Saturday, March 05, 2005

Saving lives, one QuikClot at a time

For those familiar with our situation here are some excerpts from this excellent article out of the Pentagon on issuing blood clotting agents.

"...Uncontrolled bleeding is a major cause of death in combat -- military experts estimate about 50 percent of battlefield fatalities bleed to death in minutes before they can be evacuated to an aid station. ...

QuikClot is made of a granulated mineral substance that is biologically and botanically inert ...

The absorptive material, when poured directly into an open wound, acts like a super sponge and instantly extracts fluid from the blood in and around the wound. All that's left in the wound is concentrated clotting materials -- allowing the blood to clot very quickly and preventing severe blood loss. ...

"Some organizations aren't completely sold on QuikClot because there wasn't a very big population or sample size," Reed said. "But, the Navy feels like this is the best overall product and works very well in the environments we plan to use it."

"Army brass is one organization looking at other blood clotting bandages -- seeking better ways to meet soldiers' needs.

"The Army has teamed with the Red Cross to develop several hemostatic alternatives. One such bandage, the Fibrin bandage contains two blood-clotting proteins fibrinogen and thrombin. The other is called the Chitosan bandage, which is made from a biodegradable carbohydrate found in the shells of shrimp, lobsters and other animals. Chitosan bonds with blood cells to form a clot.

The bottomline though is that in the search for protection the Army failed to issue blood clotting agent to combat troops, only the medics, so instead of being saved by an imperfect product, soldiers bled to death because of its absence. Marines on the other hand, who helped develop the product, knowing its limitations issued it to all its marines.

A classic Army case of perfect killing good enough -- literally.

New Drug Saving Soldier's Lives

"...the United States Marine Corps gives out 1 life saving tool to each soldierthat they always keep on hand.

"...a controversial new chemical agent that sucks up blood like a sponge, forcing a clot. It's called Quikclot, but soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan call it a miracle. They don't have enough of it. They write home looking for more of it, and medics like Jerome Talton says he rations it out it's so popular. ...

"So far, the Military has documented 100 cases where Quikclot saved the lives of severely wounded soldiers, including 1 soldier who lost half his pelvis and much of a leg. Its success rate is causing a case of severe envy among the services. Every Marine carries Quikclot, but the U.S. Army gives its soldiers a bandage that enhances clotting, sometimes.

"So why not issue Quikclot to every individual soldier like the Marines do? The Army said it's only reticence is that the granular makeup of Quikclot makes it hard to remove once poured in a wound, and sometimes it causes 2nd degree burns around the injury, although no serious complications have been reported from its use.

"In the end, the Army says it wants its soldiers to have both the bandage and Quikclot, and that's why it's doing these tests to improve the product, and just for the record, the pig survived the procedure."

It bears noting that while every Marine has this life saving product, only Army medics are given it. So if you don't have a medic with his kit hand then no medic = no blood clotting agent

Z-Medica's QuikClot saves lives on battlefield — and here at home

While serving at the Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad, trauma surgeon Brian Gross saw a soldier whose pelvis had been riddled by gunfire.

"That kid should have bled to death," Gross said.

The surgical team applied pressure, then took what looked like kitty litter and gradually poured it into his wound.

"It saved his life. He survived long enough to return to a hospital in Germany," said Gross, who is second in charge of the Hartford Hospital trauma division.

That kitty litter compound is called QuikClot, a blood-stopping product that has become an ingredient in every U.S. Marine's rucksack throughout the world — in fact, more than 100,000 packets have been distributed to Marines to date, and the Army has approved QuikClot's usage for its field medics.

"The No. 1 cause of death in a battlefield is bleeding ...

the Food and Drug Administration approved the product in 2002. The first order came from the Marines in late 2002, to equip 218,000 troops with QuikClot as they went to Afghanistan. ...

The company has also developed and is marketing a first aid kit for soldiers and first responders that includes QuikClot, bandages and other gear. The kits retail on military Internet sites for about $35.

Candlelight vigil on Bedford Common for PFC John Hart. Oct. 2003. Cousin Gage H. pictured here. Posted by Hello

Grandmom & Gage Posted by Hello

Victim of motorcycle rigged bomb. March 05 Posted by Hello

Remains of a booby-trapped motorcycle Posted by Hello

Latest photo of al-Zarqawi. Posted by Hello

Annan's #2 Blocks Oil-for-Food Scrutiny

UNITED NATIONS — With U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan next up for review by Paul Volcker’s inquiry into the Oil-for-Food scandal, a crucial question is whether Volcker will expand upon information tying the scandal directly to the U.N. chief’s office — by way of Annan’s second-in command, Louise Frechette.

