Amputees Used in War Games

Status: True
Apparently the U.S. Government is prepared to do everything it takes to prepare our troops for battle. This includes hiring amputees to play wounded civilians in war games. They're bussed down to Fort Polk, La., where the soldiers-in-training must also contend with fake Arab civilians, "smoke-making machines and an intercom system that pipes in 'recordings of screaming women, crying babies, barking dogs and other sound effects throughout the whole city,' and, coming soon, the simulated smells of "vomit, burning rubber, burning bodies, those kinds of things."

I was impressed by this account of one scene that occurred during the simulated warfare:

A Humvee and a convoy of trucks were attacked with a fake rocket-propelled grenade, causing a fake explosion that caused Cole Young, 71, who lost a leg in an oil pipeline accident, to lie on the ground with fake blood spurting from his amputated leg. A soldier came to give Young some fake first aid. But when he saw that Young's hand was under his poncho, working his blood-spurting machine, the soldier yelled, "He's got a (bleep) wire!" and started firing laser bullets into Young's chest. That caused the other fake civilians to start screaming, ``Murderers!" That distracted the soldiers, enabling a bunch of fake insurgents to sneak up and wipe them all out — "mowing down the troops as effortlessly," Tower writes, "as they might a herd of grazing cows.''
Which is, alas, not unusual: Time after time, Tower reports, the fake insurgents massacred the American troops in these games.
Grandma would no doubt say that the silver lining in that news is that the games are just ... well, games. In the real war in Iraq, America is kicking insurgent butt, says President George W. Bush.


Posted on Tue Jan 10, 2006


The oddest thing about this story is that it is the Toronto Star's presentation of a summary by the Washington Post of a story in Harper's magazine; and all three papers seem to be unrelated to each other. For all we know, it could be that the original story was actually about herding cows or mowing grass, and it has become warped and transformed in its journey.
Posted by Ashley Pomeroy  on  Wed Jan 11, 2006  at  12:06 PM
Yeah, you'd think the Toronto Star could at least buy its own copy of "Harper's" and quote directly from it.
Posted by Big Gary in the northern hemisphere  on  Wed Jan 11, 2006  at  04:07 PM
"...and that's why you always leave a note!"
(Arrested Development)
Posted by Matt  on  Thu Jan 12, 2006  at  01:09 PM
This just doesn't seem effective.

Shouldn't they just take the soldiers to a hospital or something??
Posted by Maegan  on  Fri Jan 13, 2006  at  10:35 AM
It's about as effective as you can get, Maegan, without actually blowing up people for real (which would probably get a few people upset). We sometimes used real blood and entrails from cows, but that brings up a bit of a health issue. Of course, we also often used real ammunition in training, which would have been a bit of a disaster for Mr. Cole Young in the article above. . .
Posted by Accipiter  on  Fri Jan 13, 2006  at  01:17 PM
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