Friday, July 23, 2004

A Cheap Shot

Over at The Corner, Jonah Goldberg links to a Reuters article about free plastic surgery being offered by the US armed forces to enlistees, presumably as a way of indicating government waste. As much as I'd normally be inclined to agree on such matters, this is one occasion on which I have to demur.

As the Reuters article points out, the reason this treatment is being offered is because military surgeons need the practice, and if one knows anything at all about the history of plastic surgery, one would be aware that it was precisely to tend to the reconstruction of body parts shattered in warfare that the field was born in the early decades of the 20th century. As nice as it is to know that the war in Iraq has only claimed 900 American soldiers' lives thus far (despite all the media hysteria that would suggest a far higher death toll), the reality is that for every soldier who dies, there'll probably be 10 or more who are injured in some way, and a large fraction of those will need some sort of reconstructive surgery - and yes, that'll often mean a nose job or something close to a face-lift (burn victims), and nowadays, with women in the armed forces, even breast work. It's simply idiocy to choose a practice like this to use to sneer at the US armed forces as Jonah Goldberg has done.