Four years into the seven-year Oil-for-Food (search) program, with graft and mismanagement by then rampant, Frechette intervened directly by telephone to stop United Nations auditors from forwarding their investigations to the U.N. Security Council. This detail was buried on page 186 of the 219-page interim report Volcker’s Independent Inquiry Committee released Feb. 3. ...

Why Can't Americans Find Bin Laden?

This article is worth the read. A couple of good thoughts and discussion. Getting him is a milestone to victory.

General Musharraf says the trail has gone cold. A functioning CIA seems critical to warming it up.

"Military forces typically do not engage in the apprehension of individuals," Allard says. "Our stock in trade is taking down a regime. It's like looking for individual grains of sand, when your objective is to shovel out a foundation. We do a great job of foundation digging. We don't do a very good job of finding an individual grains with names on them." ...

"I would much rather have the dead Osama as a potential martyr than a live Osama running around right now," Allard says. "Because the most powerful symbol that he exerts to his followers is that he has been able to defy the United States. He's been able to pull off [the attacks of 11 September 2001] and effectively get away with it. Symbols really matter."

Pakistan Kills Two Al Qaeda Suspects, Arrests 11

Pakistani soldiers killed two foreign al Qaeda suspects and arrested 11 people on Saturday in a remote northern village bordering Afghanistan, senior officials said.

The militants were hiding in Devgar village in North Waziristan, roughly 185 miles southwest of the capital, Islamabad, a senior official said on condition of anonymity. ...

Another official, who also asked not to be named, said that the two dead al Qaeda suspects appeared to be Arabs.

"The arrested men include two Sudanese and one Qatari national," he added. "The rest are locals." ...

'Not Just a Hope': Army General Expects Casualties in Iraq to Decline, Even as U.S. Death Toll Surpasses 1,500

"With U.S. deaths in Iraq topping 1,500, the commanding general of allied troops in Baghdad said Thursday he expects casualties will soon decline because of bomb-detecting technology and emboldened Iraqi informants.

"My expectation, not just a hope, is that over the coming months we'll see the number of casualties go down," Maj. Gen. William G. Webster said in a teleconference from Baghdad. "Now, I'm knocking on wood at the same time, because the enemy gets a vote in this." ...

The greatest threat has been homemade bombs detonated from roadsides, in cars and by suicide attackers. Webster said a main focus for his troops will be untangling and hunting down complex networks of insurgents - financiers, suppliers and attackers - behind the bombings.

U.S. soldiers are also studying how insurgent bombs are built - using alarm clocks, washing machine timers, cell phones and garage-door openers - to devise ways of finding the explosives before they kill.

"We're training our soldiers every night on what are the latest trends and techniques being used by the enemy so they can find these devices," Webster said. "We're finding 30 to 45 percent of them on a given day." ..."

Improvised Explosive Devices are by far the leading cause of US hostile fire fatalities. I'd tend to dismiss a normal statement like this from the Army as the trend is clearly showing IED's effectiveness as an insurgents tool of war.

On the other hand, I've been watching Maj. Gen. Webster and he is serious about this issue. First, for the first time, the Army is enforcing restrictions of vehicular movement to only those with some armor. Second he lobbied for and got $84 million in funding in December 04 to bring hundreds of M113 Gavin armored personnel carriers sitting idle in Kuwait back into Iraq with added armor protection later this year. They sat there for 2 years while hundreds died in Iraq. Third, he seems to be serious about combining defensive tactics with improved Iraqi intel. The elections and stronger Iraqi National Guard deployment make this realistic for the first time.

So in short, I'm a fan of Maj. Gen. Webster's.

Study shows 41% drop in number of black Army recruits since 2000

"The Army’s wartime recruiting challenge is aggravated by a sharp drop in black enlistments over the last four years, which internal Army and Defense Department polls trace to an unpopular war in Iraq and concerns among blacks with Bush administration policies.

The Army is straining to meet recruiting goals in part because the number of black volunteers has fallen 41 percent — from 23.5 percent of recruits in fiscal 2000 down steadily to 13.9 percent in the first four months of fiscal 2005.

