Iraq War Veterans “Last Words”

“I Am Sorry That It Has Come to This”: A Soldier’s Last Words

Daniel   Somers was a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was part of Task Force   Lightning, an intelligence unit. In 2004-2005, he was mainly assigned to a   Tactical Human-Intelligence Team (THT) in Baghdad, Iraq, where he ran more   than 400 combat missions as a machine gunner in the turret of a Humvee,   interviewed countless Iraqis ranging from concerned citizens to community   leaders and and government officials, and interrogated dozens of insurgents   and terrorist suspects. In 2006-2007, Daniel worked with Joint Special   Operations Command (JSOC) through his former unit in Mosul   where he ran the Northern    Iraq Intelligence    Center. His official   role was as a senior analyst for the Levant (Lebanon,   Syria, Jordan, Israel,   and part of Turkey).   Daniel suffered greatly from PTSD and had been diagnosed with traumatic brain   injury and several other war-related conditions. On June 10, 2013, Daniel   wrote the following letter to his family before taking his life. Daniel was   30 years old. His wife and family have given permission to publish it.

By Daniel Somers

I am sorry that it has come to this.

The fact is, for as long as I can remember my motivation for getting up every day has been so that you would not have to bury me. As things have continued to get worse, it has become clear that this alone is not a sufficient reason to carry on. The fact is, I am not getting better, I am not going to get better, and I will most certainly deteriorate further as time goes on. From a logical standpoint, it is better to simply end things quickly and let any repercussions from that play out in the short term than to drag things out into the long term.

You will perhaps be sad for a time, but over time you will forget and begin to carry on. Far better that than to inflict my growing misery upon you for years and decades to come, dragging you down with me. It is because I love you that I can not do this to you. You will come to see that it is a far better thing as one day after another passes during which you do not have to worry about me or even give me a second thought. You will find that your world is better without me in it.

I really have been trying to hang on, for more than a decade now. Each day has been a testament to the extent to which I cared, suffering unspeakable horror as quietly as possible so that you could feel as though I was still here for you. In truth, I was nothing more than a prop, filling space so that my absence would not be noted. In truth, I have already been absent for a long, long time.

My body has become nothing but a cage, a source of pain and constant problems. The illness I have has caused me pain that not even the strongest medicines could dull, and there is no cure. All day, every day a screaming agony in every nerve ending in my body. It is nothing short of torture. My mind is a wasteland, filled with visions of incredible horror, unceasing depression, and crippling anxiety, even with all of the medications the doctors dare give. Simple things that everyone else takes for granted are nearly impossible for me. I can not laugh or cry. I can barely leave the house. I derive no pleasure from any activity. Everything simply comes down to passing time until I can sleep again. Now, to sleep forever seems to be the most merciful thing.

You must not blame yourself. The simple truth is this: During my first deployment, I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe. War crimes, crimes against humanity. Though I did not participate willingly, and made what I thought was my best effort to stop these events, there are some things that a person simply can not come back from. I take some pride in that, actually, as to move on in life after being part of such a thing would be the mark of a sociopath in my mind. These things go far beyond what most are even aware of.

To force me to do these things and then participate in the ensuing coverup is more than any government has the right to demand. Then, the same government has turned around and abandoned me. They offer no help, and actively block the pursuit of gaining outside help via their corrupt agents at the DEA. Any blame rests with them.

Beyond that, there are the host of physical illnesses that have struck me down again and again, for which they also offer no help. There might be some progress by now if they had not spent nearly twenty years denying the illness that I and so many others were exposed to. Further complicating matters is the repeated and severe brain injuries to which I was subjected, which they also seem to be expending no effort into understanding. What is known is that each of these should have been cause enough for immediate medical attention, which was not rendered.

Lastly, the DEA enters the picture again as they have now managed to create such a culture of fear in the medical community that doctors are too scared to even take the necessary steps to control the symptoms. All under the guise of a completely manufactured “overprescribing epidemic,” which stands in stark relief to all of the legitimate research, which shows the opposite to be true. Perhaps, with the right medication at the right doses, I could have bought a couple of decent years, but even that is too much to ask from a regime built upon the idea that suffering is noble and relief is just for the weak.

However, when the challenges facing a person are already so great that all but the weakest would give up, these extra factors are enough to push a person over the edge.

Is it any wonder then that the latest figures show 22 veterans killing themselves each day? That is more veterans than children killed at Sandy Hook, every single day. Where are the huge policy initiatives? Why isn’t the president standing with those families at the state of the union? Perhaps because we were not killed by a single lunatic, but rather by his own system of dehumanization, neglect, and indifference.

It leaves us to where all we have to look forward to is constant pain, misery, poverty, and dishonor. I assure you that, when the numbers do finally drop, it will merely be because those who were pushed the farthest are all already dead.

And for what? Bush’s religious lunacy? Cheney’s ever growing fortune and that of his corporate friends? Is this what we destroy lives for

Since then, I have tried everything to fill the void. I tried to move into a position of greater power and influence to try and right some of the wrongs. I deployed again, where I put a huge emphasis on saving lives. The fact of the matter, though, is that any new lives saved do not replace those who were murdered. It is an exercise in futility.

Then, I pursued replacing destruction with creation. For a time this provided a distraction, but it could not last. The fact is that any kind of ordinary life is an insult to those who died at my hand. How can I possibly go around like everyone else while the widows and orphans I created continue to struggle? If they could see me sitting here in suburbia, in my comfortable home working on some music project they would be outraged, and rightfully so.

I thought perhaps I could make some headway with this film project, maybe even directly appealing to those I had wronged and exposing a greater truth, but that is also now being taken away from me. I fear that, just as with everything else that requires the involvement of people who can not understand by virtue of never having been there, it is going to fall apart as careers get in the way.

The last thought that has occurred to me is one of some kind of final mission. It is true that I have found that I am capable of finding some kind of reprieve by doing things that are worthwhile on the scale of life and death. While it is a nice thought to consider doing some good with my skills, experience, and killer instinct, the truth is that it isn’t realistic. First, there are the logistics of financing and equipping my own operation, then there is the near certainty of a grisly death, international incidents, and being branded a terrorist in the media that would follow. What is really stopping me, though, is that I simply am too sick to be effective in the field anymore. That, too, has been taken from me.

Thus, I am left with basically nothing. Too trapped in a war to be at peace, too damaged to be at war. Abandoned by those who would take the easy route, and a liability to those who stick it out—and thus deserve better. So you see, not only am I better off dead, but the world is better without me in it

This is what brought me to my actual final mission. Not suicide, but a mercy killing. I know how to kill, and I know how to do it so that there is no pain whatsoever. It was quick, and I did not suffer. And above all, now I am free. I feel no more pain. I have no more nightmares or flashbacks or hallucinations. I am no longer constantly depressed or afraid or worried

I am free.

I ask that you be happy for me for that. It is perhaps the best break I could have hoped for. Please accept this and be glad for me.

Daniel Somers

The Death of Daniel Somers

By Ron Paul

I am reading the heartbreaking suicide note of Daniel Somers, aUS combat veteran who spent several years fighting inIraq. Mr. Somers was only 30 years old when he took his own life, after being tormented by the horrific memories of what he experienced inIraq.  He wrote: 

“The simple truth is this: During my first deployment, I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe. War crimes, crimes against humanity. Though I did not participate willingly, and made what I thought was my best effort to stop these events, there are some things that a person simply can not come back from.”

Many who shout the loudest that we must “support the troops” urge sending them off to unwinnable and undeclared wars in which there is no legitimate US interest. The US military has been abused by those who see military force as a first resort rather than the last resort and only in self-defense. This abuse has resulted in a generation of American veterans facing a life sentence in the prison of tortured and deeply damaged minds as well as broken bodies.

The numbers sadly tell the story: more military suicides than combat deaths in 2012, some 22 military veterans take their lives every day, nearly 30 percent of veterans treated by the VA have PTSD.

We should be saddened but not shocked when we see the broken men and women return from battles overseas. We should be angry with those who send them to suffer and die in unnecessary wars. We should be angry with those who send them to kill so many people overseas for no purpose whatsoever. We should be afraid of the consequences of such a foolish and dangerous foreign policy. We should demand an end to the abuse of military members and a return to a foreign policy that promotes peace and prosperity instead of war and poverty. Source

Over 8 thousand US war veterans, take their own lives a year.

To make matters even worse Victims of Sexual Assault also tend to take their own lives. Victims are scarred for life.

They too, are left with a nightmare to deal with.

Out of fear many Sexual Assaults, are never reported.

One must also remember, that those perpetrators, will and have, gone on to Sexually Assault victims from the countries they are stationed in.

That is not new and has been happening for years, as far back as I can remember. Apparently in Vietnam it was borderline considered Stand procedure. That was part of the un-written, code of conduct.

That information is from Vietnam war veterans, I have spoken to and the Winter Soldier testimony of that era.

Published on May 8, 2013

http://www.democracynow.org – A shocking new report by the Pentagon has found that 70 sexual assaults may be taking place within the U.S. military every day. The report estimates there were 26,000 sex crimes committed in 2012, a jump of 37 percent since 2010. Most of the incidents were never reported. The findings were released two days after the head of the Air Force’s sexual assault prevention unit, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, was arrested for sexual assault. We air highlights from Tuesday’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on military sexual assault and speak with Anu Bhagwati, executive director and co-founder of Service Women’s Action Network. “The numbers are outrageous and I think we’ve reached a tipping point,” Bhagwati says. “The American public is furious.”

Suicide Data Report, 2012

Related

Why: War in Iraq and Afghanistan

War Veteran Jesse Huff Commits suicide  outside VA Hospital

Afghanistan: Troops Guarding the Poppy Fields

What I Learned in Afghanistan – About the   United States

War “Pollution” Equals Millions of Deaths

Advertisements
Published in: on June 27, 2013 at 12:58 pm  Comments Off on Iraq War Veterans “Last Words”  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

US occupation not for “liberation of Iraqis

Peace activist and Iraq war veteran Mike Prysner was one of the 160 people arrested in the Anti-war march from the White House to the Capitol Building in September 2007.

July 26 2010

Michael Prysner, an Iraq war veteran and peace activist, was a corporal in the US army that invaded Iraq in 2003, today he is a leader of March Forward, an organization of American veterans from both the Iraq and Afghanistan conflict.

Iraq was invaded by a multinational coalition led by the United States in 2003.

The invasion which took place under former US President George W. Bush, overthrew the Ba’ath Regime of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

On 1 May 2003, Bush declared the “end of major combat operations” in Iraq, while onboard the US aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln with a large “Mission Accomplished” banner displayed behind him.

In December of 2003 Saddam himself was captured. Then why are US forces still in Iraq?

The following is the transcript of Prysner’s interview hosted by David Becker, discussing Prysner’s experience in the Iraq war.

Becker: You went to Iraq in 2003, just tell us quickly where you went and what you did.

Prysner: I was a member of 10th Mountain Division and I was deployed to Iraq in March 2003 as a part of the initial invasion and landed in the north of the country and pushed on, took the Northern city of Kirkuk and operated in that area for 12 months.

