Civilians In Combat Risk All For A Few Dollars More
Posted by bosskitty on July 28, 2007
Many Fill Vital Roles in Iraq, but Medical Care Can Be Spotty
Traveling through Sunni insurgent territory north of Baghdad, the U.S. military convoy was nearing a base when a roadside bomb ripped into the lead Humvee, leaving its gunner, Mike Helms, bleeding and swaying from a strap in the open back.
Helms, 31, a civilian counterintelligence expert with the Army’s 902nd Military Intelligence Group, had been sent to Iraq in 2004 to help fill a critical intelligence gap in the area known as the Sunni Triangle. While in Iraq, he lived with soldiers and ate military rations, took fire from mortar rounds and small arms, and clocked hundreds of miles manning a machine gun on the back of a Humvee.
Nevertheless, his status as an Army civilian would leave him stranded in the aftermath of the June 16, 2004, attack, when the bomb hit his Humvee so hard it blew his M-60 off its turret.
In the months that followed, Helms recalled, he was denied vital care for his wounds — ranging from shrapnel in his left arm to traumatic brain injury. Forced to rely on federal workers’ compensation and turned away from regular care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and other military hospitals, Helms has faced years of frustration grappling with bureaucracies unprepared to help a government civilian wounded in combat.
‘Izzy? . . . Bring Your Daughter Here’
U.S. Officer, Wanting to Save Interpreter’s Wounded Child, Faces a Snag (By David Finkel, The Washington Post)
There are thousands upon thousands of these stories developing every day. No one can convince me that these facts are unknown to Bush and Company. No one can convince me that Congress is not aware – these casualties come from their political districts, too. Whether they are soldiers or hired support or local collaborators, how we treat those who risk it all will determine our future. These casualties will determine whether we even have a future. Because, the mental and physical health care we offer will determine our own quality of life. Bush and Company cannot be allowed to downplay their responsibility to everyone they have put in harms way, including the American public!