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February 02, 2008

Comments

David H Brooks

This is a really interesting posting through which we get to know about a lot of things. Indeed the returning war veterans are in most cases left to fend for themselves. :(

Brigitte

Dennis:
I very much appreciate your comments. My original post was intended to point out that opposition to certain military actions, such as the invasion of Iraq, must not at all reflect on the service men and women who are sent into such wars.
We can differ about the justifications of going to war, but we cannot differ about supporting the men and women who have no choide but fighting such wars.
Moreover, I believe strongly that those returning from war have the right to get all the benefits and support they need to heal their physical and emotional wounds.
Unfortunately, those who are most eager to go to war are not always the most eager to support the military rank and file that fights those wars.

Dennis Thorp

Conversations about War and Peace:
There is an evil in my head that I can't get rid of, inside are my private battles with hell,in this body without a soul,Shared by only a few of my comrades in arms.It all started in a room filled with people who were united in their deep concern for the welfare of returning veterans. Many people spoke. Veterans spoke. Stories were told. Hearts were poured out.
But suddenly, amidst all this good will, a rift spread across the room. A difference of opinion emerged. How to best serve a returning veteran? It was not so easy a question as we might have guessed.
The cause of the rift?
Peace!Imagine that. Peace!, as the catalyst of confrontation. But it was,A crowd of very decent, well-meaning people sat in the middle and said, We want to care for our veterans. We also want to talk about peace.Battle lines were hastily drawn. On one side, were people affiliated with the Department of Veterans Affairs. On the other side, the veterans.
Oh no, the VA men said. You cannot speak of peace. If you ever want to build rapport with veterans, you cannot utter a word about peace! They went on to explain that veterans view peace-activists as the enemy. If they so much as hear that word—peace!—they will turn tail and run the other way. And you'll have lost them forever. These are views of VA armchair warriors. These were the VA experts. They knew everything about the veterans. They carried that weight with them or so they thought. Then the veterans in the room responded. They said, Um ! yes but…we're not all opposed to talking about peace. In fact, given our troubles with war, we rather enjoy the discussion.Now there is truth, of course, in the suggestion that many veterans do feel a certain hostility from the peace movement—even those veterans who have been disquieted by their own experiences in war. But my feeling, as an Iraq War veteran, is that they tend to be threatened mostly by the rhetoric that is leveled directly against the actions they took in war. Veterans are not inherently opposed to peaceful days, and most, I think would be perfectly receptive to a discussion of diplomacy vs. Military action in future situations.
And so the debate went back and forth, the moral divide opened, and the well-meaning people in the middle began to slip down into it. They looked to the left at the few passionate veterans in the room, and then they looked to the right at the men from the VA who said they'd worked with and heard the stories from thousands of veterans. Trust us,they said. We know what we're talking about.Almost like they cough think for us.
You could see the struggle ensue before your eyes. You could feel it. In the end, the well-meaning people in the middle grabbed hold of a rope called neutrality.
And there they hung, murmuring, We do not want to upset our veterans, so we will not talk about peace or anything else of importance. We will not talk about politics,or about stopping the war in Iraq,or preventing a war in Iran,or about depleted uranium,or about the 120 War Vets Commit Suicide Each Week,no lets keep it simple lets talk about nothing.The cause for war had won!
I was disturbed by what I'd heard those VA men didn't say.That veterans have no legal right to specific types of medical care. The information is coming from documents related to a civil lawsuit filed by veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan war who claim the government is illegally denying mental health treatment to some troops.Army officials in upstate New York instructed representatives from the Department of Veterans Affairs not to help disabled soldiers at Fort Drum Army base with their military disability paperwork last year.
But I was not entirely surprised. One man was a psychiatrist. He explained the psychological dimensions of PTSD. Another was a chaplain. He explained the spiritual dimensions of PTSD. But by virtue of their jobs and the hands that fed them, they could not delve too deeply into the moral questions of policy.
This is where I became most incensed.
Because war with Iran is not yet a policy, I said to my friend who was also at the meeting. There are no troops on the ground to support or not to support. There are no units in contact. There is no mission to believe in or to doubt. This is a great burden off our shoulders and clears the table for the possibility of diplomacy. This is the time to talk about it. This is the time to talk about non-violence, before the violence begins, before the troops are sent, and before we have another polarizing war which we cannot speak of critically without offending somebody.
But I was not entirely surprised. One man was a psychiatrist. He explained the psychological dimensions of PTSD. Another was a chaplain. He explained the spiritual dimensions of PTSD. But by virtue of their jobs and the hands that fed them, they could not delve too deeply into the moral questions of policy.
This is where I became most incensed.
Because war with Iran is not yet a policy, I said to my friend who was also at the meeting. There are no troops on the ground to support or not to support. There are no units in contact. There is no mission to believe in or to doubt. This is a great burden off our shoulders and clears the table for the possibility of diplomacy. This is the time to talk about it. This is the time to talk about non-violence, before the violence begins, before the troops are sent, and before we have another polarizing war which we cannot speak of critically without offending somebody.

