Friday, January 14, 2005

 

"How many years can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn't see?"

Will Pitt, in his new blog on Truthout, offers some horribly disturbing examples of soldiers grievously wounded in Iraq.
This is war

Spc. Sam Ross, 21, combat engineer, 82nd Airborne Division, was injured May 18, 2003 in Baghdad when a bomb blew up during a munitions disposal operation. He is blind and an amputee. Photographed in the woods near his trailer where he lives alone in Dunbar Township, Pennsylvania October 19, 2003.

"I lost my left leg, just below the knee. Lost my eyesight, which is still unsettled about whether it will come back or not. I have shrapnel in pretty much every part of my body. Got my finger blown off. It don't work right. I had a hole blown through my right leg. Had 3 skin grafts to try and repair it. It's not too bad right now. It hurts a lot, that's about it. You know not really anything major. Just little things. I get headaches. I have a piece of shrapnel in my neck that came up through my vest and went into my throat and it's sitting behind my trachea, and when I swallow it kind of feels like I have a pill in my throat. Some stuff like that. And my left ear, it don't work either."

Spc. Luis Calderon, 22, from Puerto Rico, a tank operator, 4th Infantry Division, was injured May 5, 2003 in Tikrit, when a concrete wall with Saddam's face on it, which he was ordered to destroy, came crashing down on his tank severing his spinal cord and leaving him a quadriplegic. Photographed at the Miami Veterans' Hospital December 17, 2003.

"I did my job. I got an Army Commendation medal. I didn't get a purple heart. I feel like I deserve one. It would make me more confident that I really did something. I'm disappointed that when they ask you to go, we go. And when we ask them where is our reward for doing something, they take their time. I don't know. I don't know how the system runs but it's pretty bad. For the moment right now, I just want to heal."

PFC Randall Clunen, 19, 101st Airborne, stationed in Tal Afar, was pulling guard December 8, 2003 when a suicide bomber broke through security and exploded himself and his vehicle. Chunks of shrapnel ripped into Clunen's face. Photographed at home Salem, Ohio February 14, 2004.

"I have no political feelings. I'm just a soldier out there. You know, we're trying to help them live like us so they can be free and not be scared to do anything. Trying to set them free. That's how we looked at it. Sometimes we hated being over there because they just didn't respect what we were doing. We were trying to help them and they didn't want us there at all...It was a car bomb. A suicide bomber. He came just ripping through the gate and he exploded the car and himself. I got hit. My nose was sitting over here like on the left side of my face and I couldn't breathe so they had to cut a trache in. I was bleeding extremely bad. They kept me in a room by myself because I was just like really bad looking. I had tubes running all through."
Some of these guys would have died if they'd suffered these wounds and injuries in Gulf War I, and certainly in any previous war. Battlefield medicine - rapid evacuation, emergency care and immediate trauma surgery - has enabled many soldiers to survive, which is one reason why combat deaths in Iraq are "only" about 1400. But the wounded and injured are over 10,000. Many of them (including thousands of reservists and national guardsmen) will never recover, will never be able to live a normal life, go back to work.

Okay. They volunteered. They knew the dangers. Fine. But even so, what they are going through - in the service of a lying president who basically dared the enemy to attack the soldiers - has to make us question do we really need to risk the lives and health of any further brave men and women?

Now, doubtless, the warbloggers and 101st Fighting Keyboarders and the chickenhawks in the GOP and the media (Rush "Ass Pimple" Limbaugh and his chickenshit draft-dodging pals, starting with the AWOL-in-Chief in the White House and Mr. "Other Priorities" Vice President and Tom "The Blacks Took Up All the Available Spots" DeLay) will lecture the soldiers (you know, those troops they pretend to "support" with lame stickers on the backs of their monstrous gas-guzzling SUVs) not to be crybabies and wimps, to take their horrible wounds like a man. Those of us who point out the hideous price these few brave soldiers are paying will be criticized for playing politics with the troops (like the chickenhawks don't?) As if Bush inviting a couple thousand soldiers to an Inaugural Ball is a noble gesture of solidarity instead of a cheap photo opp for America's Pet Goat.

Meanwhile, Bush is planning to cut veterans' benefits in order to pay for his massive tax cuts and soaring deficit.
Comments:
cacti6466 president bush is being kept in the dark, especially about the treatment of our war veterans. probably as many as 1 out of 2 claims submitted to va are LEGALLY denied. title 38 us code of federal regulations is written so the master manipulators, the adjudicators can LEGALLY award or deny ANY claim they receive.
 
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Comments: "
cacti6466 president bush is being kept in the dark, especially about the treatment of our war veterans. probably as many as 1 out of 2 claims submitted to va are LEGALLY denied. title 38 us code of federal regulations is written so the master manipulators, the adjudicators can LEGALLY award or deny ANY claim they receive.
 
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