The Unknown Soldiers
By Lakshmi Chaudhry, AlterNet http://www.alternet.org/story/20254/
Gene Bolles has seen more than his fair share of human suffering. Two years in Landstuhl Regional Medical Center – the U.S. military hospital in Germany that receives all injured soldiers evacuated from Iraq and Afghanistan – is no doctor's dream job, especially not if you are a neurosurgeon who specializes in brain and spinal injuries – the kind that can destroy a 19-year-old kid's life. Yet as he speaks of the shattered soldiers who were once his charge, Bolles is neither overwrought nor angry.
The soft-spoken 62-year-old civilian speaks not of politics but of humanity – the terrible toll imposed by all wars, unjust or otherwise, on all involved, soldier or civilian. He speaks not of blame but of compassion and duty – our duty as a nation to pay attention and tend to the young men and women we ask to sacrifice life or limb in battle. At a time when the reality of the suffering in Iraq has been rendered invisible by media hype and partisan battle, Gene Bolles remains a steadfast advocate for the scarred, the maimed, and the tormented – whose numbers are far, far greater than what the Bush administration would like to admit.