Thursday, September 09, 2010

The price of heroism

The Imperial War Museum has a new exhibit - the twisted metal remains of a car bomb and this was covered on Radio 4's Today programme this morning. They interviewed a former EOD operator, who calmly told his story - and the personal cost attached to it.

He was called to an incident where his friend and colleague had already been killed, he arrived knowing that his remote-controlled robot was faulty and found out that the electronic countermeasures to stop a radio signal triggering a bomb had also failed. Around him, Iraqi rioters were throwing petrol bombs and snipers were a constant threat. He was so certain that his own death was imminent that he told his colleague to pass on his love to his family.

Despite all of that, this man still suited up and walked towards an IED to defuse it. If there's a better definition of courage, I haven't heard it. Whatever you may think about the war, you cannot deny the everyday courage of the men and women who serve. Since then, he has suffered severe post-traumatic stress disorder, a striking reminder of the price they pay.

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