Or so said Second Lieutenant Melissa Stockwell on her return to the States after a routine trip in a Humvee from the Green Zone in Baghdad to the morass of Mosul outside Iraq’s sanitised Western occupied zone led to an attack on her armoured vehicle, which because of the disorganisation of the American armed forces, had no doors.
You hear in the news, ‘Seven Wounded’. You never hear their names or what unit they are in. I was in Mosul when our Humvee was hit. Unfortunately, it had no doors. I’m 24″¦I lost my left leg and I don’t know why.
This, a week or two, after there was a near mutiny by American service people because of the incompetence of their commanders in not providing adequate supplies or protection for them. Picking up on Ken’s drawing our attention to Peter Hartcher’s babble about ‘Jacksonian’ military machismo among Scots-Irish trailer trash, one has to wonder if the American electorate will also reflect on the human cost of the Iraq war to American service people.
On Lateline the other night, one of my personal favourite ABC foreign correspondents, Leigh Sales, visited Junction City, Kansas, a city with a major military base where the public park contains 45 crosses marking the deaths in Iraq of soldiers based in the town. Sales notes in her story that the impact of the Iraq War, and discussion about its pros and cons, is massively heightened in this bastion of militarism in one of the mid-West’s most Republican states.
There have been reports for a while – not just of dissent from the uniformed ranks of the Pentagon hierarchy against the neo-con civilians who are their masters – but also of increasing disillusionment among rank and file soldiers, national guardsmen and women and their families – normally a very conservative voting bloc.
Will this continue to be the case in 2004?
In 1944, the Republicans in Congress sought to make it difficult for US servicemen deployed overseas to vote in the Presidential election – because they were expected to heavily support their commander in chief, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In 2004, will the opposite dynamic apply?
For the record, 2nd Lt. Melissa Stockwell is from the 1st Cavalry Division based in Fort Hood in George W. Bush’s state of Texas. To cheer her up after the amputation of her leg, the US Military Public Affairs Section sent Ozzie and Sharon Osbourne to visit her in Walter Reed Medical Centre and thank her for her sacrifice. If you follow the link, it’s worth clicking on the photo to enlarge it and to study carefully Melissa’s face as Ozzie and Sharon do their patriotic duty by her.
Meanwhile, President George W. Bush refuses to attend the funerals of any of the US servicepeople killed in Iraq, and photographers are sacked for photographing their flag-draped coffins.