Wednesday, June 30, 2010


many soldiers eighteen years
drowned in mud, no more tears

surely a war no one can win

killing time about to begin

Iron Maiden

Last week Ranger viewed a special on Public Television featuring two fine young American soldiers suffering Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) resulting from IED attacks suffered while serving in Afghanistan. The piece focused on the collateral damage to the families of these once-vibrant young men.

The documentary opened with a voice-over regarding one soldier who had become paralyzed after his IED attack. The viewer is then told that following extensive rehabilitation, the soldier is now capable of movement, giving a feeling of hope. The camera now flashes to that young man in a wheelchair, being spoken to, vacantly staring ahead, trying to make meaning from the words being spoken to him by his father. He is not o.k.

The ramifications were heartbreaking, but that is a quality that can't be quantified; however, the financial cost can be evaluated. Private facilities charge $80,000/month to attempt to rehabilitate these men.

The cost to the Department of Veterans Affairs is $40,000 per month. Neither figures calculate the additional cost of benefits being paid to these men, who deserve nothing but the best.

The U.S. citizenry must ask: What in Afghanistan was worth the cost that is being borne by these injured young people, who number in the thousands? As a society, we fail to consider the future costs of caring for these injured shells of once proud soldiers.

Both men had Ranger and Marine flags and wore Ranger and USMC hats, which strikes Ranger in a contradictory manner. Here we are, viewing the the sad result that service ultimately entails, and this is the juxtaposed against showy pride in that sacrifice. This is fine and good, but Ranger wonders how many Rangers or Marines will ever visit these men once they return home from our far-flung, endless wars.

One would expect not often, since warriors are not known for their empathy.

We as a society are lost when we willingly accept -- and in fact, cheer on -- the slaughter and diminution of our young in wars that are questionable at best; criminal at worst. Which is worse: Having seen this on t.v., or having seen it in the wards of the 24th Evac Hospital in Long Binh, RVN?

It was just business as usual back then for a young Ranger. But to an old Ranger, the sorrow is devastating.

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Anonymous Labrys said...


Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 4:02:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i too, join in the sorrow. i've met more than one of those fine young men. as far as their units and being visited, from my own experience i can say that my team, unconsciously i'm sure, treated me with polite courtesy, while i could tell they were wishing i would go away.

after my final wounding i spent time at the strand working a desk waiting for my discharge to go through. folks would stop in to say hello, see the crutches, see the appliance on my ankle, and while they never said anything out loud, i felt like i was fucking contagious or something.

there was a lt. commander though, who was solicitous in his attention, and my gnarley old master chief. they were very helpful and kind. of course, both of them were multiple heart holders themselves.

i made chief the day before my discharge, and when master chief norr came up to "tack it on" i stood up bravely and braced against the wall. he reached out and patted me gently and said "walk out of here rubbing it, if you tell 'em i went easy i'll call you a motherfucking pogue liar." then he paused and said "you were one of the good ones, i knew that from day one. proud to call you shipmate."

there isn't a medal, citation or any other award that ever meant more to me.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 4:58:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

sucks. found this.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 8:34:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too watched that PBS special - against my better judgment. I'm still taking antacids to control my epigastric pain and nausea. We saw but a word from one of the two pages of the "glory of war." The other page, for death, is simply blank and forgotten.

I can't remember, so please remind me, why are we in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Jay in N.C.

*I've known only older soldiers (WWII, Korea, and Vietnam) and I saw great empathy and compassion in them. However, life continues and sweeps all of us along in its currents. There is also the hard human truth that none of us are comfortable with wreckage and tragedy. I think it is because we can do nothing about it. One must have a multitude of years and too, too much experience with tragedy and death to know that simply being present and talking about the mundane events of the day is a valuable gift to those confined in the gray zone or lying on the death bed.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 10:09:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Carl said...

Another fine well written piece Ranger. I have been reading your blog for some time now and 98% of the time agree 100% with what you state. Never served in a war zone OS but have served many years in a state Police Dept in Australia.. until I too ended up on the retired injured / medically unfit list. Thrown out of the job simply for doing the job. Sometimes I wish I could sit down and have a long chat with you as your insights are so very much like my own on the continuing cluster fluck that is politics of greed, mismanagement and sheer egotistical behaviour. Peace and best wishes to you, and to you all the young people of your country who gave so much, for so little, as is plainly apparent.

Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 7:20:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Thanks for the kind words.
I've had some great interactions with Aussies during the VN war. They were down at Nui Dat and i was about 50 miles away.We did a lot of beneficial trading etc..But i digress.
It's always a pleasure to hear from our overseas readers. Thanks for participating.
And of course , if you ever visit Fl ,we'd be thrilled to link up.
I'll buy, but you won't like our beer.

Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 8:48:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Your experience was during active duty, and you were not totally fubar'd and still the troopies were uncomfortable- just think if you were totally broken..
I'm talking about AFTER these young men are thrown into the system. Out of sight-out of mind.
Why do we as a nation allow such waste of of national wealth, which is our youth.???
And these guys, like you, were the finest that we had/have.
It's insanity to continue this needless slaughter.

Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 8:55:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

BTW-how did you find our site??
I'd like to know, so that we can adjust and focus on reaching new readers.

Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 8:57:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Your telling is quite moving. Thank you for sharing.

Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 11:33:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Grant said...

We had a guy who lost an arm and a leg due to an explosion.

When he went to CIF to turn in his stuff, in PTs with a fake arm, fake leg, and cane, they kicked him out for not being in a duty uniform and told him never to come back without an E-7 escort. And if he didn't produce a signed letter from an O-6 or higher stating that his body armor was a combat loss, he would owe Uncle Sam some ungodly amount of money.

In his case, he couldn't even get *out* of the system without being treated like a scumbag.

It's just not worth it.

Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 12:52:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Serving Patriot said...


That is so unbelievably infuriating I can't begin to express....

I hope that somehow the unit CSM got involved in this. And not to be the guy who was enforcing chickensh*t rules like these.


Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 8:11:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Carl said...

Jim, found your site via a link on another Mil blog if my memory serves me correctly. Thanks for the invite too. If you & Lisa ever get to Thailand, let me know I would be happy to buy you a cold beer!

Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 11:03:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


That is unspeakable -- I can't comprehend it.


I like Gov't Mule; it fits in many ways.

Friday, July 2, 2010 at 12:27:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great piece and great comments...thanks Jim and RAW posters...


Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 9:05:00 PM GMT-5  
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Wednesday, February 14, 2018 at 7:49:00 AM GMT-5  

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