April 7th, 2003

fashionable

Trying to sort out the actual cost of war...

Interesting article out of a small newspaper in Colorado. By interviewing a Boulder neurosurgeon serving over in Germany, they have gotten an angle on the war that nobody else is reporting.

Treatment on the battlefield has advanced significantly with this war, largely due to the new bandage technology that can seal severely bleeding wounds in as fast as one minute. As a result, there are *far* fewer coalition fatalities than in previous wars, where traumatic blood loss has been the leading cause of death. However, the flipside of this improvement is that more people will be maimed for life.

Some of the most severely wounded in Iraq are being relocated to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, which has treated close to 600 soldiers involved in the current war -- over half of those before the war.

"It really is disgustingly sanitized on television," says Boulder neurosurgeon Gene Bolles, "We have had a number of really horrific injuries now from the war. They have lost arms, legs, hands, they have been burned, they have had significant brain injuries and peripheral nerve damage. These are young kids that are going to be, in some regards, changed for life. I don't feel that people realize that."

Although only a handful of fatalities were reported yesterday from the attack into Baghdad, one US officer reported 17 US vehicles were destroyed in the attack. If that is so, then we can expect Dr. Bolles and the others over at Landstuhl to be busy for quite awhile...
fashionable

The "trooperization" of America?

Something I noticed lately is are some of the interesting parallels between the fascist, militaristic overtones of "Starship Troopers" and the current situation with our government.

Service equals citizenship! ... albeit posthumously. Service in the US military does speed up the citizenship process, however, taking only three years instead of five. The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City has received hundreds of requests from people offering to fight for the United States in exchange for American citizenship.

I wonder whether additional legislation will pass in the aftermath of the war that will make this link between military service and citizenship that much more obvious. Do a tour of duty, become a US citizen. It's worth pointing out that the same non-citizen soldiers serving in our military over in Iraq wouldn't be allowed to inspect our baggage at the airport.

Incidentally, the practice of granting citizenship in exchange for military service was something that the Roman Empire used to do...

The dehumanization of the Iraqi people is still going on, and our media never questions it. I saw a "former US general" last night, explaining that when we drop bombs on our Kurdish allies, they are stoic, honorable, and forgiving, but when we drop bombs on Iraqis, they are overly emotional, scream, cry, wail, and never forgive us. The fact that the Iraqis we bombed were civilians didn't seem to enter into the equasion...

"Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst."

Straight outta Starship Troopers, yet it sounds like something Perle, Wolfowitz, or Rumsfeld would say... apparently, the fact that there is no legal justification for violence doesn't matter anymore. Their justification is purely after the fact -- how else could they justify sending US troops into battle near Baghdad without their chemical weapons suits? They are acknowledging the fact that Iraq's supposed WMDs do not pose a serious risk, even at close quarters. This, of course, undermines their highly dubious legal justification for the war...

Of course, the self-justification that comes in the wake of violence doesn't just apply overseas, anymore. Oakland police shot people with rubber bullets and teargassed them for picketing a business early today. The officers claimed they warned people, but I find it hard to believe that most people heard these warnings -- nine members of the longshore workers union who were waiting to get into work were among the injured. I wonder whether the longshore workers can expect similar treatment the next time they picket a business...