Walter Reed

Down Town
February 08, 2010

By last summer, it was obvious that John Murtha did not have much time left in Congress. This was partly due to the efforts of Washington ethics cops and Western Pennsylvania Republicans, both of whom had spent the past few years working feverishly, through either judicial or electoral means, to remove him from office. But more than that, there was the simple matter of Murtha’s health.

Goodnight Saigon
August 28, 2008

Yesterday, Anthony Swofford, a Marine Corps veteran and the author of Jarhead and Exit A, previewed the Democrats' plans to honor veterans at the convention. How'd the Dems do? Here's Swofford's response: I think they might have done it. With a post-Vietnam roster of veterans speaking from the dais, the Obama campaign presented a youthful, vigorous, and engaged voting block of former warriors last night at the DNC.

Suicide Watch
May 19, 2008

As the Iraq war grinds into its sixth year, policy-makers in the U.S. would do well to remember the story of Phineas Gage. For those in need of a refresher, the 25-year-old construction foreman lost a hunk of his frontal lobe back in 1848 when a three-foot iron rod shot through his left cheekbone and out the top of his head. Miraculously, Gage could walk and talk again just minutes after the accident, staying conscious on the three-quarter-mile oxcart trek into town, where doctors patched his wounds and sent him on his merry way. But the tale didn’t end there.

The Fixer
April 23, 2007

BEFORE THERE WAS Walter Reed—before the revelations in The Washington Post, before the congressional hearings and presidential commissions and resigning generals—there was Joshua Murphy and his bad dream. In November 2005, Murphy returned home to Wichita Falls, Texas, after service that included a year patrolling the treacherous Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City as a specialist in the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment. Prior to the war, he had been outgoing, social, well-liked—“just your basic eighteen-year-old kid,” in the words of his mother, Monica.

Jack in the Box
June 26, 2006

A moderate Democratic representative is on the phone, relating a thought he had a few days earlier about his party's prospects for winning back the House in November. "Things look really good," he had mused to himself. "You've got to wonder how we're gonna screw it up." As if on cue, House Democrats--who had been coasting on GOP scandal and disunity--turned against one another. Last Friday, Pennsylvania Democrat Jack Murtha picked a leadership fight over the central issue that splits his party: Iraq.

Adaptation
December 12, 2005

Once upon a time, the Democratic family consisted of two basic types of politicians--those who supported the Iraq war and those who were against it. As the war dragged on and the political climate changed, however, varied new species began to evolve, with all manner of ideas and opinions about the occupation. For months, these different Democratic factions lived more or less in harmony. But Pennsylvania Representative John Murtha's dramatic call last month for a fast U.S. exit from Iraq was like a climate-altering asteroid event.