The AARP article states, the "Theater Hospital in Balad, Iraq, has a 96 percent chance of survival. He or she can sometimes be stateside within 36 hours of the injury. As a result, there are just 6 deaths for every 100 injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan, compared with 28 deaths per 100 in Vietnam, and 38 in World War II, according to Linda Bilmes, a researcher at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government."
This means that many more vets will be making it home alive-albeit in bad condition in the hot wars America has volunteered to send its sons and daughters into this decade-and for decades to come according to Republican leadership in the White House and in Sen. John McCain's camp.
A lot of American and international press interest in recent weeks has been on the topic of how many mental and brain related injuries Americans will have suffer 2001 till all the troops come home and during the ongoing run-away Wars on Terror.
In April 2008, the RAND corporation put out a monograph on psychological problems cause by armed conflict. This recent document is entitled Invisible Wounds of War," Rand Center for Military Health Policy Research, 2008. http://rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG720/
That RAND monograph declares, "Since October 2001, approximately 1.64 million U.S. troops have been deployed for Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) in Afghanistan and Iraq. Early evidence suggests that the psychological toll of these deployments - many involving prolonged exposure to combat-related stress over multiple rotations - may be disproportionately high compared with the physical injuries of combat. In the face of mounting public concern over post-deployment health care issues confronting OEF/OIF veterans, several task forces, independent review groups, and a Presidential Commission have been convened to examine the care of the war wounded and make recommendations. Concerns have been most recently centered on two combat-related injuries in particular: post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. With the increasing incidence of suicide and suicide attempts among returning veterans, concern about depression is also on the rise."
Meanwhile, there are other long lasting physical wounds from these Wars on Terror that will be the main cause of stress for families and the soldier's care-givers for decades to come. There are paralyzed veterans. There are those who have lost eyes and limbs-not to mention certain potential job prospects and earnings in certain areas of the global and US economy.
EDUCATION: JOHNNY COMES MARCHING HOME
As many young people did at the Vietnam War-era, I once picked up the classic WHEN JOHNNY GETS HIS GONE as I was a high school student.
JOHNNY was written by the Coloradan, Dalton Trumbo, who was one of the original 10 blacklisted writers in Hollywood. Trumbo had written the work, WHEN JOHNNY GETS HIS GONE, in 1939, i.e. prior to America's entry into WWII. Trumbo later rued his decision to publish it as he came to support the USA-UK-Soviet Union and their fight against fascism in 1941-1945.
Also, Trumbo eventually was sent to jail in the midst of the early 1950s anti-communist hysteria as he later refused to name names or tell on others who had joined the Communist Party during the WWII period-i.e.when the USA and the Soviet Union were allies
JOHNNY was later made into a film (1970) during the hey-day of the anti-Vietnam War mobilization in the USA.
According to one recent reviewer, Tom Joad, WHEN JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN "is the story of a young man, who like many others, goes to war because he is told by the leaders of his country to go to war. He is injured in that war as a bomb explodes next to him. He has lost both his legs. Both his arms. His hearing is lost, his eyes cannot see, his mouth cannot speak. He has no face. But, strangely he lives, if it can be called that, in a military hospital. The nurses pump the food into a hole in his stomach, they clean him, and he exists in his own world for years with no real communication with anyone. He then comes to realize he can communicate by Morse Code. By moving the stump of what is left of his body he can communicate to the world in dots and dashes. And finally there were people who understood what he was doing. A message is tapped on his stomach; he is asked "what do you want?" After reflecting on how he can have a meaningful life outside the virtual prison of this hospital, he comes to realize he has a special mission." http://www.tomjoad.org/johnnygothisgun.htm
If readers want a taste of this book on line, they can go to this web pages: http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/General/JohnnyGotHisGun.html
One interesting thing about Trumbo's didactic anti-war monograph is that it has two main tales: (1) The horror of war mixed with the sweet memories of youth and family and (2) the messianic vision of a world where war is over-possibly due to the bloodbath of a major war killing off all of us.
Turning toward the military industrial complex and those leaders, like the current U.S. President and Vice-President, who would send thousands or millions to their deaths (or to their dismemberment), the messianic victim-protagonist in Trumbo's book, says to the powers that be: "We are men of peace we are men who work and we want no quarrel. But if you destroy our peace if you take away our work if you try to range us one against the other we will know what to do. If you tell us to make the world safe for democracy we will take you seriously and by god and by Christ we will make it so. We will use the guns you force upon us we will use them to defend our very lives and the menace to our lives does not lie on the other side of a no-mans-land that was set apart without our consent it lies within our own boundaries here and now we have seen it and we know it."
Unlike the more famous, RED BADGE OF COURAGE by Stephen Crane , Trumbo leaves the readers clearly running away from war, rather than joining in a final battle of potential death or dismemberment in a long and bloody series of battles that make up longer wars.