Monday, December 31, 2007

I too was called to serve

I am reposting the following from a previous (to remain nameless) site. This was prompted by a flurry of comments to a Treppenwitz post called "Exploding Myths". The comment by Lisa Goldman disturbed me because it implied that the "mainstream" lives in Tel Aviv and environs. Tel Avivans live in a bubble of sorts and often see the rest of the country as some bucolic backwater. The following was posted during a period of pain and upheaval for the country and reflects my own state of mind at the time. Rereading the post, I haven't changed my feelings on the subjects presented:
I too was called up. I serve in the reserves in two capacities: I command a Forward Surgical Team and I'm an ATLS (Advanced Trauma Life Support) instructor. It was in the latter capacity that I was assigned to train medical units heading up north at the National Medical Simulation Center. Since there aren't enough physicians that treat trauma on a daily basis (surgeons and anesthesiologists mainly) to serve in all the medical units in the army, the medical corps provides an ATLS course for all military doctors (both career and reserves). In addition, we provide the course for all civilian doctors who specialize in surgical specialties. The implication is this: those doctors in the non-trauma related specialties must provide treatment to the wounded.
My personal dilemma is always the same. Where can I better serve the country? Obviously, my experience treating trauma victims both in the OR and intensive care would bear fruition on the front lines. On the other hand, I couldn't possibly be in more than one place at one time. So perhaps imparting my knowledge and experience to doctors who will be called up anyway to serve at the front is more effective. I don't know if there is a correct answer.
The last two weeks we gave intensive training sessions to as many doctors and medics as possible. Using a very sophisticated simulator we could recreate battle injuries using computerized manikins that respond to treatments and procedures. After each scenario, which was video taped, we reviewed the teams' performance and offered constructive criticism. I was struck by one thing: None of the doctors or medics exhibited any misgivings about joining the combat troops (at least not outwardly). The only misgivings that were expressed were those of non-trauma doctors as to their own level of experience: was it enough to help the wounded they were about to treat? Except for one cardiothoracic surgeon with an over inflated ego, all the doctors and medics were very appreciative of any wisdom I could impart to them.
This dedication to professionalism was shared by both career army physicians and reservists alike. I imagine that the tenaciousness of the combat troops and their dedication to our country will be well served by such doctors. I, like many others, have noticed that the combat units are populated disproportionately by soldier/citizens from the periphery. The Tel-Aviv Yuppies, the high tech sector (aka technoweenies), the economic elite are all under-represented in these units. I despise them and their religious pursuit of money. I find their lack of communal consciousness pathetic. I served as a tank commander during my compulsory service and in the reserves until I was transferred to the medical corps during med school. As an armored battalion physician, I addressed my medics with the claim that those who serve in the reserves are not "suckers" but the country's real elite, and they should be proud of serving. I don't know that I ever convinced any of the soldiers under my command of anything but that I truly believe in this credo.
It may be too early for pointing fingers; however at the very least I feel that the soldiers and officers that do all the hard work have been betrayed by the top brass and the self serving politicians. I think Olmert ( the Prime Minister) should take his spineless politics elsewhere, and Halutz (former Chief of Staff) is invited to spread his wings and fly away, they are both utter failures at what they do and don't deserve to lead the fine men an women who are the salt of the earth in this country. Peretz (former Defense Minister) is just pathetic. If I have insulted anyone, so be it.
Post Script: I invite the reader to make note of what happened to our "leaders" in the past 15 months.


lisagoldman said...

I actually responded to your comment on David's blog, but he chose to delete to delete my response.

To clarify: I did not write, nor did I intend to imply, that Tel Aviv represents mainstream Israeli society. Rather, I wrote that a heavily Anglo West Bank settlement is disconnected from mainstream Israeli society, and that David's experience of Israeli society is therefore limited because it consists largely of his life on his yishuv. This is a statement of fact - not a judgment of political ideology. Most Israelis are native born, and most live on the coastal plain - i.e., Gush Dan and the Sharon area.


Unknown said...

Lisa, thank you for responding.
I beg to differ. Even those living in non-coastal areas have access to all the current media. Many communities are "bedroom" communities with many of the inhabitants commuting to the major population centers thus interacting with the so called mainstream. In other words I don't think that David is as insulated as you claim. That he has a certain world view that is not accepted by the majority still does not invalidate it.
Even if the coastal area inhabitants are the majority, it doesn't make their world view more valid than anyone else's. If anything I find that the inhabitants of the "Gush" are more insulated because they don't need to travel outside.
As an example:
My cousin (who has young children the same ages as mine) was born, grew up, served in the army, studied and works in Gush Dan. He asked me if Yuval Hamevulbal (a popular children's show host) has made it "all the way down south" (all of an hour's drive).
My reply was, "Yes, and we also have electricity, running water and the lavatory is inside the house.
So who's disconnected?

Anonymous said...

this sounds like our America. so often our liberals assume anyone not agreeing with their views is mentally enfeebled due to incestuous in-breeding and [insert every 'hillbilly' sterotype you've ever heard of]

it's really quite annoying. infuriating, actually.


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