The pornography of prosthetics

Amputee pornIt was unavoidable. With untold thousands of US men and women returning from Afghanistan and Iraq with missing limbs, somebody was going to want to see that naked.
I wanted to see the naked figures. Specifically, how many servicemen have been injured, how many of them maimed? Strangely, those statistics are not exposed. Not accounting our soldiers’ sacrifices, to spare a public’s waning jingoist sensibilities, is the real exploitation.

The closest I could get were FOIA documents forced from the VA by Veterans for Common Sense. Current through May 2009, here are the figures as I understand them:

Of 1,101,971 total GWOT veterans, there are 405,022 veterans filing disability claims. (While we’re at it, let’s mention the VA records 4,702 in-service deaths, and 5,621 post-service deaths.)

Sorting past the 49,325 veterans who suffer “Limitation Of Flexion Of Leg” and 41,544 who have “Limited Motion Of The Ankle,” there are 10,179 who’ve applied for Traumatic Injury benefits. This number might include soldiers who’ve lost a limb, but only among the soldiers who were insured.

Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection (TSGLI) is a rider under Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) that provides for payment to any member of the uniformed services covered by SGLI who sustains a traumatic injury that results in certain severe losses. Through May 31, 2009, 10,179 active duty servicemembers and veterans have applied for TSGLI. Of those, GWOT veterans filed 7,091 claims and 4,409 of those received benefits

I imagine medical supply companies must know the number of artificial limbs they’ve sold to the DoD or to the VA.

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Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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8 Responses to The pornography of prosthetics

  1. Avatar Rangga says:

    How disgusting the euphemisms the government coins for mangled, maimed, amputees.
    We are aptly reined of Orwell and his superb “Nineteen Eighty-Four” of “newspeak”, doublespeak and “thought-crime”.

  2. Avatar Jim in Texas says:

    I saw my first female amputee when I was taking my wife to the Fort Hood hospital. I spent 20 years in Army without a scratch and kept all my troops from losing any limbs either. A buddy of mine spent 3 years in and got in a wheelchair for life in a traffic accident when he got out. All jobs have occupational hazards. Stop inciting hate crimes against US soldiers with inflamatory anti-American propaganda for evil mass murdering dictators and terrorists greedy corrupt European socialists make money selling AK-47s to and we wouldn’t have as many nuts out to kill Americans.

  3. Avatar Brother Jonah says:

    All jobs have occupational hazards, true. Having a job killing babies on the other hand pretty much guarantees that people will try to make your job a lot more hazardous. There wasn’t a war fought in my lifetime for American Freedom or for that matter the freedom of the countries in which you were fighting. Bush was an anti-American terrorist and so are you. Your commanders told you to murder people for the “crime” of having their own Nationalist agenda, for witholding their service from Your Masters and withholding ThEIR national resources from Your Master’s Oil companies, fruit companies, mining companies.

    You don’t like people saying that about what you did? I as an american Christian don’t like people like YOU killing people in my name or the name of my nation or of my God. You wrap your bullshit in the flag and all you’re going to get is a smelly flag.

    The reason people shoot at the you in THEIR nations is that yuu’re sent there to run their countries and kill them and their kids if they don’t accept your Glorious American “Superiority”.

    Your system is no better than that of Rome or Nazi Germany.

  4. Avatar Brother Jonah says:

    Oh, and “your” inferiors, (You’re their “superior”, Right? that means everybody else including “your” troops are “your inferiors”. Semantics is a two edge sword) But Your Inferiors didn’t get killed or injured, probably you were “fighting” people who were so heavily outgunned that they couldn’t Defend Their Countries against your Mighty Imperial StormTroopers. Probaby every time you felt threatened you had an airstrike called in, bomb the living dogshit out of any lightly armed “peasants” who in their no doubt cowardly way tried to resist your Army.

    Alle Sieg Heil Am Der Amerikanisch-Reich! Heil! Heil! Heil!

    Might Makes Right, doesn’t it? I mean, that’s what you said in your screed. Your military is more heavily armed than the rest of the world combined so you have some kind of Moral Authority to run the world the way you see fit? And of course kill anybody who objects.