Becker: What did you do at first? What was your job?

Prysner: My job initially was to operate this radar system that was made famous by the previous Gulf War, known as the high way of death, where thousands of people were killed who were fleeing the violence because they were just hit by air strikes and artillery strikes.

My job was to operate a radar system that called in those air strikes, so when we are learning to do this job we are shown pictures of the high way of death and how wonderful the system was and how effective it was.

It was kind of the model operation that we were taught to operate off, so my first several weeks in that country was basically looking at a computer scene and looking at these dots and just calling in bombs and artillery strikes on those dots, not knowing exactly what they were, just knowing that we were bombing them.

Becker: When you went to Iraq, you had certain views about the war, today of course people know you around the country, as an organizer of soldiers and marines who are opposing the war, were you a supporter of the war when you went, if so, what changed you?

Prysner: Absolutely, I joined the army because I wanted to serve my country, because I believed that the US military was a force for good in the world, that we helped those in need, that we freed the oppressed. So, I believed that really in my heart and when the Iraq war started, I volunteered to go on the deployment. I wanted to go and I believed whole-heartedly that we were going to help the Iraqi people, and that’s what I wanted to do and I was willing to give my life to that.

Becker: What happened while you were there that led to such a radical transformation?

Prysner: I saw that it was not for the liberation of the Iraqi people at all. I saw that it wasn’t to help the Iraqi people at all, and I saw that I was doing exactly the opposite, that I was just hurting the Iraqi people. Everyday was a catastrophe for them and it was seeing day by day the things that were committed against them, the lives that they had to live under occupation, I realized that it was a complete sham that we were there to help them.

Becker: When you were there, you were there for a year?

Prysner: Yes.

Becker: 12 months. After the initial invasion, in other words the city of Baghdad, the government of Iraq fell by April 9, 2003, what did you do for the next 11 months?

Prysner: I did a variety of things, everything from prisoner interrogation – I did that for many months – I interrogated hundreds and hundreds of detainees, the vast majority of which had done absolutely nothing wrong. I operated out of fire bases, I did home raids, I heard people’s complaints whose homes had been destroyed, whose family members had been killed, who had mutilated themselves by US bombs.

So, it was kind of this direct disposure, this direct relationship with the Iraqi people that I really got to see first hand, what their life was like living under the occupation.

Becker: Well, during that year, that eventful year, we know that George Bush went on the aircraft carrier, the Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003 under that banner that said “mission accomplished” and then announced that major combat operations were over and yet the experience of the occupying forces was just the opposite. Real combat kept growing and growing, the resistance was growing.

Did you feel that? Could you see that where you were?

Prysner: Yes and I remember very clearly, when we saw these pictures, the “mission accomplished” banners just a few months after the invasion and we all said great, now we can all go home. And so we were all awaiting our orders to go back, but it was very obvious that we were there to stay. There was no plan to go home and month by month, the resistance just intensified so it did not start as severe resistance in the beginning, it was month by month and it got worse and worse, and more and more intense.

Becker: We are 7 years later and even though the Iraqi government fell again in early April 2003, there is more than 50,000 US troops in Iraq. From your point of view, has the US operation failed in Iraq? Has it succeeded? How do the soldiers feel about it? What do they think they are doing?

Prysner: Well, I would say that it has failed. The goal of the US government was to go in and quickly overthrow the government, and then set up a Kayin State, I mean this is their fantasy of just easily overthrowing the country and that hasn’t happened. I mean, the US soldiers have bogged down in that country, the only way that the violence and resistance were to be quelled was because over a hundred thousand fighters were put on the US payroll. I mean they were paying people not to shoot at the Americans anymore.

Becker: That was when [General David] Petraeus started the so called surge, they put people on the payroll?

Prysner: Absolutely. And quelling, the violence also came at the expense of the huge number of casualties that came during the troops surge where thousands of US soldiers had lost their lives in Iraq, and over a million Iraqis have died in that also, and they haven’t still accomplished their goals after all this, after all this death and destruction.

Iraq is still a very volatile state where the US government and the corporate interest, that really are behind all of this, can’t operate the way they want to in that country and that’s why there’s this quagmire that’s going on, where the US can’t withdraw, because they can’t have their economic interest satisfied at this point.

Becker: We see two wars – seemingly endless wars – now in Iraq and Afghanistan. And you made the point that [General] Petraeus, in doing the surge, which, in the American media it was presented as that country [Iraq] became less violent and somewhat passive, as a consequence of the addition of tens of thousands more US troops. But you’re saying that the real fact was the US started paying the insurgents, do you know how much they were paying them?

Prysner: One hundred dollars a month.

Becker: A few hundred dollars a month in order for them not to shoot at the US troops?

Prysner: Right, and not only that. The one key aspect of the surge – if you talk to any soldier who was a part of the surge and who was part of those operations in that period of time in the war – it was not only that there were fighters that were put on the payroll; but also the level of violence was completely scaled up. People who were part of the surge were basically “kill everyone…everybody go into the neighborhoods where there is resistance and just kill everybody.”

So, what the Iraqi people went through during that time, through those major invasions, through the surge, it was a catastrophe. It was a disaster and it was something that was going to have such a lasting effect in those communities, I mean if it was something that was going to take generations to recover from, the horrors that they were subjected to.

Becker: I want to talk to you also about the soldiers who are coming back. Of course, many did not come back, I do not know their exact number. It is upwards in the of 5,000 young men and women who lost their lives; [We are talking about] American soldiers, not counting the million plus Iraqis.

Tens of thousands have come back with horrible wounds, either physical or psychological. We see record levels of posttraumatic stress. As a matter of fact, it perhaps is the biggest controversy right now in the VA [Veteran Affairs].

Do you feel that Iraqi occupation has been somewhat different in terms of its impacts on the soldiers from what happened in say World War II?

Prysner: In World War II, there was this understood mission, right? You have to defeat the Nazis or you have to defeat Fascism. So, that was something very different. The Iraq war has no mission that soldiers can understand. It is just these kinds of ambiguous ideas of freedom and democracy and fighting terrorism. Things that really hold no weight, things that are just these kinds of fabrications.

So, soldiers fighting in Iraq, soldiers fighting in Afghanistan, they do not know what they are fighting for. They may think and try to rationalize it in some way but there is no clear mission and there is no understanding of what they are doing.

The mission in Afghanistan for every soldier is just to stay alive, or to come out of it whole. That is why it is a very different thing. That is why so many people are coming back with severe trauma, because they are not going to fight for some just cause, not going to fight for something honorable. You are just going to repress a population, to repress people, to shoot innocent people, to torture innocent people who have done nothing to you.

I would say that the vast majority of soldiers do not have an understanding of what these wars are about. And the ones that think they know, it is something that is completely backwards. It has just been slammed into their heads by the chain of command and by the US government.

Becker: Do you think that the Obama administration is aware of this kind of epidemic of discontent or distress amongst the returning soldiers?

Prysner: Yes, and it is something that they fear very much. The commanders and generals know that one thing that really has the power to thwart their plans for empires is a mass movement within the military. Like we saw during the Vietnam War. Where tens of thousands of soldiers refused to take part, refused to go on missions and sabotaged their equipment. Because they knew that it was a colonial war. They knew that it was a war with no mission, with no reason to fight and die endlessly. So people started resisting. So, that potential exists today.

The government goes to great lengths to make soldiers not feel those things and not understand what wars are about and prevent them from turning into the same thing that we saw during the Vietnam War.

Becker: So, the administration knows what is going on and they know how the soldiers are feeling. They know the soldiers feel that in spite the self-rationalization, that it is an ambiguous mission at last and perhaps a colonial-type mission that they cannot explain. They know this and yet they are sending their soldiers back. In fact, they are sending more soldiers to Afghanistan and keeping tens of thousands in Iraq. How is that viewed by the rank-and-file?

Prysner: There are people going to Iraq and Afghanistan now who are on their fourth, fifth and sixth combat tours. That means four, five or six years of people’s lives that are spent in combat and spent somewhere that is horrible. That has a severe impact on their lives.

Right now, all these soldiers who are being sent to Afghanistan are exhausted and do not want to go. I would say the vast majority of the people I talk to, that is their sentiment. They do not see any reason why they should go and die, why they should go take another life, why they should risk losing their legs, losing their arms for something that they do not understand.

Becker: How many are absent without leave, AWOL, or are deserting? Is that a large number?

Prysner: It is. There are thousands who have gone AWOL.

Becker: Right now, I have read reports about the higher suicide rate, that the number of casualties among the US soldiers from suicide is actually higher in some months, recently, than on the battlefield. Is that right?

Prysner: That is absolutely right and this is a very significant thing and this (the suicide rate) is just for active-duty military. This does not count the veterans who get out of the military and then take their own lives once they are out. It is a fact that there are months where there are more active-duty soldiers that take their own lives than those who are killed in combat. This is a very significant thing.

This is because of the criminally inadequate treatment that soldiers get when they come back. If you are still active duty, the military has one thing in mind. They want to deploy you again and they will do whatever they can to deploy you again. No matter how traumatized you are or how affected you are.

If you get out of the military, they do not want to have to pay compensation; they do not want to have to pay disability. So, they do whatever they can to actively deny those PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) numbers.

Becker: I want to talk to you about Afghanistan. Of course, Afghanistan has been largely out of the news. So, you have a war going on and an increasing number of casualties, but it is not really main stream media front page news at all. And so largely, the American people do not see it everyday.

But last week and the last few weeks they have because of the controversy around the Rolling Stone interview with General McChrystal, his firing and his replacement by David Petraeus. From your point of view, does that scandal with McChrystal impact the war? Does it impact the direction of the war? Does it impact the soldiers?

Prysner: It does. I mean it really shows that they are kind of in crisis right now. It is becoming very obvious to the commanders on the ground, to the generals in the Pentagon, to the politicians in the White House that the war in Afghanistan cannot be won. They cannot defeat, not only the Taliban, but the more than a 140 different armed organizations that are resisting for an occupation in that country.

So, there is an understanding that they cannot win that war. So, now there is the finger pointing starting, there is the kind of, you know, people dancing around trying to avoid taking responsibility.

So, what happened with McChrystal was significant because it shows the very volatile situation and it shows that for a general to be speaking with such contempt to his people that outrank him in the chain of command, it shows the state of the conflict right now. That the war cannot be won, and that they are going to be scrambling to avoid taking responsibility and at the same time that the generals and the politicians are trying to avoid taking responsibility; people are dying every single day, last month, June, was the highest number of casualties for NATO troops in Afghanistan.

This is a trend that is going to continue, this year is already on track to be the deadliest year of war, last year doubled the year before, this year is already on track of doubling 2009.

Becker: Are you in touch with the soldiers and their families or the marines and their families who are in Afghanistan, what are they telling you about the actual conditions in Afghanistan – of the war? This is the unvarnished story, not from the headlines.

