Monday, June 25, 2007
Is America really at war? Tammy Duckworth is.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta with veteran Tammy Duckworth
A woman from Lillyville, Illinois, once told my grandmother, "It's the rich man's war, and the poor man's fight." My grandmother believed that saying to be true. She herself worked as a "Rosie the Riveter" at American Can Co. during World War II, making containers for ammunition. She fought her own war at home, while my grandfather served in the South Pacific. It made me wonder why the same isn't true today. While so many troops serve overseas, what are Americans doing at home other than their daily routine? Are we really a nation at war?

Then I met Tammy Duckworth, a double amputee from the Iraq war who continues the fight at home. In November 2004, she lost both legs when her helicopter was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade. Thirteen months later, Tammy ran for Congress, losing by less than 3 percent of the vote. The narrow loss only motivated her more. Tammy now fights for veterans' health care as director of Illinois' Deptartment of Veterans Affairs.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta and I were with Tammy when she received her prosthetic legs this spring. At the same time, the war in Iraq was getting very personal once again for Tammy. She had to say goodbye to her husband, Maj. Bryan Bowlsbey, who is deploying to Iraq with the Illinois National Guard. I asked Bryan whether the thought of staying home for Tammy had crossed his mind. The soldier in him spoke first saying, "That's not what we do." Then the tears came, a soldier torn between caring for his wife at home and serving his country overseas.

Tammy and Bryan weren't the only ones crying in Delavan, Illinois. About 60 families were saying goodbye to their loved ones. I had felt so far removed from the Iraq war until that day. Witnessing the pain of sending a husband, a brother, a mother off to war, made the war all the more real. And for these brave military families, every day is a day at war.

For more on Tammy and Bryan, watch Dr. Sanjay Gupta's report on "Anderson Cooper 360" tonight at 10 ET

I was touched by Tammy's courage to watch Dr.Gupta's report on AC360. How hard it is for the people like Tammy to send their loved ones to the battle field...I hope Tammy will stay in good health without any trouble during her husband's absence.
America is at war however our media chooses to do a quick blurb about the military deaths and would rather focus 24/7 coverage on such nonsense such as Paris Hilton being sent to jail and now coming out of jail. It's this apathy towards real world events that saddens me because so many soldiers and their families should be receiving support from the fellow Americans but they aren't. We shouldn't have to be related to someone serving in the military to feel for the soldiers and their families.
Are we really at war indeed.

I am a Canadian so maybe I just don't understand or I'm cynical. Why do we feel the need to "support our troops". Feel sorry for them, yes. How can you not feel compassion for those who lose their legs. To support the troops in Iraq is to support the country that fights it and to support the reasons behind it. Count me out. Did this soldier lose her legs for her country. No, she lost them for economic reasons. She lost them for a war on terrorism. A useless and unwinnable war. Feel compassion for your soldiers. To support them is to support a government that does not support you.
Very touching
Our troops don't need your Canadian pity Gary. There is a huge difference in supporting troops and supporting a war. I support our troops completely for doing the job they were sent to do but I do not support the war itself. The American troops did not make the choice to invade Iraq and lose lives and limbs, the American government ordered them there so if you're going to point fingers - point it at the politicians who put our troops there.

is that how you feel about the Canadian soldiers who have died and been injured fighting in Afghanistan? maybe you should keep your comments directed towards your own people. Canadians are far from perfect and actlike pushovers anyway...

OIF triple amp.
I don't understand how the question "Is America really at war?" could even be asked, especially by someone at CNN. You are a news producer and the war wasn't real to you until you met a veteran recently? We are four years into this war!

Sign up to volunteer at your local Veterans Administration Medical Center. We could use all the help we could get.
Brave soldiers, like Tammy Duckworth and her husband Bryan, are true American heros. It may be a 'rich man's war', but it's the soldiers who stand strong, and Americans who support them, will bring home the victory. United we stand, divided we fall. Let's support our troops!
Waterloo, Il.
I recently came across another article on about Tammy Duckworth--a personal interview with her about her views on the war and how she lost her legs. It's very thought-provoking and very different from other soldier interviews I've read:
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends -- info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.
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