... No single factor explains the drop, Rochelle said, but clearly the propensity of black youth to enlist is impacted by the war and increasingly by views of parents, teachers, coaches, clergy and other “influencers.”

“The influencers of these youth are causing them to be less inclined to listen to what good the Army could do for them in the long run,” said Rochelle, one of the Army’s most senior black officers.

Officer recruiting is hit, too. Black enrollment in the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program is down 36 percent since 2001. ...

Friday, March 04, 2005

Specialist Lizbeth Robles killed in Iraq. March 2, 2005. While reporters cover Martha Stewart, the ex-con, you gave your life for your country without celebrity. You did not steal. or cheat. You gave and did not take. You were honorable in life and in death. If our media does not honor you today, then when? Posted by Hello

Repatriation Ceremony of US Soldier's Remains. DaNang, Vietnam March 2,2005. When we buried John Hart at Arlington, in the next room at the funeral home was an elderly family of repatriated Vietnam era soldiers who are buried two to the right from him in section 60. God's speed. I will remember. I cannot forget. Posted by Hello

Lance Cpl. Gavriel. 12-3-04 at Arlington who grew up in Haverhill, MA where his parents live. Penelope, we remember. Posted by Hello

1500 dead in Iraq and all Fox can run is a news loop on Martha Stewart. Well frankly my dear, I don't give a damn. Posted by Hello


Aviation Week has this article on UAV flights over Iran. It says they are not from the Dept. of Defense but from the CIA. It goes on to describe what kinds of aircraft and so on.

My fear is that this is no substitute for human intelligence. It is hard to understate how poor our human intelligence has been. Nor is it possible to overstate the dire consequences to this country in recent years.

A political pogrom at the CIA won't solve this problem.

What have the Americans ever done for us? Liberated 50 million people...

"ONE OF MY favourite cinematic moments is the scene in Monty Python’s Life of Brian when Reg, aka John Cleese, the leader of the People’s Front of Judea, is trying to whip up anti-Roman sentiment among his team of slightly hesitant commandos.

“What have the Romans ever done for us?” he asks. ...

Kabal Posted by Hello

Lebanon in the whirlwind. March 05 Posted by Hello

Lebanon March 05 Posted by Hello

Lebanon: future shock for Arab leaders?

As usual the Christian Science Monitor writes an excellent foreign policy piece.

Can democracy be contageous?

The recent blogs posted on this site from Iraq have given me pause to think there may be genuine hope. Are Iraqi's prepared to fight for their own freedom. Is there an opportunity for a peaceful revolution in Lebannon as has evidently occurred in the Ukraine?

Some points made in the article:

Something significant is happening within Lebanon that has implications not just for Syria but for authoritarian regimes throughout the Middle East. When people lose their fear of such regimes, these regimes have very little to sustain them. Some - Mr. Jumblatt included - say that Iraq's elections inspired the Lebanese, who saw that Iraqis would not give in to fear. But it isn't just the "Iraq effect." It is Palestinian elections and the paradox, as Arab commentators observe, that only where there is external occupation are Arab peoples gaining a voice in shaping their future. Does it take occupation, they ask, to empower Arab individuals? ...

The Syrian regime and its dependents believe they must hold power and wealth or they will lose everything. But their options in Lebanon are clearly not attractive. ...

If the Lebanese succeed, which Middle Eastern leader will sleep easily knowing that his people are no longer afraid? Indeed - should it become clear that "velvet" or "orange" revolutions are possible not only in Eastern Europe or the former Soviet Union but in the Middle East as well - will we soon see Arab leaders embracing reforms for real?

Bush media event at CIA. March 05 Posted by Hello

Bush Reassures CIA Employees About Agency

Every day, every hour that Osama Bin Laden is alive is a moment in time that the United States is in danger of attack.

The President's State of the Union Address failed to mention him once -- dead or alive.

At a time when we are desparately in need of real intelligence to act on, we face a demoralized CIA requiring a Presidential visit to pump them up after the political purges and defections of the last few months have stripped its ranks of experienced agents.

I fear that what is left is a group that will only tell the President what he wants to hear.

Well Mr. President, I don't think OBL is in Iraq.

