Sunday, June 26, 2005
The press and the political class look at war entirely in terms of the costs - in both lives and dollars - to achieve victory or suffer defeat. This picture reminds us, though, that for every American killed in Iraq, there are dozens if not hundreds who pass through that country and become better men and women for it. Sure, they are learning new skills and our military is vastly more powerful because of their experiences. But they are also developing a nuanced compassion and textured sense of the world that will shape our society for two generations. The veterans of Iraq will eventually go into business, medicine, politics, teaching and community service, and they will change our country.
"This picture reminds us, though, that for every American killed in Iraq, there are dozens if not hundreds who pass through that country and become better men and women for it."
For every soldier killed in Iraq, eight soldiers have been wounded.
The percentage of soldiers who have undergone amputations is twice that of any of any of America's past military conflicts; nearly a quarter of all the wounded suffer from traumatic head injuries.
Of the 290,000 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who had left active duty by January 2005, 22 percent have already sought treatment from Veterans Affairs; more than a quarter of them were diagnosed with some form of mental disorder. At this time, more than 1 million have served in these wars.
source: Ronald J. Glasser, "A War of Disabilities: Iraq's hidden costs are coming home," in Harper's Magazine, July 2005.
Peace Anonymous Guy: The vast majority of the wounded are, presumably, available to contribute to our economy and politics over the next two generations. I did not exclude them out of wingnut triumphalism, but only because they will, by and large, recover and be there changing our country, one way or the other.
If your point was that they will not be "better men and women for it," that is clearly true for some of the wounded. I submit it is will not be true for most of them, whatever there resentments or limitations in the months following their injury.