War is pretty nasty and we’ve had most of the gory details from Iraq and Afghanistan hidden from us — but, ever so slowly — the ugly truths are starting to be revealed, and the AP ran a story yesterday about American troops getting their genitalia blown off.

We all need to pee every single day.  In many ways, peeing is more important than sex — because you can live without an orgasm — but you can barely survive 12 hours without having to free your bladder.

Can you imagine what it must be like to be sitting in an armored vehicle and then running over a roadside bomb and finding all your private bits bitten off by shrapnel?  When you sit, your genitals are vulnerable.  If I were in the war zone, I’d bring along an extra Kevlar vest and I’d always make sure I was sitting on it when I had to ride.

I admire James Crosby for having the guts to take a stand and share his horrible story about severing a ureter that still gives him problems peeing today:

Before he passed out in the medical tent in Iraq, 19-year-old Lance Cpl. James Crosby wanted to know two things: would he survive the rocket attack that sent shrapnel through his side and spine, and was he all in one piece?

“I wanted to know not just if my arms and legs were there — I wanted to know if everything else was there,” he said. “You’re a man, you just got blown up. What do you see when things explode? You see little pieces flying everywhere.”

Crosby, now 26, joined the Marines right out of high school and had been in Iraq for 30 days when the truck he was riding was hit by a series of rockets in March 2004. Shrapnel tore up his intestines and severed a ureter, one of the tubes that carry urine from the kidney to the bladder. Left a partial paraplegic, he suffered years of painful urinary tract infections that set off excruciating nerve pain in his legs.

What Lance Cpl. Crosby teaches us is that unspeakable results happen in a war zone and oftentimes a bullet in the arm is much easier to heal that getting your genitals shredded between your legs.

I wonder what other terrible things we have yet to learn about the wind down to this godforsaken war as we all try to begin healing together as a nation in the aftermath of a war that few can defend and ever fewer still can rationalize.


  1. I for one cannot wait to find out all the bad things that we paid to make happen. There’s one soldier or two being prosecuted for murdering Afghani citizens.

    1. Oh, I agree. We aren’t even at the tip of the iceberg, yet. We’re only peering at the icy top from afar using high-powered binoculars. History will not be kind to those who started this fight and then hightailed it out of town before ending it.

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