OP ED: Shameful treatment of troops / vets
THE TRUE SHAME OF THE IRAQ WAR
By Richard Reeves
Fri May 23, 1:12 AM ET
WASHINGTON -- This is what I thought was the American social contract
when I was growing up in the land of the free
and the home of the brave:
You could work your way through college, and if you got a decent job,
you could buy a house
within a few years.
And, you deserved a bit more if you served in the military: money or
loans for college and something of a break on
mortgage loans. The point
goes beyond the danger of military service; the important fact is that
you deserve something
more than being underpaid if you give up two or
more years of your life while your peers are working on careers,
families, or getting educations that will pay dividends for
That's the way it was for me, and I think kids today deserve the same. I
could earn enough for college working summers
and part-time; the
military (Air Force ROTC) paid some of the bills. I got a job as an
engineer for Ingersoll-Rand,
and six years after graduation, with a
little help from my parents, I was able to buy a small house on a lake
Now, of course, college is more expensive -- as a father of five I have
seen those costs rise faster than the cost
of oil -- and houses in
metropolitan areas are often more than young families can afford. That
bothers me, a lot; it
is a failure of the American way. But that bother
is nothing compared with the screwing the government is giving to the
men and women serving in harm's way in Iraq.
Whatever one thinks of the war and the officials who planned it, those
soldiers and reservists out there deserve more
than moral support. My
stomach literally turned when I read this paragraph in The New York
Times last Thursday morning:
"President Bush is threatening to veto a bill that would pay tuition and
other expenses at a four-year public university
for anyone who has
served in the military for three years since the attacks of Sept. 11,
2001. A main reason is that
it would hasten an exodus from the ranks."
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates put it this way: "Serious retention
issues could arise."
I bet they could. And should. The war is being fought by a tiny
percentage of the American people, and many of their
lives are being
ruined. You want a war, Mr. President? Then ask Congress to declare one.
You want soldiers to be retained?
Then ask for a draft. You want to
support our boys and girls? Then support their education as other
presidents and Congresses
have done since the passage of the great GI
Bill of Rights during World War II -- legislation that is still
What is being done to our troops in Iraq is more than a failure of
political leadership; it is an outrage. Forget
the fact that we never
declared war, or that we never had a real plan about what to do in Iraq,
or that we are fighting
on credit, leaving the bills for our children
and grandchildren. Remember that only a small number are involved in
-- the same people, professionals and reservists, are being called
back into harm's way again and again.
Those young men and women, serving a government without the guts to even
talk about a draft, are essentially indentured
servants. Worse. At least
indentured servants knew when their obligation would be over. This is
more than unfair; it
is shameful, a stain on the democracy and its
leaders. And now the president is considering depriving them of a reward
deserve because some of them might actually take it and not
This is a professional army? There was a time when troops treated that
way, no matter how well-trained or equipped,
were called cannon fodder.
We owe them. The president whose ignorance put them in the Middle East
owes them. The Congress,
which is ever looking the other way and has not
declared war on anyone since 1941, owes them.
And unless we do something for the young people bravely taking the
punishment for the failings of their elders, we
have no right to claim
this is a land of the free.
Copyright (c) 2008 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved
Recent VA News Releases
To view and download VA news release, please visit the following
address: http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrelVA Secretary Appoints Panel of National Suicide Experts Goal Is Reducing
(May 21, 2008) -Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B.
Peake today announced the names of members appointed to two
panels that will make recommendations on ways the Department of Veterans
Affairs (VA) can improve its programs
in suicide prevention, suicide
research and suicide education.
"There is nothing more tragic than the death by suicide
of even one of
the great men or women who have served this nation," Peake said. "VA is
committed to doing all we can
to improve our understanding of a
complicated issue that is also a national concern."
