January 18, 2004

21st Century Crimean War

To follow up on a comment Havdala made to yesterday's blog, for Brits the situation in Iraq is more like the Crimean War than people might imagine. Because I focused on Sgt Roberts and stopped for the sake of time (both mine and my readers'), I didn't mention mention the case of Sgt Albert Thomson. This case hits home to me because it involves an amputation.

No doubt there are some amputations that are inevitable as a result of war wounds. This has been the case since time immemorial. That has to be accepted. What are unacceptable are amputations that should never have been necessary.

In the case of Sgt Thomson, an Army surgical team in Iraq was unable to save his leg because it didn't have a fairly simple, fairly standard vascular repair kit. They had no instruments to clamp and repair damaged blood vessels.

As a LibDem MP commented, "This isn't just about one widow whose husband died because of the kit shortages [Sgt Roberts]. There was potential here for lots of soldiers to have died due to kit shortages if we had taken heavy casualites." He further noted, "We have a whole catalogue of excuses and complacency from the MoD, whereas people who were on the frontline have repeatedly said there were major problems and shortages."

A senior commander in the Defense Medical Forces told a Parliamentary committee that a vascular repair kit should be available to surgeons in a war zone and promised to launch an inquiry. He said this while backtracking from earlier claims that no treatment of British casualities was compromised by shortages.

Though these issues were raised with the Defense Medical Services by the aformentioned MP in October, they admitted to the Daily Mail on Friday that no inquiry had begun.

Posted by david at January 18, 2004 11:38 PM | TrackBack

I'm so angry because it seems the only way to make this government ashamed of itself is to have dozens of men come home in body bags to an audience tv cameras. No... I take it back... nothing could possibly make them feel ashamed, they just don't have the capability.

Posted by: Havdala at January 19, 2004 02:49 AM

It is telling that Sgt Roberts' wife met with Geoff Hoon today and he still refused to take responsibility even to her face. She is still calling for his resignation.

It looks like the hounds of the media and the Opposition are baying for his blood and they will probably get it in the aftermath of Hutton, so that Tony can kill one career with two stones and save his own.

Posted by: David Holford at January 19, 2004 08:46 PM