The General Accountability Office(GAO) praised efforts by the United States Army over the past year to assist soldiers going through the disability retirement process. However, it noted some treatment facilities lack as much as 40 percent of the staff required to maintain a ratio of one legal counselor per 30 soldiers. According to John Pendleton of the GAO, “The Army has made progress in the five months since our September hearing,” he said, referring to a previous GAO report which showed the Army’s Transition Units were only half-staffed. But one-third of the units still have staffing shortages. At some bases, 40 percent of wounded or sick soldiers have not been assigned to a Transition Unit.
Daniel Bertoni, GAO’s director of education, workforce and income security, said the GAO’s new report found that one military evaluation board physician per 200 soldiers is not enoough and the ratio must come down to one per hundred.
The real issue arising from the GAO report is why did the Bush administration enter a war without giving sufficient thought and consideration to the needs of wounded soldiers? Why has it taken six years for changes to be made in regard to treatment of wounded soldiers who are being discharged into civilian life? The story of the Iraq war is the continual neglect on the part of the Bush administration of the costs of war. That is the national scandal which the American people should never forget.