Support the Troops

In response to the completely repulsive story of the slum in which the Army has parked its wounded at Walter Reed, Army Secretary Francis Harvey whines that it was a “leadership failure” and that he had no idea, if he had only known, and so on. I guess he has in mind the other leadership in some parallel universe. Harvey, a metallurgist, was a senior executive at Westinghouse during the years of its slow collapse and death, and at the time of his appointment viewed as another political hack with a career in selling stuff to the military. His official biography reports that “Secretary Harvey’s number one priority is the well being of Soldiers and their families.” Right.

[ UPDATE: The WaPo reports that by ‘leadership’, Harvey meant (really) sergeants! ]

I infer pending other evidence that no building contractor in the DC area who might have fixed up this hellhole had greased Republican palms enough to deserve admission to the trough. Anyway, these soldiers are very badly wounded and will neither be of any further military use, for example in the war in Iran, nor likely to make a fortune of interest to the administration’s gang, so why would a tough Republican hard-headed businessman, like Harvey, waste a minute or a dollar on them? Not to mention that being nice to the wounded, or even half-way decent, will obviously just encourage others to get in the way of ordnance rather than being careful.

Honestly, how do these people live with themselves?

Author: Michael O'Hare

Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training. He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at Università Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs. At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4×5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.