WASHINGTON – Hillary Rodham Clinton launched a wide-ranging attack on the Bush administration’s treatment of wounded Iraq and Afghanistan soldiers Thursday, saying the White House was so inept it couldn’t run a “two-car parade.”
Clinton, joining a chorus of politicians in all parties decrying conditions at the military’s Walter Reed Army Medical Center, called for a new GI bill of rights modeled on the broad array of benefits offered to World War II veterans.
Her proposal, which comes with no cost estimate, is aimed at improving health facilities, increasing physical and mental health screenings for soldiers, speeding up payments to the families of the dead and clarifying guardianship rules for orphaned children.
“This administration is frankly unable to run a two-car parade,” the Democratic front-runner said during a speech at the Center for American Progress, a think tank founded by former Clinton White House officials.
Republican National Committee spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt dismissed Clinton’s reform package as the “politically convenient calculation that Americans have come to expect from the senator,” adding, “someone should remind Hillary Clinton that President Bush isn’t on the ballot in 2008.”
Democrats, including Clinton, have seized on the Reed scandal, first reported in the Washington Post, to discredit the administration’s planning for the war and its aftermath.
Last Friday, she toured Walter Reed, located less than 10 miles from the Capitol, and talked to a handful of New York soldiers who complained about the quality of their care and the government’s failure to approve their disability claims at a level commensurate with their injuries.