Prysner: I am in touch with people in Afghanistan, on the front lines, and they are saying that they do not understand why they are there, they do not want to be there anymore, morale is extremely low. There are people who are shooting themselves in the foot to get out of deployments, there are people having psychological breakdowns on the front lines. I mean, the military right now is really at a breaking point, because of repeated deployments and because they are being sent to fight a war that cannot be won, a war that is being lost with no understanding why. No clearly articulated reason why we must fight in Afghanistan. So, we have a situation where there are nearly 100,000 soldiers who are now fighting in Afghanistan with no clear mission and having to endure the daily horrors of being an occupying army.

Becker: So, the Obama administration must know what you know and what the soldiers know? That the war is unwinnable, and yet they are sending more soldiers. What is the goal? They are not trying to win, what are they trying to do?

Prysner: We are trying to avoid the perception of defeat, we are trying to protect the image of the empire, and we are going to kill as many people necessary to do that.

Becker: So, the calculation is that this is a kind of an out-of-the-news war for the most part and so they can keep going and going and going. What is the cost? What is the cost in addition to the soldiers and their lives, which is what you are documenting really well? What is the economic cost?

Prysner: Well, just the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan alone – and this isn’t including the exorbitant defense budget right now – it is over USD $500 million a day that is being spent on these occupations.

At the same time, we are seeing tens of thousands of jobs be lost every month. The increasing number of people going bankrupt is because of hospital bills. We are seeing universities all over the country raising tuition, cutting classes; for students it is becoming increasingly difficult to get a college education, all the while, while working people are having such a difficult time right now economically. We are watching over USD $500 million a day being poured into two quagmires, into two wars that are doing nothing but destroying the lives of thousands and thousands of people.

Becker: Afghanistan in the first year of the war, in 2001, the number of US casualties was 12 and now of course, every week there is that number or more. It is clear to me that the occupation itself in its ninth year has become a catalyst for armed resistance, and as you said, the purpose may just be to avoid defeat, or the perception of defeat by a global empire. But, Afghanistan has some significance from the point of view of its geostrategic location, it is right in South Central Asia, it is close to the former Soviet Republic the US is making military bases. Do you see that as a part of a regional strategy for the US in terms of its projection of its own power, either military or economic?

Prysner: Absolutely. I mean, the United States had long dreamed of having a foothold in Afghanistan, of having bases in Afghanistan. You know what, they really tried to negotiate with the Taliban, to kind of work out business deals where they could pursue economic interests in that country. But 9/11 provided a pretext for an all-out military invasion. And the US thought that the Taliban government would fall easily, and they could easily set up this client state there and that is why in the first year of the war, it was kind of mission accomplished with Afghanistan also.

Becker: CIA Director Leon Panetta went on ABC recently and said that there is no possibility of reconciliation with the Taliban because the Taliban is in essence winning the war, the armed resistance is winning the war. So, they are not in any mood to negotiate. Is it and is it understood that the US goal now is that they want to have a government of national unity that brings the Taliban back in, and do the soldiers know that?

Prysner: Well, the US government cares about one thing, it is whether or not economic interest will be met in Afghanistan. So, if that means the deal with the very same people, we are told we have to fight and kill and die endlessly against – then that is what they are going to do. I mean, the soldiers are realizing that more and more everyday. I am seeing that everyday more and more soldiers are standing up saying that they do not want to take part in this criminal war.

Becker: What can soldiers and their families do in relationship to your own organization?

Prysner: You can go to marchforward.org and read statements and find out what your options are, and I would say to every single soldier in the active-duty military and their families, that you have the absolute right to refuse to take part in these wars. These are wars for the rich and you have the right not to take part in them. Source

There are thousands of stories like this from US Veterans. People should be taking note of them. They were there, they know.

US Wars are for profit, resources and control over other countries.

The US spreading Democracy what a sham…… What a pity the All the American people haven’t figured it out yet.

Who profits from WAR?

America: Arms dealer to the stars! Who’s the number one weapons broker in the world, again? Take a guess

Of course we must not forget the Drug Dealers.

Drug Addiction is also part of war pollution. Because of the NATO and US invasion in Afghanistan, Heroin addiction has grown like wildfire around the world. Millions are now addicted to Heroin.

CIA Drug  Operations a little history in case you didn’t know

Bush – Cheney and drugs

Afghanistan: Troops Guarding the Poppy Fields

War “Pollution” Equals Millions of Deaths

Top Ten Myths About Iraq, 2008

British officer leaked 8,000 Civilians killed in Afghanistan 2009

2.5 million Iraqi women were widowed by Iraq war

Two-Thirds of Boys in Afghan Jails Are Brutalised, Study Finds

UMRC’s Field Team found Afghan civilians with acute symptoms of radiation poisoning, along with chronic symptoms of internal uranium contamination, including congenital problems in newborns.

Cancer and Deformities – The Deadly Legacy of the Invasion of Iraq

NATO bombings: Aftermath takes toll on Serbia, now left with DU Poisoning (Radiation and DU fallout maps included.)

Study finds: Iraq littered with high levels of nuclear and dioxin contamination

US-NATO Using Military Might To Control World Energy Resources

What I Learned in Afghanistan – About the United States

Why: War in Iraq and Afghanistan

US Recruits Death Squads

Point of interest From September 2009

Has Usama Bin Ladin been dead for seven years – and are the U.S. and Britain covering it up to continue war on terror?

The Answer to that Question is Yes he is dead

Is Osama bin Laden still alive, Seems the answer is no

Did you know

A Full Israeli  El Al flight took off on 9/11 from JFK to Tel Aviv

The Israeli Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

Fake Al Qaeda, Fake Passports, Fake planes, Fake Hijackers

Who Benefited the most by J.F. Kennedy’s Death?

US Refuses To Allow Monitoring Of WMD, President Obama rejected inspection protocol for US biological weapons

Cancer and Deformities – The Deadly Legacy of the Invasion of Iraq

No Weapons of Mass destruction in Iraq.

Hans Blix, the former chief UN weapons inspector, accused US and British intelligence yesterday of paying too much attention to Iraqi defectors who told them that Saddam Hussein’s regime had weapons of mass destruction, because that was what they wanted to hear.

The former head of the UN’s Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) has maintained for years that his team of inspectors should have been allowed more time to complete their work in Iraq, which was cut short by the invasion in March 2003. He claimed yesterday that the US administration at the time was “high on military” and thought that “they could get away with it and therefore it was desirable”.

Giving evidence at the Iraq Inquiry he argued that it was “absurd” for the US and British governments to claim that they invaded Iraq to uphold the authority of the UN Security Council when they knew they could not get a majority resolution through the council in favour of war. For entire story go HERE

This just out. Well gee I am just so shocked imagine the US misplacing $9 Billion.  The Americans are very good at losing money. They are also very good at stealing the Americans peoples hard earned money.  Just the day before 9/11 it was announced they lost something like $2.5 Billion, of course with 9/11 and all, no one really noticed  and it wasn’t reported all that much. So they lost another $9 billion that is what the US is good at. I wonder who’s pockets were lined this time? Considering the fact there were no weapons of mass destruction the US should be footing the bill for all reconstruction. Not the Iraqi’s.

The US defence department is unable to account for almost $9bn taken from Iraqi oil revenues for use in reconstruction, according to an official audit released yesterday.

Recent

The CIA: Beyond Redemption and Should be Terminated

Mental illness rising among US troops

Republicans in the US House of Representatives want Israel to attack Iran

Gaza Flotilla: Lawyers from 60 Countries to Sue Israel

Hospitals in Haiti to be shut down due to lack of funds

Mental illness rising among US troops

July 25 2010
America’s wars on Iraq and Afghanistan are taking a toll on US soldiers, as the latest statistics show one out of every nine American soldiers leaves the army on a medical discharge due to a mental disorder.

“We have 100,000 troops and a third of them suffer some sort of mental health disease and half of those suffer multiple health disease,” Paul Martin from Peace Action told Press TV’s correspondent.

The army alone saw a 64 percent increase in those forced out due to mental illness between 2005 and 2009, the numbers equal to one in nine of all medical discharges.

According to army statistics, last year alone 1,224 soldiers suffering from mental illnesses, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, received a medical discharge.

According to Mental health experts there is a growing emotional toll on the US military which has been fighting for seven years in Iraq and nine years in Afghanistan, and there is a clear relationship between multiple deployments and increased symptoms of anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

Some experts say age is also a factor.

“We are talking young people — 18 to 24-year-olds, who are seeing the horrors of war,” Martin said.

Analysts are concerned that with budget cuts looming, military medical programs will be the first on the chopping block.

The soldiers who are discharged for having both a mental and physical disability increased by 174% during the last 5 years from a little under 1,400 in 2005, to more than 3,800 in 2009, according to army statistics.

The suicide rate among US soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan has escalated to a record high, with an average of one suicide per day in June.

According to US Army statistics, a total of 32 soldiers took their own lives last month, making it the worst month on record for Army suicides. Twenty-one were on active duty, with the rest being among National Guards or Army Reserves in an inactive status, CNN reported earlier in July. Source

Related

Soldiers, Mental illness, Drugs and Suicide

Why: War in Iraq and Afghanistan

Traumatic brain injuries the signature wound of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq

Silence on Canadian coalition crisis in U.S. media What a Shocker, LOL

Did Contractor Expose Troops To Toxin?

Recent

US occupation not for “liberation of Iraqis

Republicans in the US House of Representatives want Israel to attack Iran

Gaza Flotilla: Lawyers from 60 Countries to Sue Israel

Hospitals in Haiti to be shut down due to lack of funds

Published in: on July 25, 2010 at 6:03 am  Comments Off on Mental illness rising among US troops  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Soldiers, Mental illness, Drugs and Suicide

Dallas Contact Crisis Line forum to raise awareness of military suicides
March 25, 2010
By DAVID TARRANT

After eight years of war marked by repeated deployments, military families have endured great sacrifices – but few as much as Maj. Gen. Mark Graham.

In June 2003, his 21-year-old son, Kevin, a promising ROTC cadet at the University of Kentucky, killed himself. He had been diagnosed with depression. Eight months later, the general’s oldest son, Jeff, died in Iraq when a bomb exploded while he led a foot patrol.

Graham and his wife, Carol, mourned privately for several years. But as the military struggled with an increase in suicides, the Army couple began telling their story to raise awareness about depression.

“All I knew was that Kevin’s death did not need to be in vain,” Graham said in a telephone interview joined by his wife. “Carol and I both would never want this ever to happen to anyone else.”

Graham is scheduled to speak about military suicides at a luncheon today in Dallas. Contact Crisis Line, the nonprofit 24-hour suicide prevention hotline, is sponsoring the forum at the Hilton Anatole. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the Army’s vice chief of staff, is also scheduled to speak.

Defense Department figures show that 160 active-duty Army personnel committed suicide in 2009 – up from 140 in 2008 and more than double the 77 suicides reported in 2003. The Army suicide rate is now higher than that of civilians. There is no single explanation, Pentagon officials say, but the wear and tear of repeated deployments appears to be a major factor.

