Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Iraqi War Veterans

Interesting article in the NYTimes:

Most Iraqi veterans are living on a fraction of their salaries or nothing at all, with little care from poorly staffed hospitals. Some of the wounded are even forced to return to active duty or find other jobs to support themselves and their families. Ali Farhan lost his leg during an explosion in 2006. "I lost a leg and can barely walk. I see on TV in the U.S. they lose two legs and they are running races. Why don't they do the same for us in Iraq?"
Photo: Michael Kamber for The New York Times

No one knows the exact number of wounded Iraqi veterans, as the government
does not keep track. In a 2006 report by the Congressional Research Service,
Maj. Gen. Joseph Peterson, the American commander in charge of Iraqi police
training, said that in just two years, from September 2004 to October 2006,
about 4,000 Iraqi police officers were killed and 8,000 were wounded.


That number does not include soldiers in the Iraqi Army, who are far more
numerous than the police and, Iraqi commanders say, have suffered injuries at a
far greater rate.
In a February 2006 speech to the Council on Foreign
Relations, the report states, Donald H. Rumsfeld, then the secretary of defense,
said that Iraqi security forces were being killed and wounded at “roughly twice
the rate of all coalition forces.” If that rate held up, the number of wounded
Iraqi veterans might well surpass 60,000.


Iraqi government officials say that the wounded are being treated well,
and that a law providing for veterans’ care is being drafted. In the interim,
they said, wounded veterans will receive their full salaries from the Ministry
of Defense.


“The wounded soldiers from the M.O.D. still get their salaries after the
incidents, depending on the reports from the medical committees,” said a
spokesman for the Defense Ministry, Staff Maj. Gen. Muhammad al-Askari. “We are
waiting for the Service and Pension Law for the veterans from the Iraqi
Parliament, but they still get paid during that time.”


The veterans interviewed for this article disputed General Askari’s
statement and said they were paid only a small fraction of their salaries, or
nothing at all. They described the government’s treatment of them as at best
indifferent and at worst vindictive.



Dawoud Ameen, whose legs were shredded by shrapnel from a roadside bomb in September 2006, gets by on $125 a month brought to him by members of his old army unit, charity and whatever his wife can beg from her relatives. Despite what they have suffered, most of the veterans interviewed said they were proud of their military service. "I consider my injury an honor," said Mr. Ameen, the paraplegic army veteran. "I am only sorry the government does not pay attention to us."
Photo: Michael Kamber for The New York Times




Despite what they have suffered, most of the veterans interviewed said they
were proud of their military service. “I consider my injury an honor,” said Mr.
Ameen, the paraplegic army veteran. “I am only sorry the government does not pay
attention to us.”

Just half a mile down the street, Col. Ali Farhan shows up each morning
at his police station, even though he lost his left leg below the knee from a
bomb explosion in November 2006.
Well connected, he was able to remain on
active duty rather than try to scrape by on a disability pension of $200 a
month, a third his regular salary. He says he works partly for the money and
partly because he is proud of his contribution to Iraq, he said.

But, he added: “I lost a leg and can barely walk. I see on TV in the
U.S. they lose two legs and they are running races. Why don’t they do the same
for us in Iraq?”

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6 Comments:

OpenID MikeTrani said...

Thanks Wordsmith for posting this. I completely forgot and didn't think about the Iraqi police and Army vets. Hopefully when their country gets it's act together and can supply the oil that they own to the rest of the free world there will be more than enough money to take care of these vets.
I post at Mike's America and Skye's blog.
Mike

Wednesday, July 02, 2008 7:02:00 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Welcome, Mike!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008 7:38:00 AM  
Blogger The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

Great piece Word and many thanks for telling the story of our heroes from Iraq.

God bless them and as feeble as thank you is in this instance and great thank you for thier sacrifice.

Also God bless those who stand a post today for freedom!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008 8:43:00 AM  
Blogger Gayle said...

It's a new government and will probably take awhile to get their act together, but this is truly sad, Wordsmith. I can't imagine it being a lack of money, not with the oil they have.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

I'm sure somehow, the left wants to lay the blame on Bush, as well.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

It's sad indeed, but when we STILL don't take full care of our OWN veterans and their families who have made the ultimate sacrifice, I reserve the bulk of my sympathies to my own countrymen and women.

BZ

Wednesday, July 02, 2008 12:11:00 PM  

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