Courtesy Anit-war Art.US
And it's madness
to ask poets to celebrate,
when people can't even
for fear of war's imminence.
by Gregory Orr
in Poets Against the WarOn the heels of the election, some regular television seemed in order this past weekend (the kind with commercials), so I clicked on Oprah on Friday. Her show was about "survivors," people who have overcome huge setbacks and horrific events in their lives.
I came in on the middle of the story of Ty, a Vet back from Iraq with unimaginable injuries: his skull was shattered , his face, head and arms burned past recognition and his left lower arm had to be amputated. Ty had joined the Marines after high school, and after boot camp had done a tour in Iraq. He came home, proposed to his eighteen year old girlfriend Renee, --who accepted--, and shortly thereafter, was deployed back to Iraq. Obviously, he had not yet given enough of his young life for his country.
Five months later he and six other Marines caught the full impact of a suicide bomber's attack, and Ty got to come home again. He has endured over thirty surgeries and months of therapy to begin to overcome his injuries. This formerly handsome child/man now looks like a lump of clay being worked into human form by a sculptor who has not yet finished. Ty is brave, he is not bitter. His girlfriend Renee stuck by him and they were married in October. They are stellar young people, but the life they will have to lead is not the life they planned when they got engaged; their future is going to revolve on Ty's recovery, a daily reminder of all that he and thousands of others have endured because the mission was NOT accomplished, is not yet accomplished, probably will not EVER be accomplished in any recognizable way a war can be "accomplished."
We haven't been allowed to see, to look upon, the soldiers who returned from Iraq with injuries. It's difficult to find actual numbers, but as of December, 2003(!) there had been 11,000 medical evacuations from Iraq. Wish I had more current numbers. YOU try to find 'em!
Wouldn't it be easy for the Pentagon to post a blood-spattered ticker of returning dead and wounded numbers on their very spiffy web site? Couldn't we use some really useful information for a change? It sickens me that the administration has made a BIG POINT of distancing itself (SHAME!!!) from the dead and injured returning home... How can George Bush and Dick Cheney face themselves in the mirror, morning after morning to shave (as though they actually shave their own shamefully impenitent faces), when the likes of Ty from the Oprah show, are in huge numbers coming home, are walking memorials to the Administration's bloody folly in Iraq. What our government has done is unpardonable. Those responsible will burn in karmic hell for this "war." I say that with all the charity I can muster.
According to a recent report on the Jim Lehrer's Newshour, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are now the hallmark wound for returning vets. And there are continuing stress traumas and other not-so-visible emotional wounds.
The fortunes of war. I do not know why. I do not know what to do. Even Hillary voted for the war. I salute and am grateful for all the people who did not vote for the war. Remember Robert Byrd of Virginia, who said that voting to go to war was to give President Bush a "blank check." How prescient is that? How wise. Who was listening?