Friday, December 12, 2008

The Onion:Asshats one and all

To whom it may concern:

This morning, I was sent a link to this video posted to your website,

I am a combat veteran who was wounded in 2005, while serving in Iraq. The severity of my wounds resulted in the partial amputation of my left hand, as well as nerve damage to my left hand, skin grafts on 20% of my body, traumatic brain injury, and multiple shrapnel scars.

One of the first questions I asked my doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center was "When can I go back?"

That question is asked by most of the wounded who lay in those beds. Man and women who often have multiple limbs missing. It is to the credit of the Department of Defense that they realize that the injury does not define the person, and if they choose to continue to serve, the Military will keep them.

Of the 300 million people in our nation, less than two million serve in the Armed forces. Over 30,000 have been wounded in combat. Many have suffered horrible injuries and fought to regain the use of damaged limbs, or struggled through pain to learn to use their prosthetic quickly, so they can return to duty and continue to serve. We do this because we believe in what we are doing, and we believe in the military as a team. We follow our the Warrior ethos, which reads:
I am an American Soldier. I am a Warrior and a member of a team. I serve the people of the United States and live the Army Values. I will always place the mission first. I will never accept defeat. I will never quit. I will never leave a fallen comrade. I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills. I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself. I am an expert and I am a professional. I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat. I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life. I am an American Soldier.
How dare you poke fun at the Men and women who have risked so much, given so much, and continue to sacrifice every day for your security? Even if you don't believe in the mission, or even agree with the war in Iraq of Afghanistan, who are you to call them "stumpy" or make fun of their disabilities?

I hope you and your families never have to experience the pain I have felt in the service of my country, or know the sacrifices my family has made while I serve. I hope you never have to look upon your son or daughter, or your brother or sister, or your husband or wife as the lay in a hospital bed, missing their arms and legs, and know that a nationally-read website, even one dedicated to humor and satire, has chosen them to be their target of derision.

Since I value your right to express yourselves in any manner you choose, I will not ask that you remove the video I mentioned. I don't want you to issue a retraction or an apology. You've shown you true colors, and the colors of your organization. I will however, be contacting your advertisers, and sending this letter along to them as well, asking why they contribute to the furtherance of this humiliation of service members, unless they too feel the same way.

I wish you all well. I hope that you enjoy a wonderful holiday season, and that you are able to spend as much time with your loved ones as you desire. Please remember that while you are doing that, there are over a hundred thousand men and women serving their country away from home, their loved ones, and any notion of safety.

Charles W. Ziegenfuss
MAJ, Armor
United States Army


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