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Deadly VA hospitals _ Hanford Sentinel, 10 Jan 00 Charles Schleininger corsair "This nation will be judged in the book of history by how well, or how ill, it treats those who fought for liberty." - Gen. John Logan

Gen. John "Black Jack" Logan, first commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, composed of those veterans who fought for the Union during the Civil War, was correct in declaring that this nation will be judged on how well it treats those who sacrificed so much in time of war.

This is why we are so disturbed at a recent internal investigation by the Department of Veteran Affairs that found that between June 1977 & December 1998, staffers in VA hospitals committed 3,000 medical mistakes - 700 of which were fatal.

This is simply outrageous that Americans who survived the terrors of the battlefield should die at the hands of those who have been entrusted with their medical care.

However, what is even more astonishing is that the report is not drawing broadsides of criticism & alarm, but bell ringing kudos for the VA health system for undertaking this supposed self-examination.

In other words, it's fine to turn our VA hospitals into slaughter pens due to medical incompetence so long as the VA investigates after the fact & makes the appropriate mea cupas.

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