Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Picture Of The Day - 31 AUG 2010 "Children"

31 AUG 2010 - Children
I am often asked (now that I am home) what I did in Afghanistan. This question and the ones that follow make it clear that this war is incredibly foreign to so many of us here at home. So much so that even those who know me as a surgeon, still find it necessary to ask if I was deployed to function as a surgeon.

The next question is typically, "did I see any wounded soldiers?". The answer is, yes. And now that the "fighting season" is here and the troop build up is at its apogee, the 909th is caring for even more wounded on a greater scale.

The final question is, "did I take care of civilians". Yes. We cared for civilians that had life or limb threatening issues. There were other rare instances of providing care for non-emergent problems, but that was not a primary mission for the 909th (In other areas, medical teams do have a mission role designated to provide medical and surgical services for the local population). What we encountered more often was wounded children. All of the children that we saw were wounded as a direct result of enemy action.  The child in the photo above was an innocent bystander when a Taliban commander decided to drop a grenade in a crowd of women and children in a vain attempt to elude capture.

We often hear of the truly terrible instances wherein NATO forces have accidentally wounded or killed civilians during attempts to kill the enemy. What I rarely see are the reports of just how many civilians are wounded or killed due to Taliban action. The latest number that I have read makes it somewhere around 73 percent of all civilian wounded or dead in 2010 are due to enemy action*. Comparing one to another is not an attempt to justify or diminish the pain and suffering that our actions have made on the Afghanistan populace. But we are doing everything possible to limit the cost to civilians at the expense of our own soldiers lives. The comparison is simply this:

Author unknown
Update 31AUG2010 12:18CST: Thanks to Mav we have a link back to the source of the above poster: "The Sniper" created the poster and credits Reuters as the source of the original photo.

*Human Security Report Project