Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Sgt. David Borell: Soldier, fighter, patriot 

Here is a photo of Sgt. David Borell mourning children injured from unexploded munitions. That was the original caption that I remember seeing of this photo. Now the truth has come out though, that at least two Iraqi children were refused aid from American military doctors when they suffered burns from playing with unexploded munitions, and Sgt. David Borell was a witness. From the toledoblade.com, hometown of Borell:

The children’s parents brought them to the base for treatment, but doctors - according to Sergeant Borell - looked at the children momentarily and turned them away after deciding their injuries were not life-threatening.

Apparently the honest grief expressed by Sgt. Borell is igniting a spark in Americans who become aware of this story:

"This photograph serves to reinforce what I truly believe," wrote Les Elkins, a South Padre Island, Texas, motel owner, in an e-mail to The Blade: "that, in general, Americans, even the biggest, burliest, and toughest of us, are truly caring and compassionate when it comes to the pain and suffering of others."...

Other comments to The Blade came from Iraq, where Sgt. Jeffrey Gottke confirmed Sergeant Borell’s description of the incident.

He called Sergeant Borell "conservative" and "honest" and said he "loves the Army very much."

"To see him take the stand and speak out as he did says to me that this is something very, very important," Sergeant Gottke wrote.

It is an interesting sidepoint that Sgt. Gottke felt it necessary to qualify his description of Sgt. Borell as "conservative".

In this updated article on the story, published on the 19th, the toledoblade.com reports that a congresswoman from Toledo wants more medical aid for the Iraqis, and she gets the "official" response:

Sergeant Borell, of the Toledo-based 323rd Military Police Company, complained that he tried to get medical help on June 13 for the three children - who he said had severe burns on their arms, legs, and faces. After having to send the family on its way without medical help, the 30-year-old sergeant broke down and was comforted by his platoon leader, Sgt. 1st Class Bryan Pacholski.

The scene was captured by an Associated Press photographer and the picture was printed the following day in The Blade and newspapers across the country. After seeing the photograph, Miss Kaptur pledged to speak with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Mr. Rumsfeld sent Dr. Chu and Mr. Wyatt in his place, Miss Kaptur said.

Miss Kaptur advocated yesterday a system of U.S.-operated field hospitals to provide health care for Iraqi citizens. She also offered to help mobilize communities in northwest Ohio, and specifically Toledo, to assist in providing both medical expertise and medical supplies.

"After 10 years of bombing and the embargo [U.N. sanctions], their hospitals are barren anyway," Miss Kaptur said. "So how can you depend on a civilian system that doesn’t even exist? ... It is a very, very dangerous place, and that’s why field hospitals make sense."

Dr. Chu told Miss Kaptur that the top priority right now is security, and that providing health services is difficult because the situation in Iraq is still dangerous. "He agreed with Congresswoman Kaptur about the need to emphasize health care, and especially public health," said Steve Fought, an aide to Miss Kaptur who was present at the meeting.

Dr. Chu told Miss Kaptur that security in the country was probably too unstable for such an operation. He said the World Health Organization has emphasized rebuilding the health-care infrastructure in Iraq.

There it is. It is too dangerous to have health care for the injuries caused to the Iraqi people by our war.