The Daily Herald from Arlington Heights, Illinois on March 9, 2008 · Page 10
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The Daily Herald from Arlington Heights, Illinois · Page 10

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Arlington Heights, Illinois
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Sunday, March 9, 2008
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Page 10
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Mit10 SECTION 1 DAILY HERAIJ) **•—«-* ft **_** worra & Nauuii SUNDAY, MARCH 9, 2008 ASSOCIATED PRESS U.S. Army Sgt. Ryan Kahlor listens for sounds as his hearing Is tested by audiologist Derin Wester, right, at Balboa Navy Medical Center in San Diego last February. Kahlor's hearing was damaged by exposure to multiple IAD blasts in Iraq. Soldiers leaving Iraq with hearing problems Ansodaled I'naa SAN DIEGO — Soldiers and Marines caught in roadside bombings and firefights in Iraq and Afghanistan are coming home in epidemic numbers with permanent hearing loss and ringing in their ears, prompting the military to redouble its efforts to protect the troops from noise. Hearing damage is the No. 1 disability in the war on terror, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, and some experts say the true toll could take decades to become clear. Nearly 70,000 of die more than 1.3 million troops who have served in the two war zones are collecting disability for tin- nitus, a potentially debilitating ringing in the ears, and more than 58,000 are on disability for hearing loss, the VA said. "The numbers are staggering," said Theresa Schulz, a former audiologist with the Air Force, past president of the National Hearing Conservation Association and author of a 2004 report titled "Troops Return With Alarming Rates of Hearing Loss." One major explanation given is the insurgency's use of a fearsome weapon the Pentagon did not fully anticipate: powerful roadside bombs. Their blasts cause violent changes in air pressure that can rupture the eardrum and break bones inside the ear. Also, much of the fighting consists of ambushes, bombings and firefights, which come suddenly and unexpectedly, giving soldiers no time to use their military-issued hearing protection. "They can't say, 'Wait a minute, let me put my Torture: Prohibitions spelled out in Army manual Continued from Page 1 port and city buildings. "Were it not for this program, our intelligence community believes that al-Qaida and its allies would have succeeded in launching another attack against the American homeland," the president said. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the nation's ability to lead the world depends on its morality, not military might. "We will begin to reassert that moral authority by attempting to override the president's veto next week," said Pelosi, also a California Democrat. Based on the margin of passage in each chamber, it may prove difficult for the Democratic-controlled Congress to turn back Bush's veto. It takes a two-thirds majority, and the vote was 222-199 in the House and 51-45 in the Senate. Bush said he did not veto the bill specifically over water- boarding, a technique that simulates drowning. The Army banned the use of waterboard- ing or sensory deprivation on uncooperative prisoners in 2006. The CIA, which also prohibited the practice in 2006, has acknowledged using water- boarding on three suspected terrorists in 2003. "My disagreement... is not over any particular interrogation technique; for instance, it is not over waterboarding, which is not part of the current CIA program," Bush said in his veto message to the I^ouse. earplugs in,'" said Dr. Michael E. Hoffer, a Navy captain and one of the country's leading inner-ear specialists. "They are in the fight of their lives." In addition, some servicemen on patrol refuse to wear earplugs for fear of dulling their senses and missing sounds that can make the difference between life and death, Hoffer and others said. War criminal escapes justice Aswrifilril /V.K ESCHWEILER, Germany — Heinrich Boere's first victim was a pharmacist. Two more victims would follow on a single day, one gunned down at point-blank range in his doorway, the other on the road. And although the killing spree happened in 1944, a footnote to the far greater carnage raging across World War II Europe, it still haunts Germany and Holland, leaving a sense of justice denied by dueling court systems despite the continent's long march to unity and harmonized institutions. Boere was part of a Waffen SS death squad of mostly Dutch volunteers tasked with killing fellow countrymen in reprisal for attacks by the anti-Nazi resistance. His is among more than 1,000 cases worldwide the Nazi-tracking Simon Wiesenthal Center says are still open as of last April 1. Though sentenced to death in the Netherlands in 1949 — later commuted to life imprisonment — Boere has managed to escape jail so far. One German court has refused to extradite him ASSOCIATED PRESS Heinrich Boere in front of his house in Eschweiler, Germany in 2004. because he might have German nationality as well as Dutch. Another won't make him serve his Dutch sentence in a German prison because he was absent from his trial, having fled to Germany. Now, The Associated Press has learned, a German investigator has quietly reopened the case in a last-ditch attempt to bring charges against the 86-year-old Boere and see that he faces justice. Boere volunteered for the SS only months after Holland fell to the German blitzkrieg in 1940. After the war he spent two years in an Allied prison camp where he made the statements later used to convict him, but he escaped to Germany before die Dutch could bring him to trial. Much of what is known about the case comes from the Dutch file on the 1949 trial that convicted Boere. According to Ulrich Maass, the prosecutor now investigating him, the death squad is known to have been responsible for 54 killings. Boere was convicted of three of them, which he detailed, almost gunshot by gunshot, in statements to Dutch police preserved in the court file. The first was in July 1944. According to Boere's statement, he and fellow SS man Jacobus Petrus Besteman set off for the town of Breda, and the local office of the Sicher- heitsdienst, the Nazi internal intelligence agency. There they were given a list of names slated for "retaliatory measures." Their target that day was Fritz Hubert Ernst Bicknese, pharmacist. Wearing civilian clothes, Boere and Besteman walked into the pharmacy and asked the man there if he was Bicknese. When he answered "yes," Boere pulled his pistol from his right coat pocket and fired two or three shots into Bicknese's upper body, then Besteman moved in and fired another two or three shots into the fallen man. The next one, in September, followed a similar pattern: Boere and an accomplice named Hendrik Kromhout shot bicycle-shop owner Teun de Groot when he answered the doorbell at his home in the town of Voorschoten. They then continued to the apartment of EW. Kusters, and forced him into their car. They drove him to another town, stopped on the pretense of having a flat tire and shot him. "Kusters fell against the garden door of the Villa Constance and sank to the ground ..." Boere told investigators. "Blood shot out of Kusters' neck." The SS unit, code-named Silbertanne, or Silver Pine, consisted of 15 men, primarily Dutch, who were mustered to exact reprisals for attacks by the Dutch resistance on collaborators. It's not certain why all of Boere's victims were on the death list. De Groot's son says his father wasn't a member of the armed resistance, but he helped hide fugitives and his bicycle shop was a hangout for anti-Nazi activists. 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