Skip

The human cost of the Iraq "war"
March 26, 2006 7:22 AM   Subscribe

This heart-wrenching 4 part story of the lives of some of the severely wounded US soldiers brought tears to my eyes - the descriptions of what these kids are enduring, the difficulties faced by their families, the courage they display under circumstances that would reduce most of us to useless blobs. These are the true costs of an illegal, immoral war. Truly tragic in scope.
posted by dbiedny (44 comments total)

 
Brave young men and women getting killed or horrifically injured are prominent costs of *any* war, whether you happen to agree with the rationale behind it or not. This has been true approximately since the first caveman picked up a rock and eyed a guy from an "enemy" settlement speculatively...

One of the things that's different about Iraq is that battlefield medicine and body armor have both improved remarkably in the last few decades.

Injuries that would have been fatal before are now survivable--that's the good news. The bad news is that this leaves some horribly maimed "survivors," with all the problems for the survivors themselves, as well as their families and loved ones, to contend with.
posted by enrevanche at 7:43 AM on March 26, 2006


So, dbiedny, what do you think about the issue?
posted by Bugbread at 8:04 AM on March 26, 2006


The photo essay is interesting enough on it's own.
posted by furtive at 8:07 AM on March 26, 2006


My feelings are pretty clear on the topic. Just think of the pain these folks are going through while you snark.

Enrevanche, I'm well aware that all wars produce this type of sad devastation. Thing is, this one is going on now, we (as in the U.S.) started it, unprovoked, under false pretenses, and in defiance of international law.
posted by dbiedny at 8:14 AM on March 26, 2006


Dbiedny, could you also find a comparable article about four survivors of say, oh I don't know, let's say from either one of the Twin towers or perhaps the Pentagon? You know just to be fair and balanced?
posted by Gungho at 8:19 AM on March 26, 2006


> Just think of the pain these folks are going through while you snark.

Just about every city has some marble monument to our brave soldiers who suffered and died in the [_____] War. In a nation's memory, her brave are immortal. Long lists of names inscribed on monument. The people who walk past these monuments could not to save their own lives tell you a single name on the monument.

posted by jfuller at 8:20 AM on March 26, 2006


Just think of the pain these folks are going through while you snark.

You are entitled to your opinion dbiedny, expressing them so baldly in an FPP is bad form.
posted by three blind mice at 8:23 AM on March 26, 2006


Michael remembered watching Brent's legless body disappear into the medevac helicopter. He felt guilty all over again for thinking what he did: I'm glad it's not me. He couldn't have known that just four days later his own legs would be blown off.

Thanks for posting this; what a completely horrifying article. I'd never heard of HO before - the knobby bone growth in amputees that seems to be worse in this war and was "driving doctors in U.S. military hospitals crazy." That this kind of suffering is part of every war would have been nice to be talking about during the winter of 2002, when so many US citizens were gung-ho about sending other people into battle.

oh, and dbiedny, that "These are the true costs of an illegal, immoral war" weakens the power of your post. We don't need to be told how to feel on the front page, you know? Keep the blatant editorializing down here in the comments.
posted by mediareport at 8:25 AM on March 26, 2006


could you also find a comparable article about four survivors of say, oh I don't know, let's say from either one of the Twin towers or perhaps the Pentagon?

You've got to be kidding me.
posted by mediareport at 8:27 AM on March 26, 2006


could you also find a comparable article about four survivors of say, oh I don't know, let's say from either one of the Twin towers or perhaps the Pentagon?

You've got to be kidding me.


Brown people = terrorists, apparently, to Gungho.
posted by AspectRatio at 8:30 AM on March 26, 2006


So sorry about editorializing on the front page. I have to remember that MetaFilter is a politically neutral place, and to express anger is just not PC.

As far equal time, Gungho, a friend of mine was on the plane that hit the north tower, and another very close friend who lived 1/2 a black away from the Trade Center is still dealing with the emotional aftermath of 9.11, as his life crumbles around him. I'm reminded of the costs of 9.11 just about every day.
posted by dbiedny at 8:32 AM on March 26, 2006


Dbiedny, could you also find a comparable article about four survivors of say, oh I don't know, let's say from either one of the Twin towers or perhaps the Pentagon? You know just to be fair and balanced?

