Patients Starve to Death, Millions in US Aid 'Missing'
by Jason Ditz
Lt. Gen. William Caldwell is coming under increasing pressure to answer questions about his apparent attempts to cover-up abuse and fraud at the Dawood National Military Hospital in Afghanistan.
According to Retired Col. Gerald Carozza, a former adviser, Lt. Gen. Caldwell had the initial attempt at a probe “postponed” until after the November 2010 US election, and then after the election intimidated his underlings into abandoning the probe entirely.
Dawood is supposed to be Afghanistan’s top military hospital, and is awash in US funds. It has come under repeated criticism for abuse of patients, with reports that staff nurses were demanding bribes of patients for food and that some patients were even starving to death within. US officials had been warning of considerable problems with the hospital as early as 2006.
Caldwell sought to dismiss the complaints at the time as something the Afghan government needed to figure out, saying “we’re not going to be able to solve this for them.” When put on the spot again in 2010 he reportedly said an investigation was unacceptable so close to the US elections. Retired Col. Mark Fassl said he believes that Caldwell was under political pressure not to allow the probe.