“Soldiers are hurting, families are hurting, and it’s a tough time in the Army,” said Graham, deputy chief of staff of Forces Command at Fort McPherson, Ga. “Being in a war eight-plus years – it’s tough.”

Young veterans leaving military service remain at risk. The Veterans Affairs Department said recently that suicides among 18- to 29-year-old veterans have increased considerably – up 26 percent from 2005 to 2007.

In 2005, the suicide rate per 100,000 veterans among men ages 18 to 29 was 44.99, compared with 56.77 in 2007, the VA said.

“Of the more than 30,000 suicides in this country each year, fully 20 percent of them are acts by veterans,” VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said at a suicide prevention conference in January. “That means on average, 18 veterans commit suicide each day. Five of those veterans are under our care at VA.”

Graham said: “People need to know that you can die from depression. You can die from untreated depression.”

The VA has expanded mental health services to veterans and added 6,000 new mental health professionals since 2005. A 24-hour suicide prevention hotline that started in July 2007 has received 225,000 calls from veterans, active-duty personnel and family members.

But too many soldiers are reluctant to seek help for depression and anxiety because of the stigma attached to mental illness, Graham said. “One of the things we’ve tried to do is to make it clear that it’s a sign of strength, not weakness, to come forward and ask for help.”

In 2003, Kevin Graham was attending school while sharing an apartment with his siblings, Jeff and Melanie. His parents were living in South Korea, where the general was assigned.

Kevin was a “tender-hearted” child who wanted to be a doctor, said Carol Graham. At his older brother’s graduation from the University of Kentucky in May, Kevin looked in great physical condition, she said. He was exercising and getting ready for an advanced ROTC camp.

But at some point around then, he stopped taking his medication, apparently too embarrassed to admit to the military that he needed it. “He had told no one in ROTC” that he was taking Prozac, his mother said.

The Grahams feel guilt-ridden over Kevin’s death to this day. “I knew Kevin had been having problems,” Mark Graham said. “But it never even entered my mind that he could die from [depression].”

Painful as it is, the Grahams plan to continue to tell their story.

“It’s hard. It’d be easier to just curl up in a corner and do nothing,” Graham said. “But if it helps just one person not die by suicide, then it’s worth it.”

Source

Medicating the military

Use of psychiatric drugs has spiked; concerns surface about suicide, other dangers
By Andrew Tilghman and Brendan McGarry
March 17, 2010

At least one in six service members is on some form of psychiatric drug.

And many troops are taking more than one kind, mixing several pills in daily “cocktails” — for example, an antidepressant with an antipsychotic to prevent nightmares, plus an anti-epileptic to reduce headaches — despite minimal clinical research testing such combinations.

The drugs come with serious side effects: They can impair motor skills, reduce reaction times and generally make a war fighter less effective. Some double the risk for suicide, prompting doctors — and Congress — to question whether these drugs are connected to the rising rate of military suicides.

“It’s really a large-scale experiment. We are experimenting with changing people’s cognition and behavior,” said Dr. Grace Jackson, a former Navy psychiatrist.

A Military Times investigation of electronic records obtained from the Defense Logistics Agency shows DLA spent $1.1 billion on common psychiatric and pain medications from 2001 to 2009. It also shows that use of psychiatric medications has increased dramatically — about 76 percent overall, with some drug types more than doubling — since the start of the current wars.

THE FULL INVESTIGATION:

Could meds be responsible for suicides?

Downrange: ‘Any soldier can deploy on anything’

How drugs enter the war zone

Troops and military health care providers also told Military Times that these medications are being prescribed, consumed, shared and traded in combat zones — despite some restrictions on the deployment of troops using those drugs.

The investigation also shows that drugs originally developed to treat bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are now commonly used to treat symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, such as headaches, nightmares, nervousness and fits of anger.

Such “off-label” use — prescribing medications to treat conditions for which the drugs were not formally approved by the FDA — is legal and even common. But experts say the lack of proof that these treatments work for other purposes, without fully understanding side effects, raises serious concerns about whether the treatments are safe and effective.

The DLA records detail the range of drugs being prescribed to the military community and the spending on them:

• Antipsychotic medications, including Seroquel and Risperdal, spiked most dramatically — orders jumped by more than 200 percent, and annual spending more than quadrupled, from $4 million to $16 million.

• Use of anti-anxiety drugs and sedatives such as Valium and Ambien also rose substantially; orders increased 170 percent, while spending nearly tripled, from $6 million to about $17 million.

• Antiepileptic drugs, also known as anticonvulsants, were among the most commonly used psychiatric medications. Annual orders for these drugs increased about 70 percent, while spending more than doubled, from $16 million to $35 million.

• Antidepressants had a comparatively modest 40 percent gain in orders, but it was the only drug group to show an overall decrease in spending, from $49 million in 2001 to $41 million in 2009, a drop of 16 percent. The debut in recent years of cheaper generic versions of these drugs is likely responsible for driving down costs.

Antidepressants and anticonvulsants are the most common mental health medications prescribed to service members. Seventeen percent of the active-duty force, and as much as 6 percent of deployed troops, are on antidepressants, Brig. Gen. Loree Sutton, the Army’s highest-ranking psychiatrist, told Congress on Feb. 24.

In contrast, about 10 percent of all Americans take antidepressants, according to a 2009 Columbia University study.

Suicide risks

Many of the newest psychiatric drugs come with strong warnings about an increased risk for suicide, suicidal behavior and suicidal thoughts.

Doctors — and, more recently, lawmakers — are questioning whether the drugs could be responsible for the spike in military suicides during the past several years, an upward trend that roughly parallels the rise in psychiatric drug use.

From 2001 to 2009, the Army’s suicide rate increased more than 150 percent, from 9 per 100,000 soldiers to 23 per 100,000. The Marine Corps suicide rate is up about 50 percent, from 16.7 per 100,000 Marines in 2001 to 24 per 100,000 last year. Orders for psychiatric drugs in the analysis rose 76 percent over the same period.

“There is overwhelming evidence that the newer antidepressants commonly prescribed by the military can cause or worsen suicidal tendancys, aggression and other dangerous mental states,” said Dr. Peter Breggin, a psychiatrist who testified at the same Feb. 24 congressional hearing at which Sutton appeared.

Other side effects — increased irritability, aggressiveness and hostility — also could pose a risk.

“Imagine causing that in men and women who are heavily armed and under a great deal of stress,” Breggin said.

He cited dozens of clinical studies conducted by drug companies and submitted to federal regulators, including one among veterans that showed “completed suicide rates were approximately twice the base rate following antidepressant starts in VA clinical settings.”

But many military doctors say the risks are overstated and argue that the greater risk would be to fail to fully treat depressed troops.

For suicide, “depression is a big risk factor,” too, said Army Reserve Col. (Dr.) Thomas Hicklin, who teaches clinical psychiatry at the University of Southern California. “To withhold the medications can be a huge problem.”

Nevertheless, Hicklin said the risks demand strict oversight. “The access to weapons is a very big concern with someone who is feeling suicidal,” he said. “It has to be monitored very carefully because side effects can occur.”

Defense officials repeatedly have denied requests by Military Times for copies of autopsy reports that would show the prevalence of such drugs in suicide toxicology reports.

‘Then it’s over’

Spc. Mike Kern enlisted in 2006 and spent a year deployed in 2008 with the 4th Infantry Division as an armor crewman, running patrols out of southwest Baghdad.

Kern went to the mental health clinic suffering from nervousness, sleep problems and depression. He was given Paxil, an antidepressant that carries a warning label about increased risk for suicide.

A few days later, while patrolling the streets in the gunner’s turret of a Humvee, he said he began having serious thoughts of suicide for the first time in his life.

“I had three weapons: a pistol, my rifle and a machine gun,” Kern said. “I started to think, ‘I could just do this and then it’s over.’ That’s where my brain was: ‘I can just put this gun right here and pull the trigger and I’m done. All my problems will be gone.’”

Kern said the incident scared him, and he did not take any more drugs during that deployment. But since his return, he has been diagnosed with PTSD and currently takes a variety of psychotropic medications.

Other side effects cited by troops who used such drugs in the war zones include slowed reaction times, impaired motor skills, and attention and memory problems.

One 35-year-old Army sergeant first class said he was prescribed the anticonvulsant Topamax to prevent the onset of debilitating migraines. But the drug left him feeling mentally sluggish, and he stopped taking it.

“Some people call it ‘Stupamax’ because it makes you stupid,” said the sergeant, who asked not to be identified because he said using such medication carries a social stigma in the military.

Being slow — or even “stupid” — might not be a critical problem for some civilians. But it can be deadly for troops working with weapons or patrolling dangerous areas in a war zone, said Dr. John Newcomer, a psychiatry professor at Washington University in St. Louis and a former fellow at the American Psychiatric Association.

“A drug that is really effective and it makes you feel happy and calm and sleepy … might be a great medication for the general population,” Newcomer said, “but that might not make sense for an infantryman in a combat arena.

“If it turns out that people on a certain combo are getting shot twice as often, you would start to worry if they were as ‘heads up’ as they should have been,” Newcomer said. “There is so much on the line, you’d really like to have more specific military data to inform the prescribing.”

Military doctors say they take a service member’s mission into consideration before prescribing.

“Obviously, one would be concerned about what the person does,” said Col. C.J. Diebold, chief of the Department of Psychiatry at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii. “If they have a desk job, that may factor in what medication you may be recommending for the patient [compared with] if they are out there and they have to be moving around and reacting fairly quickly.”

Off-label use

Little hard research has been done on such unique aspects of psychiatric drug usage in the military, particularly off-label usage.

A 2009 VA study found that 60 percent of veterans receiving antipsychotics were taking them for problems for which the drugs are not officially approved. For example, only two are approved for treating PTSD — Paxil and Zoloft, according to the Food and Drug Administration. But in actuality, doctors prescribe a range of drugs to treat PTSD symptoms.

To win FDA approval, drug makers must prove efficacy through rigorous and costly clinical trials. But approval determines only how a drug can be marketed; once a drug is approved for sale, doctors legally can prescribe it for any reason they feel appropriate.

Such off-label use comes with some risk, experts say.

“Patients may be exposed to drugs that have problematic side effects without deriving any benefit,” said Dr. Robert Rosenheck, a professor of psychiatry at Yale University who studied off-label drug use among veterans. “We just don’t know. There haven’t been very many studies.”

Some military psychiatrists are reluctant to prescribe off-label.

“It’s a slippery slope,” said Hicklin, the Army psychiatrist. “Medication can be overused. We need to use medication when indicated and we hope that we are all on the same page … with that.”

Combination’s of drugs pose another risk. Doctors note that most drugs are tested as a single treatment, not as one ingredient in a mixture of medications.

“In the case of poly-drug use – the ‘cocktail’ — where you are combining an antidepressant, an anticonvulsant, an antipsychotic, and maybe a stimulant to keep this guy awake — that has never been tested,” Breggin said.

Newcomer agreed. “When we go to the literature and try to find support for these complex cocktails, we’re not going to find it,” he said. “As the number of medications goes up, the probability of adverse events like hospitalization or death goes up exponentially.”