Exactly how does one "balance" out the other?
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:35 AM on March 26, 2006


I'm sorry Gunho but wtf does Iraq have to do with 9/11...balance my ass.
posted by filchyboy at 8:37 AM on March 26, 2006


There are loads of reasons not to editorialize on the front page, but "PC" isn't one of the issues at stake here.

The photographer behind the accompanying photoessay, Deanne Fitzmaurice, won the 2005 Pulitzer for Feature Photography with her photoessay Lion Heart. I had the chance to speak with her on a few occasions -- nice lady. She must have a stomach of iron to spend so much time capturing the story of these human beings who had been ground up in the grinding gears of this war.
posted by DaShiv at 8:40 AM on March 26, 2006


Well I got the impression that Dbiedny had forgotten one of the reasons (Whether valid or not) that America was in fact gung-ho about going after terrorists be it in Afghanistan, Iraq or right here at home...
posted by Gungho at 8:55 AM on March 26, 2006


They're under under your toilet bowl, Gungho. Yep -- the ones that did 9/11, the bombing of the USS Cole, the Balinese discos, Oklahoma City, the Veetnam War, the Holocaust, and the gaying-up of SpongeBob SquarePants. In fact, it's all one guy! He just happens to be in Baghdad now, the Preznit says. And I don't care how many trillions it takes to find him -- he's a very bad man.
posted by digaman at 9:04 AM on March 26, 2006


I didn't find the post editorializing in the least. But then mefi seems to be uber sensitive these days towards anything that can be construed as political. One need not have a negative position on the war (current or otherwise) to be sympathetic towards what our soldiers must endure. Thanks for the post dbied.
posted by bluesky43 at 9:05 AM on March 26, 2006


I have to remember that MetaFilter is a politically neutral place, and to express anger is just not PC.

Now you're just being foolish. As Matt and Jessamyn have pointed out many times, the primary reason for avoiding angry, polarizing editorial content in the post itself is a *practical* one. It helps conversations get off to a much better start around here if the original poster somehow manages to control his or her fury long enough to direct us to some good information.

It's a question of simple respect for the place, which no one in their right mind would call "a politically neutral place." Just keep it to the comments. Jeez. Do you need me to write it a third time?
posted by mediareport at 9:05 AM on March 26, 2006


Gungho...perhaps if we wanted to "balance" this a bit, a link to pictures of those injured in oil rig accidents would be appropriate......

...or perhaps a couple of essays about those that would have been laid off at Halliburton had it not been for the saving grace of this little conflict in Iraq....
posted by HuronBob at 9:05 AM on March 26, 2006


> I don't care how many trillions it takes to find him -- he's a very bad man.

N.b., he's currently going by "digaman."
posted by jfuller at 9:07 AM on March 26, 2006


See also.
posted by homunculus at 9:18 AM on March 26, 2006


Thanks for the link, dbiedny. I've been to Walter Reed myself, and it was indeed horrifying to see all those teenagers trying to get around the cafeteria missing arms, legs, and with head wounds. That's the price of any war, of course, and particularly galling when the Commander-in-Chief seems to be hiding the primary reasons for going to war.
posted by digaman at 9:18 AM on March 26, 2006


Heh, speak of the devil, homunculus. That's why I was at WRAMC -- to write that article.
posted by digaman at 9:19 AM on March 26, 2006


I didn't find the post editorializing in the least. But then mefi seems to be uber sensitive these days towards anything that can be construed as political.

It's not a matter of being "construed as political". Describing the war as "illegal" is arguable as editorializing, but "immoral" is undoubtedly an editorial. There's no difference between proselytizing for a particular moral viewpoint or doing so for a particular religion.

Look, okay Bush sucks etc etc, but can we please skip the front-page preaching (to the choir, no less) and let the content of the links do the talking instead? kthxbye
posted by DaShiv at 9:29 AM on March 26, 2006


If there had been a bit more editorialising in 2003 we might not be in the mess we are now.
posted by A189Nut at 10:36 AM on March 26, 2006


Well I got the impression that Dbiedny had forgotten one of the reasons (Whether valid or not) that America was in fact gung-ho about going after terrorists be it in Afghanistan, Iraq or right here at home...
posted by Gungho at 4:55 PM GMT on March 26 [!]

