Adonis Diaries

Returning home Crippled from Iraq: After the “Battlefield”, the suffering…

Posted on: December 20, 2011

I am returning home Crippled from Iraq: After the Battlefield suffering

Do you believe in official statistics on war casualties?

If the US government states that about 4,500 US soldiers died in the war in Iraq, do you think the government will admit how many “supporting” participants in the war died?

Like all these “private security” members and transport personnel, and daily maintenance of the troops…? They are not “officially” soldiers and they don’t count in the tally.

Would the government states the number of seriously injured, crippled for life, handicapped…

In general, for every killed “warrior” you have 4 folds as many who fell as injured, mostly severely injured.

How about the US official statistics that at least 125,000 Iraqi died during this war? 

Any figures for the “collateral casualties” among Iraqi civilians? What could be the real number?

And the internal war is not over in Iraq…

Is the UN ready to submit its report on the number of casualties?  What of these one million Iraqis who are crippled and handicapped? Who is taking care of them? With what budget? With what medical personnel and tools and medicines for a life-time?

Next year, the US will eventually withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, and the same story will be discussed and analyzed.

The case of Afghanistan is not less terrible: this nation has been at war since 1980.

The US can withdraw troops at will in these “wars of choice“, decided by the 1% elite class in the “war industry” and the plunderer of other nations raw materials and oil.. and open market…

How can the Iraqi society and the Afghani society withdraw from this extended war, of picking up the pieces and tending to their crippled, their poorer communities...?

David Wood wrote Beyond The Battlefield: The War Goes on for the Severely Wounded.  He is HuffPost’s senior military correspondent, and spent 9 months speaking with severely wounded veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Wood interviewed more than two dozen military surgeons, combat medics, rehabilitation therapists, prosthetics engineers, nurses, operating room technicians and medical officials at the Pentagon, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and military hospitals and treatment facilities across the country.

“I have been scared much of my professional life,” writes David in the book. He does not go about his work as a dispassionate fact-finder: much of Beyond the Battlefield’s power comes from David’s willingness to empathize. He is in awe of the acts of strength and grace he witnesses, and he does not try to hide it.

Wood writes: “As a war correspondent I have seen wounded men rescued like this from the battlefield, an intense and gratifying experience. But I always wondered: “What happened to them next? How did they fare, and what was it like for them, and what are their lives like now?”

For example, David met Tyler Southern (22-year-old Marine Corps corporal who lost both legs and an arm to an IED in Afghanistan),  James Stoddard (19-year-old Navy Corpsman who saved Tyler’s life, quickly harnessing tourniquets where his limbs had been, plunging an IV needle into his remaining arm and helping lift him onto a medevac helicopter), Luana Schneider (whose 22-year-old son Scott Stephenson was critically burned in a bomb blast in Iraq. Luana lived with Scott in a tiny hotel room adjacent to the hospital and dressed his wounds twice a day…), Lisa Fierro (who strives to retain a sense of normalcy for her two young sons after her husband Robert is shot in the head in Iraq)…

Lisa Fierro said: “I was determined for the kids that this not be the kind of thing where they’d look back and say, ‘Well, we had a great childhood until my dad got shot”. I wanted it to be, ‘We had a great childhood and my dad got shot and we got to go to D.C. for a month and we had a great time!'”

Courage is not confined to combat, and heroes don’t always wear uniforms in this sordid, ugly business of war.” David noted: He notes that as insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan have perfected IEDs, the number of U.S. soldiers suffering the traumatic loss of their legs and genitals has increased.

As the chief physical therapist for amputees at Walter Reed Medical Center tells David, the first question many patients ask when they wake up is, “Are they still there?”

You can get Beyond the Battlefield, which was created and distributed using BookBrewer, at AmazoniTunesBarnes & Noble, and Kobo.

Note:  The HuffPost’s published its latest e-book, Beyond The Battlefield: The War Goes on for the Severely Wounded, by David Wood.

David has a Quaker background and he is a conscientious objector. David spent many years  covering wars.

In 41 years as a working journalist, he has covered war and conflict in three dozen countries, flown on B-52 and B-1 bombers, and embedded with U.S. forces in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. As HuffPost’s senior military correspondent, David spent nine months speaking with severely wounded veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Through Wood’s portraits of wounded soldiers, their loved ones and their caretakers, and through his portrayals of the dangerous conditions in which they serve and the trying world to which they return, David has crafted an immensely valuable mosaic of a vital segment of American life.

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December 2011

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