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Amputee soldiers ponder bitter-sweet price of survival
November 17, 2003
Specialist Robert Acosta, 20, of California, lost his hand on July 13 in Baghdad when a grenade was thrown into his Humvee.
Specialist Robert Acosta, 20, of California, lost his hand on July 13 in Baghdad when a grenade was thrown into his Humvee.
Photos: New York Times

Injured soldiers in Iraq are often surviving with missing limbs.   Neela Banerjee reports from Washington.

Every hour of every day for months, Specialist Robert Acosta has thought of the moment the grenade slipped from his fingers.

Every hour of every day for months, Specialist Robert Acosta has thought of the moment the grenade slipped from his fingers.

On July13 , Acosta, of the army's1 st Armoured Division, was riding in a Humvee toward Baghdad airport when a grenade flew in and landed by the driver.

Acosta grabbed it, dropped it, then grabbed it again.   Then it exploded.   "It was gone, it just disintegrated," he said of his hand.

The driver was unhurt, but the blast also shattered Acosta's legs.   He wears a prosthesis on his right arm that ends in a two-pronged claw.

"I think I should be dead," Specialist Acosta,20 , said recently at the Walter Reed Army Medical Centre in Washington.   "But I feel like I failed myself.   If I hadn't dropped it, I would still have my hand."

Reminded that he had saved a life, Specialist Acosta remained silent.

The Defence Department said on Friday that the number of American casualties in Iraq had passed9000 , United Press International reported.

From March 19 to October30 , the Surgeon-General's office said, 397 service members died, 1967 were wounded and 6861 were evacuated for medical conditions unrelated to combat.

Many soldiers survive attacks that would have killed them a generation ago.   But more are returning from Iraq with grievous injuries, including amputations.

Already, 58amputees have been treated at Walter Reed, 47 with major single-limb removals and 11 with multiple-limb amputations.

Each of the soldiers has begun to piece his life back together in a different way.   There is Staff Sergeant Ryan Kelly,23 , a reservist from Abilene, Texas, for example, who is determined to become a firefighter.   There is Specialist Edward Platt,21 , of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, who focuses his hope and anger on the use of a prosthetic leg.

And there is Specialist Acosta of Santa Ana, California, who plays practical jokes on staff members yet remains haunted by regret.
Specialist Edward Platt, who was injured by a grenade, at Walter Reed army hospital in Washington.
Specialist Edward Platt, who was injured by a grenade, at Walter Reed army hospital in Washington.

When soldiers are ambushed in Iraq, they are rapidly evacuated and their plight boiled down into the day's tally of dead and wounded.

"When we get injured, all it says is 'one soldier wounded'," Specialist Acosta said.   "Not that a soldier has lost an arm or a leg, or how hard that is."

The wounded from Iraq gravitate toward each other.   They are comforted to find others who lost a part of themselves on some identical, hot Iraqi day.

"Talking to Vietnam vets, that's cool," Specialist Acosta said.   "But it's not like talking to someone who's been through Iraq."

In the US Army, specialist is the rank between private first class and corporal.


— New York Times



Copyright  © 2003.   The Age Company Ltd








Unspeakable grief and horror
                        ...and the circus of deception continues...
Most recent Kewe blog   click here
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Circus of Torture   2003 — now
He says, "You are quite mad, Kewe"
And of course I am.
Why, I don't believe any of it — not the bloody body, not the bloody mind, not even the bloody Universe, or is it bloody multiverse.
"It's all illusion," I say.   "Don't you know, my lad, my lassie.   The game!   The game, me girl, me boy!   Takes on interest, don't you know.   T'is me sport, till doest find a better!"
Pssssst — but all this stuff is happening down here
Let's change it!
 
 






















































































































































       Afghanistan — Western Terror States: Canada, US, UK, France, Germany, Italy       
       Photos of Afghanistan people being killed and injured by NATO     

























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































 
 





 
For archives, these articles are being stored on TheWE.cc website.
The purpose is to advance understandings of environmental, political,
human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues.