21
Apr
08

On air: The psychological toll of war

Nearly a fifth of American troops returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, with many finding inadequate support to help them.  According to this survey, that means around three hundred thousand people.

More than half of service members with PTSD or depression had sought help in the past year. Of those, about half received what’s described as “minimally adequate” treatment.

This isn’t of course a new problem, or one that is confined to US troops or adults. It goes right back to shell shock in the first World War. Then support was minimal and some within the British army took the view that these men were cowards who were trying to get out of fighting. So almost 100 years on – how much has changed?

This latest US report shows that some members of the armed services felt they would be stigmatised if they asked for help. Do we understand what these men and women have to cope with? Is there enough support for them, or is this just a sad consequence of war that we have to accept? If you’re a war veteran – tell us what support you received and how you were treated by your country. We’re talking about this on Monday’s programme.


90 Responses to “On air: The psychological toll of war”


  1. 1 Insistent Verite
    April 18, 2008 at 16:36

    “Post-traumatic stress disorder” is the name given to a syndrome- or complex of depressive symptoms.

    Far more dangerous, in my opinion, is the development of the sociopathic personality. Young people, including combat soldiers, can easily develop this because their personalities are still forming. Essentially, it involves actions without conscience or remorse. It may involve action according to the norms of the group, rather than the norms of society.

    Sociopathy is so prevalent among some groups that it has been thought to have a substantial genetic component.

    The BBC has an interesting series on the Mai Lai tapes, and we are hearing some horrific tales from Somalia. Has anyone any data concerning sociopathy among Anglo combat troops?

  2. 2 steve
    April 18, 2008 at 16:53

    Sociopathy is more and more common as become become more materialistic and self absorbed and entitled. Kids are growing up literally thinking the world revolves around them. I used to be like that as a kid, then realized the world doesn’t revolve around me. Some people are astoundingly self absorbed. Twice yesterday I got walked off the sidewalk by women who weren’t looking in the direction they were walking, just not caring about the possiblitity someone might be there, when they finally noticed and I was deseperately trying to avoid them stepping onto me, they would give a dirty look, a snooty noise, and acted like I had inconvenienced them somehow. I guess I should have realized the sidewalk belonged to her. Had that only happened once yesterday I would have let it slide, but happened TWICE.

    Lots of priests are in town becuase the Pope was here, and I was rather shocked that on the metro they would immediately run onto the Metro as soon as the door opened, despite people trying to get off. Really shocked, I mean, it’s not just a courtesy, but common sense. How can people get off a train if you are in their way? I would expect that from clueless tourists from kansas, but not priests.

  3. 3 Nge Valentine
    April 18, 2008 at 16:58

    Hello bbc crew,

    As I once said, only a human being can understand the sufferings of another human being. If our authorities can’t understand this, then they are not humans at all. I have had the chance to be in RD Congo where i find each and every day victims of war, street childrens. The great and uncurable problem they are suffering from is what we cal in french “les blessure interne ou psychologique”. I tell you these are wounds that can not be healed neither in days neither in months but years. The psychological conserquences of war is at times irreversible.
    The very high rates of street children we are having here is due to war, children that have been psychologicaly disturbed, they are afraid of no body, they are ready to afront any type of daily activities such as theft, rape, drugs etc, all these due to what some of them withnessed during the war. A child watching his parents being killed infront of him, watching his or her sisters being raped. With this you are bing tromatised through out your life.

    War is not good, the globe is facing many hazardious problems like drouts, shortage of food. We should foght for these instead of creating conflicks here and there.

    With regards
    Valentine

  4. 4 David from Australia
    April 18, 2008 at 17:33

    Ask the coolition of the willing (Bush, Blair and Howard) and see if they know the answer to the question. Or probably find their children and ask them.

  5. 5 Will Rhodes
    April 18, 2008 at 19:06

    I don’t know what the difference is today compared with the 1940/50s.

    My father was a British soldier in WWII and he never displayed any outward symptoms – and I know he fought in some very bloody campaigns. Could that have been due to the war they fought? I really don’t know – but the old soldiers I have spoken to have said how different it is today – it would be good to hear what they have to say.

    I would ask my dad but he is long since gone from this world.

  6. 6 steve
    April 18, 2008 at 19:36

    @ Will, something tells me that the three survivors of the HMS Hood probably didn’t fare very well psychologically for the rest of their lives… I’m sure it just depends where you were and what war you were.

    If you think about WW1, going “over the top” meant you were pretty much going to die. In WW2, well, that was a very brutal war, I cannot imagine any pleasant aspect as even the civilians were involved. I really don’t think Vietnam could be compared, yet you hear so many more stories about disturbed soldiers from the Vietnam war, and I know of some…..

    I would think WW1 probably had the worst given that if you went into a combat situation, your chances of getting killed were much higher given the nature of the fighting.. I would also imagine having fought with muskets, lining up to fire and be fired at, to be pretty traumatizing, just praying you don’t get shot, standing there, maximizing the area open to being shot at, instead of laying down on the ground.

  7. 7 Casandra
    April 20, 2008 at 02:14

    My friend is a Marine veteran. He watched his best friend get shot and die only feet away from him. He was lucky enough to get out with his own life, but he struggles with his sanity. He is an alcoholic now. On his best days, life is great; on his worst days he contemplates suicide. He has not sought out any mental health help because he hasn’t acknowledged he has any problems. As a friend, it is all very sad to see.

  8. April 21, 2008 at 13:33

    There is not one of my friends who have left for Iraq and come back remotely the same. Some suffer worse than others, but all are changed, and it is not for the better. Alcohol useage has picked up amongst every one of them and they seem to have higher emotional extremes. I can only immagine what hell they had to endure to change them so much. Some had been injured by IED’s, some had been shot, some had witnessed their friends within their unit die infront of them, some had shot and killed or witnessed men, women, and children killed who were later found to be unarmed and/or not able to communicate adequately with the soldiers. With that being the tip of the iceburg, it is no wonder so many have psychological problems when coming back. That would mess anyone up. War is a terrible, terrible thing.

    Regards,
    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  9. April 21, 2008 at 14:40

    You seem to be coserned about the American soldiers experience from the war.Particularly the Iraque war.How about the civilians who are caught up in the war for no fault of theirs.I am sure the commander in chief of the American army ( President) too would be sufferring from the effects of war.In srilanka the army men who had defected/ resigned from the army are responsible for murder and mayhem in their villages.Prior to joining the army they were like any other innocent village folks.Quiet a number of them have lost their mental equlibrium and very soon we will be facing disastrus consequences. In fact there have been number of suicides as well among the army.

