In my quest to find some story or some means of comment that I thought was appropriate, I came across this from The Boston Globe about the opening of a brand-new, 107,000-square-foot hospital at Balad Air Base to replace the Air Force Theater Hospital, a sprawling complex of tents that, to date, has housed Iraq’s premier trauma center (a place where our service people, as well as innocent Iraqis and insurgents alike, have received care primarily as a result of the latter group “bringing it on” in response to Dubya’s comment; it’s tough to choose the stupidest thing he has ever said during his presidency, but that may be it).
Though the construction of the hospital is bound to be positive, I found these comments to be worrisome…
At a time when no target date has been set for a U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq, the new Balad hospital looks ready for an extended U.S. stay.Kind of brings to mind Hawkeye's comment of disgust to B.J. when they received all of those tongue depressors which Hawkeye eventually made into a tower before he blew it up for the "Stars N' Stripes" reporter, meaning they would have casualties far into the future (work with me on this, OK?).
"It'll be good for 10 years, depending on how well you take care of it," said Col. Brian Masterson, the hospital commander.
The U.S. command had vetoed a proposal for a $43 million "brick-and-mortar" hospital to replace the tents, to avoid giving the U.S. military presence too permanent a look, Masterson said. The new facility also wasn't designed for eventual handover to Iraq's health care system, he said.I have to admit that I found the preceding to be an interesting paragraph by Charles J. Hanley of the AP. On the one hand, he’s telling us that we didn’t want to make it appear as if we were going to be there permanently, but in the next sentence, he says that we’re not going to hand the new facility over to “Iraq’s health care system.”
How appropriate to hear that sort of lunatic logic concerning this much-needed facility (it sounds like something I’d expect Hawkeye or Trapper to say after drinking too many martinis from their still in The Swamp that, using my imagination, probably tasted more like lighter fluid than anything else – hey, if the writer is going to draw comparisons to “M.A.S.H.,” make them apropos, OK?).