September 1, 2010  

Arlington accountability

TO THE ARMY for taking so long to uncover the serious operational problems at Arlington National Cemetery. The scale of the travesty — with hundreds, possibly thousands of graves mismarked or unmarked —emerged after Army investigators issued a report earlier this year. Former Arlington Superintendent John Metzler and his former deputy Thurman Higginbotham clearly exhibited serious, long-term failures of leadership and responsibilities in their oversight duties and deserve the brunt of the criticism for what happened. Yet both were allowed to retire with full government benefits. Where is the accountability in that? Given the significance of Arlington, the nation’s most hallowed burial ground, it is hard to understand why there was not sufficient oversight of these men to have spotted their failures earlier. Congress and the Pentagon should review these retirements to see if they were granted prematurely in an attempt to limit the extent of public scandal.