  10. 10 Arnaud Ntirenganya Emmanuel
    April 21, 2008 at 14:51

    Hi Ros,
    After genocide in Rwanda, I was just like a mad young man, crying, violent, not talking, hating people, only comforting practice was using drugs, even that I tried suicide three times, life had no meaning again, I wished to have died together with my family, losing my both parents, my four blood brothers, many relatives, many friends and neighbours, it is not that easy to forget, so that kind of memory can be for life to some people

  11. 11 mahamed geeljire
    April 21, 2008 at 15:02

    dear bbc
    my name is m.geeljire live in the break away repubic of somaliand,former north of somalia state,now called in somaliland still not recognised from the international community but origin we are somali,
    as we now nowa days there were heavy fighting between insergents and somali troops backing by ethiopian troops,more than 127 civilian people have been killed the last two days in mogadisho,capital of somalia and injured 200 ,ethiopian troops have entered the biggest mosque in mogdisho which is notinvolved the insergents,and killed at same time 11 mullah and saized or captured 50 young student who are learning the religion of islam and quran,in my idea ethiopian mascarede the cavilian people,
    and the international community is ignoring what is going on this lowlessness country for the last 17 years ,
    the solution of somalia is withdrewal of ethiopian troops, iam very sorry what is in moqdisho

  12. 12 gary
    April 21, 2008 at 15:03

    Fabricated justifications for the initial invasions, appointed military leadership on basis of political rather than military qualifications, lack of concern for civilian deaths, improper or zero concern for the welfare of still-living civilians, demonstrated lack of concern for the physical and cultural heritage of the invaded countries, provision of a perfect training ground for Al Qaeda, demonstrated ignorance of the possibilities for sectarian violence, demonstrated inability to appropriately control said violence once it began, ordered or allowed torture, lack of concern for the post-traumatic stress disorder in returning soldiers . . . what a list! The people who elected the folks responsible must remember; no human life is taken with impunity.
    g

  13. 13 steve
    April 21, 2008 at 15:35

    @ gary

    lack of concern for civilian deaths by US troops? whatever. I wonder, given how many civilians the terrorists commit, given they target civilians. Do al queda terrorist have mental problems from their conduct in this too? What is the war’s toll on them given how many civilians they kill due to targetting civilians?

  14. April 21, 2008 at 15:39

    Hi Precious Ros. Almost daily horrific nightmares, extreme overreaction to some events and extreme underreaction to other events, sometimes crying with no particular reason at all, being perminantly extremely worried and extremely scared, almost forgetting what true happiness and peace are really like, having from 4-5 bouts of terribly severe headache almost every months, dreaming of my loved ones who’ve gone and left me alone almost everyday. I’ve experienced, and am continueously experiencing all of the above. And yet I’m said by my family and close friends to be having a strong personality :-). With my love. Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad.

  15. 15 John in Salem
    April 21, 2008 at 16:06

    As current history so well demonstrates, it is usually those without the benefit of PTSD who launch the institutionalized insanity we call war.
    Let us hope we never find a cure for it – as it is probably the only thing that has so far kept our species from totally self-destructing.

  16. 16 Syed Hasan Turab
    April 21, 2008 at 16:49

    A clear Concept of war is essental for a soldier along with motivation & cause, as we noticed all these factors are not available in Iraq war from offencers or librators side.
    While compairing with Alquida & Iraqi public reaction, they sound like fully motivated & devotional for the war against USA & Allies, though US & European media & Govt is trying there level best to get there public support along with real essence of war & never suceed because of following reasons:-
    (a) Improper planning.
    (b) Purely sentimental.
    (c) Political.
    (d) Unfavourable for USA & Allies.
    (e) In favour of Isriel.
    ( f) Divided public openion Nationally & Internationally.
    (g) Untouchable & unique enemy, with & without country.
    (h) Fully determend & motivated enemy.
    ( i) Based on Oil trade.
    Keeping in view the overall wate of lifes & emotional damage to US & European’s soldiers if Alquida dosent win, so they arenot the looser’s either.
    Any way this war been declared illegal by UNO not because of mental & emotional sickness of aggressiver’s.

  17. April 21, 2008 at 16:58

    The total cost of war can never be fully realized. The effects linger long after the peace treaties are signed. Many of us still live with the results of WWII even 3 and 4 generations later.

    Outside of the tangible seeable outcomes, there are less noticeable. There is the child who grows up not knowing his father for the first 2 or 3 years of his life. So she had a mother who had to work to make ends meet, a father she only saw on short leaves. They are not getting the kind of attention a child should to develop properly.

    One example for instance would look something like this. Abused children are the result of many situations. From an angry situation where they can’t understand why they lost their parent in a war. A child of a parent who was a leader in his military position and comes home from months of heightened paranoia of a war zone and treats his family like they were his soldiers. Children of drug a addicted parent trying to cope with the things he had seen and done. The children of these soldiers end up getting abused and many time and grow up to be abuser themselves. The children they abuse grow up to, you guessed it, be abusers.

    How do you measure those costs?

    One day a child who lost his best friend and big brother to an accidental bombing by an occupying force that started a war for reasons that weren’t clear or didn’t exist, may form a rag-tag band of hooligans and plan some outlandish “terrorist” attack. Then everybody is going to sit around going, “whatever did we do to them.”

    How do you measure the cost of actions that bleed over and start new ones?

  18. 18 Dolapo Aina
    April 21, 2008 at 17:48

    Only human beings who have suffered and persevered would know what soldiers go through. In Nigeria, majority of the low level soldiers who go for peace keeping or conflict zones don’t come back the same. They behave anti-socially.
    And in Nigeria where good medical treatment is a dream for these soldiers, it lies on the government to cater for the medical welfare of the soldiers but with what prevails it seems unlikely they are been catered for medically.
    But the plain truth is those in power wage wars but never put the psychological and mental health of their returning soldiers in focus. If they do, it isn’t evident.
    Dolapo Aina,
    Lagos, Nigeria

  19. April 21, 2008 at 17:57

    “The psychological toll of war.”

    There is a design fault concerning the worlds present military structure of governments.

    It is designed to where power and authority is amassed to the extent that the Offices of a Commanding General gain abilities above the governments that sport them.

    Long standing hierarchy gains the covert ability to retain unquestionable power without any reference to ethics.

    The result is regionally individuals with the same power and corruption as that of Hitler!

  20. April 21, 2008 at 17:58

    “The psychological toll of war.”

    There is a design fault concerning the worlds present military structure of governments.

    It is designed to where power and authority is amassed to the extent that the Offices of a Commanding General gain abilities above the governments that sport them.

    Long standing hierarchy gains the covert ability to retain unquestionable power without any reference to ethics.

    The result is regionally individuals with the same power and corruption as that of Hitler!

  21. 21 Anthony
    April 21, 2008 at 18:11

    I don’t understand why the few vietnam to present vets I know are messed up and on drugs, and they blamed both on the war. On the other hand, I can’t find one WWII vet who is screwed up like that? Makes me wonder?

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  22. 22 Chris via email
    April 21, 2008 at 18:17

    It is shocking that 40 years on from the Vietnam war and countless movies, and books about the physiological effects on soldiers that we are in the same place as we were in 1914. Outrageous.

