While I spent the weekend trying to figure out just how cool I was (see post below) my little brother was spending another weekend at Camp Bastion in the Afghani desert just trying to live as normal a life as possible. Three years ago there was no Camp Bastion, it was just an oasis in the middle of nowhere, but now there's a tent city, hospital, airstrip and Task Force HQ. I've only got a vague notion of what things have been like there, my little brother has been very busy and has had the time for only the occasional email and phone call. However I read a remarkable piece in Friday's London Times by Tony Loyd about one day in the Bastion hospital. Here's how it starts:
Beneath the warmth of the early morning summer sky a familiar routine begins at Camp Bastion’s hospital. The bodies of three British soldiers, brought in by a Chinook medical emergency response team shortly after 6am, are already lying in the mortuary.
Two were killed in action, the third died of wounds before he could be operated on. A fourth British soldier, an additional morning arrival, lay sedated in intensive care, with a leg blown off.
A team of medics and two chaplains were waiting at the main hospital entrance for the next helicopter to touch down. “We’re in the middle of a shit morning and it’s getting worse,” remarked Captain Cat Kemeny, the hospital’s adjutant. “We’ve got four more UK casualties coming in from three incidents. The next we’re expecting is a double amputee.” She had barely finished speaking when a Chinook landed near by and unloaded the newest casualty.
The rest of the story can be read here. Gareth (my little brother) not only read The Times's story but in fact was actually in the hospital that morning because of an injured arm, although of course he was way down the triage priority list. Gareth may be used to it, (this is the kid's third war and he spent most of last year in northern Iraq) but I'm not, and although I write fairly violent - and hopefully fun - crime novels for a living his life is lived at the tip of the spear and he is, without question, the family badass.
Anyway, I don't know how the Afghani war is going to end, but for the sake of all the Brits, Danes, Yanks and other soldiers on the front line I hope that it gets resolved sooner rather than later.