Pakistan's Northwest territories? Posted by Hello

Wristie Israeli style. Posted by Hello

'Wrist Video' Gives Israeli Army an Edge

"HOLON, Israel - Israeli troops are now sporting gear that Dick Tracy would be proud of: tiny video screens, worn on the wrist, which display video shot by unmanned airplanes.

Similar screens have been in use for close to a year in the Israeli military's attack helicopters, helping pilots identify and strike Palestinian militants within seconds. ...

Thursday, March 03, 2005

House GOP war bill calls for more defense, less foreign aid than Bush requested

"House Republicans on Thursday proposed spending $1.8 billion more on defense needs than President Bush had requested for conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and cutting by about half his proposal for foreign aid and State Department programs. "

This would raise the total supplemental to $81.9 billion. As the article itemizes there are a number of foreign aid projects that are being trimmed back and more money being put into equipment for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan which the administration had left out or underfunded. As the article states, "The House measure also demonstrates a reluctance by lawmakers to cede too much control over spending the funds to Bush. "

This was evident during last year's hearings. Congressmen, whether Republican or Democrat, are just distrustful and fed up with the budget gaming. This was best illustrated in last year's April House hearings where Republican Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Duncan Hunter reamed out Wolfowitz for asking for supplemental funds without itemization as had occurred with the original $87 billion to the chagrin of congress when they found out that those funds weren't being spent on armor and ammo as they should have been. You could hear the voice of no-confidence in the testimony.

It occurred today at the Sen. Armed Services Committee Hearing that I listened to as Senator after Senator express distrust and displeasure at the manipulation of fiscal year and supplemental budgets to manipulate the reported costs of the war. For this reason, I believe Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz are short-timers in their current positions.

Congress has been far more responsive to average trooper needs than the Administration as every congressman has a national guard unit in his district going to war with second hand equipment and inadequate training.

The Army and Marines, doing most of the fighting, would get more than Bush sought, especially for equipment. The House bill would add $2.2 billion to Bush's $16.1 billion request for rocuring weapons and equipment, including extra money for armor, night-vision goggles and armored trucks and other vehicles. [This part is good.]

Funds for operations and maintenance which covers costs like flying aircraft and repairing trucks were being cut. [This part isn't good in my opinion.]

Missed call. IED that failed. Posted by Hello

Speedy Care, Better Gear Help Troops Survive Injuries

Here are excerpts from an article on how improvements in armor and battlefield medicine are improving survival but leaving soldiers with devastating injuries that would otherwise have killed them.

Servicemembers fighting the war on terror are surviving what normally would be fatal injuries due to improved protective gear, better-trained combat medics and quicker evacuation procedures, according to a doctor who has been to the front line three times.

... Peoples said having forward surgical teams able to set up as many as two portable operating rooms within minutes so “near to the point of injury”presented better opportunity to perform lifesaving procedures. “There, he continued, “you basically have a ground ambulance … that can bring casualties of the battlefield directly to your door in matter of minutes.”

Peoples also pointed out the role combat medics and troops on the ground play in saving lives. “At the point of injury, a soldier’s life is either saved or lost by the initial action taken by a combat medic or someone who has been trained in some basic first-aid skills,” he explained.

Peoples said procedures such as placing a tourniquet, stopping bleeding or stabilizing injuries become very critical on how well patients are “going to do in the long run.”

He pointed out that body armor and up-armored vehicles are another reason many lives are saved. “People are surviving these devastating injuries because they are not developing life-threatening injuries to the chest or abdomen,” he said.

Peoples noted that body armor “protects the core of the soldier in their chest and abdomen” where “a lot of the injuries would have been mortal in previous combat.”

He said the military is working to revamp body armor so that protective plating will cover even more body parts, and that ballistic eyewear has helped cut down the number of eye injuries. In addition, more military units now travel in armor-clad vehicles.

But even with these protective measures, Peoples said medical facilities are seeing “much more devastating extremity injuries,” with damage to bones, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels and nerves.

“It’s presented a real challenge for us surgically, but even more from a rehab standpoint,” he said. ...

Picture recently taken in Iraq. Note the rising level of up armor on these vehicles. An encouraging trend which needs to be maintained. Posted by Hello

Honoring a friend, helping others in Iraq

Numerous police forces have donated expired bullet proof vests to troops in Iraq who then used them to reinforce truck roofs, doors and humvees. Here is one case in point.