    Chris B Los Angeles

  23. 23 Andrew via email
    April 21, 2008 at 18:17

    This condition which does not affect all soldiers but can effectively destroy others is something that the armed forces must address. It is more than a responsibility as they recruit and send into battle zones the soldiers they court to do a nation’s bidding. For those that are severely affected by PTSD it can be a long and difficult road. I have worked with some veterans that will probably never get over the trauma they experienced. Only with intensive and appropriate therapy can their mental wounds be healed. How can a responsible government discharge these men into society with crippled minds to fend for themselves? But make no mistake it is not just a soldier that will experience battle induced PTSD, do not forget those civilians caught up in a conflict the silent majority who never signed up for a war but are forced to endure it.

    Andrew

    Australia

  24. 24 Adam via email
    April 21, 2008 at 18:18

    I was in the first Gulf War with Iraq and still get nervous when I hear sirens that sound like the air raid sirens that sounded during the war. When the current war was looming my first concern was that they were going to foolishly make a whole new generation of silently wounded vets.

    adam in portland

  25. 25 Daniel via email
    April 21, 2008 at 18:21

    The question must be asked if it is easier to deal with post traumatic stress when a soldier fights in a worthwhile war ie ww1, ww2.as opposed to a war where the world and the “freed nation” despises the whole idea of the conflict as in the case of Iraq and Afghanistan? The sheer doubt whether conscious or unconscious that the war is simply an economic or political tool must play on the mind of those who fight them.

    Thanks

    Daniel in Johanesburg

  26. 26 Kevin via text
    April 21, 2008 at 18:21

    PEOPLE WHO CHOOSE TO BE SOLDIERS ,THE HUMAN SHIELDS FOR OUR COUNTRY AND FREEDOM,DESERVE ALL THAT WE COULD GIVE!!!KEVIN IN TRINIDAD

  27. April 21, 2008 at 18:22

    hello veterans and hosts.

    i’m really glad that more attention is being drawn to PTSD. I am a survivor of a sexual assault that took place in the presence of 6 of my friends. afterwards they didn’t even acknowledge what had happened to me, even inviting my attacker to a “family dinner.” I have been diagnosed with PTSD and have all of the symptoms described by your guests. We have to deal with this in many areas of our society. So i am grateful to you for your service to our country overseas as well as your continued service as survivors here at home.

    i’m doing my part to educate about what you are going through and i feel a kinship in that you are also educating, in a way, about my experience.

    thank you.

    damali

  28. April 21, 2008 at 18:23

    oh i forgot to mention
    listening on OPB in Portland OR

    so glad you are on our airwaves!

  29. 29 steve
    April 21, 2008 at 18:23

    Let’s not pretend all war protestors are pro-Soldier. I’ll never forget this protest that happened in Berkeley. You think he appreciates what the soldier did? Don’t think so.

  30. 30 Luke T
    April 21, 2008 at 18:23

    I am a listener on OPB in Oregon. I am also retired military and just want to express my unreserved support for the veterans on the show and for all coalition veterans of the Iraq war.

    As for Anthony who cannot find a WWII vet who was screwed up from the war, you didn’t look very hard. You are probably experiencing confirmation bias.

  31. 31 ORSunshine
    April 21, 2008 at 18:24

    I’m a listener in Oregon (OPB). I don’t think that my initial opposition makes me not support individual veterans. As a matter of fact, I am subscribed to VoteVets.org and IAVA.org, both organizations that support vets and veteran’s benefits. I think it’s an abomination how we treat our veterans. There are so many injured and psychologically wounded veterans in my community that sacrificed their entire lives and much of their happiness because they fought in wars. I am not a pacifist, but I opposed this so-called “war” (really an occupation) because I knew that Saddam nor Iraq had anything to do with 9/11, and sending our troops into an area where guerrilla warfare would be the major battle with an unknown timeline and unclear goals (when will the government admit this is all about oil?).

  32. 32 Chad via email
    April 21, 2008 at 18:27

    in this country, our leadership looks at our soldiers as simply a tool, like a rifle or grenade – disposable.

    this makes me sick

    -Chad in Portland

  33. 33 Chris via email
    April 21, 2008 at 18:27

    Hello. I am living in San Francsico and am listening right now. The story of these soldiers going through these mental issues is hard. Now our soldiers are not only dealing with physically being away from their families and have a greater likelihood to die, but they are now dealing with mental problems as well. I support our troops 100% and thank them for their service, a service I could not do due to medical problems. As for the war, I think it’s time to set up a timeline and let Iraq take over ruling its own country.

    Chris
    San Francisco, CA USA

  34. 34 John Foster
    April 21, 2008 at 18:28

    I am a listener on KALW in San Francisco. I tuned in a little late, but I want to say that I have opposed the war since before in started and I have sympathy for our soldiers who were sent there. I want our government and society to support fully the VA and other support mechanisms for the soldiers. But I also want our soldiers to be withdrawn as soon as possible. I can not support their mission. But this is why the case for a war has to be very, very good in the first place, in order for society to fully mobilize behind it. But the case for the Iraq war was built on false premises, and that undermines support for all aspects of a war.

  35. 35 Ian via email
    April 21, 2008 at 18:28

    Ross & WHYS Staff:

    There is a difference that needs to be made clear: People can be against the war in Iraq but still Support the Troops.

    It is absolutely sad that lack of support the American Government gives to our Soldiers after they return home. Regardless if we agree for the reason they went there or not, the men and women who protect our country, volunteers who give up their time and energy for the betterment of humanity, deserve better from their leaders and their fellow citizens. Our leaders put them there and its up to us all to take care of them when they return.

    Instead of standing up and recognizing they commitment, we should be standing up and offering our help and honoring our commitments to them.

    Ian from Arizona

  36. 36 Margie via email
    April 21, 2008 at 18:28

    I have always considered myself to be “anti-war, pro-troops.”

    In light of your guest’s comment about it being hard to be surrounded by people who care more about the latest celebrity pseudo-scandals than about the war their nation is involved in, I would love to have the chance to ask a returning vet, “What bothers you more, the superficiality of most of American society (i.e.: the above-mentioned comment that your guest made,) or the fact that a majority of Americans think it was a mistake to get into the war & want us to get out ASAP?”

    Margie
    KOPB listener
    Portland, OR

  37. 37 Barbara via email
    April 21, 2008 at 18:29

    I came to adulthood through the Vietnam war. I feel badly now for the psychological damage done to troops because of the protests then that confused anger with the war and policymakers with anger with our soldiers. They were not the cause of that problem.

    Nor are they the issue here. I strongly feel that one of the greatest crimes of this war — beyond the war itself! — is that our veterans are not getting the medical help that they need. It is an outrage that we ask them to risk their lives, to sustain all variety of physical and mental injury .. and then do not take care of them. It makes me very sad and frustrated with the state of our body politic.

