Washington Posties finally got on the Arlington National Cemetery scandal today, playing it as a scoop, even though it had been unfolding for several decades right beneath their noses, with nary a word. Other publications began writing about a chronic pattern of mismanagement at the storied facility about a year ago, but one intrepid reporter had the real scoop back in 1998, when he was writing for The Washington Times.
That nothing was done about problems that dated back 20 years, and that were known about, documented and reported on more than 12 years ago, is the scandal within the scandal. And it shows just how impossible it is to really change the way the federal bureaucracy works -- or doesn't work, as the case may be.
That The Post didn't pick up on the story for 20 years, when it was occurring in the paper's backyard, shows how inured the city's self-styled watchdogs can be to the chronic bureaucratic bumbling that swirls all around them, like a cesspool. That's the other scandal within the scandal.