What was so extraordinary about this particular episode was that the painstaking neutrality embraced by all these well-meaning people to spare the feelings of the veterans had effectively trumped their own instincts to speak for peace. They were silenced. They silenced themselves, not only about the present war, but about future ones as well.
My friend and I both vets agreed, we'd witnessed a surprising phenomenon. And we realized that the effort to prevent future wars might be effectively impeded through its manipulation.
If, for example, Iran was pressed upon the American people not as a war of its own, but merely as an extension of the same war on terror already taking place in Iraq, then so much the more difficult it would be to oppose for those people desperately wishing to show support for the troops.
It was a noble thing to do, and I’m pleased that it we veterans who have done it. God bless you all

Email comments to doctho@roadrunner.com









Dennis Thorp

As a member of The Sons of the American Revolution, with a strong and proud military family, I feel Our government has been playing games with our veterans ever since the Oneida Indian Nation fought in the Revolutionary War. They were among our first American Solders and took up arms against the British to help our nation earn its independence after our Revolution. Our new government used land seized from the British to compensate our veterans and the Oneida veterans were stripped of much of their original territory, by having 10 million acres of land taken from them. Look how they have been treated by an ungrateful country.
Then the Civil War produced thousands of wandering veterans. Frequently addicted to opiates, they were known as tramps,Our first homeless vets, searching for jobs and, in many cases, literally still tending their wounds.
More than a decade after the end of World War I, the Bonus Army descended on Washington - demanding immediate payment on benefits that had been promised to them, but payable years later ,and were routed out of Washington DC by the U.S. Military,led by George Patton. In 1946,The to end all wars, the VA had beds for about 82,000 patients but the VA rolls swelled to 15 million in just a few months and the hospitals were virtually all swamped. There were 26,000 non service related cases also on the waiting list. The VA was building new hospitals but had money for only 12,000 more beds. They came too few too late. The Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1952, called the Korean GI Bill, provided unemployment insurance, job placement, home loans and mustering-out benefits similar to those offered World War II veterans. The Korean GI Bill made several changes, however, in education benefits, reducing financial benefits generally and imposing new restrictions. The effect of the changes was that the benefit no longer completely covered the cost of the veteran’s education.
The most publicly and perhaps most painfully,That comes to mind was Vietnam Tens of thousands of war weary veterans, infamously rejected,crazy, or just forgotten by many of their own fellow citizens,elected officials,demonized by the media.

Presently our current service members have who have had repeated and extended deployments to war zones, have shown a rise in post-traumatic stress and other war-related wounds among troops,and 120 Suicides a week. While it is good to support your troops that are serving our interest it is better to demand accountability from those responsible for the lack of their care in these injuries. It is utterly disgusting that VA hospitals are turning away those most in need. Those in charge of VA hospitals need to take responsibility for their lack of actions. I believe the whole VA system needs an overhaul and very soon. More and more wounded troops coming home and they need both physical and mental health care.

Our troops deserve the best of all aspects of care! Wake up, America! We fail to take care of our own as we should and I think it's time that we start.

This will surprise nobody who has ever encountered the VA medical system. The entire operation is a horror show mostly run by lazy, self-important, arrogant and self-satisfied bureaucrats. This kind of treatment has been going on for years and years and years. VA hospitals are in hopeless situations. This type of treatment is the rule and not the exception for those who are closely associated with regular active duty military. It’s sad, but true.

If certain services cannot be provided for a veteran or current military patients then they are suppose to be referred to a civilian facility with no cost to the service member or veterans. Many of our own are going without and this shouldn't be a surprise for the VA system when it comes to treating any new service related conditions by Ignorring it' In this situation, the Iraq veteran is in the same boat as the Vietnam veteran in the 1970's. At least now, they have a name for it,It's called PTSD, and like Agent Orange has been proven,So well depleted uranium be proven but the VA doesn't take it seriously tell a very large group of veterans die from their exposure.

It's terrible that our country is still ignoring the cries of our vets. It's no surprise what is happening with the Syracuse Veterans Hospital if similar acts are occurring around the country. I've have made many attempts in the last four years to talk with Mr. Cody, the head of the VA hospital in Syracuse NY, about these conditions He is self-important, arrogant, with a “don't call me I'll call you” attitude and there has been no dialog. I believe that Mr. Jim Cody should tender his resignation for the good of our veterans.Veterans Preference....Staff the VA with Veterans!

Dennis Thorp is a native of Frankfort and served as an U.S. Army medic during the Vietnam War. He is co-founder of Agent Orange Victims International.

Doctho@roadrunner

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