Thursday, March 25, 2010

Veterans issues

In the years since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, 967 American service members have lost at least one limb, as of March 1. Of them, 229 have lost more than one. The number of amputees mounted steadily as the U.S. military stormed into Afghanistan in late 2001, then focused on Iraq -- with an invasion in 2003 and a "surge" in 2007. More recently, the number has edged up again as the Obama administration has pumped more troops into Afghanistan.
These amputees are a fraternity of survivors whose private battles on the road, from blood-fresh wound to leather-tough scar, span the eight years of war. From ground zero to Baghdad to Afghanistan's Marjah, their stories are reminders of conflicts that have lasted long enough for some amputees to be running marathons now, even as their newest brethren struggle with their prosthetics. Some are immobilized by depression, while others boldly venture into a world where children point at them and adults avert their gaze.

The above is from Christian Davenport's "As amputee ranks grow, wounded warriors bond" (Washington Post via Watertown Daily Times) examination of some who have lost limbs in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Meanwhile Emilye Rainwater battles cancer. Carol Ann Alaimo (Arizona Daily Star) reports Rainwater was in Iraq as an employee of the US Defense Department, where she believes she her health was permanently damage:

Rainwater is one of more than 300 troops, civilians and their survivors suing KBR Inc. and former parent firm Halliburton, claiming the Texas-based military contractors ran the burn pits without regard for the hazards they posed to human health.
"You think, when you go over there, about all the things that could happen. But you never think of something like this," said Rainwater, 41, diagnosed a few months ago with acute myeloid leukemia, a disease that typically strikes men in their 60s. The risk for the illness is known to increase with exposure to toxic chemicals.
Rainwater spoke in a phone interview from Tucson Medical Center after a fourth round of chemotherapy to try to become well enough for a stem-cell transplant, her best chance for survival.

In other news, Iraq War veteran Mandy Anne Moya has passed away. Elaine Ayala (San Antonio Express-News) reports the 28-year-old passed away Sunday following "a five-year battle" with Lupus (she was diagnosed with Lupus while serving in Iraq). Her survivors include her parents Connie F. Jaramillo and Gabriel Moya; her grandparents Maria Clotilde and Frank H. & Connie Valdez; Christopher and Jacob Moya (brothers); Erica M. Jaramillo and Selena Moya (sisters); Christopher Moya (nephew) and Christiana and Hailey Moya (nieces).

On New Hampshire Public Radio's Word Of Mouth yesterday, Virginia Prescott spoke with Ohio State University law professor Douglas Berman about PTSD effects in the civilian world with regards to alleged crimes.

Douglas Berman: I don't think there is a special kind of veterans' crime. We see things that are as minor as low level drug offenses and drunk driving and things of that nature that are kind of the daily work of most state criminal courts. But we've also seen a number of federal prosecutions involving larger fraud and other kinds of misbehavior and, in fact, there are a number of settings in which veterans have come back and worked in different kinds of uh government settings where their crimes at the workplace become federal crimes. You know we talk about "Don't make a federal case out of it," --

Virginia Prescott: Right.

Douglas Berman: There are some settings in which veterans do have a kind of distinct involvement with the government system by virtue of being veterans and, as a product of that, some of their criminality gets more attention and sometimes gets subject to harsher sentencing rules in part because what would be just a workplace crime or even something that would be a low level offense if prosecuted at the state system are coming into federal court and being subject to harsher sentencing rules.

The following community sites have updated:

We'll close with this from Debra Sweet's "Damn, We Need a “Morning After the Health Care Bill” Pill" (World Can't Wait):

Thanks to scientists who studied female reproduction, there are women in the world fortunate enough to have access to the birth control pill. Take a few of them after being raped, or any kind of unprotected sex where one fears pregnancy, and the “morning after pill” prevents implantation of any fertilized egg.
But what do you do the morning after you’ve been politically attacked so deeply you feel it in the gut and you’d like to vomit from the White House down the Mall to Congress? We need a “morning after the health care bill” pill.
Because the so-called “health-care reform” passed by the Democrats yesterday rolls the bus over the bodies of women now, and in future, denied access to abortion, and the right to control their own bodies. We knew this was coming, and yet, the way it was done twists “the change you can believe in” knife deeper into the wound of the body politic.

Actually, one more thing. As various public affairs programs enlist in attempting to sell America on ObamaCare and Barry hits Iowa today, the question of when he plans to work on the economy remains. Allegedly, he was going to get serious in January. It's now March. It will soon be April. Does he plan to do anything this year other than try to sell ObamaCare? Just wondering. (And don't buy the nonsense that he will 'boost' the economy with his trip. What he will do is drain the limited resources of any city he visits as they have to put police officers on overtime pay.)

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