    Barbara
    Cleveland, OH

  38. 38 Anthony
    April 21, 2008 at 18:30

    Either way, I don’t think Bush and his kronies care about the state of our soldiers, after all, USA’s greatest export are soldiers.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  39. 39 Jon
    April 21, 2008 at 18:32

    To Brian,

    I have been against the war in Iraq since day one, but I want to let you know, as well as all of our troops, that I am behind you. I thank you all for everything you have done in service for our country. We must remember it wasn’t the troops that got us into this. They deserve all the help they need, physically and mentally.

    Jon
    Cleveland, OH

  40. 40 Aldis via email
    April 21, 2008 at 18:32

    Hello World Have You Say crew,

    I was against the war at the start, and when George Bush decided to go over to Iraq, I found myself scratching my head in confusion (Bin Laden was in Afghanistan, right?). However, the members of our military deserve our utmost respect. They have sacrificed, and continue to sacrifice, and civilians should not blame them for the failings of our leadership.

    Aldis in Oregon

  41. 41 Nora via email
    April 21, 2008 at 18:33

    in military families ptsd is passed from generation to generation.
    My grandfather Gilhooley lost his leg fighting in a kilt in WWI, my mother, the first born after the amputation, ran emergency feeding in her native Scotland for soldiers in the next war. My father went to his grave crying about what he had seen in WWII. Our lives were shaped by the shadows of war.

    The veterans coming home from Iraq to the Santa Cruz Mountains are scared of what it will do to the next generation as well as for their
    own sanity. They are, like me, from a long line of service.

    Nora in California

  42. 42 Scott via email
    April 21, 2008 at 18:33

    Greetings, Ros.

    I sympathize completely with your guest, and all of our military personnel serving combat duty.

    I voted for the current administration, but I’m ashamed of some of their actions regarding the Iraq War.

    Our priorities seem to be askew. And when I say “our”, I don’t mean the American voter. I think most of us are disgusted with at least some facet of the current situation. And I can’t imagine any voting citizen being opposed to moving our soldiers to the topmost priority with respect to their well-being Before,, During & After their service.

    I hope at least one some of our elected Federal officials are listening to your program today and do the right thing.

    ~ Scott in Ohio City (Cleveland)

  43. 43 Scott via email
    April 21, 2008 at 18:34

    When humans are trained as collective emotionless robots to become part of a war machine their capacity to handle the emotions of the trauma of death are also destroyed. I would argue that statistically the type of individual (or tough guy/girl) who joins the army is already less in touch with their emotions then the average. This toxic brew might make for a ruthless army but the immense psychological ruin is barbaric.

    -Portland, Oregon
    -Scott

  44. 44 Linsay Rousseau Burnett
    April 21, 2008 at 18:34

    In response to Anthony, the idea that WWII vets have no drug problems is a misnomer. I am an Iraq War veteran, 40% disabled, and have been involved with the Veterans Affairs medical centers to receive my treatment. Before one of my surgeries I had to talk to the anesthesiologist, standard questions include ones about drug use. I thought it was funny that they were asking me about using drugs like heroine. They said they had to because so many of their older patients (WWII vets specifically) had the highest percentage of drug use, usually harder drugs like cocaine and heroine.

    I have doctors appointments at my VA hospital roughly every two weeks and the majority of the people in those waiting rooms are WWII vets followed by Vietnam vets. When you have seen death and killed people these are images that will always be with you. Many who served in WWII, Vietnam and the present conflicts, along with conflicts throughout the world, have seen some absolutely horrible things. Each generation has a different way of handling their problems. I would argue that there were better support networks for those returning from WWII than for any of the following wars.

    Having served with an infantry unit in Iraq, I have friends who have had several suicide attempts, persistent AWOL attempts, violent outbreaks, domestic violence (truly an epidimic) and habitual drug use, in each case the unit would give a slap on the wrist, then remind them that their actions would not get them out of deploying to Iraq. It is difficult to get assistance when you have to go do doctors appointments during the work day which means you have to tell your chain of command, which means you run the risk of discrimination and claims of trying to get out of work.

    Each brigade in our division (101st Airborne Division) has one psychologist assigned to a unit with roughly 4,000 soldiers, and there is only one psychiatrist for the division once it’s deployed. When they are back in the US the mental health office is so overwhelmed and understaffed they are forced to see up to 7 soldiers before lunch for no more than 30 minutes for no more than 3 sessions as put down unofficially by the hospital administration.

    Soldiers are in short supply, you have to fight to get treatment and fight even harder if you have a condition that makes you non-deployable. The Army turns a blind eye to many things and it is institutional from the lowest to the highest ranks. It is passed on to the VA with their consistent budget cuts and lack of staff. Especially staff who understand the military and war.

  45. 45 LMo via email
    April 21, 2008 at 18:35

    Wars heighten awareness of PTS. However, another population, much larger than vets, suffers from PTS: incest/rape survivors. I don’t agree that opposition to the war lessens empathy. Everyone condemns sexual violence, but family and the Catholic Church’s responses to pedophilia are instructive. Relatives and clergy are in denial because it’s an uncomfortable subject. I’m not surprised that Vets experience the same thing.PTS is devastating for everyone who experiences it. As a woman nearing 50, my heart goes out to these very young people who face PTS. Perhaps we can help each other?

  46. 46 Ikie via email
    April 21, 2008 at 18:36

    In Portland, Oregon a group of mental health professionals
    has organized Returning Veterans Resource project NW where we provide confidential, probono services to veterans and their families (Iraq and Afghan. campaigns).
    Pls. see our web based directory http://www.returningveterans.com
    Family members can utilize the services whether or not the veteran is being seen.
    We believe whatever one’s feelings about the war, it is our collective responsibility to help heal those who have served.

    ikie
    Board member, RVRPNW

  47. 47 PT via email
    April 21, 2008 at 18:37

    My father was a D-Day veteran (through to the German surrender) and I am a veteran of the Vietnam era (non-combat), and there is a significant difference in how the military member views his or her service and readjustment on returning to a country that supported or opposed the war. I agree that strong support gives you confidence and lack of support undermines that confidence. Researchers will have to determine how much impact that has on the development of psychological problems.

    If the US public learned one lesson from the Vietnam war it was that the government makes the policy and the decision to go to war and not the individual military members. Even vehement opponents of the Gulf War seem to be supportive of the returning troops. And this with an all-volunteer military. During Vietnam, we were subject to conscription in the US, so many of those in the military were either conscripted or enlisted to try to avoid being conscripted into a front-line role. Many of us were just as opposed to the war as those who ridiculed returning veterans as “baby killers.” Some of us have only lately “come out” and expressed our own pride at having served after 30+ years of silence.

