December 27, 2004, 2:45 P.M.
Phone Cards for Wounded Soldiers: The recent attack on U.S. troops in northern Iraq has highlighted several important issues. The first relates to wounded soldiers in hospitals, away from their families and friends and separated from their comrades for the holidays.
In a pre-Christmas post I discussed the need for phone cards for troops at Walter Reed Army Hospital. The U.S. government does not pay for long distance calls for its troops, wounded or not, so pre-paid phone cards are a great gift for wounded soldiers at Walter Reed, and phone cards were their primary gift request. You can send phone cards to:
Medical Family Assistance Center
There other hospitals, including Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas, and Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, where wounded soldiers are treated. Patients at Landstuhl are generally there for a relatively short period of time in order to be stabilized to a point where they can be sent on to Walter Reed, or in some instances, Brooke. In the case of the recent victims of the Mosul base attacks, those patients are being moved through Landstuhl. Apparently, 17 of the patients (at least 7 of whom are civilians) are in intensive care with wounds including shrapnel wounds, broken bones and burns. It is my understanding that the burn victims get sent to Brooke Medical Center. While soldiers at all of the facilities could use phone cards, they are at Walter Reed or Brooke for the longest time. Phone cards can be sent to Brooke Medical Center at the following address:
Walter Reed Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20307-5001
Brooke Army Medical Center
Cards can be sent to Landstuhl at:
MCHE-CS Patient Representative Office
3851 Roger Brooke Drive
Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234-6211
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center
Sixty-nine people were injured in the recent attack in Mosul, and 22 were killed. Of the wounded, 44 are service personnel, 7 are U.S. contractors, 5 are civilian Defense Department workers, 10 are contractors from other countries and the other is listed by the military as being of unknow nationality and occupation. Twenty-two people were killed including 14 U.S. service members, 4 U.S. civilians, 3 Iraqi National Guard members and one “unidentified non-U.S. person.”
ATTN: Patient Representative, APO AE 09180
These numbers begin to help us develop a true picture of the casualties in this war. True, the number of U.S. military deaths stands at 1325, but due to advances in medical technology, and the wide range of injuries suffered, there are huge numbers of seriously injured people returning from Iraq and all too quietly. We should be informed of these casualty numbers, and the nature and extent of the injuries suffered so that tat the very least we are assured that these people are getting the care and support that they deserve.
This recent bombing also highlights the fact that the situation in Iraq is not getting better and even if elections are held in January, there will be little effect on what is now clearly a raging civil war. The cost of that ware for the U.S. keeps rising in terms of lives, money and national stature. Our involvement in Iraq is draining us of money, lives and will. We are also spending our international political capital at an alarming rate because in addition to American casualties, there are 10s or 100s of thousands of dead or wounded Iraqis lying in the rubble of this nation-building exercise. This recent attack caught our attention because it hit at a military base, because it was successful and because of the number of casualties. We need to hold our focus, to extricate ourselves from this quagmire in a way that does not make it all a waste, and to resolve not to continue the same mistaken policies in the future.