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OfflineZahid
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Registered: 01/21/02
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600 Sick, Wounded US Soldiers Held in Squalor
    #2019537 - 10/18/03 02:00 AM (13 years, 1 month ago)

Sick, wounded U.S. troops held in squalor

By Mark Benjamin
UPI Investigations Editor
Published 10/17/2003 3:36 PM
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FORT STEWART, Ga., Oct. 17 (UPI) -- Hundreds of sick and wounded U.S. soldiers including many who served in the Iraq war are languishing in hot cement barracks here while they wait -- sometimes for months -- to see doctors.

The National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers' living conditions are so substandard, and the medical care so poor, that many of them believe the Army is trying push them out with reduced benefits for their ailments. One document shown to UPI states that no more doctor appointments are available from Oct. 14 through Nov. 11 -- Veterans Day.

"I have loved the Army. I have served the Army faithfully and I have done everything the Army has asked me to do," said Sgt. 1st Class Willie Buckels, a truck master with the 296th Transportation Company. Buckels served in the Army Reserves for 27 years, including Operation Iraqi Freedom and the first Gulf War. "Now my whole idea about the U.S. Army has changed. I am treated like a third-class citizen."

Since getting back from Iraq in May, Buckels, 52, has been trying to get doctors to find out why he has intense pain in the side of his abdomen since doubling over in pain there.

After waiting since May for a diagnosis, Buckels has accepted 20 percent of his benefits for bad knees and is going home to his family in Mississippi. "They have not found out what my side is doing yet, but they are still trying," Buckels said.

One month after President Bush greeted soldiers at Fort Stewart -- home of the famed Third Infantry Division -- as heroes on their return from Iraq, approximately 600 sick or injured members of the Army Reserves and National Guard are warehoused in rows of spare, steamy and dark cement barracks in a sandy field, waiting for doctors to treat their wounds or illnesses.

The Reserve and National Guard soldiers are on what the Army calls "medical hold," while the Army decides how sick or disabled they are and what benefits -- if any -- they should get as a result.

Some of the soldiers said they have waited six hours a day for an appointment without seeing a doctor. Others described waiting weeks or months without getting a diagnosis or proper treatment.

The soldiers said professional active duty personnel are getting better treatment while troops who serve in the National Guard or Army Reserve are left to wallow in medical hold.

"It is not an Army of One. It is the Army of two -- Army and Reserves," said one soldier who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, during which she developed a serious heart condition and strange skin ailment.

A half-dozen calls by UPI seeking comment from Fort Stewart public affairs officials and U.S. Forces Command in Atlanta were not returned.

Soldiers here estimate that nearly 40 percent of the personnel now in medical hold were deployed to Iraq. Of those who went, many described clusters of strange ailments, like heart and lung problems, among previously healthy troops. They said the Army has tried to refuse them benefits, claiming the injuries and illnesses were due to a "pre-existing condition," prior to military service.

Most soldiers in medical hold at Fort Stewart stay in rows of rectangular, gray, single-story cinder block barracks without bathrooms or air conditioning. They are dark and sweltering in the southern Georgia heat and humidity. Around 60 soldiers cram in the bunk beds in each barrack.

Soldiers make their way by walking or using crutches through the sandy dirt to a communal bathroom, where they have propped office partitions between otherwise open toilets for privacy. A row of leaky sinks sits on an opposite wall. The latrine smells of urine and is full of bugs, because many windows have no screens. Showering is in a communal, cinder block room. Soldiers say they have to buy their own toilet paper.

They said the conditions are fine for training, but not for sick people.

"I think it is disgusting," said one Army Reserve member who went to Iraq and asked that his name not be used.

That soldier said that after being deployed in March he suffered a sudden onset of neurological symptoms in Baghdad that has gotten steadily worse. He shakes uncontrollably.

He said the Army has told him he has Parkinson's Disease and it was a pre-existing condition, but he thinks it was something in the anthrax shots the Army gave him.

"They say I have Parkinson's, but it is developing too rapidly," he said. "I did not have a problem until I got those shots."

First Sgt. Gerry Mosley crossed into Iraq from Kuwait on March 19 with the 296th Transportation Company, hauling fuel while under fire from the Iraqis as they traveled north alongside combat vehicles. Mosley said he was healthy before the war; he could run two miles in 17 minutes at 48 years old.

But he developed a series of symptoms: lung problems and shortness of breath; vertigo; migraines; and tinnitus. He also thinks the anthrax vaccine may have hurt him. Mosley also has a torn shoulder from an injury there.

Mosley says he has never been depressed before, but found himself looking at shotguns recently and thought about suicide.