Looking for answers

Pinpointing the reasons for broad shifts in the military’s drug use today is difficult. Each doctor prescribes medications for the patient’s individual needs.

Nevertheless, many doctors in and outside the military point to several variables — some unique to the military, some not.

A close look at the data shows that use of the antipsychotic and anticonvulsant drugs, also known as “mood stabilizers,” are growing much faster than antidepressants. That may correlate to the challenges that deployed troops face when they arrive back home and begin to readjust to civilian social norms and family life.

“The ultimate effect of both of these drugs is to take the heightened arousal — the hypervigilance and all the emotions that served you once you were deployed — and help to turn that back down,” said Dr. Frank Ochberg, former associate director for the National Institute of Mental Health and a psychiatry professor at Michigan State University who reviewed the Military Times analysis.

Dr. Harry Holloway, a retired Army colonel and a psychiatry professor at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., said the increased use of these medications is simply another sign of deployment stress on the force.

“For a long time, the ops tempo has been completely unrelieved and unrestrained,” Holloway said. “When you have an increased ops tempo, and you have certain scheduling that will make it hard for everyone, you will produce a more symptomatic force. Most commanders understand that and they understand the tradeoffs.” Source

This is a long list. It is an accumulations of things that happen to ordinary people on drugs. Soldiers would have many of the same problems.

There are over 2,000 entries. They include

Suicides, Murders, Robberies, Hostage situations And other health related side affects.

4.8 Million Person Increase in Bipolar Disorder in Last 11 Years: Majority Due to SSRI Use

200,000 a Year Enter Hospital Due to Antidepressant- Induced Mania/ Psychosis: FDA Testimony

A few thousand reasons not to take Drugs

After you read it you may think twice about taking  meds.

Don’t Let the DEA Ban Recommending Medical Marijuana for Veterans

The DEA is preventing doctors at veteran’s hospitals from recommending medical marijuana to patients — even in the 14 states where medical marijuana is legal.

The Veterans Administration is taking advice from the DEA based on the federal government’s assertion that marijuana has no medicinal value. This especially tragic because of the widespread evidence that marijuana is a safe and effective treatment for post traumatic stress disorder which is all too common among our veterans.

In fact, in New Mexico for example, PTSD is the most common affliction for patients enrolled in the state’s strictly regulated medical marijuana program.

But veterans who could benefit from medical marijuana, regardless of the legality in their own states, have to go outside the VA system and find new doctors just to learn about and try a potentially helpful medicine.

Sign this petition and tell the Obama administration that our veterans deserve better. They deserve to have doctors who practice medicine, not politics. Source

Give them Medical marijuana, it is much safer then pharmaceutical drugs.

Govt Knew Since 1974 Pot Could Cure Cancer


Pot Shows Promise Cure For Cancer


Who profits from WAR?

How Criminals Profit From War

Erroneous Reports Deny our Veterans Benefits

Another Gulf War Syndrome? Burn Pits

Recent

Destroying Educational Institutions or Using Them For Military Purposes Is A War Crime

Cheap Food Imports destroyed Haitian agriculture

Warning Facebook Strikes again, this time a Virus

American Civil Rights Org Fights Against Israeli Desecration of Ancient Cemetery

Britain expelled Israeli diplomat over fake passports used in Dubai

Canada: Stephen Harper’s Assault on Democracy

Attempted Citizen’s Arrest of Alleged War Criminal George W. Bush in a Canadian Court

Erroneous Reports Deny our Veterans Benefits

March 17 2010

The time is now to expedite what they so righteously deserve.

(GARDEN GROVE, Calif.) – As a member of Veterans-For-Change, an advocacy group for Veterans rights, benefits, and treatment, my co-members and I would like to bring to your attention the ever-increasing serious problems affecting veterans and their families every day.

President Barack Obama addressed the Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention held in Phoenix, Arizona on August 17, 2009. He stated, “Whether you left the service in 2009 or 1949, we will fulfill our responsibility to deliver the benefits and care that you earned. That’s why I’ve pledged to build nothing less than a 21st-century VA.”

Perhaps you are not aware of the problems affiliated with the VA and Veterans Benefits. Veterans-For-Change would like to address the following problems/issues.

Blue Water Navy & Agent Orange:

Every day, thousands of veterans who served on land and in the waters in Korea, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and CONUS are denied benefits they are entitled to for exposure to dioxin from Agent Orange and other defoliants.

Learn more, visit:

BlueWaterNavy.org

In both S.E. Asia and CONUS Agent Orange was used at least from 1963 through 1975 although there have been reports of use and disposal activities as late as 1978 in Korea as a defoliant. In S.E. Asia, the chemicals were used to protect our troops and prevent the enemy from hiding in the foliage to kill many more of our fighting men and women.

In the CONUS, they were used to keep surroundings of various military buildings free from unwanted vegetation growth and keep it clean and neat looking.

Veterans who served not just in Korea since 1962 but also on the DMZ are denied benefits due to erroneous reports about where these chemicals were deployed and that there is a “residual life” of Agent Orange Dioxin which if this was true, then why are we in Vietnam helping the Vietnamese government to clean up the land that was contaminated some 40 years ago.

According to the reliable website, publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/, “October 13, 2009 Secretary Shinseki decided to establish service-connection for Vietnam Veterans with B cell leukemia, such as hairy cell leukemia; Parkinson’s disease; and ischemic heart disease. This is based on an independent study by the Institute of Medicine showing an association with exposure to Agent Orange. Vietnam veterans with these diseases may be eligible for disability compensation and health care benefits”, however, Secretary Shinseki failed to acknowledge the recommendation for presumption of exposure for the Blue Water Navy.

Veterans-For-Change believes exposure to Agent Orange is truly exposure to a deadly chemical, regardless of the location where it was deployed. One of the chemicals in the Agent Orange herbicide combination contained contaminating traces of TCDD (dioxin). Dioxin has been shown to cause a variety of illnesses in laboratory animals. Studies also suggest that the chemical may be related to a number of cancers and other health effects in humans: publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/health_effects.asp

The research data speaks for itself – Agent Orange was and is a deadly, toxic chemical, destroying the health and lives of many Veterans, including those who served in Korea and on the DMZ.

Many of these Veterans are continuously denied as the missions they served on were, and still to this day remain, classified by the DoD even though former President Bush signed executive order 13292 on March 28, 2003 directing classified missions beyond 25 years be declassified.

Now President Obama has signed Executive Order 13526 to declassify mission orders based on the 25 year rule.

Veterans-For-Change, as an advocacy group, has as its mission to broadcast and inform all veterans about their rights concerning Agent Orange, regardless of when and where the military veteran was exposed. You, the legislators of our proud and courageous country owe a debt of not just gratitude, but benefits and care to our veterans. Please take a stand and help us to provide the best care for our veterans. Take action today

TCE/PCE Contamination, Illnesses CONUS:

Learn more by visiting:

Salem-News.com El Toro articles

For over a year now there have been media outlets such as CNN, Salem News, Veterans Today and countless local newspapers in each region of our nation telling stories of active duty military, veterans and their families all being diagnosed with many unexplained illnesses.

Studies have shown, and evidence presented by several sources showing TCE (chemical degreaser) and PCE (chemical dry cleaning solution) have been used on most, if not all military bases throughout the Continental United States dating back to the mid 1950’s and disposed of by simply dumping waste into the ground. Both chemicals are known carcinogens.

Most recently TCE has been heavily addressed surrounding the Marine Corps Base Camp LeJeune, North Carolina where there was a Male Breast Cancer Cluster. According to a recent report, Camp LeJeune is where at least 40 men reported a cancer cluster in this location, all related to exposure at Camp LeJeune, according to the St. Petersburg Times. According to the report published, “A Marine Corps spokesman declined to comment on the cancer cluster, saying epidemiologists were better qualified, but the spokesman noted the Marine Corps had spent approximately 14.5 million on research initiatives regarding health issues…” Perhaps it would be of interest to you to get to the bottom of this so our military will be better protected, able to fight wars, and our Veterans will live a healthier life, proud of their military service and the actions they took to preserve and protect the freedom of American citizens, such as yourself.

Tests have proven the drinking water not only on this base, but other bases as well were contaminated, thus contaminating military personnel and their families as well as civilian personnel who worked on the bases. And let us not forget that TCE/PCE was used on board all ships as well and that cleaning clothing, showering washing hands all put this chemical into their water purification system, also contaminating all those who work and lived on board our ships!

Clear Cell Carcinoma, liver & kidney cancer, esophageal cancer, breast cancer in men and women, children with Leukemia and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma are just some of the illnesses veterans and their families suffer from exposure to these contaminants. Many of these cancers, such as esophageal cancer are terminal, with only a 5% survival rate!

Veterans-For-Change has drafted a bill and we are actively gathering petition signatures to get any member of Congress to sign and present to the floor for a vote and passage to give the benefits to these families who are so desperately in need of medical treatment, healthcare and funding!

Veterans-For-Change would like to know, will you be the one who steps up to the plate and will sign and present this bill?

Contracted Medical Care:

When VA Medical Centers are not readily available, or aren’t able to provide services and care needed in that region, private facilities are contracted.

Less veterans are properly and adequately served and the costs to the taxpayer is several times higher than if the VA would simply add on to a facility to meet the need and/or build a VA Medical Center where needed most to meet the veteran community needs.

Most contracted facilities aren’t even up to par with the standard of health care, charge more and offer less and there are no controls nor is there any over-sight.

A shining example of need are the 100,000 veterans of the Rio Grande Valley who are expected to drive 250 miles each way to the nearest VA Medical Center, and are only provided a very small contracted clinic which is nothing more than an industrial injury clinic, nowhere near able to handle and or understand veterans who suffer illnesses caused by Dioxins, TCE, PCE, Burn Pit fumes, PTSD, etc.

Veterans-For-Change expects members of Congress to uphold the promises of decades to care for those who fought to defend our Country, and to practice what was established by the Continental Congress in 1776 — “the United States has the most comprehensive system of assistance for veterans for any nation in the world.” Now, in the Twenty First Century, it is time to draft, sign, and present legislation to correct wrongs from centuries ago. It is time to practice what was created and promised to motivate, service and care for our veterans – ‘nothing less than a 21st-century VA.’

President Obama has said: “We have a sacred trust with those who wear the uniform of the United States of America, a commitment that begins with enlistment and must never end.”

If our nation rescinds its promises and ignores its obligation to those who have fought to preserve freedom throughout the world, we compromise the right to ask our men and women to serve and defend our national principals. The choice is yours. With the election of 2010 in mind, please take action to defend and service our country and our proud and deserving veterans today!

Veterans-For-Change has been crying out to all 535 members of Congress going on four years this April 2010, as President Wilson said, a leader’s ears must ring with the voices of the people! Veteran’s voices will be ringing in the polling places come November! Do you hear us?