    PT
    Cleveland
    via Internet

  48. 48 Earle
    April 21, 2008 at 18:37

    Please explain the difference between what WE call PTSD and what was call “Shell Shocked”
    Thanks

  49. 49 Blair via email
    April 21, 2008 at 18:38

    I am against the war and have been from the start but the people who have volunteered for military service should always be treated with the highest respect. They have volunteered to put their lives on the line for the rest of us.

    I worked with an Army Special Forces Vet and everyone at the office supported him during his deployment and after. I think that support, even though he knew we didn’t support the conflict, helped him to get through his deployment and gave him the sense that he was respected and that we wanted him back. If soldiers have knowledge that they are important to people back home then I think that can cushion the horror that they experience in country.

    Blair in Portland

  50. 50 Austin via email
    April 21, 2008 at 18:39

    please consider that many of these psychological injuries to service people are inflicted upon them by the very military they serve because an altered psychology is required to perform the tasks of a soldier, especially in a strategic war. the citizens of each nation involved in war ought to confront this reality so they can make political choices in full awareness of the effects they are creating in their own citizens, let alone those of other nations.

    Austin in Portland, Oregon

  51. April 21, 2008 at 18:39

    The U.S. government will not fund the VA because there is no money to be made like there is in funding the Iraq invasion.

  52. 52 Paul
    April 21, 2008 at 18:40

    As a disabled Vietnam veteran with service connected PTSD I have a life long experience with the problem and the issues of the VAMC and treatment. In 1969 after 3 1/2 years of service in Vietnam I returned to a country I did not know and was not wanted bu a society with hatred for all things military. I had a long two year struggle with the VA before my congressman finally intervened to help me and the fight ended.

    At best the VA can help you have some understanding and some methods to cope but it is up to each of us to carry the load to our graves. I hold no hope of ever living within a normal world with a normal way of life.

    The country has learned not to blame the warriors but the leadership has and still continues to treat veterans as spent rounds laying on the ground.

    After many years of seeking answers the best I can do is to cope with daily life. My beautiful bride of 32 years has carried the burden of getting me through the nightmares and the flashbacks.

    I have experience job discrimination because I was a vet, I have lost many jobs that I wish I could have learned to hold on to. Today I live each day one at a time with no hope of the future and struggle to keep the past as history and not a current reality that haunts me day and night.

  53. 53 Tom via email
    April 21, 2008 at 18:41

    I’m really disappointed to hear that soldiers misunderstand the opposition to the Iraq invasion as a lack of support or appreciation for the soldiers. I’ve always been a hawkish, conservative republican….until the Iraq war. Like Senator Obama, I was vocally against this invasion from the beginning. Not because I think Saddam Hussein was a nice guy or because I like terrorists. I just don’t believe it is an effective way to fight terrorism by any measure. I think it is tragic that so many soldiers have sacrificed themselves for this misguided war.

    Tom
    Oregon

  54. 54 m jackson
    April 21, 2008 at 18:44

    I still find it amazing that these soldiers think that their country men should be all supportive. Our president wanted us to go out and shop. If you dont watch cable tv, you would never know that there was a war going on.

  55. 55 Nia via email
    April 21, 2008 at 18:47

    We forget the women and girls who are raped due to war. Yes, the service men need follow-up help and so do the women and girls. I think we need to talk more about rape when we talk about war. Women and girls are forgotten.

    Nia in Salt Lake City, Utah USA

  56. 56 Suzi via email
    April 21, 2008 at 18:51

    My son is a Marine currently deployed in Iraq. As far as I can tell, he is doing OK, for now. He is in an Anbar Province where a fragile
    peace is being maintained and he feels good about helping with that.
    But, the stress on my husband and me has been considerable. We opposed the war and didn’t want our son to be part of it. We feel pretty alone with our fears for our son’s safety and our concern about the war. Our friends don’t have children in the military and live their lives as if there was no war going on. It’s just not even a topic of conversation for them. I’ve joined Military Families Speak Out and our group goes to the airport every Sunday to man a table in the Free Speech zone handing out information and talking to people to encourage them to remember there is still a war and to ask them to support a foreign policy to bring the troops home. We speak out in any other ways we can, too. But, it just doesn’t seem to make a difference. I feel like people “think” they support the soldiers, but they ignore the war — don’t try to help get better benefits for those wounded, don’t even know the education benefits need to be improved and are shocked to hear that young men and women are sent over and over again to fight, even when they are suffering from psychological distress. This isn’t a war our country is involved in, just the members of the military and their families are involved.
    Suzi, Portland, Oregon

  57. 57 Katja via email
    April 21, 2008 at 18:52

    Relief for these soldiers benefits not only them, but their families and communities as well, by enabling them to contribute their abilities to the greater society.

    It is important that the soldiers not blame themselves. Much of this is situational — for example, how much personal control was possible in that moment.

    The part of the brain that is affected by PTSD has nothing to do with courage or will. It is the oldest part, the Amygdula, that works quicker than thought. It tells the body “this is dangerous, watch out.”

    These memories stay in the raw state, as sensations. Each time a similar sound or smell trigger this danger response, it gets reinforced but a release of Cortisol. This is why such memories do not fade, and can in fact, get worse.

    Body oriented techniques, such as Peter Levine’s somatic releasing, or more brain oriented processes likes EMDR bring relief to many people.

    After the World Trade Center disaster, two of the top three treatments that survivors reported as helpful were yoga and EMDR.

    Katja in Oregon

  58. 58 Muhammad via email
    April 21, 2008 at 18:53

    Hi WHYS!

    I hope you all are fine.

    Wars are always fought with ‘spirits’ against a clear ‘objective’. In this war, i’ve heard several politicians saying that they are fighting against a faceless and invisible enemy. Then how you find these troops ready to fight with spirit against such an invisible enemy with no clear objective.

    Troops know it better that they are just performing their duty in a high risk area against an unkown time frame.

    The major point of frustration for troops is, “How we can fight ideological war with guns?”

    With Regards,

    Muhammad
    Gujranwala, Pakistan.

  59. 59 Jay Hoge, Riga, Layvia
    April 21, 2008 at 18:59

    I did 2 tours of duty in Viet Nam in the 101st Airborne. When I got home, the VA had nothing to offer me. I was fortunate to find a counselor at the Uni I attended on the GI Bill who talked me through the worst of my memories. My heart goes out to all the others who have faced the same trauma.

  60. 60 Janet T
    April 21, 2008 at 19:23

    Suzi- please keep the WHYS family posted on how your son is doing- we care.
    Janet in Oregon

  61. April 21, 2008 at 19:41

    In war , in the end there are the happy to be alive and the dead!

    The rest of the human clutter are the casualties of war. They are the poor of character, unable to appreciate the right of passage, and the great opportunities to love and go on to harvest meaning and purpose of life.

    War to me was a point of relativity to weather the storms and dissappointments still to come with a degree of humor.

