Maybe Bush can get him into Harvard
(Jay Premack for the Boston Globe)
Sergeant Brian Fountaine, 24, at Walter Reed
Army Medical Center in Washington this week,
was injured in June while on patrol near Baghdad.
A soldier maimed by war now questions the mission
By Brian MacQuarrie, Globe Staff | August 2, 2006
WASHINGTON -- President Bush came and sat by the side of Sergeant Brian Fountaine, a 24-year-old tank commander from Dorchester, a gung-ho soldier who had lobbied to be deployed a second time. Now Fountaine was among the wounded at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, his legs amputated below the knees after an explosion June 8 ripped apart the Humvee in which he was riding.
The president chatted about the sergeant's beloved Red Sox, but made no reference to the war, the soldier said.
If the topic had come up, the president might not have liked what Fountaine had on his mind. In a dramatic change of heart, Fountaine now considers the war a military quagmire in which American soldiers are caught in a deadly vise between irreconcilable enemies.
In his view, troop morale has plummeted, suicide has increased, and the sacrifices being made in American blood and treasure suddenly seem questionable.
The war began with the justifiable goal of toppling a reckless, dangerous dictator in Saddam Hussein, the soldier said. But as the country slides toward civil war, Fountaine added, the goal of a democratic Iraq seems more distant by the day.
``You have to wonder, what exactly are we doing?" Fountaine said. ``In my opinion, [Iraq] is a country that has been at war with itself and with other enemies for thousands of years. And we're supposed to make them happy? I don't think so. I don't see it happening."
When asked if history will justify the life-altering sacrifice he has made, Fountaine paused for several seconds, lowered his head, and slowly replied: ``If in 10 or 20 years, if Iraq is in the same spot and America is still losing boys over there, then, no, I think my sacrifice will be as futile as anyone else's."
That sacrifice has been profound, excruciatingly exacted from Fountaine's body by two large bombs on a dusty road a dozen miles north of Baghdad.
The pain has been both physical and psychic. On June 30, while visiting the Marine Corps War Memorial in a wheelchair he was still learning to use, Fountaine lost control and fell over. Nothing he experienced in the explosion outside Taji -- not the searing burn, not the loss of blood, not the experience of binding his own mangled legs with tourniquets -- equaled the humiliation of that moment.
``When you swing your legs over the side of the bed, you wonder why your feet don't hit the floor," Fountaine said. ``And then you remember: It's because you don't have feet, stupid.
Bush got his body man into Harvard Business School. Maybe he can get this kid in Harvard undergrad.
All Bush wanted to do was chat about the fucking Red Sox.
Shit, you want to say sorry, but that isn't nearly enough. He lost his legs and he's 24. And the Bush family and enablers go about their merry way. I wonder what Peter Beinart say to him?
posted by Steve @ 7:18:00 AM