I haven't had coffee yet. The Walter Reed provision got added (by Murtha I think) during the markup in Appropriations on Thursday.

While no expert on the subject (hey, its the internets!) the decay in that first picture looks like 20 years of decay, so presumably the problem predates the Bush Administration - though it does kind of mess up their "we support the troops vibe"*

*of course what that really means to them is "we support the war"

Wasn't there a story, some months ago, that Walter Reed was going to be closed altogether?

I think it is still on the list and scheduled to be shutdown by 2011.

Putting it on BRAC probably contributed to the problem, since it wouldn't make a lot of budgetary sense to sink money into repairing a building that would be closed within a few years (not that it is an excuse for letting soldiers live in such conditions).

But then I have said before, I can't say that I have been in any military hospital that was all that superb compared to private hospitals. Having a baby at the Navy hospital was an awful experience compared to the three deliveries I experienced in private hospitals. I don't recall the buildings being in disrepair, but the facilities felt very "cheap" institutional compared to private hospitals.

And I will say that in general, the Navy bases, housing and facilities have always felt dull, depressing and dirty. So it may have partly been a Navy thing-the Airforce bases in the areas where we were stationed were always much better kept, with nicer facilities, housing and everything.

One hates to be the one to break the news, but the infamous building 40 was apparently abandoned during the Clinton Administration—eight years ago.

Moreover, it appears that the guy who released these pictures was frustrated by the government bureaucrats rather than the private contractors. The only “manager” actually identified was the garrison commander.

I guess the hysteria over Walter Reed has progressed to the point that long-abandoned buildings are now being held up as proof that the Bush administration is corrupt.

The problem with the abandoned building is that it still has power going to it. When the water flooding the basement hits the high voltage lines in the building, there will be an explosion and fire. Yet this poor sod can't get anybody to authorize an electrician to disconnect those high voltage lines? (And damn straight it takes an electrician, and not just Joe's Electrical Service either -- high voltage *BITES*, and most electricians won't mess with it).

-Badtux the Former Electrician Penguin

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