Late Breaking News
General: Decision to Delay Afghan Hospital Investigation Not Political
Denied Knowing About Neglect
Caldwell also said the patient neglect shown in pictures during the hearing was not something he knew about until Nov. 10, 2010. Rather, it was the hospital corruption that was brought to his attention and the subject of discussions.
|Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, then-commander NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan and Afghan Maj. Gen. Ahmad Zia Yaftali, Afghan national army surgeon general, talk with the medical staff at the National Military Hospital in 2010. Photo byStaff Sgt.Sarah Brown.|
“The pictures that you showed, chairman, that is patient neglect. That is unacceptable. There is nobody in a uniform who is going to see those kinds of deplorable conditions and is going to accept that,” he told Chaffetz.
Once he did know, he said his team took “decisive and immediate action.”
Lawmakers, however, seemed flabbergasted that he would not have been aware of the patient-care problems earlier.
“That is precisely what these colonels said and saw and shared with you,” Chaffetz said, referring to testimony from military personnel this summer. “That is why we had three colonels come before this committee and say that you were the one that was preventing bringing additional resources [to this problem], and that is why we are here.”
Rep. John Tierney (D-MA) said he was pleased to hear that conditions have improved at the hospital, despite the “alleged attempts at interference” in the IG investigation.
“It is my understanding that due to the utmost professionalism of the DoD Inspector General, the alleged attempts at interference did not impair the Inspector General’s ability to timely perform its critical work in Afghanistan,” he said in his opening statement.
He also called for an expansion of the subcommittee’s investigation.
“I believe we must change our ‘spend-first, ask-questions-later’ approach to reconstruction in Afghanistan, where the U.S. has already committed nearly $100 billion to reconstruction efforts,” he said.