Mosley is paying $300 a month to get better housing than the cinder block barracks. He has a notice from the base that appears to show that no more doctor appointments are available for reservists from Oct. 14 until Nov. 11. He said he has never been treated like this in his 30 years in the Army Reserves.

"Now, I would not go back to war for the Army," Mosley said.

Many soldiers in the hot barracks said regular Army soldiers get to see doctors, while National Guard and Army Reserve troops wait.

"The active duty guys that are coming in, they get treated first and they put us on hold," said another soldier who returned from Iraq six weeks ago with a serious back injury. He has gotten to see a doctor only two times since he got back, he said.

Another Army Reservist with the 149th Infantry Battalion said he has had real trouble seeing doctors about his crushed foot he suffered in Iraq. "There are not enough doctors. They are overcrowded and they can't perform the surgeries that have to be done," that soldier said. "Look at these mattresses. It hurts just to sit on them," he said, gesturing to the bunks. "There are people here who got back in April but did not get their surgeries until July. It is putting a lot on these families."

The Pentagon is reportedly drawing up plans to call up more reserves.

In an Oct. 9 speech to National Guard and reserve troops in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Bush said the soldiers had become part of the backbone of the military.

"Citizen-soldiers are serving in every front on the war on terror," Bush said. "And you're making your state and your country proud."

-0-

Mark Benjamin can be contacted at mbenjamin@upi.com

Copyright ? 2001-2003 United Press International


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InvisiblePsiloKitten
Ganja Goddess

Registered: 02/13/99
Posts: 1,617
Re: 600 Sick, Wounded US Soldiers Held in Squalor [Re: Zahid]
    #2026097 - 10/20/03 05:39 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

Notice that none of the war mongers seem to care about this article....


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OfflineZahid
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Re: 600 Sick, Wounded US Soldiers Held in Squalor [Re: PsiloKitten]
    #2026104 - 10/20/03 05:41 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

They hardly post articles of their own lean. :wink: 


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OfflineAzmodeus
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Re: 600 Sick, Wounded US Soldiers Held in Squalor [Re: Zahid]
    #2026115 - 10/20/03 05:44 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

Good. I hold no respect for soldiers, they deserve whatever happens to them.


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Lest we forget. "


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Offlinewingnutx
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Re: 600 Sick, Wounded US Soldiers Held in Squalor [Re: Zahid]
    #2026128 - 10/20/03 05:48 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

Didn't see this one.

They certainly should have prompt medical care, and if they aren't getting it then someone's ass needs to be straightened out or just plain kicked.

The bit about having to share a communal bathroom and shower is trivial, though.



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OfflineToxicManM
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Re: 600 Sick, Wounded US Soldiers Held in Squalor [Re: Zahid]
    #2028543 - 10/21/03 01:49 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

I guess our government thinks of something different than most of the rest of us when they decide to "support our troops". This is an outrage.

It makes me glad I chose to not go into the reserves when I got off active duty.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: 600 Sick, Wounded US Soldiers Held in Squalor [Re: ToxicMan]
    #2028597 - 10/21/03 02:06 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

Get used to it. This is what happens when you let government provide you with "free" health care.

As an ex-Canadian all too familiar with socialized single-source health care, I am a lot less shocked than you Americans after reading this article. It is not really all THAT different from what Canadians undergo every day of the year.

Why do I say "get used to it"? Because Bush's insanely boneheaded "free meds for seniors" plan is just the tip of the iceberg. It won't be too many more years before all health care provided in the US is government-provided health care, just as it is in Europe and Canada and China and just about everywhere else you can think of.

Too bad.

pinky


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Offlinewingnutx
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Re: 600 Sick, Wounded US Soldiers Held in Squalor [Re: Phred]
    #2028611 - 10/21/03 02:09 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

Depending on the veracity of the article, I would like to see the CO's head on a stake, if in fact they are negligent providing medical care.

As for the living conditions, that sounds about normal. You get mobilized, you get put wherever they can stuff you.


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InvisiblePsiloKitten
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Re: 600 Sick, Wounded US Soldiers Held in Squalor [Re: Phred]
    #2028937 - 10/21/03 03:44 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

Yeah, cause so many in the US are getting fantastic healthcare as it is, in the current system. :rolleyes:

Viva la Socialized Medicine!

That is such bullshit to say Canadians go through shit like what is in this article every day.  Either you didnt read the article or you've never been to Canada, simple as that.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: 600 Sick, Wounded US Soldiers Held in Squalor [Re: PsiloKitten]
    #2029143 - 10/21/03 05:06 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

PsiloKitten writes:

That is such bullshit to say Canadians go through shit like what is in this article every day.

