From the SMH:
WASHINGTON: The counterinsurgency tactic that is sending US soldiers out on foot patrols among the Afghan people, rather than riding in armoured vehicles, has contributed to a dramatic increase in arm and leg amputations, sometimes with the loss of multiple limbs following blast injuries.
The number of US troops who had amputations rose sharply from 86 in 2009, to 187 last year and 147 so far this year, military officials said, releasing a report on catastrophic wounds.
Of those, the number of troops who lost two or three limbs rose from 23 in 2009 to 72 last year to 77 so far this year. Only about a dozen of all amputations came from Iraq; the rest were from Afghanistan, where militants are pressing the insurgency with roadside bombs, handmade landmines and other explosives.
Officials said genital injuries also have risen significantly, but they did not give specific figures.
The sharp rise in severe injuries came as a build-up of foreign forces expanded the counterinsurgency strategy that seeks to protect civilians, win their support away from insurgents and help build an Afghan government the population will embrace. The soldier on foot is at greater risk for severe injuries, the report noted, ''and the injury severity [in Afghanistan] confirms this''.
A study by military doctors found that while the severity of injuries was rising, fewer soldiers were being killed in action.
As terrible as the loss of limbs is, it's bloody marvellous that the lives of so many badly wounded soldiers are being saved. The medical care our soldiers get these days is absolutely amazing. To keep someone alive on the battlefield after they've lost three limbs would have been viewed as a miracle 30 years ago.