Stony Brook University police are sending 100 bulletproof vests to U.S. soldiers in Iraq in the name of a university police officer who volunteered to serve in the war-torn area.

The vests will be sent to the 69th Infantry Division in honor of Sam Ramos, a Stony Brook police officer who is a first lieutenant in the National Guard who has been serving in the 69th in Iraq since June. Ramos, 34, is a married father of three from Brentwood.

The vests will be used to help reinforce the armor of Humvee vehicles.

Stony Brook police officials said the vests will be used to line the inside of the vehicles.


The Death Benefit Bush proposed in his State of the Union, wasn't in his FY-06 budget request to Congress.

Here is an excerpt from DefenseTech. org article on the subject. It looks like the Joint Chiefs have had to add it as part of a $4.8 billion request to Congress directly by the Army amongst other unfunded requirements. This way it doesn't seem to show up in the overall planned budget or the deficit. Clever. Cynically clever.

For those who care, the same thing happened last year after the State of the Union address by Bush where he famously said he would get the soldiers the equipment they needed to do the job only to fail to include the funds for it in it FY-05 budget which asked for no retrofit armor and only 818 armored humvees for the entire fiscal year.

Most of the body armor and vehicular armor, indeed the M1114 armored vehicles themselves came from Congress' $25 billion supplemental to the FY-04 legislation passed almost unanimously through the House and Senate and signed without comment or fanfare by Bush in August 04.

Last month, the Bush administration announced that, in the Pentagon's 2006 budget, there would a big bump in the so-called "death benefit" for military families. If a soldier was killed in war, administration officials promised, his loved ones would get a $100,000 lump sum -- up from just $12,420 -- plus an extra $150,000 in life insurance payouts. It seemed like a great idea. Everybody cheered.

But then, something curious happened. Or rather, didn't happen. The Pentagon never included the money for a bigger death benefit in its budget. So now, the Army has gone to Congress, asking for an extra $348 million to keep the administration's word. ...

Anti-tank mine.  Posted by Hello

A Battle Rattled Army

David Hackworth writes his heartfelt piece on the spike in PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) cases coming out of Iraq versus other wars. On thinking about his analysis, my reaction is that the Army's attempt to identify it early is commendable, hence the spike from early detection. In the case of Vietnam era veterans the problem didn't go away, it just manifest itself in a multi-decade problem of drug abuse, depression, homelessness and broken families. The Dept. of Veterans Affairs became an expert on this matter because it was the battle scar most prevalent from that war. That the current Army can and is willing to identify it early is critical to preventing the long-term human costs associated with ruined minds and lives of the soldiers who do not get adequate treatment and their loved ones who experience the fallout.

Arguing for and against the draft

This link will take you to a comprehensive current discussion on the draft. ... Shut that window please.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Fallujah. Jan. 05 Posted by Hello

Lebanon Rising. Posted by Hello

Washington DC. March 05/ Posted by Hello

PFC John Hart and PFC Nikolas Sheider. Nick was WIA August 03 in Iraq. John Hart was KIA Oct. 18, 2003. Here they are in May 2003 at a US memorial in Italy on Memorial Day where they were part of an honor guard. Posted by Hello

PFC John D. Hart. Arlington National Cemetery Section 60. Posted by Hello

Al Jazeera has a good effect on the Arab street?

I submit for your consideration this editorial from "Free Iraqi" a blog out of Bagdhad. The premise is that al Jazeera provides a public service in spite of itself by providing a view, any view, not espoused by the fearless leaders of Arab totalitarian regimes.

While al Jazeera showed protesters in Iraq and became a mouthpiece of terrorists after Saddam fell from power and could no longer bribe the network, it showed protesters not being attacked by police. This was not lost on the Arab audiences unable to hold a similar protest in their own countries according to the commentator.

Also it was the first and only Arab network to interview an Israeli official. While a small step, its at least a step in the right direction.

He says al Jazeera is to the Arab street what Fox News is to Republicans; a perspective I'll have to think about.

But then that's his point. By giving a different view than the controlled state media in Arabic countries, it raises the level of discourse at the local level. We'll see. I still think the network plays to the most base of emotions, bigotries and terrorists, but this man's perspective is refreshing.

His article is worth a read even if you hate the network.

41st Iraqi Army Brigade Celebrates Posted by Hello

Wounded Iraqi Recruits March 2, 2005 Posted by Hello