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Location: Ewa Beach, HI, United States

I got out of the Army in October 2007, and went back to being a Paramedic. I am now working as an RN in Case Management.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Prisoners For Freedom

Being deployed to Baghdad has made me appreciate America more than I ever could have even imagined before. I'll be the first to punch you in the face if you put my country down, but there are many disparities in the US that are disturbing on a fundamental level. Basketball players making millions, and firemen, EMS, police, and soldiers on welfare. That doesn't bother me as much as what motivated me to write this article.
In the United States a man can be convicted of maliciously murdering an innocent citizen, and is sentenced to 20 years in a penitentary. He gets free cable television, heating and air conditioning, clothing, shelter, a nutritious diet, conjugal visits with his wife and visits from family on a regular basis, is given the opportunity to pursue his education for free and has well equipped gyms, also, in some prisons, the inmates have internet access. If he beats a guard, or another inmate, he gets solitary confinement for a set period of time...not too long though, that would be inhumane. I have read that in some prisons, the taxpayers' money is being spent to pay for breast augmentation and hormone therapy for those who wish to change their sex.
A soldier in the United States Army stationed at Camp Independence, Baghdad, gets no cable TV, has to either buy a cell phone and pay 40 cents a minute to call home, or use the Iraqi ran phone center at 25 cents per minute. He works 15 hour days in the brutal sun in long sleeves and pants, wearing a minimum of 50 pounds of gear, all the while on full alert expecting to be mortared, sniped, or bombed. For breakfast there is always eggs, sometimes there are biscuits, bacon, or ham. For lunch he has a choice between salami, bologna, or sliced turkey with stale frozen bread. For dinner there is usually mystery meat. He can either go to the Iraqi ran internet center for 2 bucks an hour, or pay 75 dollars a month to have a line in his room for a connection slower than dial-up. He better have a good supply of socks and undershirts, because laundry turn around is averaging 6 days. Or, he can wash his personal items by hand. By the way, he is issued 4 sets of uniforms, so they get worn multiple days before a fresh set is put on because of the laundry situation. For spending one full year in country he can expect to go home to see his wife and children for 15 days. He can absolutely forget trying to get any school done during this time. The gym is a few free weights and a cardio bike in a non-air conditioned tent. Right now the temperature is 107 degrees F, and will reach 128 before summer is out. If he makes a mistake such as drinking alcohol, or striking another soldier, he can expect to be sent to a Kuwait hard labor camp for a time period of the commander's discretion. The current deployment rotation is one year deployed, one year home. I personally know many paratroopers with blown out knees and ankles that get nothing more than ibuprofen and the oh so positive phrase, "suck it up and drive on, we don't have the resources for your surgery."

6 Comments:

Anonymous regan said...

doc you know what time it is man
that post is dead-on; well done

5:02 AM  
Blogger Audrey said...

Thank you for all you do...my boyfriend is over there right now too...

Your post is absolute reality, I wish more people would see that...American soldiers are amazing...you are experts at doing the impossible with nothing to work with. Thanks again.

1:51 PM  
Blogger kimgeorge said...

Doesn't seem like the government is as appreciative of our military heroes as they are of our homeland terrorists, does it? Maybe they should pay to train and send those convicted of crimes out to the front lines instead of spoiling them in our so-called "correctional facilities." They'd be begging to be sent back to prison. We appreciate everything you guys do for us. It burns me about the way you guys live compared to the way the prisoners live. My husband is there with you too, and were keeping you all in our prayers.

1:57 PM  
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1:05 PM  
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Paul

10:46 PM  
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10:56 AM  

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