Don't Kid Yourself,
We Have Not Seen the Last American Death From the Iraq War

by James Glaser
December 22, 2011
Bookmark and Share

David Hickman As the last U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq over the weekend, a crowd gathered in Greensboro, N.C., to honor Army Spec. David Hickman, who died in an explosion Nov. 14, two weeks before he was supposed to go home. Hickman, 23, "bears the symbolic freight" of being the last of nearly 4,500 members of the American military to be killed in a war that began in the tense aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorism attacks.

Just because Washington lowers the flag in Iraq and brings the troops home does not mean that the killing of those troops is over. I was a patient at the Tomah, Wisconsin VA Hospital in the 1990s and there were still World War II veterans there who had been there since they were medevaced from the battle field back in the 1940s. Some of them could still be there and in other VA Hospitals today.

As battlefield medicine becomes more advanced, men who would have died in past wars are now kept alive. It is no longer that unusual to see a triple amputee at the VA. Also there are thousands of veterans with very severe, traumatic brain injuries. Many of those vets would not be alive if they had fought in wars past.

When those surviving injured WW II veterans die, would you say they died because of the war? I would. Spending the rest of your life in a VA Hospital is an incredible price to pay for your country. Don't you agree?

We still have Korean, Vietnam, and Gulf War vets who are suffering in VA Hospitals, but most likely they will never recover from the wounds they received in their wars.

Then there are the hundreds, no, make that thousands of war veterans who commit suicide every year. Don't they count as war dead? Don't you think they should, because after all, the war just followed them home.

For the next several decades veterans will die as a direct result of their time in the combat zone of Iraq. Politicians can claim the war is over, and that David Hickman was the last Soldier to die. As tragic as Hickman's death is, his will not be the last American death caused by the Iraq war, and families will suffer just as much as Hickman's family is suffering now when their loved one dies from wounds or the mental stress of combat.

Free JavaScripts provided
by The JavaScript Source

BACK to the Politics Columns.