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Punishing our veterans

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Came across this at the huffingtonpost blogsite:


Investigation Reveals Military Punishing Wounded Troops

Soldier Tyler Jennings says that when he came home from Iraq last year, he felt so depressed and desperate that he decided to kill himself. Late one night in the middle of May, his wife was out of town, and he felt more scared than he'd felt in gunfights in Iraq. Jennings says he opened the window, tied a noose around his neck and started drinking, "trying to get drunk enough to either slip or just make that decision." (NPR)

1 in 5 Iraq vets are coming home with a serious mental health problem like anxiety, depression, or PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Experts believe that over time, the number will reach almost 1 in 3.

How has the military responded to these wounded warriors? A new investigation by National Public Radio looked at troops diagnosed with mental health disorders, and concluded that "officers at Ft. Carson punish soldiers who need help, and even kick them out of the Army."

Five months before, Jennings had gone to the medical center at Ft. Carson, where a staff member typed up his symptoms: "Crying spells... hopelessness... helplessness... worthlessness." Jennings says that when the sergeants who ran his platoon found out he was having a breakdown and taking drugs, they started to haze him. He decided to attempt suicide when they said that they would eject him from the Army. (NPR)

You can listen to the piece or read the transcript here. And check this story out: this isn't the first time we've heard about troops with mental health problems facing mistreatment at Ft. Carson.

The last thing Iraq veterans need is to face a new battle with the military here at home. Ordering troops with severe PTSD to continue their duties is like making a person with a broken leg run a marathon. And punishing them for their disease is a total outrage.

It's time for the military to step up. Just last week, they finally released new guidelines for troops suffering from mental health problems in theatre. It's a good start, but just issuing another memo isn't going to make difference.

As usual, the change needs to happen on the ground. A mandatory counseling session for all service members coming home from a combat tour would go a long way towards reducing the stigma of mental health treatment. And would help soldiers like Tyler Jennings get help before it's too late.

So, it's not bad enough we demand they fight and die in an illegal war for profit, but we can't even take care of them after they've served couragously and honorably? I think that, among other things, we should make sure they get every bit of medical help they need, and neither the veterans nor their families should ever have to pay another penny in taxes. And they should come home now!



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It's a complete and total disgrace, but it seems to be consistent with the neoconservative attitude of using disposable common people to build a worldwide corpogovernment military empire.

And as Our Glorious Christian Leader continues to deny the obvious solution, the rate at which our soldiers are being killed and wounded seems to be increasing. So we get clowns like the Moron in Chief saying we are not losing in Vietraq. One wonders what would have to happen before Our Glorious Christian Moron would admit defeat.

The Force

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I heard part of this segment on NPR in the car this week, and it was really stunning to hear fellow soldiers bitching out those who seek treatment with such enlightened statements as "They need to just suck it up, you know, be a man and deal." Huh. IMO, real men seek help when they need it rather than silently enduring mental illness and suicidal thoughts.

The Denver Post did a series on 5 soldiers returning from Iraq to CO and all of them were affected negatively psychologically and emotionally. One guy just laid on the couch in a catatonic state for 3 days staring at static on the TV while his 3-year-old son and wife stood by helplessly. Another family reported that one man was much more impatient, hostile and moody than before he left. A woman soldier had trouble assimilating back into normal life; things like writing checks and picking out food items at the grocery were hard for her, and she admitted having mild panic attacks every time she heard loud noises. This was something like 6 months after she returned. I kept the all the series except one.

One wonders what would have to happen before Our Glorious Christian Moron would admit defeat.

I'll give you a hint: it involves snowballs and a very hot mythical place where the devil resides.

The White Coyote

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I have seen the casualties of war and the dead are not among them. The dead know nothing. The true casualties are not even the soldiers themselves. The real casualties are those families and survivors back home who never put a foot in the dmz. The true casualties are the Mothers and Wives who wonder where their husbands and sons are tonight, and wonder if they will ever see them again. The true casualty is the parents who watch as the car stops in front of their house and watch as the Captain and the Chaplain make that slow walk up the driveway. These are the people who must endure the wounds of a war they have never seen.  Coming back with one leg or arm, blind or crippled is the price of war, be it a noble cause or in this case a crime and no less. This is the price we all pay. But why must a child never meet his father? Why should a man, a proud Veteran have to bury his son whose only dream was to follow in his fathers footsteps and make him proud. Why should a 24 year old mother to be, have to suffer, her heart being ripped out at the news that her husband has been killed protecting oil? The veterans may suffer, this is their lot. But the true casualties of war have never donned a uniform nor carried a weapon.

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