Comments on life, the universe and everything from an aging Sixties survivor.

Location: Massachusetts, United States

Ummm, isn't "about me" part of the point of the blog?

Monday, February 19, 2007

Betcha Thought This Was New

Let's hear it for the pinko lefty Washington Post, also The Agonist, which covers Walter Reed's inpatient and outpatient fuckups in one neat package.

Nobody ever wants to think about the wounded. Media in general, and broadcast media in particular, are too impatient or too stupid to understand that "casualties" is not a synonym for "deaths." My entertainment had around 53,000 killed (varies depending on how you count). It had over 225,000 wounded, who were expected to be grateful to be alive, fade invisibly into the civilian landscape, and trouble the armed forces no more. The current festivities have had (as I write) 3144 killed...ah yes, our fallen heroes. One of them was a Marine helicopter pilot from the next town over, 28 years old, a week away from the end of her third tour in Iraq. (Aside: nobody, ever, should do three successive combat tours, least of all a chopper pilot.)

Care to guess the number of wounded, the ones you're not supposed to ask about?

32,544 . As of this writing.

Things are a fucked up mess at Walter Reed, we're told, because they didn't expect the numbers. Jesus H. Christ: they didn't expect the numbers.

Evidently, they didn't ask the right people for advice on that. Instead of Administration spin doctors, they should have asked the clinicians and patients who endured the meat grinder that was the Vietnam war's attempt at medical treatment. They are the ones who know what modern weapons do to a human body. There was little or no armour then, so there were many more limb and belly wounds in that war than in this one. Still, you could have anticipated the increase in TBI cases with a moment's thought. Nobody thought.

They didn't think in my war...or my father's...and go back as far as you choose, the politicians and the bureaucrats have never, ever, thought about the wounded. How to care for them, how to be there for them through the rest of their altered lifetimes.

Go check out the Post's series. The link is to the latest, detailing the Army's late response and bureaucratic hand-wringing. (Sorry, it's another one of those fricken login sites.)

On the News Hour tonight one of the co-authors of the series, Dana Priest, admitted that she went home at night and cried over what she had seen and heard.

Dana, Anne, bless you for covering a story no one else wants to cover, but you have just started to cry. It won't happen all the time, of course, but you'll remember this forever. Every once in a while the tears will blindside you. You'll get used to it and remember, there are a lot of others who cry for the same reason. Maybe, thanks to you, a lot more people will cry and, in between, will be mad as hell with the stupidity that makes these things happen. Maybe then we can change it.

I won't say anything nasty about reporters for at least a week.


Blogger Mass Marrier said...

Just so, Welsh Guy.

You gotta love our executive branch and Congress supporting the hell out of the troops, except for cutting benefits, services and aid. Oh, there is that small matter of sending tens of thousands for a political war with no basis. It makes be wish I believed in a hell.

11:39 pm  

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