Don’t deploy wounded US soldiers to Iraq

This video from the USA says about itself:

Augustin Aguayo served in Iraq then spent eight months in prison for refusing a second deployment to Iraq. Now full time antiwar, Augustin speaks out.

filmed June 16 2007 in Chicago by Paul Hubbard

By Cindy Beringer in the USA:

Don’t deploy the injured

August 23, 2010

KILLEEN, Texas–At the corner of Killeen Street and Tank Destroyer Boulevard, about 35 protesters stood in the blazing afternoon heat outside the east gate of Fort Hood, the world’s largest military installation, to protest the deployment–or redeployment–of wounded soldiers of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR).

According to active-duty and former soldiers at Fort Hood, members of the 3rd ACR saw some of the worst fighting conditions of the U.S. war on Iraq. Many of these soldiers returned home with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury and other injuries that made them unfit to return to battle. The casualty rates for this regiment are astronomical.

Soldiers and others became aware that redeployment was imminent when soldiers from the regiment were sent to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., which is a preparatory step before being sent to Iraq. The redeployment is expected to occur later this month.

Dahr Jamail, who interviewed some of these soldiers before they returned from Fort Irwin to Fort Hood, reports that at least 50 of the soldiers from this regiment received medical diagnoses that would prohibit their receiving training, much less redeployment.

If a physician decides that a soldier’s medical condition requires treatment and makes the soldier unable to perform his or her duties, that decision can be overturned by the soldier’s commander on the basis that the soldier is “needed.”

Of course, if there are 50 diagnosed soldiers, there are undoubtedly many more who have not yet received or have not sought treatment.

Frustrated by their failure with repeated attempts to be heard within the military chain of command, four wives of soldiers in the 3rd ACR approached Cindy Thomas of Under the Hood Café, the antiwar, pro-soldier coffeehouse in Killeen. Thomas works tirelessly to get soldiers the rights that they were promised.

After a series of actions to publicize the plight of these soldiers, three were returned to Fort Hood and will not be redeployed. The soldiers have been promised help for the conditions suffered from previous deployments. The fourth soldier elected to get out of the Army.

Thomas thinks the Army relented in these cases to prevent a mushrooming movement.

When the protest was publicized, the Army sent out word that any active-duty service members attending would be arrested. An attorney who works with Under the Hood quickly reminded the Army that this was against Department of Defense regulations, which allow out-of-uniform, off-duty soldiers the right to protest. Several active-duty soldiers and former soldiers attended without incident.

Protesters carried signs that read “U.S. out of Iraq and Afghanistan,” while a banner flapping in the Texas wind stated “Col. Allen, 3 ACR: Do not deploy wounded soldiers.”

Each protest outside of Fort Hood nets new soldier visits to Under the Hood Café, Thomas says.

While protesters were putting up the banner on a vacant spot next to a filling station, a young woman with a car full of kids pulled up to describe her husband’s frustrating and futile attempts to get help for his PTSD. She was happy to know that people were organizing around the issue.

Meanwhile, plans for the deployment of these soldiers continue. Under the Hood has launched a “Harass the brass” campaign, urging everyone around the world to call the commanders of the 3rd ACR between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. (Central time) by August 25.

According to Thomas, these calls have made a difference in the past. “They need to know they won’t get away with this,” she said.

What you can do

Call the 3rd ACR’s regimental commander, Col. Reginald Allen, at 254-553-3526 and tell him you oppose the deployment of soldiers with PTSD, traumatic brain injury and other physical and mental disabilities. Leave a message or call back if he is unavailable.

You can also help by donating to keep Under the Hood Café working for soldiers.

See also here.

An injury first diagnosed in soldiers from World War I, shell shock still wreaks havoc on troops today: here.

British veteran who lost a leg in Afghanistan denied a disabled parking permit by council bosses ‘because he might get better’: here.

Eric Ruder explains what we should–and shouldn’t–expect from the “end of combat operations” in Iraq proclaimed by the Obama administration: here.

This is what “we won” looks like in Iraq: here.

T. Boone Pickens Urged Both Bush And Obama To Stay In Iraq And Take Their Oil: here.

The New York Times Exploits Own Iraq Death Toll Denial to Trash Venezuela: here.

Poll: Most Americans Say Iraq War Was a Mistake: here.

In 2003 an estimated 15,000 artefacts were stolen from the Iraqi National Museum and only about a third have been returned. … And little is being done to safeguard the future of Iraq’s modern art and monuments. Many of these have deliberately destroyed as part of the de-Baathification process aimed at removing symbols of Saddam Hussein’s regime: here.

Occupation of Iraq to continue, we must oppose it: Interview with anti-war leader Meredith Aby: here.

End of Iraq Combat Operations or Beginning of Downsized, Rebranded Occupation Relying Heavily on Private Military: here.

BBC’s Iraq war in figures: the civilian and military deaths, the £800bn spent on destroying a country: here.

Patrick Cockburn on Missing Billions in Iraq and Soaring Cancer Infant Mortality Rates in Fallujah: here.

T. Christian Miller and Daniel Zwerdling, ProPublica and NPR: “During the past few decades, scientists have become increasingly persuaded that people who suffer brain injuries benefit from what is called cognitive rehabilitation therapy – a lengthy, painstaking process in which patients relearn basic life tasks such as counting, cooking or remembering directions to get home. Many neurologists, several major insurance companies and even some medical facilities run by the Pentagon agree that the therapy can help people whose functioning has been diminished by blows to the head. But despite pressure from Congress and the recommendations of military and civilian experts, the Pentagon’s health plan for troops and many veterans refuses to cover the treatment”: here.

17 thoughts on “Don’t deploy wounded US soldiers to Iraq

  1. Britain: PTSD sufferer wins MoD payout

    Veterans: A former army bomb disposal expert suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder has won a six-figure compensation settlement with the Ministry of Defence, his lawyers have said.

    The ex-soldier, from Oxfordshire, who cannot be named for security reasons, argued that he might not have suffered a breakdown in 2004 if the military had treated and monitored his condition at an earlier stage.


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