Instant historiansFOR two days, the U.S. Senate was filled...


May 29, 1999

Instant historians

FOR two days, the U.S. Senate was filled with talk of war, lack of military preparedness and one's place in history. Debate focused not on war in the Balkans but whether two military commanders should be exonerated for their conduct 57 years ago, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

By a vote of 52-47, the Senate restored the rank of admiral to Husband Kimmel and general to Walter Short, the two senior commanders in Hawaii in 1941. Nine inquiries over the past five decades concluded the two commanders were guilty of dereliction and had agreed with their demotions. Virginia Sen. John W. Warner, a World War II and Korean War veteran, accused his colleagues of practicing "tombstone promotions."

Now that the Senate has expended its precious time rewriting the history of these military figures, perhaps members can turn their keen analytical skills to resurrecting other disgraced military reputations, starting with Gen. George Armstrong Custer.

Call of the wild

AN URGENT question recently went out to government personnel officials: How do you set up a job category for a medicine man?

Here's the problem facing Martha Watson, Minnesota's human resources director:

"I have a request from one of my hospitals to establish a new [job category] called `Native American Healer' (a.k.a., medicine man). The person will work primarily with the chemical dependency program at that hospital, which serves a large Indian population and uses a native treatment strategy.

"They believe they can get Medicare reimbursements for the person's services and can credential the person in some way to meet our [hospital] accreditation requirements.

"I have no idea how they think they can do this, because I'm told that you become a medicine man by being called by the spirits and then being accepted by the community.

"My questions:

"1. Has anyone out there ever established such a position?

"2. Anyone got a [written job description] for a medicine man?

"3. How'd you hire the person? What kind of qualifications/test did you use?

"4. What's the pay scale?"

When nontraditional health approaches confront government bureaucracy, the problems can be vexing, indeed.

Pub Date: 5/29/99

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