Membership in the first group,
the "Blue Ribbon Work Group on Suicide
Prevention in the Veterans Population," will be comprised of government
in various suicide prevention and education programs. Those
experts will come from agencies including the Department
of Defense, the
Centers for Disease Control, the National Institute of Health, and the
Substance Abuse and Mental Health
The five-member work group is expected to meet from June 11-13, and will
develop a report
with recommendations for the Secretary within 15 days
The second group is a nine-member expert panel,
made up of nationally
renowned experts in public health suicide programs, suicide research and
clinical treatment programs,
that will provide professional opinion,
interpretation, and conclusions on information and data to the work
will also make recommendations to the work group on
opportunities for improvement in VA's programs.
initially announced the formation of the work group
during testimony to the House Veterans Affairs Committee on May 6.
of the "Blue Ribbon Work Group on Suicide Prevention in the
Veterans Population" include:
* Cmdr. Alex E. Crosby,
M.D., medical epidemiologist with the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention;
* Colonel Charles W. Hoge, M.D.,
director of the division of psychiatry
and behavior services at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research;
Robert Roy Ireland, M.D., program director for mental health
policy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health
* Richard McKeon, Ph.D., special advisor for suicide prevention with the
Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Services Administration; and
* Jane Pearson, Ph.D., associate director for preventive interventions,
of Mental Health.
Appointees to the expert panel include:
* Dr. Dan Blazer II, professor of psychology at Catholic
* Greg Brown, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania;
* Martha Livingston Bruce, Ph.D.,
professor in clinical epidemiology and
health services research at Weill Medical College of Cornell University;
Dr. Eric D. Caine, chair of the department of psychiatry at the
University of Rochester;
* Dr. Jan Fawcett, professor
of psychiatry at the University of New
Mexico School of Medicine;
* Robert D. Gibbons, director of the Center for
University of Illinois at Chicago;
* David Alan Jobes, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Catholic
* Mark S. Kaplan, Ph.D., from Portland State University. Member of the
Suicide Prevention Action
Network-USA National Scientific Advisory
* Thomas R. Ten Have, director of the Biostatistics Analysis
the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
Concussion Raises PTSD Risk for Iraq Vets
Study found loss of consciousness increased chances
of trauma the most
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers report that soldiers
who have suffered concussions during their
time in Iraq are more likely
to experience post-traumatic stress disorder and other physical health
"There was indeed a higher rate of PTSD and/or health problems among
those who had concussions versus those with other
injuries," said study
author Dr. Christopher Hoge, director of psychiatry and neuroscience at
Walter Reed Army Institute
of Research, in Washington, D.C. His study is
published in the Jan. 31 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
"This is probably one of a very few studies which has begun to enumerate
the incidence of mild traumatic brain injury
[i.e. concussion] in
returning veterans," said David Hovda, director of the Brain Injury
Research Center at UCLA's Geffen
School of Medicine, in Los Angeles.
According to background information in the study, more than 1.5 million
U.S. military personnel have been deployed
to Iraq or Afghanistan since
2001. Thanks to better protective gear, many of these men and women are
that before would have killed them.
Head and neck injuries have been reported in one quarter of troops
evacuated from these areas. The proportion of soldiers
may be as high as 18 percent.
Hoge and his colleagues surveyed 2,525 U.S. Army infantry soldiers three
to four months after they had returned home
a yearlong deployment in
Iraq. Soldiers reporting concussion (defined as an injury with loss of
consciousness or altered
mental status such as being dazed or confused)
were compared with soldiers reporting other injuries. The soldiers were
two brigades only.
Almost 44 percent of soldiers reporting an injury involving loss of
consciousness met the criteria for PTSD versus
only 27.3 percent of
those reporting an injury involving altered mental status, 16.2 percent
of those with other injuries
and 9.1 percent of those with no injury.
Soldiers who had suffered concussion, and especially those who had
suffered concussion with loss of consciousness,
were significantly more
likely to report poor general health, missed workdays, visits to
health-care providers and sleep
After adjustments, PTSD and depression appeared to be the primary
problem. This makes a certain amount of sense as
concussion often occurs
in the context of a traumatic event involving psychological stress,
pointed out an accompanying
"This has implications for treatment, because obviously there's a big
difference in how we treat someone if they're
labeled as brain-injured
versus identifying that they, in fact, have PTSD," Hoge said.
