Ex-Official: Guantanamo Detainees Get Better Medical Treatment Than Vets

Image: Ex-Official: Guantanamo Detainees Get Better Medical Treatment Than Vets The detainee hospital's operating room at Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay.

Friday, 23 May 2014 09:18 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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Terrorist detainees at Guantanamo Bay receive better medical treatment than millions of veterans, according to former naval commander and Pentagon official J.D. Gordon.

In the wake of the Veteran Affairs "secret lists" scandal involving the reported deaths of 40 veterans in Phoenix, Gordon condemned the Obama administration in a Fox News commentary for placing more importance on the health of al-Qaida and Taliban prisoners at  Guantanamo Bay than "caring for America’s veterans."

Gordon, a former Pentagon spokesman, said that the 150 Jihadists in the Cuban naval base have access to about 100 doctors, nurses and other healthcare personnel.

Gordon wrote that the ratio for the number of patients in Guantanamo to healthcare providers is 1.5 to 1 while America’s 9 million veterans receiving VA healthcare from 267,930 employees equates to a ratio of 35 to 1.

"Yes, it’s true," he wrote. "I know because I served as a Pentagon spokesman from 2005-2009 and visited Guantanamo Bay Naval Base over 30 times during those years."

Gordon continued, "Doctors and medical personnel are at their beck and call. Got a cold, a fever, a toothache, a tumor, chest or back pain, mental health issues, PTSD? No problem, come right in. Military doctors are waiting to see you."

The retired naval commander, who now serves as a senior adviser to several Washington-based think tanks, said that when Barack Obama was president-elect, he and his staff were warned not to trust the wait times reported by VA healthcare facilities.

"But instead of fixing the problem, their focus was closing Guantanamo and improving the comfort of detainees, even though they already lived under some of the best prison conditions ever seen," Gordon wrote.

Declaring that the VA needs a "complete overhaul," Gordon said that the agency’s chief Eric Shinseki should be fired by Obama following the reported deaths of veterans in Phoenix who had been placed on falsified patient appointment lists while waiting months for medical treatment.

"Those patriots were American heroes who served our country proudly," Gordon wrote. "Yet they were left to die waiting to see a doctor."

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