Tuesday, June 26, 2007

'Most severely wounded' soldier endures:
blind, quadriplegic, struggling to breathe

From the International Herald Tribune courtesy of Eschaton:

He lies flat, unseeing eyes fixed on the ceiling, tubes and machines feeding him, breathing for him, keeping him alive. He cannot walk or talk, but he can grimace and cry. And he is fully aware of what has happened to him.

Four years ago almost to this day, Joseph Briseno Jr. was shot in the back of the head at point-blank range in a Baghdad marketplace. His spinal cord was shattered, and cardiac arrests stole his vision and damaged his brain.

The 24-year-old is one of the most severely injured soldiers — some think the most injured soldier — to survive.


In December 2003, he went home, to Manassas Park, Virginia, where his parents, Joseph Sr. and Eva, quit their jobs to care for him.

"All our savings, all our money, was just emptied ... the 401(k)s, everything," said Joseph Briseno, who took a new job a year and a half ago to make ends meet.

Various charities, especially Rebuilding Together, raised money to renovate their basement, supply a backup generator for the medical equipment, and install a lift so they can hoist "Jay," as they call him, into a chair and bathe him in a handicapped accessible bathroom.

Click here for the rest.

Of course, this is just terrible; it's like Johnny Got His Gun, as Atrios observed over at Eschaton. Due to improved medevac procedures and technology, many soldiers who would have simply been killed in earlier wars are now coming home maimed and disabled for life. I mean, at least they're alive, but it's still terrible.

Worse than that, however, is the fact that Briseno's parents are now totally broke from having to care for their son, and that they have to rely on charity to continue. Briseno gave everything for his country--it is no fault of his that psychopaths are in charge of the US military. Why the fuck isn't the government paying for all this?!? He, and his parents, should be in the lap of luxury right now, small compensation for what they've lost, I know, but that's what this country fucking owes him.

What the fuck is up with this shit?