Department of Defense photo/U.S. Army Spc. Michael V. May

I worked at an internment camp once. It was near Baghdad, on a small U.S. military base called Camp Cropper. As an enlisted Army medic, I spent most of that 15-month deployment sitting in an air-conditioned office, waiting for the phone to ring. The inmates were kept in chain-link enclosures outside. I’d usually get called out to treat an upset stomach or a headache. Less common, but not infrequent, were seizures, diabetic emergencies, and injuries sustained in fistfights. I kept my aid bag well-stocked with ammonia capsules, in case of fakers. Inmates often feigned unconsciousness in the hope of getting taken to the hospital, which was Club Med compared to the prison. When this happened, I’d plug a capsule into the inmate’s nose and hold his mouth shut. The only time this didn’t work, the guy was dead.

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