War Is An Ugly Business

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Army photo

An Army doctor fights to save the foot of a wounded soldier.

That becomes clear every once in awhile when reviewing what the military wants to buy.

Check out this recent Army solicitation:


Not quite sure if it’s the word “cadaver” that bothers Battleland as much as its proximity to “fresh frozen.”

“Southern Regional Contracting Office has a requirement for Cadavers for the Combat Extremity Surgery Course (6A-A0158) for the Amedd [Army Medical Department] Center and School and US Army Trauma Training Center in Miami Fl,” it says. “This requirement is being conducted as a commercial item acquisition…”

The service is apparently seeking 30 human legs – “Cadavers need to be at least from the Hemi pelvis to toe” – and 30 human arms – “Arm Specimen need to be from shoulder to finger tips” to train military doctors to deal with horrific leg-and-arm-threatening wounds caused by IEDs seen first in Iraq and now in Afghanistan. U.S. troops have suffered close to 1,600 amputations in the post-9/11 wars.

It’s tough to read about. But then again, without such training, stories like this wouldn’t be possible.

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I recently spent some time in Dublin, Ireland. The history museum has a wonderful exhibit on grave robbery. It  features a cut-away model of how they did it. The robbers, wanting to sell cadavers to satisfy solicitations like the above,  would dig a tunnel from beyond the head of the casket down to the casket, break into the casket, tie a rope around the head of the cadaver, and pull it up through the tunnel and sell it to a university or whomever wanted it. The Dublin cemetery had to build walls with watch towers around the cemetery to stop the practice.

Go for it.