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Let’s talk about wounded troops in Germany.  That’s apparently what John McCain wants to do with his appalling new TV ad, anyway.  

On Friday, McCain unveiled an ad in which he disingenuously claimed that Barack Obama had "canceled a visit with wounded troops" because "the Pentagon wouldn’t allow him to bring cameras."  By Sunday, even Republicans were panning the ad as being inappropriate.

But none of that compares to what we got today at from Dr. (Col.) Katherine Scheirman (Ret.).  Because Dr. Scheirman knows a lot more about wounded troops passing through Germany than Senator McCain does.  In fact, she’s the person who oversaw medical operations at U.S. Air Force Europe Headquarters at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany during the first half of the war in Iraq.  She knows the situation inside and out.

And this is what she had to say today:

Former Chief of Medical Operations for HQ USAFE at Ramstein Air Force Base Responds to Latest McCain Ad

WASHINGTON - The former Chief of Medical Operations for United States Air Force in Europe (USAFE) Headquarters at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany today ripped into Senator John McCain's latest ad, which attacks Senator Barack Obama for not making a campaign event of a visit to wounded troops.

Dr. Katherine Scheirman, who was Chief of Medical Operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom, said in a statement:

"John McCain's new ad is dishonest and shameful, and I say that as the former Chief of Medical Operations.  Senators Hagel and Reed confirmed to Bob Schieffer yesterday that Senator Obama visited the Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad as a part of their CODEL, with no media present.

"In Germany, Senator Obama made the right decision to respect wounded troops, and the doctors and nurses doing crucial and time-sensitive work, by not making a visit that was characterized as a campaign event by the Pentagon.  Senator Obama should be thanked for putting our military above politics.  And, I would hope that John McCain would think in those same terms, the next time he is put in a similar situation.

"Senator Obama has voted for the troops when John McCain has not, most recently on the new GI Bill.  I am happy that Senator Obama puts the welfare of our troops above politics."

Dr. Katherine Scheirman, MD, MHA, CPE, FACPE, is a Senior Advisor to, and has twenty years experience in the Department of Defense medical system. She retired from the Air Force in 2006 with the rank of Colonel. During her time in the military, she was assigned to a number of duties where she saw 'first hand' the shortcomings of the DOD medical system and its effect on troops. Most recently, she was at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany, which saw the majority of those injured during the war in Iraq.

During that assignment as Chief of Medical Operations, she directed four branches responsible for medical operational and legal policy guidance for 10 USAFE medical facilities and an Air Force squadron at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and provided oversight and mentoring for 11 Chiefs of Medical Staff and over 700 medical personnel throughout Europe. She was responsible for all quality of care, patient safety, behavioral health, JCAHO compliance, community health programs and business plan execution there, among her decades of other assignments at home and abroad.

John McCain has done himself a disservice with this dishonorable TV ad.  And that’s why people like Dr. Scheirman are coming out of the woodwork to challenge him on it.  He simply doesn’t hold the high ground with regard to military affairs.  Instead, he’s hard at work digging a deeper and deeper hole into which--as we clearly see--the military will not be throwing him a rope.
Also available at VetVoice

Originally posted to Brandon Friedman on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 03:36 PM PDT.

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