President Bush paid his first visit to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center since last month’s Washington Post exposé revealed the shameful treatment of hundreds of wounded American veterans. While the president apologized for the hospital’s “failures,” some of his congressional detractors weren’t impressed by the gesture.
In his first visit since disclosure of squalid conditions earlier this year at what had been regarded as the nation’s premier military hospital, Bush apologized for “bureaucratic and administrative failures.”
“The system failed ... and it failed our troops,” he said. “And we’re going to fix it.”
His visit did not silence the drumbeat of criticism over the issue. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), a leading advocate for veterans, called Bush’s visit a “photo op” that would do nothing to cut through the red tape that has ensnarled their care.