No evidence of Iraqi involvement in 911. Plenty of evidence that Saddam (secular tyrant) and Al-Qaeda (religious loony-tunes) were not fond of each other.

Iraq and 911 had nothing to do with each other, until George Bush spotted a golden opportunity. For god's sake, how many more times do we have to go over this?
posted by kaemaril at 10:51 AM on March 26, 2006


If there had been a bit more editorialising in 2003 we might not be in the mess we are now.

There was plenty of editorializing. There was deafening silence from our elected representatives.

Even today, in 2006, those in Congress who are most closely identified with my political beliefs play in the safety zone established by Karl Rove - debating on how best to "win the war on terror" and thereby playing right into Bush's hands. To them, there's nothing like a good old fashioned debate about troop levels and timetables. They don't care if Harry Reid yaks up the media about "a plan" and "timetables." They've already established the boundaries of the debate. Fall out of lockstep on the "war on terror" and you're just on Saddam's side. Run the scrimmage on your own twenty-yard line; we'll give you an extra down.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 11:00 AM on March 26, 2006


Great link, worst FPP ever.
posted by cellphone at 11:58 AM on March 26, 2006


There's no difference between proselytizing for a particular moral viewpoint or doing so for a particular religion.

Oh, ferchrissakes, are you sure it's safe for you to venture out into the scary world (or even the 'net), what with all these various non-neutral beings and their scary viewpoints?

"No difference". What utter moronic horseshit. Right. Decrying war and killing, as dbiedny rightly does above, is so very much like Jimmy Swaggart knocking on your front door. Got it. God forbid any rage about suffering. It might offend. Neutrality is safest. Wouldn't want murderers and their supporters to feel uncomfortable, now would we?

MilktoastFilter. Yeah, that would really be more comfortable for so many here. More adolescent Flash site fpps. So pleasant. So fun and mindless. Don't rock the fuckin' boat.

I guess we can be hopeful folks so fearful of any ethical stand will find a nice safe place soon, a place where they'll find all the fences they'll ever want to straddle and all the bland, gentle, milky pablum they'll ever want to nurse upon, free of any hint of confrontation or unsettling compassion.

And I'm sure those in power will continue to love you folks for the amazing depths of your complacency.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 12:04 PM on March 26, 2006


What's done is done. Bitching about Bush is not gonna give a young man back his legs. And we could argue about Iraq till the cows come home. Let's not, on this thread.

As an aside, a couple of times I have been out shopping and seen a young amputee out on crutches. It has an effect on you. (for those who are unaware I live right down the road from Ft. Bragg.)
posted by konolia at 12:10 PM on March 26, 2006


What's done is done. Bitching about Bush is not gonna give a young man back his legs. And we could argue about Iraq till the cows come home. Let's not, on this thread.
True. But if enough people "bitch" perhaps some democrats and (god forbid!) republicans might grow a pair, and stand up to possibly the worst White House in history. That might, eventually, ensure that another young man doesn't get his legs blown off.

Probably too much to hope for, though. Still, nothing ventured nothing gained an' all that.
posted by kaemaril at 12:18 PM on March 26, 2006


I wish the media would stop treating the public like children and explicitly show the casualties of this war on a daily basis, from both sides. And keep reminding everyone that this carnage is going to cost a trillion dollars by the time it's over.
posted by disgruntled at 12:28 PM on March 26, 2006


OK, I profusely apologize for adding emotion to my FPP.

Now, those of you who have flamed me for my terrible transgression, did you even bother reading the damned link?

Any fury for those kids who will never, ever, EVER live a normal life again? Any anger about the lies that put them into harm's way?

I didn't think so. Enjoy your HBO and American Idol. Have a fucking twinkie. Drink some beer. Yup, it's the American Way™. Freedom at any cost. Freedom to shatter lives, to exploit, to destroy anything that gets in the way of your happiness.

When this empire falls, it will be more than slightly justified.
posted by dbiedny at 2:13 PM on March 26, 2006


5% of the world consumes 25% of its resources. Well, it can't last and it shouldn't last. Welcome to tomorrow.
posted by A189Nut at 2:17 PM on March 26, 2006



By this point, using "illegal" and "immoral" to describe the Iraq War is mere statement of fact. The war in Iraq violated international law at the very least. And no ethical system would be able to justify propping up a dictator in the 80s to battle Iran, waging war against that same dictator in 1991, starving that same country through 12 years of sanctions, and then ignoring all attempts at diplomacy to destroy it with a massive onslaught of superior firepower against when it was already on its knees -- on false pretenses, no less! Sorry, Dbiedny isn't editoralizing.
posted by bukharin at 3:45 PM on March 26, 2006


those of you who have flamed me

There was no "flaming" of you here, dbiedny. Yeesh.

did you even bother reading the damned link?..I didn't think so.

