Thursday, March 01, 2007

On updates: Iranian IEDs and American squalor

Okay, so it's time to follow up on a few stories we've been covering.

- Update: On the probable suspected IEDs from the Iranian government someone Iraqis

A couple of weeks ago, we looked at assertions from the Bush administration that IEDs recently used against American troops were unequivocally provided by the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Then we looked at assertions that the previous assertions may have been overstated, and then we looked at further assertions that those IEDs weren't really the biggest problem the troops were dealing with.

Today, we look at assertions that the IEDs weren't so much "provided by Iran" as they were "built in southern Iraq using parts purchased on the open market":
Well. A raid in southern Iraq on Saturday seems to have complicated the case. There, The Wall Street Journal reports (sub. req.), troops "uncovered a makeshift factory used to construct advanced roadside bombs that the U.S. had thought were made only in Iran." The main feature of the find were several copper liners that are the main component of EFPs. But, The New York Times reports, "while the find gave experts much more information on the makings of the E.F.P.’s, which the American military has repeatedly argued must originate in Iran, the cache also included items that appeared to cloud the issue."

Among those cloudy items were "cardboard boxes of the gray plastic PVC tubes used to make the canisters. The boxes appeared to contain shipments of tubes directly from factories in the Middle East, none of them in Iran."

March 2, 2007 (projected): Tony Snow briefs the White House press corps: "What I had meant to say was..."

- Update: On serving punishing and neglecting those who serve

More recently, we took a look at the horrible conditions for injured troops at Walter Reed and at efforts by the Army to short them on disability benefits. We now know that many conditions have changed as a result of the WaPo story. For instance, troops now get to wake up every day at 6 a.m. and have their rooms ready for a 7 a.m. inspection, never speak to the media, and take all problems, complaints, or paperwork questions up through their chain of command. This is, of course, an attempt to bring a sense of normalcy and consistency to men who would appreciate such an environment, and not a form of punishment for talking to the media.

Of course, talking to the media wouldn't have been an issue for them if Rep. Bill Young (R-FL), who had known about the horrific conditions for years but hadn't said anything because hospital officials "made him feel very uncomfortable," had pushed through the discomfort and actually said something. It turns out that Young was BFF with Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley, a key figure in the Walter Reed scandal, and still finds him "committed to providing our war heroes with the very, very best medical care that is possible," despite the fact that Young's wife Beverly had complained to Kiley about conditions (like one soldier lying on a urine-soaked mattress pad) and Kiley had done nothing about it.

Oh, and this is where Kiley lives:

It's directly across the street from Building 18, where the rats live. Kiley's house is, one can assume, urine-soaked-mattress-pad free.

But we can all take comfort in the fact that, of the 200,000 Iraq veterans seeking treatment at the VA, a lot of them come in for dental problems, others come in for a lot of the normal things that people have," according to VA Secretary Jim Nicholson. So outside of the 73,000 mental disorders, 61,000 diseases of the nervous system, 87,000 diseases of the musculoskeletal system, and 7,000 "signs of ill-defined conditions," we're really just dealing with a whole lot of root canals. Horrific, brain-injury-causing root canals.

Yellow ribbon magnets all around!

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