    The casualties of war seem unable to be proud of their service, and to have been appreciative of the service of their fellows. They are negative and lost. There is a choice in it all. I chose to remember the carrying of my dead fellows out of their and as I carried them to the helicopters was secretly glad to still be amoung the living. There is great value in simply being greatful to still be breathing.

    Many of my fellow marines chose drink, drugs, self pity. Most have ended up dead long before their time. This is sad for those who traveled and fought with them. They could not seem to dwell on the characters they got to be with, even the character of the enemy soldiers we captured. I remember the times 2/3ds of my rifle platoon were down wounded. The less damaged trying to help the more seriously wounded. Both with incredible humor laughing at their lots in life. How could they not remember those proud things?????

    Then there is also the incentives to be and have problems. Virtually all the guys with adapting problems after war are amply rewarded with $2,500 to $4,000 per month checks for Delayed Stress Syndrom, and no taxes to pay.

    One Officer friend of mine has problems of the immagination…he gets $5,000 per month free and clear and they put him in a country club care facility at about $5,000 per month and they pick up all costs even meals. Everything furnished.

    He never saw combat, but was sent to Vietnam. He is not faking anything, he really has serious head problems, and does not have a happy life.

    That is how it breaks down…..the immagination is the real enemy both before the attack on line and then after the war.

    My friends are not kidding, but still they should be able to drop the bad thoughts and welcome the opportunity to laugh and enjoy life.

    troop

    Nehalem, Oregon
    Vietnam 68, 69, and 70 infantry platoon comdr and rifle company comdr.

  62. 62 Mark Sandell
    April 21, 2008 at 19:46

    From Ruth on e-mail

    It’s Ruth Dreier, an American living in Amsterdam, and a long-time and devoted fan of BBC. I’ve been following your show from the beginning. Listening just now to the broadcast on the effects of war, I say congratulations. For the following reasons:

    1. framing of the question

    2. quality and wisdom of the guests

    3. mix of incoming perspectives and voices

    4. grace and timing of the presentation

    5. identification of common ground

    These qualities exemplify the best aspirations of a world broadcasting organization, and I commend you for weaving them together in a ground-breaking, radiophonic way.

  63. 63 Mark Sandell
    April 21, 2008 at 19:48

    John , from the U.S but in Bristol,

    “Dear World Have Your Say–

    Thank you for the programme on the topic of Post Traumatic Stress. I was writing to say that my sister and I grew up under the shadow of our father’s time serving in Vietnam, and we were both diagnosed with Secondary Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, having had the behaviour passed on to the two of us by our father.

    My father’s generation was not one to really acknowledge the existence of post combat stress, especially that it could have long term effects on entire families. It was only in the late 1990’s – my father’s tour of duty in Vietnam was in 1968 – that he began to come to grips with it and make peace. He, and our entire family, could have used the help of the US government or military in getting my father back right after Vietnam. Despite the stress, he did remarkably well and is perhaps the only Vietnam combat veteran I know who has managed to take on a successful family and career life after returning to civilian life.

    Years later, here in England, I was mugged and beaten up pretty badly on my way home from work. I quickly showed signs of post traumatic stress. Here, and at this time, in Britain, the care I received to put me right has been fantastic. However, in my therapy sessions, we have wound up talking more about Vietnam than the incident of violence in my own life, and the whole process has helped me work through my father’s PTSD.

    Thank you
    John Evans
    Bristol, England (by way of Texas)

  64. 64 Ogwang via text
    April 21, 2008 at 19:53

    We in Nothern Uganda have been badly affected by war .It leaves people greatly traumatised,more especially the young ones who witness brutal killings.
    Ogwang in Uganda

  65. 65 Mark Sandell
    April 21, 2008 at 19:53

    Scott in Portland

    Soldiers not some heroic group that we need to worship or even be grateful too. They do after all get paid and in the USA they join by choice. I certainly don’t think most sign up to save the world or for noble reasons, many are lost and have no direction. I realize they often do a hard days work, but so do many other people and you could argue for better causes. Even if soldiers do sign-up to save the world, war at this time in history is an especially a foolish way to do it.

    -Portland, Oregon

  66. 66 Kalamo via text
    April 21, 2008 at 19:54

    Most of the young ones who fought in the Liberian war are now reduced to street begers,arm robbers and drug addicts.
    KALAMO in MONROVIA

  67. 67 Mark Sandell
    April 21, 2008 at 19:54

    Stuart in Oregon
    There are actually three disorders that were called “shell shock”

    1. Traumatic brain injury from concussion: days or weeks of continuous shellfire would cause repeated small concussions that would finally leave the soldier permanently brain-injured. Sometimes this would cause obvious physical symptoms like slurred speech or loss of use of a limb and sometimes also psychological symptoms like loss of memory, unusual anger or other strange behavior, etc.

    2. Acute psychological collapse from continuous stress, such as endless shellfire. This would cause the person to just stop functioning: loss of bowel and bladder control, incoherent speech, hysterial blindness or deafness (as well as physical deafness caused by near-misses), and so on. The treatment your guest from MSF described actually works for this disorder.

    3. Post-traumatic stress disorder: a less debilitating but chronic condition that was little understood until recently.

    Stewart King
    Oregon

  68. 68 Glibert via text
    April 21, 2008 at 19:54

    The sound of gun fire,bomb blasts,bullet wounds; disorient cognition.in africa the millitary has no policy for ex-combatants simply because the recruits are mostly outlaws.
    Gilbert in uganda

  69. 69 Al via text
    April 21, 2008 at 19:55

    I’m very happy to hear all these veterians going mad crazy.Thats their punishments 4killing children and women
    Al in the Netherlands

  70. 70 Mark Sandell
    April 21, 2008 at 19:55

    Chase in the U.S :

    “I think it says something about American society in the way warriors are praised.

    It upsets me when I ride an airplane and the staff tells us there are servicemen aboard and everyone aplauds. Why don’t teachers or doctors who perform a greater service for society don’t get the same recongnition.

    While praising and putting money and effort to support warriors seems like a positive effort, in the end this mindset of valuing warriors over other profession leads to a society bound to create more wars.

    Chase
    USA

  71. 71 Kasujja via text
    April 21, 2008 at 19:55

    Kasujja in Uganda
    In my country soldiers who faught in war are left to rot. There’s no intervention here and most go on drugs

  72. 72 Mark Sandell
    April 21, 2008 at 19:56

    Kara in Oregon

    As a survivor of domestic abuse I suffered PTSD, my symptoms were similar to what I hear the soldiers suffering now. I think some program should be created to get us survivors who are recovering together to help each other. I feel a lot of empathy for the returning soldiers and I think we need to find ways to help them as a community.