Gosh, no. None of us who "flamed" you read the article at all.
posted by mediareport at 5:09 PM on March 26, 2006


I always thought the reason to keep editoralizing out of FPPs was a pragmatic one myself. Appeal to emotion always makes me suspecious, myself. It is likely that his post would have been more effective if he had saved the last couple of sentences for the comments page. But I don't think dbiedny's actually wrong here. There is still a place in the world for righteous anger, although it gets co-opted so often by politics these days that many times it's best to avoid the appearance of it.
posted by JHarris at 5:14 PM on March 26, 2006


My understanding is that a posting style that's appropriate for DailyKos isn't appropriate for MeFi. But that's really an issue for the gray, not the blue.

bukharin: There are many -- who vote in huge numbers and who play with little green footballs -- who would be happy to discuss with you the "facts" (as they see it) about legality and morality of the war. To blandly editorialize for one particular side in a MeFi FPP, however, was in poor taste.

Or, what mediareport said. And on that note, I've always liked Fitzmaurice's work, so it's a shame for me to see the way it was presented in this FPP.

(Either this thread has brought out fewer of the usual rabid politicos than I'd expected, or my killfile is working better than I'd hoped.)
posted by DaShiv at 5:14 PM on March 26, 2006


I'm really, really glad that earnest concerns about posting style have eclipsed the content of the link. I didn't want to be thinking about kids with lost limbs, etc., and thanks to the diligent style-patrolling of my MeFi brethren, hopefully dbiedny has been adequately shamed for bringing such an unappetizing subject to my attention in such a clumsy manner.

Now, on with the war.
posted by digaman at 5:19 PM on March 26, 2006



Nice shot, digaman.
posted by bukharin at 9:56 PM on March 26, 2006


Perhaps the most sobering image of the documentary Murderball was the image at the end of the Quad Rugby players at the veterans rehibilitation ward teaching a new generation of Quads how to play the game.

Yeah, the number of deaths of American troupes isn't that great. That being said, I can't help but wonder if we're going to be seeing an upsurge of homeless with missing limbs with "veteran - please help" signs in fifteen or twenty years.

Of course, by that time, debates over whether we should have gone to war or not will be matters of history since most of the folks in our government who voted to support it will be long since retired or dead.

Meanwhile, we have a chance to vote all of them out. Every last republican and every last democrat who voted for the war. Every single one.

I'm cynical enough to think that we won't.

In the meantime, why not support Paralyzed Veterans of America if its something you can afford to do?
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:12 AM on March 27, 2006


You're right, digaman: despite mediareport's mentioning that this issue was worth discussing even before we had entered the war, or the staunch support in my posting history for the photojournalists who have been documenting the war's excesses and consequences (at the risk of their lives, in many cases), our critique of the effectiveness in the way the anti-war message is being presented on MeFi and elsewhere is obviously exactly the same thing as supporting the war itself. Why, silly me for thinking that those who had criticized Bush for his "with us or against us" speech actually had a leg to stand on.

And those in the anti-war movement are still wondering why so many liberals are still reluctant to jump on the bandwagon?
posted by DaShiv at 4:14 AM on March 27, 2006


DaShiv, for the record, I too felt that the FPP went slightly overboard in its overt language for the conventions of MeFi. But I am more interested in the substance of the FPP. MetaTalk is a wonderful thing.
posted by digaman at 10:18 AM on March 27, 2006


Our King ain't making cripples, he's making heroes so just shut up!
We never get to hear the good news about war!
Stuff like honor and glory, where's the stories on that, huh?
The War of Aggression on Brown People is a smashing success as anyone would know if they only would turn on FOX News! Get a brain morans!
(darn evil twin sneaking out again.)
posted by nofundy at 11:58 AM on March 27, 2006


« Older Korat Bar girls   |   Small screen vs. big screen Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post