Source

Related

War “Pollution” Equals Millions of Deaths

Another Gulf War Syndrome? Burn Pits

Breast Cancer in Iraq leads to Gulf War Veteran News Alert and Rep Boswell Legislation

March 18, 2010 : Gulf War Veterans need to be made aware of the following articles.  Alert for all female veterans you know the drill!  Self Breast Checks often and Mammograms.  VA does provide this, so make use of that service!

Male Veterans yes you too can get breast cancer.  Again our females will have to teach you the principles of breast self exams.  Basically you work in a clockwise pattern and outward and inner in direction from the clock face.  If you palpate any lumps or bumps under the skin GET IN TO A DOCTOR for further Assessment!

Recent

Marine Current Turbine’s to power 750,000 homes

Cyclone Tomas hits Fiji 165 MPH Winds

A message From “Rachel Corrie’s” Mother

China publishes report on U.S. human rights

Tough-on-crime policies don’t work, study finds

New York Times and the ACORN Hoax

Egypt : 42 electoral candidates and 145 protestors arrested in one day

Children of Gaza are Suffering, Scarred, Trapped

Traumatised British troops get payout pittance after Afghanistan and Iraq

November 15 2009

Soldiers whose lives have been shattered by the trauma of fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq are being given as little as £3,000 compensation after their medical discharge.

One victim, who saw his friend’s throat ripped out by a bomb blast, said he would have been better off if he was unemployed and on benefits. Another accused ministers of washing their hands of mentally ill servicemen and women.

Since November 2005 the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has paid 155 mentally traumatised soldiers, who experience delusions, hallucinations, flashbacks and severe depression, an average of just under £6,000, according to official figures. Four others received payments above £9,075.

Sir John Major, the former prime minister, is so concerned by the low payouts that he has written to Gordon Brown to object in what aides describe as “the strongest possible terms”.

Charities, senior military and legal figures last week demanded changes to the compensation system in submissions to a government review.

The review was launched in August after disclosures by The Sunday Times that Bob Ainsworth, the defence secretary, was trying to cut compensation payouts through the courts.

Brigadier Ed Butler, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, said: “We have got one hell of a problem brewing up. Post traumatic stress disorder [PTSD] needs to be fully recognised and adequately compensated. When you’re talking about £3,000 for someone who has got PTSD it’s not enough.”

In the past two years 4,916 cases of mental disorder have been identified in British troops who toured Afghanistan and Iraq, while 67 who served in the two war zones have committed suicide since 2003.

The true toll of mental illness is likely to be far higher. In the United States, commanders have stated that 30% of all troops deployed suffer from some form of PTSD.

Captain Neil Christie, a Royal Marine, developed PTSD after being posted to Afghanistan in 2006. In one instance he was asked to identify a friend who had been killed by friendly fire. He said: “His face was all gnarled, his back had been ripped apart and mutilated . He was just a distorted carcass.”

A convoy of his comrades were hit by a suicide bomber and Christie said: “One of my friends had his throat ripped out. We had to wash the blood from their vehicles and equipment afterwards.”

His abiding memory was of Afghan children treated at Camp Bastion after sustaining injuries by walking into mines: “I can never forget their faces, some of them were as young as five or six who had lost limbs. ”

On his return home in 2007 he struggled to adjust and was diagnosed with PTSD in January 2008. He received a £5,000 lump sum, £180 a month and no other benefits. If he was unemployed he would get £260 a month in income support.

Christie, 28, said: “I was disgusted, I felt like the army had washed their hands of me, they just didn’t care. I’d have been better off being unemployed. I would be out on a walk down in Devon by the sea cliffs and think about just jumping off.

“I had been to hell and couldn’t process all the mental and emotional shit that went with that.” Christie received intensive counselling from Talking2minds, a charity for traumatised soldiers. He now works for it as a counsellor.

Sean Chance, 21, was diagnosed with PTSD after serving as a trooper with the Queen’s Royal Hussars in Iraq. He lost half his left foot when a rocket pierced the armour of his Challenger 2 tank. He received just £6,000 for his post-traumatic stress, which was increased on appeal to £11,000. He now earns £90 a week mowing lawns.

He said: “We were under constant attack, you couldn’t sleep for the mortar bombing. These people hated us. I remember once standing next to a sergeant and he was shot in the chin. His face was this red, lumpy mess.

“The compensation was a massive insult. I feel like they have just paid me off and abandoned me. I can’t sleep, I feel depressed and angry.

“The MoD sent me to a counsellor who just wanted me to relive the trauma, which is the last thing I want to be doing. It did nothing for me.”

Peter Doolan, 28, was diagnosed with PTSD in 1999, after serving in Kosovo. Despite his illness he went on to serve in Sierra Leone and Northern Ireland and did two tours of Iraq.

Doolan, a father of three, was medically discharged in 2007. Under the old war pensions compensation system he receives just £60 a week. “I saw horrific stuff in Kosovo. We arrived in villages where everyone was dead. We had to dig bloody graves,” he said.

“In Iraq it was full throttle. Every time we went out we were attacked. Out of my company we lost six. I got to a point in Iraq where my battle partner was shot through the throat [and] I didn’t give a shit.”

Doolan has struggled to adapt to civilian life in Dereham, Norfolk. He sleeps alone in his son’s bed because he fears he will hit out at his wife in his sleep. He has suffered severe depression and also become prone to violence.

“If I get nervous or upset I can’t control the shaking. I will physically start throwing up. When I have nightmares, even though I know it’s a dream, I can’t wake myself up. I start kicking out and screaming.

“I have hallucinations. I see people, animals, mostly cats. I’ve even seen flowers grow out of my carpet. I’ve not been to a pub in 11 months. The last time, in January, at my granny’s funeral, I beat up three of my brothers.”

Doolan is furious with the level of compensation for PTSD: “They have no bloody idea what it’s like for us. I think they must hate soldiers.”

David Hill, chief of Combat Stress, the charity, said: “These are hidden wounds and the compensation scheme discriminates quite unjustly against people suffering from mental disorders.”

The MoD said veterans requiring mental health care receive “excellent support” from the National Health Service. Ainsworth pledged that the review into the compensation system would be “thorough and wide-ranging”.

Source

Brown and companay will not take care of those who are injured or mentally ill but more then willing to send more to Afghanistan.

Brown: Britain Will Send More Troops to Afghanistan

By Sonja Pace
London
November 13 2009

Britain’s prime minister says the UK will send more troops to Afghanistan if other allies do the same. Speaking on British radio, BBC’s Radio Four, Gordon Brown said he’s confident of that support.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said British envoys are being sent out to talk with coalition partners and NATO allies to make the case for sending more troops to Afghanistan. For the rest go  here.

The  Treatment of Soldiers is appalling.

Wars for Oil,  Gas and pipelines.

Related Articles

(Afghanistan 8) A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

NATO bombings: Aftermath takes toll on Serbia, now left with DU Poisoning

Why: War in Iraq and Afghanistan

Published in: on November 15, 2009 at 7:31 am  Comments Off on Traumatised British troops get payout pittance after Afghanistan and Iraq  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Afghanistan’s hidden toll: Injured Troops

Afghanistan’s hidden toll: Troops invalided out triple in three years

Unpublished figures show thousands of ex-soldiers have sought financial help – many suffering with stress disorders. Brian Brady and Nina Lakhani report

Sunday, 30 August 2009

The numbers of ‘post-service’ claims has risen by a factor of almost 100, from 15 to 1,455 since 2005

At its bloodiest, the fighting around Sangin in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, has been likened to Rorke’s Drift, the 1879 battle portrayed in the film Zulu. The military discourage the comparison but as one officer puts it: “The only difference is there are no Zulus at Sangin.”

The town has seen some of the deadliest fighting of the campaign. More British soldiers have been killed there and more medals won than anywhere else in Afghanistan. But the benefits the British troops have brought are seized on by officials, including decreased opium production and more Afghans being educated. But the benefits have come at a price, not all of which are as obvious as the monuments to the fallen British soldiers erected by their comrades.

Shortages of helicopters and surveillance equipment mean troops are only as safe as far as they can see with their rifle sights or binoculars. The Taliban also know it and are careful to lay their lethal mines and improvised explosive devices just out of sight. Soldiers work on the basis that every time they patrol there is a one in four chance one of them will die. Privately, senior British officers say they currently work on the assumption at least a “limb a day” will be lost.

The tally of dead currently stands at 208, but some senior officers believe this could rise sharply. The numbers of those wounded and maimed have soared by 300 per cent in the past three years as the increasingly bloody struggle to maintain order has intensified. New figures obtained by The Independent on Sunday also show that the numbers claiming compensation for injuries sustained in Iraq and Afghanistan are more than 12 times higher than the total in 2005.

Unpublished figures from the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) reveal in disturbing detail the “hidden costs” of the military action, with soaring numbers being forced out by wounds. The number of soldiers applying to the AFCS for financial assistance after being medically discharged rose from 200 in 2005-06, when the scheme opened, to 845 last year. Troops claiming for injuries suffered in service rose from 240 to 3,255 during the same period.

The disclosures follow revelations last week that service chiefs expect the number wounded in Afghanistan to have doubled by the end of the year. The total to the end of July was 299 – compared to 245 in the whole of 2008.

The figures also show that the numbers of “post-service” claims has risen by a factor of almost 100, from 15 to 1,455 since 2005. A Ministry of Defence spokesman admitted the heavy toll is due to the number of people experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after leaving the services.

PTSD sufferers tell of how traumatic memories come back regularly and involuntarily, resulting in chronic anxiety and hyper-alertness. The numbers affected are contentious, but conservative estimates say that tens of thousands of British troops who have served in Afghanistan and Iraq are suffering.

The MoD’s latest assessment of psychiatric health problems within UK forces, completed late last month, showed there were 3,181 new cases of “mental disorder” in 2008 – 16 cases for every 1,000 personnel. Troops who had been deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq showed high rates of “neurotic disorders”, including PTSD, with the Royal Marines affected more than all the other services.

The MoD acknowledges the high rates of mental health problems caused by military operations. In documents, seen by the IoS, officials concede that “some personnel returned from operations with psychological problems particularly when tour lengths exceeded expectations”. The MoD has appealed for increased “X factor” payments, which recognise the extra difficulties faced by service personnel.

Critics insist it is too little, too late, and fails to acknowledge the scale of the problem. Lord Guthrie, the former head of the Army, said the authorities had been slow to recognise the problem’s scale and extent. “When we go to war, we just don’t have the wherewithal to look after the physical and mental needs of our service people. You have to make sure that when you go to war, you are prepared to look after people, and that hasn’t happened.

“Successive governments have had a very poor record and have cut, cut and cut again the care for our service people. Having to rely on the NHS is not good enough. It has no capacity to deal with the extra people who need medical attention, and all this has been compounded by the reluctance of the MoD to admit how big the problem is.

“We hear a lot about the dead, but rather less about the wounded. We haven’t been able to see the proper figures,” he said.

Problems grow once soldiers have gone home, Lord Guthrie said: “You no longer have people to talk to. Support is very hard to come by. The Government has woken up much too late to this. Ideally, you need a network of military people throughout the NHS, but how do you pay for that?”

