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A Piece of My Mind
November 11, 2009

Death and Life in Afghanistan

JAMA. 2009;302(18):1947. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1541

It has been four years now since I last wrote about war.1 That was Iraq; this is Afghanistan. I’m not sure if this is the same war or a different one, and from my perspective as a trauma surgeon, it really doesn't matter. Death is still death, life is still life, and I know which side I am on.

When last I wrote, I received a surprisingly large correspondence in return. Most correspondents were very supportive of what we in military medicine are doing out here. Some reminisced of different wars in different times that were, ultimately, still the same. A few viewed my opus as antiwar sentiment at its finest and lauded my courage in “raging at the machine.” My motivation for writing is my own, but someone once said that after the piece is written, it belongs not to the writer but to the reader.

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