    Kara Steffensen
    Eugene. oregon

  73. 73 Mohammed via text
    April 21, 2008 at 19:56

    THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT SHOULD STOP STREESING IT MILITARY. THIS MAKES THEM INEFFICIENT AND HIGHLY SUSCEPTABLE TO TERRORIST ATTACKS
    MOHAMMED FROM NIGERIA

  74. 74 Mark Sandell
    April 21, 2008 at 19:57

    Michael in Oregon

    I live in Oregon and strongly oppose U.S. involvement in the current wars. As a Vietnam Veteran I somewhat understand but fully appreciate what current Veterans are going through. Whenever I encounter anyone in military uniform I personally thank them whether or not they have actually served in a combat zone.

    The problem is that America as a whole do not hold their leaders accountable. There should have long since been sustained and intense outrage against the government for the way veterans have been treated. The country, besides being bad at having planned appropriately for this current war did not plan for post war. How many wars has this country participated in which the aftermath of war and its effects on veterans and their family are well-known and documented. Give me a break.

    I am only just now dealing with my PTSD, which I did not believe I had despite its affects on my life these many years. Now I better understand some of my previous behaviors.

    Michael

  75. 75 Ann via text
    April 21, 2008 at 19:57

    My husband was a PTSD counselor serving war vets with the VA for 15 years. He died
    3 years ago.

    The VA was always cutting funding. With an accounting system that gave more weight to taking new clients rather than serving the ones he already had with a therapeutic frequency, he continually felt undermined in his efforts to give the best therapy possible to his clients.

    There are so many issues here…war brutalizes and traumatizes those who fight. It consumes the human beings who are sent to fight, even in the best of circumstances of a legitimate conflict. Human beings cannot withstand repeated 15 month tours of duty. The military will want to hide the true occurrence of PTSD, and it will leave those who served and their families to suffer with inadequate care. You can count on it.

    Ann
    Portland, OR

  76. 76 James via email
    April 21, 2008 at 19:58

    Hi, thanks for the topic. In northern Uganda, rebells abduct children n the lucky ones return home in an inhuman shape, both phys and physically. Thanks to NGO who tries to resettle them. But still they talk of killings.
    James in northern Uganda

  77. 77 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    April 21, 2008 at 20:07

    Good day WHYS listeners.

    I am interested in this discussion, not in terms of the actual cases of official wars, but moreso in terms of long term and sustained acts of violence and its impact on individuals. This might be at the level of violent communities, cities and or neighbourhoods. Are the effects the same? Or, is it that sociopathic behaviour is really only associated with the traumatic experiences of war? If so, then there is a need to extend the meanings of war and the ways in which violence sometimes impact peoples’ lives.

    Just a thought.

  78. 78 steve
    April 21, 2008 at 20:23

    @ Chase

    Perhaps it’s because a soldier is being paid $18,000 a year to put his life on the line while that doctor makes $300,000 a year and spends half his time on a golf course? Would you applaud that? I think the money they earn is plenty compensation, and I’m sure the risk of being hit by a wayward golfball doesn’t equal the risk that soldiers face.

  79. 79 Syed Hasan Turab
    April 21, 2008 at 20:44

    Both parties are agreed on war except suffering families, beside that use of excessive power may not kill the Ideology of enemy with a fresh flavour of nationalism. A sence of nationalism may not created in any army without ideology, justification & logic.
    Differance between both wariors is very clear one is getting paid for the fighting without motivation & intrest, another one without payment, but fully motivated along with intrest. Infact USA over estimate there Army, I feel no harm to say in1967 Israli army suceeded because of clear concept & motivation along with sence of nationalism, now Iraqees & Alquida are struggling in the same way.
    Further USSR army lost the war under same circumstances.
    A declared illegal war is developing an heples image of USA & Europe, on the other hand this war may not be faught overseas infact war is going on in USA too in differant lobbies, may god bless USA.
    This war need to open more fronts just army action is not enough, a real leader is the one who plan sucess.

  80. April 21, 2008 at 20:46

    In the uk there are constant complaints made about the level of care our forces recieve when they return home. The british stiff upper lip works are a hiderance. The public have become so concerned about the lack of funding that the re-habilitation of troops get that the Help the Hero’s charity was established last year to make up the deficit.

    It is terrible that our soldiers have to suffer for what they have seen. But sometimes it is a price that if you asked them they would be willing to pay.
    My grandparents do not discuss World War 2. My grandad only told me he had been stationed in Southampton when i first started university. But if you ask him was the sacrifice his generation made worth it, he would stand up and fight everytime.

    Thanks to their generation we live free.

  81. 81 Syed Hasan Turab
    April 21, 2008 at 23:23

    My couple of uncles served in Birtish Army & fought in Japan & Germany, they were so loving to me & my sister. After words they served in Pakistan army too & I still remember there war stories they use to tell us during vacations usually these stories comprises the KAMAKAZI Piolots & Distruction of civil life in Europe.
    Only one emotional damage I noticed in one uncle who served in Japan that was hate for Japanees, unfortunately after retirement from MES he got a job in SUZUKI company as Sr.Fourman and hate to do the meeting with Japanees.
    Any way barbic acts always been rememberd.

  82. 82 Scott Millar
    April 21, 2008 at 23:45

    @Steve

    So the more dangerous the job the more admirable? What about those coal miners you are so fond of? People don’t romanticize our “heroic” troops just because the “job” is dangerous, all lot more meaning is being inferred then you describe.

    When we are asked to support the troops, it isn’t because the job is risky, people are asking for much more then that. More then many are willing to give.

  83. April 22, 2008 at 01:46

    For Chloe and BBC WHYS: Not only are the soldiers suffering from the trauma of this foolish war. The whole country [USA] is suffering psychologically and physically.

  84. April 22, 2008 at 07:36

    A brief observation. “In the old days,” in the battlefields of antiquity, of the Middle Ages and later, in Europe’s wars, in the US War of Independence and the Civil War, and in the trenches of WW-I, killing happened face to face, body to body. Soldiers knew whom they killed and how, even when they didn’t know why. Killing is killing, but back then ‘humanity,’ the human element had not yet been divorced from the act of killing. A soldier killed the enemy and he saw his deed, smelled the blood, felt his action DIRECTLY. His weapons did not allow otherwise. WW-II weapons technology changed all that. Then, just at the end of WW-II, a man in a plane thousands of feet up in the air pushed a button, delivered a bomb and wiped out two cities, their death and that of thousands unseen and unknown — except as concept, as ‘intellectual’ experience. Since then the carnage of war has become chemical and impersonal, or personal and horrifying, dehumanized and dehumanizing. And now, today, the US has in operation in Iraq and Afghanistan three types of robotic planes of different sizes, from toy-sized planes for surveillance, for search and find, to a larger type carrying a payload for killing enemies, all operated by remote control by an operator sitting in comfort and safety half a world away in a US midwestern state. What difference between this killing and youngsters playing video war games in the local arcade or in their bedroom? Movies, films, tv shows, children’s games from the forties and fifties through today — in terms of themes and content, explicit violence, killings, the means and the motives, the attitudes, the assumptions and values reveal, through our visual arts and entertainment, the changes in our world and in ourselves. And, what effect does 21st century virtual-reality violence have on the minds of people, of the military, of politicians, of young and old alike? Our tomorrow is being shaped today–by us. And may God help us all!

