LA Times Reports on the Lives of Soldiers Wounded in Iraq
"From what I've seen thus far, much of the reporting in the U.S. and abroad has exaggerated the situation, according to General Casey. The number of attacks on mosques, as he pointed out, had been exaggerated. The number of Iraqi deaths had been exaggerated. Interestingly, all of the exaggerations seem to be on one side. It isn't as though there simply have been a series of random errors on both sides of issues. On the contrary, the steady stream of errors all seem to be of a nature to inflame the situation and to give heart to the terrorists and to discourage those who hope for success in Iraq."
-Donald Rumsfeld, March 7, 2006
The LA Times is running an a three-part series following the lives of a few of the 17,000 soldiers wounded in Iraq. Unlike most American media outlets, the LA Times has also decided to ignore the Bush administration's desperate call for good news by showing photos we rarely see here in the states.
Part I: Bringing Back the Wounded With Heart, Soul and Surgery
After three years of war, the military has honed a highly efficient lifesaving process that moves the wounded swiftly from the battlefield to emergency surgery in the combat zone, and on to military hospitals in Germany and the U.S. The approximately 17,400 troops wounded since March 2003 have been swept up in a medical effort unmatched in any previous war.
During the Vietnam War, where the nearest combat support hospital was in Japan, it took an average of 45 days to move a wounded soldier from the battlefield to a U.S. hospital. In Iraq, it takes less than four days.
Many of the most seriously wounded would have died in previous wars. In Vietnam, soldiers often bled to death before reaching a hospital. Because the wounded in Iraq are evacuated so quickly, 96% of those who make it alive to the Balad and Baghdad hospitals are saved.
Part II: The Journey Through Trauma
U.S. troops who survive the critical 'golden hour' after being seriously wounded in Iraq owe their lives to a fast-acting team of battlefield medics, pilots, nurses and surgeons.