Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Silencing The Troops

Walter Reed patients told to keep quiet - Military News, Army News, opinions, editorials, news from Iraq, photos, reports - Army Times: "Walter Reed patients told to keep quiet

By Kelly Kennedy - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Feb 28, 2007 10:42:37 EST

Soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s Medical Hold Unit say they have been told they will wake up at 6 a.m. every morning and have their rooms ready for inspection at 7 a.m., and that they must not speak to the media.

“Some soldiers believe this is a form of punishment for the trouble soldiers caused by talking to the media,” one Medical Hold Unit soldier said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

It is unusual for soldiers to have daily inspections after Basic Training.

Soldiers say their sergeant major gathered troops at 6 p.m. Monday to tell them they must follow their chain of command when asking for help with their medical evaluation paperwork, or when they spot mold, mice or other problems in their quarters..."

Decades ago I had a short stay in a military hospital and we were required to hop out of bed, fix the covers, police the area, and then lie on top of the covers. Amputees were not required to do all that. Some things never change, but you would expect that the modern military would have lightened-up on some of that silliness. We all know about that chain-of-command and how reverential the military command is about it, but what do you do, an ordinary troop, when the chain is malfunctioning?

My Lai should have taught us something about that problem. The UCMJ needs to be updated to give troops some leeway-- though the whistleblower statutes ought to work, they apparently do not.

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