Sunday, November 20, 2005

What the military values most (hint: it ain't people)

Rumsfield and those guys really know how to take care of their wounded, don't they?

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jamie Dana was critically injured -- bleeding internally, her lungs collapsed, her spine fractured, her pelvis broken. In her last moment of consciousness, she asked in desperation about her comrade. "Where's Rex?" she pleaded. When no one answered, she grabbed a medic's arm. "Where's my dog? Is he dead?"

The medic told her that he was. "I felt like my heart broke," she recalled. "It's the last thing I remember."

Weeks passed before Dana would understand that the medic was mistaken and that Rex was alive. The German shepherd was burned slightly on his nose while Dana teetered at life's edge, doctors unable to assure her family that she would survive.

...Dana asked Air Force leaders if she could adopt Rex. The answer was no; it was against the rules, and Rex was still valuable to the military.

...the Air Force had turned her down twice. Adopting Rex, officials said in an Oct. 21 letter to Peterson, would not be "a legal or advisable use of Air Force assets, in spite of the sentimental value and potential healing effects it might produce."

Rex was a MWD -- military working dog -- the letter said, with "5 to 9 years of good use" left. It noted: "MWDs are worth about $18K out of training. Consequently, Rex is very valuable to both the unit and the Air Force."

Rex is, but Dana's not apparently.

In Congress, several lawmakers have taken up her cause, including Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), who is working to attach to a Defense appropriations bill a provision that would allow Rex's adoption. The measure is expected to emerge from a conference committee by the middle of next month and must face votes in both houses.

What the military values most (hint: it ain't people)

So how about writing your Senators and congressional reps to weigh in on this issue on behalf of Dana and Rex?

WaPo Link

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