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April 5, 2007 10:22 AM   Subscribe

Injured in Iraq. The story of the soldier who may have changed Congressman Murtha's mind about the war.
posted by Toekneesan (25 comments total)
read this last night. more and more people are thinking in terms of causalities instead of deaths. ~3,000 sounds small, but for every death theres ~16 seriously injured. you can do the math.
posted by j-urb at 10:46 AM on April 5, 2007

3,000 didn't sound small when it was our 9-11 death toll.

But point taken, and I hope you're right. People should think of the big picture as far as the toll of any military action. Aside from the humanitarian matter of human suffering there's the very real cost of funding the VA.
posted by phearlez at 10:51 AM on April 5, 2007

actually, its more like 7.5xs according to this site. i stand corrected. figure is still more than double the rate in ' Nam.
posted by j-urb at 10:52 AM on April 5, 2007

Luckily, the wounded get top notch care once the return to the states.
posted by Mr_Zero at 10:54 AM on April 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

I was reading an article a while back on how advances in field medicine save countless people who would have died in say the Viet Nam war. The article then went on to discuss how the costs of taking care of all these maimed people was going to be really huge, and America is going to implode on itself in debt or something like that.
posted by chunking express at 10:56 AM on April 5, 2007

A lot of these soldiers, I hate to say this, but death would've been a Hell of a lot kinder to them than living through their injuries.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:56 AM on April 5, 2007

Well, it is important to note that medical care is up to where we're getting less fatalities and more survivors. Still, the VA was overburdened even -before- the war, I expect we'll see less of "falling through the cracks" and more "sliding through the patchy sieve" that will be vet care in the next 10 years.

(speaking as the son of a Nam vet).
posted by yeloson at 10:58 AM on April 5, 2007

And it's only going to get worse over time.

It's stories like this that make me want to see ALL of the neocons in chains, in war tribunals, being made to answer for their heinous crimes. Patriots my ass - these fuckers are the terrorists.
posted by dbiedny at 11:07 AM on April 5, 2007

"Casualties" includes both killed and wounded. The Iraq Coalition Casualty Count site currently lists 3,265 Americans killed and 24,314 wounded in Iraq. There have been 140 UK fatalities, and 124 from the other members of the coalition.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:11 AM on April 5, 2007

I read this article as having a lot less to do with "the war in Iraq" than "this is how fucked up America is". This is a tale of abandonment, with a Purple Heart pinned onto it.
posted by phaedon at 11:12 AM on April 5, 2007

"Casualties" only counts the physically wounded. How many homeless vets in (more or less) perfect physical condition are we going to have wandering the streets from 2010-2050 or so?
posted by DU at 11:22 AM on April 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

I doubt Murtha changed his mind because of this guy. More likely, Murtha heard about this guy and decided to use him to make a point.
posted by tadellin at 11:23 AM on April 5, 2007

from 2004, related:

In World War II, for every American soldier killed in combat, there were three wounded on the battlefield, according to the U.S. Army Medical Command. In Korea, the ratio of killed-to-wounded was one to four. The ratio was the same for Vietnam. In Iraq, the ratio is one to 12.
posted by matteo at 11:29 AM on April 5, 2007

From the epilogue of Murtha's 2004 book, last two paragraphs:
Let me end on a personal note. American citizens must aggressively maintain a support system—financially and emotionally—for the stateside families of those serving abroad and the families of those who have been killed and wounded. As a member of Congress, I have made many visits to the Army’s Walter Reed Hospital to visit the wounded. I am always impressed with how upbeat they are despite their injuries. Most soldiers are of very modest means and joined the military to better themselves. Six soldiers from the district I represent have paid the ultimate price.

The widows of two soldiers killed in Iraq visited my office while they were in Washington, D.C. Both women were in their early twenties, had small babies, and had paid their own way to come to Washington to meet with wounded war veterans. They had brought gifts for the wounded at Walter Reed Hospital. They told me that their conversations with the patients helped them deal with their own losses. The injured shared their stories of how they were wounded, and the young widows shared their stories of their losses as well. During their visit to my office, one of them said, “I was married, got pregnant, lost my husband and had my baby all in the same year. I shouldn’t have had to live my whole life in one year.”

posted by Toekneesan at 11:37 AM on April 5, 2007

tadellin just got served

thanks Toeknessan
posted by jmccw at 12:06 PM on April 5, 2007

War produces a lot of psychic casualties as well which can be awfully costly and time consuming, lotta ptsd, depression, anxiety... coming down the pike. Lord help us all.
posted by edgeways at 12:31 PM on April 5, 2007

Not to derail, but meanwhile do we know how many Iraqis we've killed or have killed each other since we invaded? I think I remember an estimate of 650,000, but I don't remember its provenance or how old it is.
posted by pax digita at 12:31 PM on April 5, 2007

People, lets stop pretending that our government and our society cares about our soldiers. We don't send people we care about to drive over IED's.

If we did care, they wouldn't be there.

Human lives are, and always have been, perfectly disposable as far as our leaders are concerned.
posted by Avenger at 12:35 PM on April 5, 2007

i agree. tadellin got owned by the epilogue of murtha's book? Stop the presses!

Hah. That was an unexpected laugh.
posted by phaedon at 12:58 PM on April 5, 2007

So, how many troops have actually been in Iraq since the war. I'm talking total number here, those who died there and those who went and never went back and those who are still there. How many service people total have gone through Iraq.

Out of that total number, how many have been injured?

Out of that number, how many will have permanent physical injuries?

Is there anyway to count how many are still receiving mental care, after returning from the war, be it just mental care or physical and mental care also?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:54 PM on April 5, 2007

This dysfunction will permeate 2, 3, 4, generations. In Ammurkah and with the Terrrists.
posted by fire&wings at 4:34 PM on April 5, 2007

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