Tuesday, February 20, 2007


When I was in high school, I remember hearing Huntley and Brinkley reporting every night on the day's "body count" in Viet Nam. As some of us realize now, those numbers didn't include all of the casualties. After reading a post over at Mother Jones' blog, I'm thinking that our government is (gasp!) misbehaving again. Hope she won't mind my quoting her:

"One of my friends won’t be going into DC anymore. She’s a nurse, and she was forced out of her job because she asked a pertinent question about the war in Iraq while she was at work. She worked at a military hospital, and asked a forbidden question behind closed doors away from the patients and their family members. She asked a group of military nurses why the Pentagon does not count the patients that die in the hospital as casualties of the Iraqi war. The numbers we hear in the media only include those who were killed on the battlefield, and not those who died in hospital beds as a result of their injuries. My friend is a civilian, and her question was not well received. She was summoned by her boss at the end of her shift, and she was basically asked if she was Un-American. The writing was on the wall and she eventually was asked to resign. She won’t have trouble finding a new job. General William Sherman said, 'War is hell.' The man knew what he was talking about."

I've said it before and I'll say it again...I'm ashamed that my generation learned so little from our experience in Viet Nam.

Oh, one more thing - that's a lucky hospital that has so many nurses it can afford to let one go because she asked such a question. And shame on those military nurses - sorry, Vicki! - for ratting her out/not asking the same question themselves. (Guess that was really two more things, hm?)

It just boggles my tired and bleary mind.


Katharine said...

So, does the Vietnam Memorial include names of only those who died on the battlefield, or also those who died of their wounds.

Sonnjea B said...

Wow, I had no idea. I tend towards cynicism, and I'm not terribly naive, and yet I am constantly amazed at the dishonesty of our government.

Thanks for enlightening me.

Word Imp said...

Wow. Thanks for telling me that story. Here in NZ we're far from your end of the argument but know about it all. I feel for you. I hope the nurse finds a wonderful job with an intelligent and sensitive employer who appreciates her.

Pat said...

Dunno the answer to that question, Kath. The other casualties I was thinking of are the vets who have suffered with the permanent effects from agent orange, PTSD, and Lord only knows what else. I sure hope that 58,000 figure includes all the deaths, but now I'm wondering.

Sonnjea - do you suppose it's this kind of stuff that makes us so cynical?

Welcome, Word Imperfect. I think she will have no difficulty finding a good job, and real quick-like, too.

I visit your site often, but always seem to be in too big of a rush to think up a good definition for your excellent words! Will have to make more of an effort. Thanks for stopping by.

Pam said...

Isn't it strange how deceptive war can be? We never get a true picture of how horrible it is. Just a few minutes ago, on the NBC Nightly News, they interviewed a young woman who had been injured (lost a leg, plus other injuries) - and how she received a purple heart for her injuries - and that ~22,000 purple hearts had already been given out in this war. We keep track of 'casualties of war' - and regardless of whether these casualties are in the field or later in a hospital room (without their families around them) - I have to still wonder about all of the lost limbs and lost abilities, and it's hard to see a ribbon and medal being much of a bandage.

I hate war.

Pat said...

Hear, hear!