Sergeant Christopher Pusateri: Who was with him when he died?
We’ve been following the Pentagon’s “boiled frog” strategy related to women in combat. . . the plan has been to simply go ahead and put women into combat, present it to the American people as a fait accompli, knowing that the media would then do profiles on the women as hero(ine)s. . .
As predicted, that’s exactly how it has unfolded.
An article by Amy Scott Tyson, “For Female GIs, Combat Is a Fact: Many Duties in Iraq Put Women at Risk Despite Restrictive Policy,” in Friday’s Washington Post lays it all out. They aren’t even pretending.
Many commanders in Iraq say they see a widening gap between war-zone realities and policies designed to limit women’s exposure to combat.
Although the Army is barred from assigning women to ground combat battalions, in Iraq it skirts the ban with a twist in terminology. Instead of being “assigned,” women are “attached in direct support of” the battalions, according to Army officers familiar with the policy. As a result, the Army avoids having to seek Pentagon and congressional approval to change the policy, officers said.
“What has changed? Nothing,” said Lt. Col. Bob Roth of the 3rd Infantry Division. “You just want someone to feel better by saying we don’t allow women in dangerous situations.”
Although the Army is banned . . .it skirts the law . . .?!! And now, because what they are doing is in line with The Washington Post’s opinions, the media just goes along as cheerleaders? What happened to a little healthy media skepticism?
The article goes on to quote Lt. Col. Cheri Provancha who is the commander of a Stryker Brigade support battalion in Mosul about the assignment of Specialist Jennifer Guay as a medic for an infantry battalion. This was a direct violation of military policy which prohibits women from serving in units which engage in direct ground combat.
Provancha made the assignment — deliberately — anyway. Just because Guay wanted it:
“She wanted to be part of breaking the barrier down,” Provancha said. Provancha took full responsibility for her decision, informing superiors rather than asking permission.
“Think of the fallout if she had gotten wounded or killed,” Provancha said. “I probably would have been brought up on charges for defying Army policy.”
But now, instead of being brought up on charges, Provancha feels confident enough to brag about defying Pentagon policy to a reporter for The Washington Post and Jennifer Guay is the hero(ine) of the story.
What does Christopher Pusateri have to do with this story? He was a 21-year-old Army Sergeant who died in Iraq February 16th. Tragically, the story of his death bookends the Post story about women in combat and Jennifer Guay.
The story begins this way:
In less than five minutes, Guay was at the scene. She dashed to Sgt. Christopher Pusateri, 21, who was lying on the ground, a bullet through his jaw. “I was in charge of this man’s life,” she recalled. Pusateri had “a massive trauma injury, and I had to get him off the middle of the street.”
The story ends this way:
When the soldiers fell, as Pusateri did in the firefight that gray day in February, Guay gave them her all, even when hope was slim. Recalling how she knelt at the mortally wounded sergeant’s side, she said she would never forget being the last person with him, and the profound respect it engendered.
She quickly inserted an IV and ran a[n endotracheal] tube into his throat, pumping a bag every five seconds to put precious air into his lungs.
“Squeeze my hand,” she told him. He did. She pumped the bag again. Pusateri was stable, but slowly losing consciousness. “You’re so brave,” she said, rubbing his head as everything around them faded into a blur. “You’re amazing.”
The emphasis in the quote is mine. He’s dying and the story is about her. . . and they are using this story of his death to push women in combat?
Well, if the Post won’t ask a few questions, let me.
First. She says in the first quote: “I had to get him off the middle of the street.” Did she? Could she lift or drag him and move him to safety? The article doesn’t say.
Second. Pusateri’s obituary in the New York Times (link here; article not available for free) quotes his wife, Christine, who “said the soldiers told her that Sergeant Pusateri had been shot in the jaw and died at a hospital in Mosul.” It also reports that: “A spokesman for the division said additional information about Sergeant Pusateri’s death was not available.”
But Guay says that she was “the last person with him.” So he died there on the street in Mosul. Or in the hospital.
Maybe it doesn’t matter where, exactly, he died. Or who was with him.
Reaction to the Post article at Intel-Dump, from an entirely different perspective. He is a proponent of women in combat. One thing we do agree on: he says he “hope[s] this article informs the debate on Capitol Hill . . .” Me, too.