During their workshop at the Educators to Stop the War conference, Nancy Lessin and Charley Richardson of Military Families Speak Out mentioned that amputees are going back into Iraq. I was mistaken in my impression that the amputees were actually being called up, but MFSO's point was that things must really coming to serious crisis for the US military if they're even allowing people to go back into battle with "bionic" legs. (What do you think of how the military is spinning this disability to make us imagine that we are producing super-duper soldiers, instead of grinding up our young men in the war machine?)
One thing that is clearly the case is that the military is calling up people for second tours in Iraq even when they are suffering from what's now called PTSD. Last night, I watched an episode of Frontline called "The Soldier's Heart" which discussed this issue in great depth, and included Rob Serra of IVAW.
The story about amputees going back voluntarily into battle is bizarre to me, and is full of sentences such as this one, "For many amputees, returning to combat duty may be an impossible dream. Some have multiple amputations. And those who've lost arms find it very difficult to learn to fire a weapon again."
Given what I heard from Alex Ryabov of IVAW, and what I saw last night on PBS' Frontline documentary, it's hard to imagine that anyone would "dream," in impossible Don Quixote style, of returning to Iraq. However, rather than thanking these men for their devotion and then calling for a therapist, George Bush smilingly told the wounded he-men that he'd do everything he could to help them get back to the field. His reaction to the soldiers reminds me of his remark on his speaking tour to an audience member who said that she had to work "three jobs" to support her family, which was: that's "fantastic" and "Uniquely American."
I don't agree with Friedrich Nietzsche on everything, but I think he was right to argue that there is something actually wicked about the kind of Christian morality that celebrates such life-denying and soul killing behavior as being the best kind of humanity. I don't want to be unempathic to those who are dying to get back into combat, but the celebration of such sacrifice makes me want to scream with Nietzsche, "The foul smell!" the foul smell of ressentiment is everywhere.....and especially in the Bush administration.