It's also critical that soldiers be properly evaluated in the combat
theater at the time of injury, Hoge added.
The findings should help raise awareness for a generally
underappreciated condition, Hovda said. "There's no face
injury, so it really is a silent epidemic," he said. "And these military
individuals are extremely dedicated
and want to get back to service so
they [may be playing down their injuries]."
A second study in the same issue of the journal confirmed that violence
has been a major cause of death for Iraqis,
and the main cause of death
for Iraqi men aged 15 to 59 during the first three years following the
This is lower than previous estimates, said the authors, from Children's
Hospital Boston, but still constitutes a
huge death toll.
Copyright (c) 2008 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.
Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against the VA
Matthew Ford wrote:
Dear USDR family and friends,Please enter the
following and make note of the
accompanied references. Great reading!
Spread the word folks! I haven't seen any of this
in the papers.
Dear Mr. Delahunt, Sir: I am "just now" in receipt of your letter as an attachment dated July
20th. I guess better late than never. I stand with you Sir, wholeheartedly against the unnecessary prosecution
of said 'war crimes' against what SHOULD BE termed America's Heroes. I imagine that far too many sitting on their butts,
behind government desks, in government offices provided with government a/c have forgotten this time around, is that THESE
soldiers, sailers, marines, air people are all VOLUNTEERS. I can tell you right now as the mother of 2 active duty;
a Staff Sgt. in the USMC since 1999 (prior to this hellhole supposed w-a-r we've managed to find ourselves into with what
seems we can't find our way OUT OF) and a GM3 daughter stationed aboard the DDG-80 with the USS Roosevelt; that I would have
begged, borrowed and laid down my own life to PREVENT them from joining THIS man's military seeing the number of men/women
who return from the bowels of those hell-holes known as war zones, who suffer from all sorts of mental and physical issues
and illnesses, who are given HEROES WELCOMES only to find out they are BETRAYED BY THEIR FELLOW SOLDIERS BEARING GRUDGES ETC.
and facing death sentences, lifetimes in prison, etc. Good God in Heaven!! WHERE DID WE FORGET WAR IS HELL??????
Honestly, Sir, I CAN NOT remember a time when we asked VOLUNTEER forces to enter battle such as we
have in both Iraq and Afghanistan, face the horrors we have ASKED them to face, our government doesn't even PROVIDE the necessities
FOR them, they have to depend on the general American public and family members, volunteers and friends, etc.; or there is
the "pay your own way"; and then, we are AUDACIOUS enough to PROSECUTE them by the HUNDREDS!!! for WAR CRIMES!!
GIVE ME A BREAK! ALL THE WHILE AMERICAN'S AND MORE HAVE BEEN AND ARE BEHEADED ONLINE!!
WHILE WE STILL DO NOT KNOW THE WHEREABOUTS OF SSGT. MAUPIN OR THE CONDITION HE IS IN. DOESN'T HIS FAMILY DESERVE AN
ANSWER? PROOF? BY GOD, I THINK THEY DO!
I DO SO TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU SIR. STOP PROSECUTING OUR MILITARY HEROES NOW!!! I STOOD
THROUGH THE FIGHT WITH LT. PANTANO. NOW HE STANDS WITH ONE AND ALL THROUGH ALL THEIR FIGHTS. AS MILITARY FAMILIES,
WE CAN NOT, MUST NOT ALLOW THIS TO CONTINUE!
WE STAND UNITED! AGAINST AMERICAN GOVERNMENT AND AMERICAN MILITARY ON THIS ONE!
IF YOU WON'T
STAND BEHIND OUR TROOPS, PLEASE, FEEL FREE TO STAND IN FRONT OF THEM!
Only two defining forces have ever offered to die
Jesus Christ and the American G. I.
One died for your soul, the other for your freedom.
PASS THIS ON!
MANY SEEM TO FORGET BOTH OF THEM!http://powmiaawareness.tripod.com