The army builds men

When our forces were amassing on the Iraqi border, a friend of mine lamented that a war in Iraq was going to mean a generation of amputee vets. She ‘d seen the Vietnam years and its casualties. I thought she was exaggerating. “Look at Grenada, I said, at Panama, at Kuwai,” hardly a scratch.

Since it started the casualties have mounted. The wounded don’t make the news, even the number has been concealed. But we live in military town, and the injured are hard to miss everywhere. Some only trunks strapped in hi-tech wheelchairs. You see them at buffet restaurants mostly.

The recent anti-war rally in New York City featured a procession of one thousand coffins. I wish they’d assembled mannekin limbs to represent those lost by our soldiers, then gathered the over ten thousand parts in a large pile in Central Park. Sick, but war is sick.

Recruiting efforts must be stymied by the carnage in Iraq. I received a recruitment brochure in the mail today. What is the army spending to try to lure young men into the fray. Has that budget gone up on account of the carnage? Can we say no to that spending?

“Strength. Confidence. Self-esteem. And that’s just for starters.” I opened the glossy brochure to see if it said anything about costing an arm and a leg.

Vietnam era poster

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