  85. April 22, 2008 at 08:08

    Governments control their masses, the intent is to convince the public it is their protector where as it controls the minds and wishes of it’s citizen. The dilemma is everything contrary to the propaganda instilled the citizen to gain their never ending efforts to secure the will of their government. The psychological toll of the war machine cultivates the lifetimes and minds of it’s public. There is no other government and no other country that exists on this Earth. You are born and bread to serve the agenda of the government you reside in. Communication systems implanted in human beings at birth are used for a lifetime toward a governments will. Very few if any rebel and if one does as I do. It is because the masses have become degenerated and a lesser being than nature has designed. Freedom is wanted at this end and a rebellion of every human being in every nation on this Earth.

  86. 86 Beck
    April 22, 2008 at 20:20

    Having served during the Clinton years and on into the Bush years, starting when we were still fighting in Iraq between the four wars we’ve now had there since 1980 (despite the press claims that Bush declared war and we went from no troops to hundreds of thousands in a single day), I have noticed changed in soldiers and sailors, but from personal experience the majority of them are strongly for the better. The last two Iraq Wars (Desert Storm and Iraq War) show a drastically changing time from the way warfare was conducted in the past. Previously, military members had no methods to contact their family or loved ones on a whim, weeks would go by at a time with not just the family waiting to hear a response, but for the person at war to hear from those in his home land. Times are so different, soldiers and sailors bring cell phones with them and contact people every day, most brought computers and laptops with them, there are beds, guaranteed meals, Internet connections…and yet, people have become so sensitive due to a nation that tells them they should be psychologically damaged, that there are those who are deemed mentally unstable, several who were diagnosed who never fired a gun or even saw combat. Then of course that mentality has gone to cause people who are perfectly fine to be diagnosed with problems when none exist. What I’ve found from personal experience, being out there, not in a war such as Vietnam where everday has bullets flying overhead, but in a situation where things are more organized and the death rate per population rates along similar lines to living in one of the worst US cities instead of a true war zone, there are opportunites to demonstrate leadership and gain confidence. What I find is that the majority of returning soldiers and sailors display a level of confidence that they did not have before, but they become quickly exploited by the media and anti-war demonstrators, their names used as examples of people who return with problems even when none actually exist. At this point, it is the Americans at home that are creating psychological damage that was not created in war, but by the way they are treated upon returning.

  87. 87 Syed Hasan Turab
    April 23, 2008 at 18:53

    Infact all this tension & mistrust situation been planted during Mr. Bill Clinton time anf Mr. Bush face the mess of 9/11.
    No doubt Bush expend the war fronts with a vision of battle field & under Jewish pressure, according to ground realities US get traped in the former USSR situation.
    Recent Hillary Clintin’s political compain & agenda dosent support USA may support her wish.
    US need a sincear leadership along with best national & international agenda, otherwise USA will be dumped because of deaf & dum leadership. Overall residents of USA want peacefull & dignified life, which may be achieved through sincear leadership.

  88. 88 John LaGrua/New York
    April 28, 2008 at 22:38

    The futility of the Irag war and the deceipt of the Bush leadership can only demoralize the soldiers who see the grim reality of of it. The shifting rationale and horrific resulting human suffering can only traumatise a young soldier .They are equally victims of a madness which the US and UK has wrought.How can they easily forget this tragedy which will mark their lives for ever.The callousness of the political leadership is unbounded as witnessed by the neglect charged by returning veterans. and the blatant stupidity which they ciontinue to show.The erosion of trust in government will damage the US /UK.The slaughter of WW ! lead to enormous social and political upheaveal .The misuse of these volunteer as a disposable foreign legion has miminished recruitment with new enlistees with criminal records and poor education ,brutality, and abuse can only increase..Tthis terrible war has eroded the moral fibre of US and the price to the nation will dwarf the injury to the young people disillusioned by senseless carnage.

  89. 89 peter mose
    August 5, 2008 at 19:25

    my uncle suffered shell shock ,he was a an ok bloke before,when he came back
    he shouted at every body,his attention span was about short as a fuse,
    you would never know when or what would set him off,plus was violent to his familay, it lasted to the end of his days,

    on the sublect of what is loosey called combat syndrome ,when someone fires a gun in your direction with a velositey of 20,000fps its a wake up call ,your brain speeds up ,that makes your reactions speed up,your eyes are then programed to scan at the speed of light ,your brain is in survival mode,
    your hard drive remembers every thing,

    some of the results= you can dream in stereo,with technicolour,and sense the ,wind on your face and smell things , all of your senses are tuned,

    dreams ,are useually the bad one ,i was in bed one night and my then wife was like me asleep,in a milli second [ i did not know at the time ] punched across her and smashed the teasmaid into the wall = one punch, only had it a week,

    another time got up in a daze sat on the edge of the bed and said morning babe
    she sounded like she had trouble speaking,i turned aound and she was damaged ,i had hit her in the mouth and not known,

    when i was in france on holiday we were in the hotel the room was on main,
    their was an loud bang ,i hit the floor ,she was standing up ,looking at me ,
    [ it was a demonstration and some one threw a firework in the street,

    ever been walking down the street and someone puts their hand in their inside pocket ,ever went to walk in a doorway,

    dispite what some people say this can last for a long time ,and all you can do is
    to control it stay away from drugs , excess alcohol ,you cant control what happens
    when you are asleep,but it is best sleep alone,

    those who suffer this know you cant list it all but there you go,

    peter mose
    fully tracakble

  90. 90 John
    November 24, 2008 at 05:27

    To the guy from Jamaica:

    Yes, raised and/or living for an extended period of time in very violent and dysfunctional environment produces the same effect of PTS as combat soldiers, it’s just rarely discussed.

    I grew up in a very violent neighborhood/environment in a big American city; my father was jumped coming home form work, and shot in the back with a .22 that left him paralyzed for remaining 10 years of his life and in chronic severe pain because the bullet didn’t exit and couldn’t safely be removed. They didn’t rob him, didn’t say a word to him, just shot him. My mom AFTER this was jumped and robbed/purse snatched AT LEAST 8(!) times and I as 8-10 year old boy was with her 2 of those times….I’ll remember her crying until the day I die. I was jumped multiple times, stabbed, multiple fights, badly beaten up, robbed multiple times, in fact everybody I knew in the neighborhood (we were all working class/poor) went through the same things I did.

    What really angers me today is how authorities from city hall to the police covered up what was really going on and still do today 25 years later…..absolutely nothing has changed. The fact most people are just a meaningless statistic to MOST people in authority and the denial and passive acceptance of the seriously flawed staus quo makes me rage more than any rage I’ve had against the men who shot my father……I have more hate and rage against the cops and others who did NOTHING.


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