Kevin Kiley, the three-star general in charge of all Army medical facilities, seemed stumped as he testified yesterday about his responsibility for the Walter Reed scandal.
"I'm trying not to say that I'm not accountable," he told members of the House oversight committee.
But try as he might, he couldn't fix blame on himself.
How could he not have known that wounded soldiers were living in squalid conditions across the street from his own home? "I don't do barracks inspections at Walter Reed," he said.
Why did he assure Congress in 2005 that the Walter Reed bureaucracy was improving, even though many soldiers were languishing in neglect at the facility? "In my role as the MedCom commander," he said, "Walter Reed was not my only command."
What did he do when a government report in 2006 found numerous problems at the now-infamous Building 18? "My staff informed me that the Walter Reed staff was working it."
Lawmakers on the committee, who were visiting Walter Reed Army Medical Center for a field hearing yesterday, quickly tired of the general's I-don't-do-windows routine. Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) accused him of spouting "hogwash." Rep. Chris Shays (R-Conn.) called his position "dishonest."