Re-read what I wrote. I didn't say it was identical, I said it wasn't all that much different, with the emphasis on "that" to show I wasn't being literal.

Either you didnt read the article...

I did.

... or you've never been to Canada, simple as that.

Wrong again. I was born and raised in Canada, spent the first three and a half decades of my life there. Since moving here almost sixteen years ago, I average two visits to Canada a year, usually for three or four weeks each visit. I suffer from cluster headaches (Horton's Syndrome). My parents both have medical conditions, as do many of my friends still living in Canada.

I know more about Canada's health care system than you ever will, but if you would like some links showing that my statement, though an exaggeration, was not that much of an exaggeration, I'd be happy to oblige.

pinky


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OfflineAzmodeus
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Re: 600 Sick, Wounded US Soldiers Held in Squalor [Re: Phred]
    #2029191 - 10/21/03 05:22 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

I can testify to what pinkys saying.  Our health care sucks! It takes from the young and gives to the sick, who can't afford it.  You get ppl who go to the hospital once a week, paying the same as me, who hasn't been sick in as long as i can remember.  I'd rather pay my own medical bills than everyone elses thank you very much! :mad:


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Lest we forget. "


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InvisiblePsiloKitten
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Re: 600 Sick, Wounded US Soldiers Held in Squalor [Re: Phred]
    #2029217 - 10/21/03 05:29 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

Atleast you admit is was an exaggeration. A gross one at that.

That was my only point. Mr. "I know more then you will ever know about anything under the sun"

Bravo on your masculine dramatics.


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: 600 Sick, Wounded US Soldiers Held in Squalor [Re: PsiloKitten]
    #2029227 - 10/21/03 05:32 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

STFU sexist sow.

Thx.


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InvisiblePsiloKitten
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Re: 600 Sick, Wounded US Soldiers Held in Squalor [Re: Azmodeus]
    #2029229 - 10/21/03 05:32 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

Sucks and getting stuck in shacks 60 deep with disgusting bathrooms and preferential treatment or bullshit treatment because the govt doesnt want to admit that they forced you to take shots that cause fucked up side effects in some people isnt in the same ballpark.


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InvisiblePsiloKitten
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Re: 600 Sick, Wounded US Soldiers Held in Squalor [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #2029233 - 10/21/03 05:33 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

BabyHitler says:
"STFU sexist sow.

Thx."

How bout you kiss my ass, knuckle dragging neaderthal?


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OfflineToxicManM
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Re: 600 Sick, Wounded US Soldiers Held in Squalor [Re: Phred]
    #2029243 - 10/21/03 05:36 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

Actually, I consider it an outrage because I spent 6 years on active duty, and I never saw an active duty person or one of their dependents treated that way. That's not to say that we ever thought the medical people were going to treat us like human beings. Most of them acted like they hated their jobs and blamed us for it. What fond memories.

I consider it an outrage that people giving their lives for their country should ever be treated the way the article makes it sound.


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OfflineAzmodeus
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Re: 600 Sick, Wounded US Soldiers Held in Squalor [Re: PsiloKitten]
    #2029257 - 10/21/03 05:38 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

Quote:

PsiloKitten said:
Bravo on your masculine dramatics. 




YOur just jealous you don't live in the dominian republic... :smirk:


--------------------
"Know your Body - Know your Mind - Know your Substance - Know your Source.

Lest we forget. "


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OfflineAzmodeus
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Re: 600 Sick, Wounded US Soldiers Held in Squalor [Re: ToxicMan]
    #2029263 - 10/21/03 05:42 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

Quote:

ToxicMan said:
I consider it an outrage that people giving their lives for their country should ever be treated the way the article makes it sound.




A 'country' is nothing worth dying for and i wish all who do it a horrible painfull demise, how petty...how futile....die for your country my ass, as if it even fucking matters!


--------------------
"Know your Body - Know your Mind - Know your Substance - Know your Source.

Lest we forget. "


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InvisiblePsiloKitten
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Re: 600 Sick, Wounded US Soldiers Held in Squalor [Re: Azmodeus]
    #2029266 - 10/21/03 05:42 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

/me beats her chest and makes ape sounds.


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OfflineAzmodeus
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Re: 600 Sick, Wounded US Soldiers Held in Squalor [Re: PsiloKitten]
    #2029275 - 10/21/03 05:45 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

carefull now...a womens' chest should never be beaten... :wink:


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"Know your Body - Know your Mind - Know your Substance - Know your Source.

Lest we forget. "


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