Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Worst Wounded Soldier I Ever Met

I have mentioned I went to high school with a kid, the year before me, who was killed in the invasion of Grenada when a hailstorm of Cuban bullets went through the window of the helicopter he was piloting and landed in his face. But at least he died on the spot. He left a wife and two daughters – now adults – who of course never met him.

The worst wounded soldier that I ever met had been walking across a rice paddy in Vietnam when a bullet severed his spine. Right across the back of his neck. Had it missed him by an inch he would have been just fine. Maybe even less than an inch.

Had he fallen forward he would have drowned. Instead he fell backwards and survived. He was 19 years old. I remember thinking if he wondered, “Just what the hell happened to me?”

This talking head spent the next 30 years lying on back in his parent’s home, being turned like a hamburger patty to prevent bedsores, before he died of pneumonia in a VA hospital at age 49.

Speaking of VA hospitals, I have been to them several times. I saw several guys there paralyzed from the waist down in Vietnam, out in the sunshine in their wheelchairs and on stretchers – and younger ones from Iraq and Afghanistan. I never saw the men hidden in the back wards (one of my friend’s mother used to visit them and he told me what she told him) – some of them didn’t have faces and some no arms and legs (these used to be called “basket cases”). I can’t imagine being a nurse in a place like that. How can anyone get used to something like that?

Amazing – sort of – what advanced combat medicine can do these days. Used to be, other soldiers would shoot other horribly wounded soldiers and put them out of their misery. How’s that for a permanent memory? – shooting another soldier because you can’t get any treatment for him. Not that in many cases treatment would have done any good.

The worst wounded soldier I read about from Iraq was a 19-year-old who was shot point-blank head in the back of the head by an Iraqi soldier – one of those “allies” that the stupid are protesting should be let into the country. He ended up paralyzed from the neck down, blind, and unable to talk. He can hear just fine, though. If he still alive he’s spending his “life” in his bedroom in his parents’ home.

It was about 10 years ago I read about him.

I once saw of picture of Denzel Washington, with a look of great compassion on his face, talking to a woman (I could tell it was a woman because of her long blonde wig) whose face was a mass of burned tissue – from her service in either Afghanistan or Iraq. I remember thinking, “There goes marriage, husband, children, family, happiness.”

Chickenhawk cowards say these guys “made the ultimate sacrifice.” But it apparently doesn’t occur to them these guys have parents and wives and friends and children that have to spend the rest of their lives with these tragedies.

Such tragedies aren’t linear. They spread out like a concrete block thrown in a pond. That’s why they affect so many people.

If I had the ability I’d have all the Chickenhawks switch places with these wounded soldiers so they would be whole again (too bad it can’t be 100,000 made whole for one coward). Then the Chickenhawks can make “the ultimate sacrifice.” I’d have them switch places with Dubya Shrub, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle – none of whom volunteered for Vietnam even though they were the perfect ages to serve. They were plenty good at starting unnecessary wars, though.

Of course none of them would agree to this switch. Others are supposed to be horribly wounded and have no life to speak of – not these arrogant cowards.

There are a lot worse things than merely dying.

11 comments:

Earl Thomas said...

'Chickenhawk cowards say these guys “made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Of course they will...those people sacrificed to kept the American war machine economy going so that those chickenhawks can keep collecting fat stacks of battle provided cash.

A Texan said...

Glenn and the Christian Evangelicals probably think it was 'worth it'.

Roman Lance said...

I wonder if these chikenhawks can even begin to appreciate Kipling's poem, "Because Our Fathers Lied". Though as I understand it Kipling was in favor of his empire's wars until he lost his boy.

I know a man who lost his boy, in Afghanistan I believe, and in no uncertain terms he told my boys.

Never join the military, they will just use you up and throw you away.

I think he made a lasting impression on them. I hope anyway.

Glen Filthie said...

Whaddya want me to say, Tex? There is no way I can stand up to an emotional parent or spouse and tell them that their mangled boy or dead son was 'worth it'. I'm sorry for your friends Bob.

All I know, boys, is that if an organism doesn't fight for it's survival, it dies. We could have fought our enemies in their back yards but for various reasons we are going to be fighting them here... unless we knuckle under like the Euros did and stand idly by while stinking African monkeys gang rape our women, burn cars and shit in the streets. Suffice it to say, to the fellas enabling all that? I'm not exactly impressed with your courage either. How about you actually throw those moslem shit bags out before ya thump your chest and brag? Ask some kid whose mom or dad was killed on 911 if it was all worth it.

There's going to be a lot more of derelicts around in the days ahead.

ray said...

Indeed, there are far worse things than death. And at a certain future point, some people on this planet will be so disconnected from God, that he won't even let them die. Although death is rightly associated with satanic elements, ultimately God is the authority, and either he allows us to die at some point . . . or he can't be bothered to care.

Maybe his POV is, Well they said I don't exist, I guess the potential of their deaths, that doesn't actually exist either.

I'm looking to miss that party altogether.

ray said...

"those people sacrificed to kept the American war machine economy going so that those chickenhawks can keep collecting fat stacks of battle provided cash."


Ouch. It's true, though. Especially at the Beltway Trough.

Farm Boy said...

War is hell. If we are going to put our soldiers in harm's way and risk things like this, I say we had better have a goddamn clear and unassailable reason for going in, a goal, and an exit strategy. Not a wild goose chase for imaginary weapons of mass destruction followed by years of wishful thinking "nation building" fantasy with our military turning into the Peace Corps. Or something like the Libya disaster led by the brave and heroic obozo and hilLIARy, what a mess we made of things over there. Another brilliant intervention led by the military strategy geniuses in our "leadership."

Bob Wallace said...

"Ask some kid whose mom or dad was killed on 911 if it was all worth it."

That happened in the U.S., not Canada.

Take The Red Pill said...

"There are a lot worse things than dying than merely dying."

I agree. As a twenty-year Navy veteran, I can truthfully say that my greatest fear was NOT being killed, but being maimed, crippled, or disfigured.
For some reason I don't know, death and dying never held any terrors for me, even as a child (don't misunderstand me, I don't WANT to die -- not any more than anyone else -- but I can't remember ever being afraid of dying).
But being held prisoner in my own body is a Hell that I wouldn't wish on anyone, let alone have happen to me; it would be worse than a death sentence. Better to die and be done with it.

Glen Filthie said...

We're up next, Bob. As far as that goes, here in Alberta we have more in common with Texas than those fuckheads in Morontario and Queerbec.

Look, we can't argue this on the small scale. The same thing happens when people get hit and killed or maimed by drunk drivers.

And it doesn't change the fact that when they finally put an end to Saddam, they took out a man who was a clear and present danger not only to the US and its allies, but half the fuggin barking baboons in the middle east too. None of you have stepped up to answer the question: what would have happened if Saddam had continued on unchecked?

Bob Wallace said...

Only someone born and raised in the U.S. can understand this country. Foreigners never do.