Afghan Hospital Accused of Misusing US Funds; US Commander in Politial Cover Up?
Several US military officers accused a US commander in Afghanistan of trying to cover up a scandal at a US-funded hospital in Kabul beginning in 2010. Speaking to the Congressional Committee of Oversight, the officers told lawmakers that they were discouraged by Lt General William Caldwell from reporting concern about the hospital. The implication given the officers was that such revelations could harm President Obama politically.
The US officers began noting concerns about misuse of funds from the Afghan Dawood National Military Hospital and lack of appropriate treatment offered to wounded Afghan soldiers in 2010. The United States government spent more than $150 Million in 18 months on the hospital in an effort to help the Afghans properly care for their wounded soldiers. The testifying officers have alleged that money was embezzled, medications hoarded including surgeries done without medicines. Some Afghan soldiers died of malnutrition at the hospital, in conditions that one retired Army colonel described as “Auschwitz-like.”
AFP/Yahoo News: “The general did not want bad news to leave his command before the election – or AFTER the election,” Colonel Gerald Carozza, Jr., a now-retired US Army judge advocate, said in written testimony to the House Committee on Oversight.
“The general, like too many generals, was too concerned about the message, creating a stifling climate for those who had to deal with the reality,” Carozza said, comparing Dawood to the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz.
In addition to the political implications there also was evidence of a cover up as evidenced by a memo introduced by House Panel Chair, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah.
The Blaze: Chaffetz introduced a Sept. 12, 2011, memo from the training command that he described as an attempt to destroy evidence. The memo ordered destruction or deletion of unofficial audio and video recordings and photos of patients and conditions at the hospital.
“Under no circumstances will they be shared outside of this command, transmitted via email, posted to the internet, or duplicated in any way without prior approval of the Command Surgeon….” the memo said.
The following report from CNN’s Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr shares more details of this terrible situation. Please note: The video contains some graphic images.