One of my good and dear friends is about to be discharged with 100% disability from the Army. At 32 years old, he can’t remember what day it is, and sometimes he can’t remember if he’s back here in the states, or in Germany, or in Afghanistan where he got hurt.
Traumatic Brain Injury is the signature wound of these current wars. Gerald, who is one of the smartest people I know, just chatted with me on Facebook and couldn’t remember that I was retired, or that one of the last official acts I carried out was pinning his Sergeant’s stripes on him. Because he couldn’t remember being a Sergeant, unless he sees the rank on his chest.His wife, Lisa tells me that he occasionally can’t remember her name. “I can see that he knows I’m important to him, but he struggles with that sometimes.”
We spent over a trillion dollars on the Iraq war and got nothing out of it but 4500 dead, 30,000 wounded, and a country that’s a hell of a lot closer to Iran than we started, and in so doing, we’ve almost certainly lost ourselves the war in Afghanistan for lack of resources there. I personally know of two men who died of wounds–bled to death–in Afghanistan because we didn’t have the air ambulance assets we needed there. When Republicans ask me why I hate them so, I think of Gerald who can’t remember his wife and I think of Sam and Chris who bled out in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan waiting for help that never came. I think of so many other crimes, and I think of other brothers that won’t ever come home either, but especially I think of them.
Consider this an open thread.