  5. Avatar ForYahweh says:

    Brother Jonah, you seem to be hate mongering. Seems to be kind of a hypocritical move there since you’re accusing Jim In Texas of exactly that. You dog on him seemingly for nothing other than being a soldier. He said nothing wrong, simply stated in his own way that yeah, War may be Hell, but sometimes so is being home. He was right about specific European manufacturing companies selling weapons to specific African-Continent-based Terrorist groups. He was right about America eating itself from the inside out with Anti-US propaganda. Here’s a fact for you: We weren’t there to kill Iraqi men, women and children indiscriminately. We were after the Al Qaeda troops. Terrorists Foreign to us but domestic to Arabia. They BOMBED US FIRST by flying PLANES into our WTC and Pentagon, or do you not remember that? They STARTED IT. And here’s the cold, harsh reality: They did it because THEY WANTED TO. Because they WANT TO KILL US ALL. So next time you feel like bitching someone out, bitch out an Al Qaeda terrorist. Don’t forget to dodge the knife he’ll hold to your belly as you do so.

  6. Avatar Tony Logan says:

    From the point of view of the group around Osama bin Laden, ‘WE’ started it by backing the Saudi Arabian dictatorship which our government has imposed on their country. ‘ForYahweh’, I don’t expect a techno peasant mind like yourself to be able to comprehend any of what troubles victims of US foreign policy because you’re just not too bright. Best luck to you lviing in your thick fog though. It must be quite tough.

  7. Avatar Harry Titus says:

    Don’t forget the thousands of us who lost limbs in Vietnam. Many more that in Iraq/Afghanistan. I’m one of them. Not sure of a naked guy with a fake arm should be considered pornographic though…..

  8. Brother Jonah Brother Jonah says:

    Yeah, it takes a whole new meaning, y’know? “take it off! Take it off!” Of course there’s no explaining anybody’s bodily attributes. I didn’t get Amputated but my left knee/tibia and right Talus both have surgical metal in them. I can’t blame it on the Air Farts although I really want to. As for one post decrying me for pointing out that a Jim From Texas sounded like an excuse for getting killed or maimed in a war. Too bad so sad? Follow the Leader is a ‘game’ used to train kids to always obey. We’re told to obey and if we get fucked up it’s “too bad so sad” and Jim by his choice of words doesn’t know what a major injury does. Which is precisely what Eric’s article was showing. The real cost is going up up up… VA is trying damned hard to cover the cost of what Single Payer Health Care would do, if we had single payer. That was 8 years ago when that was posted. It’s just getting worse. We spend many times as much to kill people including Americans than we spend for preventive health care. Like I put into the first couple sentences, I don’t know the why of amputee porn. There’s all kinds and damned if I’m going to analyze that. I called it a long time ago ‘wandering through the Bewilderness.’ I’m sad you got torn up but glad you’re still with us.

    When Eric wrote the article there was a big to-do about a rich-bitch dodger named Saxby Chambliss III, no shit, (ok, plenty of shit but it’s from their side) running for governor in a southern state. He’d beat up on the reputation of Max Cleland who left 3 limbs and half his body weight in Vietnam.
    The most odious political advertisement of the post-9/11 era was run by Saxby Chambliss against triple-amputee Vietnam veteran incumbent Max Cleland in the 2002 cycle. Almost universally condemned by the polite political class, including now SecDef-designate Chuck Hagel and then-to-be GOP presidential nominee John McCain, the ad morphed Senator Cleland’s face into that of Osama bin Laden, only one year from the attacks on The Homeland.

    That a chickenhawk like Chambliss could run an ad like this one offended just about everybody, although it worked: Chambliss won the seat in 2002’s swirling anti-terror fever election, when George Bush put war and “national security” on the midterm ballot.

    The “basis” for the ad, if it can be said to have one, was that Senator Cleland was trying to craft employee protections into the emerging Department of Homeland Security, thus (allegedly) holding up the birth of the agency that would protect us from The Tall Man and his planet-wide evil terror operatives. End quote.

    Of course shit like that keeps me on edge.

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