Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Oh, let's blame the contractors

Originally uploaded by qtkrispykreme540.
Over at Tom Paine.com, Philip Mattera notes,
Reports of substandard conditions at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center have outraged the country. But that anger should not be directed only at the callous Army officials running the facility.

The full story behind the scandal involves a misguided program to “reinvent government” through outsourcing, a company that botched the delivery of ice to victims of Hurricane Katrina and a giant hedge fund led by a former member of President Bush’s cabinet. The private sector has indirectly had a hand in converting the once legendary Walter Reed into a symbol of the shameful treatment of people who have been maimed in the service of their country.

The dismal state of some facilities at Walter Reed cannot be directly attributed to poor performance by a contractor. After all, it has been only a few months since a politically connected firm called IAP Worldwide Services started taking over many of the management functions at the medical center.

Yet a battle over whether to outsource those functions has been going on since early 2000, when the Army commenced a cost-comparison study of support services at the medical center. Such studies—which were being promoted by the Clinton administration’s “reinventing government” initiative led by Vice President Al Gore—forced groups of federal workers to compete with potential contractors to figure out which could perform a given function more efficiently.
Right. Let's blame it on Clinton and Gore; Reagan didn't have a thing to do with the contracting of federal responsibilities. And let's blame it on the contractors and not the federal employees (uniformed and not uniformed) responsible for providing oversight.

Right. Afterall, the contractors are just out to make money.

Oh, wait a minute... they are out to make money...

Ah, never mind...


  1. Oh, wait a minute... they are out to make money...

    ...and so is everyone else.

    there is no inherent difference in teh quality of care provided by uniformed military, civilian or contracted employees. No HR management system can guarantee your employees will care.

  2. Roci,

    I guess it's a matter of priorities... if I work for a company, my loyalties are to the stockholders and owners of the company... if I'm a uniformed member or a civilian employee, my loyalty is to the Constitution and the American people...

    Perhaps I'm naive...