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December 19, 2005
Saving The Lives Of Our Enemy

With all of the cheap talk floating around the media about how the US supposedly tortures its prisoners -- all based on the common-sense refusal of the US to tell the world what specific limits we place on interrogation -- local columnist Katherine Kersten provides us with a reminder of what it really means to be an American soldier. In her Star-Tribune article, Kersten highlights local Army medic Sgt. Joe Buhain of Rochester and his dedication to saving lives on the battlefield, regardless of which side his patients fought:

What do you do if you are an Army medic and you are asked to provide medical care to an Iraqi terrorist who has just killed or maimed some of your buddies? Staff Sgt. Joe Buhain of Rochester knows the answer. ...

Buhain, 35, found it emotionally taxing to treat terrorists who had detonated explosives under coalition Humvees or killed innocent children.

"It broke my heart when I saw an American soldier come in badly wounded," he says. "At first, I asked, 'Why do we have to do this, treat people who try to kill us this way?' But the chaplain and the combat stress team helped. I came to see that, at a certain level, the insurgents were like us. They are human beings. We medical personnel had to learn to control our emotions, in order to give them the best care we could."

U.S. soldiers took a similar attitude, Buhain adds. "The call would go out to give blood, and our guys would line up without knowing whether one of our soldiers or a terrorist would get it," he says.

To illustrate his co-workers' dedication, Buhain tells of one badly wounded terrorist who had received a tracheotomy, or breathing tube. "Every day for months, the nurses and respiratory therapists would patiently suction him to make sure he didn't choke," he says. "We tried everything to help him get better: coming up with novel breathing techniques, walking around with him."

Most of us won't be surprised by the humanity and the honorable way in which these young men conduct themselves in war. People like Jane Fonda might enjoy telling people that America trains its soldiers to commit atrocities, but men like Joe Buhain show the opposite: our men and women do whatever they can to recall a sense of humanity in a war against one of the most inhumane enemies our country has ever faced, an enemy that deliberately kills civilians to keep from facing military units that kill them in overwhelming ratios whenever they meet.

Be sure to read all about Sgt Buhain and his fellow soldiers -- and three cheers to the Star Tribune for allowing Kersten to tell this story from their pages.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 19, 2005 7:38 PM

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