The Meaning of Walter Reed

TIME correspondent Michael Weisskopf, a former patient, looks at how the hospital came to symbolize what's wrong in Iraq

Sarah L. Voisin / Washington Post

Michael Weisskopf, who lost his hand during a grenade attack while reporting in Iraq, received exemplary treatment at Walter Reed.

We used to get chocolate milk delivered to our beds. The amputees of Walter Reed Army Medical Center grew accustomed to first-class service. "The Ritz-Carlton is where you want to go, not Motel 6," the head nurse of Ward 57 told her staff after the Iraq war began in 2003. "That's how I want all my patients treated."

It was the kind of courtesy that was apparently reserved for such overnight guests. A recent Washington Post exposé revealed that some wounded soldiers were placed in outpatient facilities plagued by mice, mildew and mismanagement. It's a shocking account, and not only for...

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