House to Further Probe Arlington Grave Mix-Ups

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A House subcommittee is set to investigate revelations in my recent TIME article about how widespread the burial fiasco is at Arlington National Cemetery.

“This will not stand,” subcommittee Chairman Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., said about the new facts in the piece that revealed workers regularly come across unidentified remains in graves across the cemetery. The article shows that the Army, which runs Arlington, is willing to make  educated guesses about the identities of some remains, rather than digging with a backhoe to be sure.

“After hearing of these additional reports, I am not convinced that the Army is doing everything it must do to resolve issues such as records management and gravesite accountability,” Wittman said.

Wittman also questioned why the Army had allowed the previous Superintendent there, John Metzler, Jr., and his deputy, Thurman Higginbotham, to retire unscathed when the scandal began to unfold last summer. Press reports and Army documents show the two men kept the scandal secret for years and did little to correct burial problems there.

“I am also angered that those responsible for the systemic failures at Arlington have not been adequately held accountable for their actions, either in a criminal or civil context,” he said.

In fact, neither has anyone in the Army. It will be interesting to see where this thing goes.