James Saunders, 39, served in the first Gulf War in the Royal Artillery. Looking back, he was suffering from PTSD when discharged in 1993, but he believes the Army was glad to close the door on him and his problems.

“When I asked to get out, I’d already been AWOL for six months, totally off-track, so they were glad to get rid of me. I’d see guys who’d been in Northern Ireland, drinking and getting into fights, but they were never punished. I realise now that the sergeants knew it was because they were suffering mentally, but rather than talk about it, they just ignored it.”

Former SAS trooper Bob Paxman, 41, said veterans’ problems are exacerbated when they leave the forces and are “out of the family”. His GP “didn’t have a clue” where to send him and specialised counselling failed. He suffered a total breakdown in 2006.

“I was on a dangerous job in Africa. I was a total wreck, at rock bottom. If I was left alone for more than five minutes, the flashbacks would come big style. So I self-medicated and filled myself with as much booze as possible. One night, I sank a bottle of whisky and put my 9mm pistol in my mouth but I couldn’t pull the trigger,” he said.

After his experiences Mr Paxman helped set up the charity talking2minds to help others with similar problems. Combat Stress is another charity which has stepped into the vacuum created by the MoD and the NHS. It is helping around 4,000 ex-servicemen and women with combat-related mental health problems.

It takes, on average, 14 years after discharge for a veteran suffering problems to approach them. Most current patients were on active duty
in the Falklands, Northern Ireland and the first Gulf War; less than 10 per cent have served in Iraq or Afghanistan. Hundreds more are treated in private hospitals ever year, paid for by the NHS.

David Hill, Combat Stress’s chief executive, said: “The scale and size of the problem is not known and is not adequately mapped in the UK – unlike the US and Australia. We are currently seeing an unprecedented increase in demand. Since 2005, there has been a 66 per cent increase in referrals and we are already providing support for 316 veterans of recent conflicts.” He says the NHS has no accurate figures on its veteran patients, and without such figures, no effective planning can be done.

In contrast, in Scotland, veterans are more involved in planning mental health services. They work in collaboration with NHS and voluntary services to ensure they get the services they need. “This is a very good model, and one that we could all learn from,” said Mr Hill. “There is a real drive in Scotland to understand more about the size and scale of the problem, and the services required to properly meet the current and future needs of veterans.”

The looming extent of problems created by Afghanistan has prompted the US to act. Earlier this month, it announced controversial plans to train all 1.1 million of its soldiers in emotional resilience. The training, the first of its kind for any military, hopes to prevent mental health problems from developing by helping soldiers to recognise and cope better with stressful situations in combat and civilian life. The $117m (£72m) scheme, to be rolled out by next summer, is unproven but the rising rates of suicide, PTSD and substance misuse has convinced military commanders to try it.

British experts aren’t convinced it is the correct route to take. Professor Simon Wessely, director of military health research at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, said: “I don’t think, to be honest, that there is a great call for this, I doubt it will be well received by the armed forces themselves anyway, and any benefits are likely to be slim… so no, I wouldn’t be pushing this. But if the US funds the research and show a significant benefit, then I am happy to be persuaded.”

Evidence strongly suggests that attempts to prevent PTSD work poorly, he said. “We have established and successful treatments;, the problem is acceptability and delivery.”

War wounds: ‘I was on a self-destruct train. There was no help’

James Saunders, 39, from Hampshire, joined the Army aged 17. Three years later, he flew to Iraq and spent six months fighting in the first Gulf War where he was involved in a terrifying friendly fire incident that injured five soldiers. On his return, his life spiralled out on control and he sought, and got, a discharge in 1993. It took another 12 years for him to find the psychological help he needed.

“We would drive down Basra Road, looking at the carnage left behind by allied air forces. It was like a slow motion film with body parts everywhere, sitting in cars. These images were burnt into my memory.

“When we flew home, a sergeant handed us all a piece of paper which said that we might experience problems with relationships. I was 21; I laughed and threw it in the bin. Eighteen months later, my son was stillborn and that sped up the self-destruct train. I ruined my relationship; cut myself off from family; I was taking every drug you can think of; went awol for months and eventually ended up in prison. I met at least six other army guys inside, all with similar problems, but there was no help.

“It wasn’t until a friend told me about Combat Stress four years ago that like so many guys, I realised I had PTSD.

“If I’d told anyone in the Army about the nightmares or how I felt I’d have been considered unreliable. That’s the way the military was, and still is. They train you physically but not mentally, which means good people are lost unnecessarily. If I’d had help back then, I’d still be in the Army now, coming up to my 22nd year of service.”
Source

Symptoms of mental illnesses.

  • PTSD
  • Clinical depression
  • Anxiety states
  • Adjustment disorders
  • Phobic disorders
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Bi-polar illness (manic depression)
  • Issues relating to past and present substance abuse/dependence (drug and alcohol)
  • Psychotic conditions in a non-acute phase
  • Issues relating to anger

Operation Enduring Freedom

Casualties of Troops By Country

More times then not, someone is watching their comrades dieing. That leaves a long term memory of sorrow and loss.

They may even be holding them in their arms as they die.

To September 18 2009

Country Total
Australia 11
Belgium 1
Canada 131
Czech 3
Denmark 24
Estonia 6
Finland 1
France 31
Germany 33
Hungary 2
Italy 21
Latvia 3
Lithuania 1
Netherlands 21
Norway 4
Poland 13
Portugal 2
Romania 11
South Korea 1
Spain 25
Sweden 2
Turkey 2
UK 216
US 838
Total 1403

Coalition Military Fatalities By Year

To September 18 2009

Year Total
2001 12
2002 69
2003 57
2004 59
2005 131
2006 191
2007 232
2008 294
2009 358
Total 1403

Source

Names of soldier,  dates  of deaths, cause of death

Each year the number of casualties are risisng.

The spin doctors try to make us believe things are getting better in Afghanistan, when in fact they are deteriorating.

Population of Afghanistan: In 2008  32,738,376

They are helping Afghanistan are they? Well I don’t see any improvements.

What you don’t hear much about in the News Media.

Unemployment rate In Afghanistan: No improvement there?

Year Unemployment rate (%)
2000 8
2006 40
2007 40
2008 40

Infant Mortality Rate is Rising: No improvement there?

Year Infant mortality rate (deaths/1,000 live births)
2000 149.28
2001 147.02
2002 144.76
2003 142.48
2004 165.96
2005 163.07
2006 160.23
2007 157.43
2008 154.67

Literacy Rate is Declining: Improved a bit for 5 years and is now below the 2000, 15% . No improvement there?

Year Literacy (%)
2000 15
2001 15
2002 21
2003 21
2004 21
2005 21
2006 21
2007 12.6
2008 12.6

Afghan Poverty rates are rising: No improvement there?

Year Population below poverty line (%)
2004 23
2005 53
2006 53
2007 53
2008 53

Afghans fit for Military Service: So one has to wonder, how many may decide to fight against NATO forces? They are seeing their friends and family die at the hands of NATO.

Year Manpower fit for military service
2000 3,432,236
2001 3,561,957
2002 3,696,379
2003 3,837,646
2004 3,642,659
2005 2,662,946
2006 2,508,574
2007 2,508,574
2008 3,946,685

Source

There have been over 56,000 Afghan Civilians injured and over 8,000 who have died because if the war.  They to suffer from all the same things soldiers suffer from as well.  The numbers on both side are growing.

The number of civilians killed in fighting between the Taliban and foreign forces in Afghanistan is rising.

March 9, 2009

The United Nations says the toll in 2008 was 40 per cent more than in the previous year, and things could get worse with the arrival of more US troops.

Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr reports from Kabul.

Within the first 6 months of 2009 over 1,000 Civilians were killed.

Since then many, many more have died.

Things have escalated in Afghanistan since the arrival of the troops from the US. The US is not wanted there.

The number of soldiers who die and get injured have risen as well.

Even the recent election was fraudulent.

So what are the soldiers dieing for?  Certainly not for “democracy” that is just a sham.  Something the spin doctors like to feed the public.

“We are making progress” something else the spin doctors like to feed the public.

The spin doctors tell us “Our soldiers die for a noble cause”. What a crock.

They actually want to control the middle east and it’s people. They want to control the resources of gas and oil.

That is really why men, women and  children  are dieing or becoming severely injured, civilian or military makes little difference.

Lost arms, lost legs, lost eyesight, mental health problems are just a few of the injuries that occur.  Permanent  injures that last for the rest of their lives.

On both sides there are thousands upon thousands of victims who will suffer for the rest of their lives.

Where do we draw the line? When do we say enough.

Usama Bin Ladin has never been connected to 9/11.

Has Usama Bin Ladin been dead for seven years – and are the U.S. and Britain covering it up to continue war on terror? FBI never linked him to 9/11

So why is NATO in Afghanistan?

More than half of British public against UK mission in Afghanistan

(Afghanistan 9) A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

Elusive threats boost PTSD risk in Afghanistan

Traumatic brain injuries the signature wound of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq

British officer leaked 8,000 Civilians killed in Afghanistan

Iraq hero goes on warpath for British troops

Victoria Cross holder condemns government failure to care for veterans suffering post-combat stress.

Exclusive by Terri Judd

February 28 2009

Johnson Beharry told The Independent it was

Teri Pengilley

Johnson Beharry told The Independent it was “disgraceful” that some veterans were struggling to receive treatment

The Army’s most decorated serving war hero has accused the Government of failing soldiers suffering from mental trauma resulting from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Lance Corporal Johnson Beharry, who was awarded the Victoria Cross for twice saving the lives of colleagues in Iraq while under heavy rocket fire, told The Independent it was “disgraceful” that some veterans were struggling to receive treatment. He said the Government was relying on military charities to cover its own deficiencies and called on it to act to better help the growing number of his comrades suffering from severe combat stress, depression and mental breakdowns.

“These are people who have served this country,” said Cpl Beharry, in his most outspoken interview since receiving the VC four years ago. “Why can’t they get treatment? I don’t think the Government is doing enough for soldiers. Those who are still serving get some form of help for combat stress but even those who are serving don’t get enough support.”

Cpl Beharry became the Army’s most high-profile war hero when he was awarded the VC for “repeated extreme gallantry and unquestioned valour” for the two rescues “despite a harrowing weight of incoming fire”.

Yesterday the 29-year-old, who is still a serving soldier, displayed the courage which earned him the country’s highest honour by standing up for the thousands of servicemen and women who are still suffering from post-traumatic and combat stress, having served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In a candid interview, Cpl Beharry broke his silence to reveal that almost five years after he suffered severe injuries saving his friends, he is still racked by mental anguish and excruciating pain. While he is aware he has received first-rate treatment, he has spoken out on behalf of less high-profile service personnel, criticising the fact that charities have been forced to step in where the Government has failed.

He described it as an outrage that former military personnel were forced to wait for NHS treatment: “I think it is disgraceful that an ex-serviceman or woman has to go to the NHS. The Government should have something in place for ex-servicemen and women.”

