Sunday, February 18, 2007
Seven GOP Senators Who Voted Against Troop Surge
Bush's War, Soldiers' Familes, and Wounded Soldiers
Grandparents Raising Slain Soldiers' Children Are Denied A Government Benefit Intended to Sustain the Bereaved
By Donna St. George
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 16, 2007; A01
Her daughter was killed by a bomb in Iraq. Eight months later, Susan Jaenke is both grief-stricken and strapped -- behind on her mortgage, backed up on her bills and shut out of the $100,000 government death benefit that her daughter thought she had left her.
The problem is that Jaenke is not a wife, not a husband, but instead grandmother to the 9-year-old her daughter left behind. "Grandparents," she said, "are forgotten in this."
For the Jaenkes and others like them, the toll of war can be especially complex: They face not only the anguish of losing a son or daughter but also the emotional, legal and financial difficulties of putting the pieces back together for a grandchild.
Soldiers Face Neglect, Frustration At Army's Top Medical Facility
By Dana Priest and Anne Hull
Sunday, February 18, 2007; A01
Behind the door of Army Spec. Jeremy Duncan's room, part of the wall is torn and hangs in the air, weighted down with black mold. When the wounded combat engineer stands in his shower and looks up, he can see the bathtub on the floor above through a rotted hole. The entire building, constructed between the world wars, often smells like greasy carry-out. Signs of neglect are everywhere: mouse droppings, belly-up cockroaches, stained carpets, cheap mattresses.
This is the world of Building 18, not the kind of place where Duncan expected to recover when he was evacuated to Walter Reed Army Medical Center from Iraq last February with a broken neck and a shredded left ear, nearly dead from blood loss. But the old lodge, just outside the gates of the hospital and five miles up the road from the White House, has housed hundreds of maimed soldiers recuperating from injuries suffered in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The common perception of Walter Reed is of a surgical hospital that shines as the crown jewel of military medicine. But 5 1/2 years of sustained combat have transformed the venerable 113-acre institution into something else entirely -- a holding ground for physically and psychologically damaged outpatients. Almost 700 of them -- the majority soldiers, with some Marines -- have been released from hospital beds but still need treatment or are awaiting bureaucratic decisions before being discharged or returned to active duty.