Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Afgahn War Worsens; Amputations Increase

Some Libertarian vote-getters and chickenhawks say that we should focus on the economy -- that our current wars (three, so far) are no longer an issue.

Yet as Tea Party chickenhawks whine about taxes (while screaming their "support" for our budget-busting wars), the Los Angeles Times reminds us that our current wars will remain a lifelong issue for young Americans who were unfortunate enough to believe in war propaganda of chickenhawk bureaucrats and media pundits.

In this shocking article (with photo by Carolyn Cole), Tony Perry reports:

"A study by doctors at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, where most wounded troops are sent before returning to the U.S., confirmed their fears: The battlefield has become increasingly brutal.

"In 2009, 75 service members brought to Landstuhl had limbs amputated. Of those, 21 had lost more than one limb.

"But in 2010, 171, 11% of all the casualties brought to Landstuhl, had undergone amputations, a much higher proportion than in past wars. Of the 171, 65 had lost more than one limb.

"Injuries to the genital area were also on the increase. In 2009, 52 casualties were brought to Landstuhl with battlefield injuries to their genitals or urinary tract. In 2010, that number was 142.

"Dr. John Holcomb, a retired Army colonel with extensive combat-medicine experience, said he and other doctors involved in the study were shocked by the findings, which he labeled as 'unbelievable.'

" 'Everybody was taken aback by the frequency of these injuries: the double amputations, the injuries to the penis and testicles,' said Holcomb, now a medical professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. 'Nothing like this has been seen before.' "

Read the entire article with complete photo.

Our current wars (Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Libya) have been going on for nearly ten years now. And during those ten years, some so-called "libertarians" have either cheered these wars, or said the Libertarian Party should not address the war issue because it was "divisive" and "libertarians of good faith" could disagree about the war.

By remaining silent and timid over this past decade, or paralyzed into inaction by infighting with liberventionists, the Libertarian Party has failed America. It doesn't deserve to win elections.

Shame not only on liberventionist chickenhawks, but on opportunistic vote-getters who quietly "oppose" our wars while focusing on "more voter-friendly" issues.

And remember, in 2008 Wayne Allyn Root called for an Afghan surge, before he flip-flopped on it in 2009.

1 comment:

Facetious_Neophyte said...

It makes sense, and is a twisted sort of consequence to our improvements in vehicle armor, body armor, combat first aid training, and trauma surgery. I think we would be much closer to a Vietnam-level of KIAs if we weren't so good at protecting the head and torso and thus major organs, or at emergency trauma care. I think it is also the reason behind the unbelievable disparities in dead local nationals versus dead coalition soldiers. What blows an insurgent to pieces, instead only severals the limbs and genitals of a NATO soldier thanks to body armor innovations. I've seen magazine articles about how we're actually pretty close to a having a bulletproof helmet, and so there's no telling how many more severely injured might start surviving. That's a far cry from the initial models which were only good for preventing minor concussions or fractures from falling debris.

I was a Marine who deployed to Afghanistan twice. I was a fobbit, and so wasn't running around kicking in doors or patrolling. Despite this, I still got Combat Lifesaver training. I describe it as between the first aid taught at basic training, and the DMI course where sedated pigs are given simulated war wounds and Marines use their training to keep them alive (they are never allowed to regain consciousness, and so they actually don't experience any suffering or terror.)

We learned how to apply hemostatics to otherwise uncontrollable hemorrhaging, recognize and treat otherwise fatal tension pneumothorax cases, open and maintain an airway even if most of the face was gone, pretty complex tracheotomies, head/neck/spine injuries, tourniquet procedures with a windlass device that rivals what EMTs use, stabilize serious abdominal wounds, burn stabilization, shock prevention, radio/LZ marking procedures, etc.

I was in an airwing unit that doesn't participate in direct combat, and we still had about an eighth or so of every platoon CLS qualified. We also received a special CLS kit that attached to our belts and thighs with oodles upon oodles of supplies. I'm sure units that regularly encounter combat have even high levels of training. On top of this you would also be assigned a corpsman who had even more training and stuff. I won't get into procedures beyond saying we also had essentially complete control of the airspace, and a plethora of available hospitals.

So I wouldn't say this war is more brutal. We've just come a long way from WWII, Korea, and Vietnam where you seemingly had one medic with morphine and bandages as well as an enemy with actual aviation capabilities. Looking at photos of the guys at Walter Reed or Landstuhl is mind boggling. There are guys with no limbs, severe spine injuries, severe burns all over their bodies, significant brain damage, etc. These aren't injuries that are new to warfare, it's just prior to now they would have been dead long before you could have even gotten a helicopter to reach them.