Two U.S. Army generals allegedly delayed an investigation of chronic abuse at a military hospital in Afghanistan in order to protect President Obama from embarrassment before the 2010 midterm elections, military whistleblowers have told House investigators.
Col. Schuyler Geller, a retired Air Force doctor, helped train Afghan staff at Afghan Military Hospital in Kabul. He has informed Congress that he found Afghan staff abusing patients — denying them care, beating them, demanding bribes for food — but that two top-ranking generals chose not to launch an investigation by the inspector general.
Geller says that Brig. Gen. Gary Patton ordered a delay of the investigation until after the 2010 midterm elections.
“He says, ‘But we don’t want to put that request in right now because there is an upcoming general election and we wouldn’t want this to leak out,’” Geller told CNN. Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, Patton’s superior officer, was “angry” at the prospect of launching the investigation before the 2010 midterms, according to Geller.
“That’s a very serious allegation, but it didn’t come from just one high ranking military official on the ground; it didn’t come from just two,” said Oversight Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on National Security. “We have several of them who have stepped forward and said, ‘yes, this was indeed the case.’”
Chaffetz has invited Geller and other witnesses to testify about the matter before his subcommittee on July 24. Pentagon officials told CNN that “conditions have improved significantly” at the hospital.