In a week when four servicemen died in Afghanistan and as British troops prepare to pull out of Basra after six years, Cpl Beharry described the nightmares, mood swings and irrational rages that plagued many soldiers.

“It brings me back into the killing zone, to the explosion. When you hear a bang in Iraq you know it is going to be followed by something and back home you feel the same. You go tense, waiting. I go into that defence mode.

“I am learning to live with it. Everyone experiences combat stress differently. But we are all linked, we all suffer the same problem in different ways.”

Serving with the 1st Battalion, The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment in Al Amarah in the summer of 2004, Cpl Beharry’s unit came under fierce attack more than 800 times.

In the last three months of 2007 alone, 868 military personnel presented with a problem at the MoD’s mental health departments and 69 were so severe they had to be admitted as inpatients. While just 43 were diagnosed as having full-blown post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), hundreds more were deemed to have mood or adjustment disorders or depressive illnesses.

A report on the Ministry of Defence’s Departments of Community Mental Health (DCMH) stated that there was a “significantly higher rate of PTSD among those deployed to the Iraq or Afghanistan theatres of operation”.

The report stated: “[The findings] do not cover the full picture of all mental disorders in the UK armed forces. Personnel may have been seen in primary care who did not require, or wish, onward referral to the DCMHs.”

Robert Marsh, a director of Combat Stress, the charity that offers a lifeline to thousands of veterans suffering from PTSD or associated conditions, said they had seen a 53 per cent increase in new veterans in the past three years. In the past year alone, they have treated 3,700 new veterans.

“Most people do not come forward for an average of 14 years after they have left the services so there is a problem storing up for the future,” he said. “Combat Stress is working hard to reduce this time lag because by the time we see them they are on their uppers.

“To have someone like Johnson Beharry VC talking so candidly helps normalise this condition for other veterans and, we really hope, encourages them to come forward.”

Defence minister Kevan Jones said: “We recognise mental illnesses as serious and disabling conditions but also ones that can be treated.”

Psychiatric teams provided diagnosis and treatment during and after deployments but the provision of those teams was just one part of the Government’s approach, he said.

The Government had also ensured support systems were in place to help non-medical staff spot those who might have been affected by traumatic events. “Decompression periods” in Cyprus also allowed personnel to begin to unwind, mentally and physically, after their operational tours.

“We are not complacent,” Mr Jones said. The Government had commissioned mental health research into King’s College London and expanded the medical assessment programme at St Thomas’ Hospital to include assessment of veterans who had served in operations since 1982.

Source

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

Published in: on February 28, 2009 at 6:33 am  Comments Off on Iraq hero goes on warpath for British troops  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

200,000 War Veterans homeless in US

January 16 2009
Glantz: ‘We’re going to be looking at an increase in those statistics’

200,000 war veterans homeless in US

300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans file disability claims with US federal government.

PACIFICA

For six years of war in Iraq, the Bush administration has done absolutely nothing to take care of the hundreds of thousands of wounded veterans coming home, said Aaron Glantz, a journalist who has been covering the stories of US military vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
“We’ve had people brought into the VA, turned away, who have committed suicide after coming back from the war with post-traumatic stress disorder.

We’ve had people redeployed to Iraq, even after they were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

We have 300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans coming home with traumatic brain injury, physical brain damage.

We have 300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who have filed disability claims with the federal government,” Glantz told Democracy Now! on Thursday.
“In many cases, there is no medical services at all, because remember that many people serving in Iraq and Afghanistan come from rural communities where the VA doesn’t even have a hospital,” he explained.
There are 200,000 homeless war veterans in the United States.
“On every night, 200,000 people who have put on the uniform and served this country sleep homeless on the streets,” said Glantz.
“Imagine that you come home from Iraq with post-traumatic stress disorder, a mental wound, or traumatic brain injury, physical brain damage often caused by a roadside bomb. The first thing that you have to do just to get in the door at the VA is to fill out a twenty-six-page form where you substantiate exactly how you were wounded, where you get letters of support from your battle buddies, from your commanders. You subpoena your own Army records, often with the help of your congressperson. And you present to the VA a gigantic claim folder, which they then sit on for an extended period of time. And that’s just to get in the door.

So we take our veterans when they’re most wounded and most vulnerable and exploit them by making them fill out a mound of paperwork just to get in the door,” noted Glantz.
“If you served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and you come home and you say that you have PTSD, that the VA should assume that you got that in the war, not from a auto accident, not from some experience growing up, but perhaps your experience seeing your buddies killed or your experience killing an innocent civilian, that those might be the incidences that caused you to develop a post-traumatic stress disorder,” he explained.
But some problems date back way back to 1991.
“We are seventeen years after the Persian Gulf War of 1991, and veterans of that war are still fighting to get disability compensation and healthcare. And for the last seventeen years, up until about two months ago, the VA had said that Gulf War syndrome simply didn’t exist, and they called it ‘undiagnosed illness’. And one problem with that is if you call it undiagnosed illness, then there’s no way to treat it, because you’re pretty much throwing up your hands,” said Glantz.
“I think another question that we should be asking is, what is the ‘Gulf War illness’ of the war that we’re involved in right now?

Is it our troops’ exposure to depleted uranium, for example?

Is it our troops—the pills that our troops were forced to take before they went into this war?

Might those things have long-term effects on our Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans?

Shouldn’t we get ahead of the curve this time and not wait until seventeen years after the war to begin to look at how to treat and compensate people who served in it?” Asked Glantz.
“We can’t forget about the 1.8 million Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who are coming back into our communities. And if we don’t deal with this now, we’re going to be looking at an increase in those statistics.”

Source

Well maybe the new president will take care of them.

Bush did everything including “cutting their health care” to help them. He helped as many as possible onto the streets. George was extremely helpful.

Nothing like being thrown in the trash, after serving your country.

Just another part of the Bush legacy.

Vietnam war vets were also treated badly. Many of them also ended up homeless.

The US has never taken good care of those who served.

They should be ashamed of this considering, these people put their lives on the line, to serve their country. But that is the American way. Has been for years.  Will it change with the new President,  maybe, maybe not.  They never really cared enough before to change anything so why would they now?  War Vets are disposable, as far as the US government is concerned. Like a Dixie Cup. Just throw them away, after they have served their purpose.

This is of course a “Human Rights Violation” under “UN LAW”.

Traumatic brain injuries the signature wound of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq

Gov’t Study Concludes “Gulf War Syndrome” is Legitimate Condition, Affects 1 in 4 Vets

Elusive threats boost PTSD risk in Afghanistan

A Canadian soldier stands guard at the side of a suicide attack in the city of Kandahar, Afghanistan on Thursday, Sept. 11, 2008. (AP / Allauddin Khan)

A Canadian soldier stands guard at the side of a suicide

attack in the city of Kandahar, Afghanistan on

Sept. 11, 2008. (AP / Allauddin Khan)

A Canadian soldier carries an improvised explosive device out of the grape field in which Taliban fighters had hidden it, on Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2008 in Nakoney, Afghanistan. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Bob Weber)

A Canadian soldier carries an improvised explosive device

out of the grape field in which Taliban fighters had hidden it, on

Oct. 8, 2008 in Nakoney, Afghanistan. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Bob Weber)

November 8 2008

Stefania Moretti

Canadian troops fighting in Afghanistan are up against two dangerous adversaries. The first, the elusive enemy; the second, the less-tangible threat of mental breakdown.

Indeed, new studies suggest soldiers deployed to Afghanistan are more likely to suffer from mental illness because of the high degree of uncertainty that characterizes the NATO-led mission.

Traditionally, wars have been fought on the front lines of the battlefield with an identifiable enemy in uniform. But in Afghanistan, the enemy is “elusive,” said one mental health expert. Threat can come from anywhere.

Afghanistan has been described as a 360-degree war with virtually no safe zone. Suicide bombers dressed in civilian garb, improvised explosive devices strewn across the treacherous “Highway of Death” connecting Kabul and Kandahar and entire communities surrounded by deadly land mines means soldiers face around-the-clock danger.

As a result, Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan are likely at higher risk of developing post-traumatic disorder than their comrades serving in other missions, Dr. Alain Brunet, of the Douglas Research Centre and McGill University, recently told CTV.ca in a telephone interview from Montreal.

British troops sent to Afghanistan last year were nine times more likely to suffer from PTSD, according to that country’s Ministry of Defence in a study released this month. Most British troops are stationed in Helmand province — a less volatile region than Canadians stationed in the Taliban hotbed of Kandahar province.

Veterans Affairs Canada pegs the number of Canadian war vets who will experience PTSD as high as 10 per cent.

But the figure only represents former soldiers, and does not reflect soldiers currently on duty in Afghanistan, where the risk of PTSD is likely much different, Brunet said.

As many as 28 per cent of troops come back from armed combat with one or more mental health issues, according to data complied by the head of the Canadian military’s deployment health section last year. Of those:

  • seventeen per cent exhibited signs of high-risk drinking
  • five per cent showed symptoms of PTSD
  • five per cent had signs of serious depression

Since the mission in Afghanistan began in 2002, the number of Veterans Affairs members with a PTSD condition has more than tripled, up from roughly 1,800 to 6,500, according to a Veterans Affairs briefing note obtained by The Canadian Press in March. Veterans Affairs expect the numbers will continue to climb with troops scheduled to stay until at least 2011.

In 2007, the number of suicides among regular and reserve members of the Canadian Forces rose to 36, the highest in more than a decade, military police records from earlier this year show.

There is a sense that there has been a recent surge in PTSD, and it can be attributed to a number of factors, Brunet said.

The spike in military PTSD cases may also stem from fewer cases going unreported, thanks to education and screening programs implemented by the army in recent years.

Within two months of returning from a tour of duty in Afghanistan soldiers undergo a mandatory PTSD assessment followed by several weeks off and counseling.

Brunet, whose research focuses on the risk and remission factors associated with the disorder, said an officer with PTSD symptoms should not be re-deployed because the risks are “cumulative.”

“The more you go (to Afghanistan) the more likely you are to develop the disease,” he said, adding the diagnosis of PTSD in the army is “amazingly important.”

Dozens of soldiers have already completed two tours of duty in Afghanistan, and some could face a third if the mission is extended.

But significant barriers preventing PTSD diagnoses among soldiers remain, despite efforts made by the Canadian Armed Forces to educate soldiers about the disease.

Having PTSD can be a career-ender for a soldier, Brunet said.

A combination of this fear of dismissal from duty and the “macho culture” that permeates the force makes officers hesitate to disclose their problems, Brunet said. “We are sending mixed messages.”

The “hallmark” of PTSD is persistent nightmares, but symptoms can also include, flashbacks, gaps in memory, detachment from loved ones, little control over impulses, problems concentrating, anger and irritability.

Although it’s natural to experience any or all of these symptoms after witnessing a traumatic event, PTSD sufferers become incapacitated by their frequency and severity.

“Personally, I wouldn’t want to have a comrade working with me and to have to rely on someone with PTSD,” Brunet said.

Source

Afghan veterans more likely to suffer from mental illness