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Last Updated: Friday, 30 March 2007, 21:16 GMT 22:16 UK
Bush apology over troops' neglect
By Sarah Toms
BBC News, Washington

President Bush visits patients at the Walter Reed Army Center
President Bush presented awards to recovering soldiers during his visit
US President George W Bush has apologised for the sub-standard living conditions for wounded US troops at the Walter Reed Medical Center.

During a visit to the flagship military hospital, Mr Bush promised the problem would be fixed.

"It is not right to have someone volunteer to wear the uniform and not get the best possible care," he said.

The scandal and subsequent bureaucratic delays has led to the resignation of the US army secretary and two generals.

I apologise for what they went through and we're going to fix the problem
US President George W Bush

Six weeks after the scandal erupted over the poor treatment of Iraq war veterans, President Bush finally toured the Walter Reed Medical Center.

The hospital had been described as one of the military's crown jewels until reports came out of mouldy walls, rat infestation and general neglect.

Making amends

The nation was shocked and the White House embarrassed at a time when the tide of public opinion has turned against the war in Iraq.

On Friday, President Bush tried to make amends by telling medical workers and patients at Walter Reed that the system had failed but things would be made right.

"I apologise for what they went through and we're going to fix the problem," he said.

During the visit, President Bush presented awards to soldiers recovering from serious wounds suffered in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Some retired officers criticised the president for turning the visit into a photo opportunity.

Many troops and veterans say a lot of the problems at Walter Reed were known for some time and had long been in need of attention.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
President Bush apologises for hospital conditions



SEE ALSO
US veterans' state-of-the-art care
23 Mar 07 |  Americas
Top US Army doctor out in scandal
13 Mar 07 |  Americas
Panel blames US army over scandal
05 Mar 07 |  Americas
Bush 'troubled' by army scandal
03 Mar 07 |  Americas
US army secretary quits over row
03 Mar 07 |  Americas
US military hospital boss removed
01 Mar 07 |  Americas
US probes troops' neglect claims
21 Feb 07 |  Americas

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