Christian Schneider

Author, Columnist

News From Iraq

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, my kid sister was deployed to Iraq as a physical therapist for detainees. We\’ve been swapping e-mails since she went over there, and I thought the most recent one was pretty interesting. This was in response to my questions about how much security she gets when treating the detainees, how they\’re treated, and what she does to keep busy:

Well, before we got deployed we had to make a \”prosperity plan\” of things that we wanted to accomplish while we were here in Iraq…well my #1 priority is starting/finishing my doctorate, working out more/losing 20 lbs, flossing daily, and one of the big ones is remembering birthdays and other special occasions/sending out cards. So I succeeded so far!

We do have security with us at all times. In addition, they get searched on their way in to the hospital, they are in restraints the whole time unless I feel it necessary that they need to be removed to do an exam. The other day I did a whole knee exam, wrapped his knee up and was sending the guy on his way and then he wanted to stop and lecture me about why America is a problem. My first reaction was to defend the US and explain to him why it is such a great country, and if he hasn\’t been there to see it for himself then he should just shut it, but I refrained and just sent him on his merry way.

On one hand the detainees do have it rough – they are stuck in these compounds with very little to do but sit on the dusty ground, although they do have soccer, volleyball, and table tennis to keep them occupied. However, they are getting paid $300/month and are able to make free cell phone calls home and even able to webcam with their families…well my internet connection isn\’t even fast enough to accomodate webcam yet, so in some respects they have it better than me!

I am always interested in the story behind their injuries and why they are here – I might have mentioned before, but there is a guy with a new leg amputation in the hospital right now that lost his leg while setting up an IED. He was using his cell phone as the trigger device and he was just about done when his wife called him and it went off. There is also a 15 year old whose IED went off prematurely, and he lost one arm and the entire left side of his abdomen. There are also detainees that are in the hospital due to violence in the compounds – one corrupt Iraqi policeman that was suffocated to death by other detainees and then resuscitated in the hospital. Just this week we had our first death – a detainee that was stabbed repeatedly by other detainees and was brought to the hospital DOA.

She\’s also taken up photographing camels, and has a broad portfolio of pictures she keeps sending me.

UPDATE: I thought about this a little more, and I\’m kind of starting to feel bad for the guy blown up by the phone bomb. We\’ve all gotten nagging cell phone calls from our wives, but I think that one takes the cake. I mean, here you are, doing your job, trying to blow up some Americans, and his wife probably called him to tell him for the fourth time to get some milk on the way home from work. She probably nagged him some more when he showed up at home with no legs.

1 Comment

  1. Excuse me? Detainees get $300/month? Free cell calls? Web cams? Are my tax dollars going for this?


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