The Best of Times and the Worst of Times: The War in the Middle East from a Medical Perspective

Speaker: Categories: May 12, 2007


[56min, 33sec / 54min, 23sec]


It's become rather customary to listen to numerous newscasts each day, whether radio or television, without hearing some reporting on the number of American casualties within the previous twenty-four hours. With such frequency, it may be that our senses become dulled and the numbers are just that, numbers. What's really going on in the Middle East? What's prompted the violence? What is the role of the American military presence? To what degree is its intended mission being accomplished? How is the melee viewed through the eyes of a medical doctor?

Dr. Michael Walter notes:The United States is a nation at war. This war has gone on longer than the American appetite would like and in some respects, it has turned into a"political"war. The question is not"should we have gone in"because that has to be left for a future academic debate. Realistically, we are in the middle of this war and the question should be,"what will happen if we leave?"It is a fact that terrorism with its suicide bombers has been with us for decades and finally came to U. S. soil with the death of 3000 US citizens on 9/11. Simply put, the clear and present danger is a worldwide threat from radical Islamic terrorism that has a strong state sponsorship component, an overt and covert military component, and an insidious peaceful component that is now present in the United States.

The media has largely focused on everything that has gone wrong and, if that is all that is heard, what must one conclude? There is a success story! While every life is precious, the death toll in this war is substantially lower than prior wars. This is as a result of evolving tactics, equipment that protects soldiers, and immediate medical care including evacuation to higher levels of care.

Islamic-Fascism with its hatred of the west is largely funded by our appetite for oil. The United States is a part of the global economy that runs on oil. We remain dependent on oil and little is being done to become energy independent. Wouldn't it be wise to develop short and long term plans to become energy independent?

There are many church members in all branches and who are deployed for long periods of time. Both they and their families gladly sacrifice in hope of a better peace. For this sacrifice there is little official recognition from the church.


Michael Walter, M.D., MSS, grew up in the Northwest and is a graduate of Walla Walla College and Loma Linda University Medical School. He continued his medical education in the Army Medical System where he became certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology. He spent 30 years in the military spending the last 18 years in the Army Reserve. He graduated from the Army War College where he received a Masters in Strategic Studies in 2000. He was promoted to Brigadier General in 2001 and was deployed to the Middle East in 2004 where he served as the Commander of the 8th Medical Brigade and the 3rd Army Surgeon. He currently practices Gastroenterology at LLUMC, where he has served during the past eighteen years when not on military assignment overseas.

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