I am disappointed that no matter what the consequences are, the president is unwilling to change course in Iraq.
Congress has the right and the responsibility to change the president’s disastrous course in Iraq. At the very least, I hope our two senators and our representative will not give the president any more money for this war without also setting a date by which U.S. troops will leave Iraq. I hope that Congress will also take the advice of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group by mandating that the U.S. enter into diplomatic negotiations with Iraq’s neighbors, including Iran and Syria; and commit to financial support of Iraq’s reconstruction.
As you have reported, the weekly death toll in Iraq, for both Iraqis and U.S. soldiers, is growing, despite or because of the “surge,” really an escalation of the war. The U.S. military presence in Iraq fuels the insurgency, prevents political solutions, and has been a boon to al Qaeda recruiters.
The U.S. war in Iraq has gone on unchecked long enough. It’s time for a change; throwing more money at the same failed strategy will only lead to more death and devastation without bringing Iraq any closer to stability and peace.
My 5th-grade teacher was big on memory work [Mrs. Staples, Central School, Encini-tas]. One year the class recited The American’s Creed in unison for the PTA. Today, 60 years later, I can still recite those ever-stirring words. “I believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed, a democracy in a republic, a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes. I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.”
We are very pleased that we now have the support of the community for our plans to meet the needs of our patients and the region at both our UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest and at our UCSD Medical Center-East Campus medical centers. We remain committed to serving our patients and the community, while strengthening our ability to support the important biomedical research and educational missions of the University of California, San Diego. Our unique role in San Diego as the only University-operated health care system is not only to provide excellent care for our patients, and to support centers of clinical excellence for the region; but also to advance the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, and train the next generation of physicians and pharmacists. To achieve these goals we are pursuing the following course:
1. At the University of California Regents meeting May 15-17, UCSD is seeking approval to continue planning for a new 125-150 bed inpatient tower, to be built on the UCSD Medical Center-East Campus by 2014. When the new tower is completed, we will have two hospitals, each with approximately 250 beds.
2. We are currently investing over $80 million in improving and retrofitting the Hillcrest medical center, which will allow us to operate the Hillcrest hospital at least until 2030. The Hillcrest hospital will continue to be the site of the regional trauma and burn centers, and our AIDS/HIV programs, among other medical and surgical services.
3. We will continue to invest in expanding our outpatient care (including outpatient surgery) and emergency department facilities on both campuses. These are the services most patients use the most for their healthcare, and as more services move to the outpatient arena, demand for these services is increasing.
4. Over a 20-25 year time frame, we will also continue planning toward future construction of our main academic medical center on the East Campus. This is the center of UCSD’s and San Diego’s research and educational centers ofexcellence, and San Diego’s technology and drug development industry, which will further expedite discovery and the translation of laboratory findings to patient care, to prevent, manage and defeat disease.
After 2030, when the Hillcrest hospital must be replaced due to state earthquake requirements, we remain open to a variety of options about how to best serve our patients and the community, including those in the Central and South Bay regions. These options include building new inpatient beds on our Hillcrest campus. Because of the high cost of building and operating new hospital beds, this will require continuing dialogue with our community and elected officials as we explore collaborative opportunities and new models of care for 2030 and beyond.
We are excited about the future; and in collaboration with community partners, we will build upon UCSD Medical Center’s stellar reputation to bring San Diego the world class academic medical center system this community deserves.
Richard J. Liekweg
Chief Executive Officer
UCSD Medical Center