DARK HORSE: Bernie Sanders 2016- Death of a Soldier

22.

The number of veterans who commit suicide daily in the US, according to the Veterans Administration is 22.

In November 2013 CNN reported that the figure might be low. The VA figure was based upon data from 21 states and did not take into account deaths from three of the five largest states, Illinois, California and Texas. Considering the VA figures take into account only 40% of the nation, the reality indicates a daily suicide number in excess of 50 veterans daily, or an annual figure of an astounding 18,ooo annually. By comparison there were 14.748 homicides of all types in the US in 2010, and yet the tragedy of suicides among the nation’s veterans has gone largely ignored.

In April 2007 Afghan veteran Levi Derby, haunted, according to his mother, by seeing an Afghan child blown apart by a landmine as he handed her a bottle of water hanged himself. According to CNN, Illinois does not send data on suicides, like Derby, to the VA. In September 2014, Iraq and Afghan Veterans Against the War, #IVAW activist, who had served three combat tours in Afghanistan Jacob David George committed suicide, the ultimate therapy for sufferers of the aftermath of combat, violence and trauma. George, who struggled with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD was critical of treatment by the VA, saying in an speech that the VA, “isn’t designed to address the depths of the wounds we have. They don’t really look at the soul and how the soul has been injured in war.”

The irony is that in a society which was relatively untouched by the war, and in which reporting on the war was filtered and sanitized, American veterans may be more susceptible to suicide than countries where warfare has occurred. A study titled, “Suicide in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the city of Sarajevo” found no significant increase in the number of suicides pre and post war (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24197489). Bosnia was involved in a bloody civil war, with its capital Sarajevo besieged, from April 1992 until April 1995. Bosnia’s overall official suicide is moderately low, according to worldlifeexpectancy.com. who takes its data from the World Health Organization, UNESCO and other databases (http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/cause-of-death/suicide/by-country/). While the numbers coming from Bosnia are suspect, the author’s experience in more than 20 years in the Balkans indicates a cultural ‘understanding” that indicates shared trauma on a community-wide scale. They all suffered through the war and now commiserate in its aftermath, even after more than 20 years. There is no such understanding on a national level in the US. As with Vietnam and Korea, veterans return to a nation with little or no understanding of the traumas and moral transgressions of war veterans must confront.

It was only in the last several years that tens of thousands of veterans, dishonorably discharged for PTSD related behavior could apply to upgrade their discharge in order to receive VA benefits. The Pentagon did not formally recognize PTSD until 1980. Indeed, the culture of the military still is far behind in understanding, let alone dealing with PTSD. In 2012 Blue Star Families, an advocacy group for military family members, in a report s aid that inadequacies in treatment were to blame for the high number of suicides among veterans. They also pointed to the military culture as well, and a system of soft retribution for soldiers admitting to PTSD.

Congress has been painfully slow in action regarding the PTSD crisis. While there has been legislation regarding mental health care and quality of life issues for veterans facing lifelong disabilities, it has continued to ignore the unique characteristics of PTSD (http://mic.com/articles/3400/despite-combat-ptsd-act-congress-is-falling-short-in-providing-for-veterans-with-ptsd). For veterans the primary issue is one of trust in the therapy and the therapist. PTSD is unlike other mental illnesses, in that there are multiple dimensions to the disorder from a myriad of causes and is highly individual in its nature. Compounding the disorder is the social nature of PTSD as family, friends and coworkers feed and become part of the disorder for a returning veteran. PTSD becomes community. True lasting an substantive therapy should combine individual psychological and physical therapy with family therapy as well. America must become part of its war making process and be a full agent in its aftermath. Currently it is not. Uncertainty, such as Joblessness and the economy factor greatly in the long term recovery of soldiers and civilians suffering PTSD. Insolated, isolated from warfare and its horrors, propagandized by a burgeoning and greed-centered defense industry and harboring jingoistic notions of war and violence, the nation has created a climate encouraging suicide rather than minimizing it.

Donald Trump did indeed call attention to veterans’ issues, though not in the way he believes. Trump, in assaulting and insulting the not just McCain, but all former American Prisoners of War, as well as veterans overall. What he did was to underscore the ultimate ignorance of the American government, the Pentagon, lawmakers and the American people regarding the plight of veterans, who are all but forgotten once they return home from war.

Trump is all but out of the race. Since his candidacy was far more about his ego than about the country, and based upon defiant comments to critics, and a refusal to back down at all over the McCain comments, Trump won’t leave quietly. Supporters flooded phone lines equally redoubling support for Trump as well as supporting his attacks on McCain’s service. Within that narrative is a glimpse into the direction the Tea Party and hardliners are taking the GOP. To observers it is no secret that support for veteran’s issues is a populist ploy to further corporate and power interests. To be accurate, the DNC has pandered here as well, both parties using the military as a gateway into the heartland while promoting policies that ultimately are anti-vet, anti-minority and anti-poor.

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post

The real lesson from Robin Williams depression and suicide. Are you $%#@ing kidding me? A new rant from the FILTHY PUNDIT(He ought to have his mouth washed out with soap) Politics, way over the %$#@ing top!………………..You want the truth? YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH! Ukraine, ISIS, Ebola: the world has gone to hell. At least when I woke up this morning my very first thought was, right after ‘Christ, I have to pee,’ was at least Robin Williams is still alive. Then, SMACK! The news that Williams had committed suicide. So then I thought, I know, for good, clear, reasoned, information I’ll turn on Sheppard Smith and FOX. So then Smith calls Williams a coward and I thought to myself, probably committing suicide is one of the least cowardly things you can do. Not the best or even a recommended solution, but hardly an act of cowardice, not like, say a FOX News head who can call Williams a coward, but is too much of a coward to come out of the closet and admit he’s gay, at least in my humble opinion. And some trollop named Jacobsen on a local rightwing shit hole radio station echoed Smith’s remarks. This from a reporter who was more than willing to slut-walk her way in a bikini to the home of an accused killer to get the “scoop.” Both know-nothing paid robots for a corporate suck-dick media serve to highlight the current level of ignorance about mental illness and a lack of simple human empathy by a generation of media assholes crafted and cultivated to degrade the connections between people to make them better and more reactionary consumers of the schlock shit paraded for goods services and information in what was once a real culture into a plastic disposable one. This public shaming based on your stupidity is like we are still a part of some migratory steppe society instead of a modern fucking, tech and industry based society with books and shit. The whole reaction to Williams’ death highlights the dork parade of media insipidness and pointlessness, and to underscore that when it comes to mental ILLNESS, we will call some 60 year old fuck’s inability to get a fucking hardon into a disability but brush off depression, and other mental illnesses as something to “Get over,” because “it’s all in your head,” as if the brain was a lesser organ than kidneys, or the heart or an old man’s cock. As for pain, we also have apparently arbitrarily decided, as if leeches and bloodletting and demon exorcising were still the medical breakthroughs of the day, that the pain of mental illness is somehow lesser or of a different quality than slamming your hand, or an old man’s dick in a car door. I could spout chapter and verse about how we have learned, but apparently don’t use, an incredible amount about psychology, mental illness, physiology of the brain and the supreme systemic inter-connectedness of the mind and body, but that should be obvious every time you have a migraine and puke, are psychologically comforted by a foot rub or that an aspirin in your tummy stops a headache in your little pin head. It’s like that old Lewis Black joke about dumb people feeding Viagra directly to their penis to make it grow. Some people are just too fucking dumb to help. So I will make it simple. It comes down to this; who the fuck are you to decide how much someone else does or should hurt? I just had a dislocated shoulder and 2 broken ribs after a crash and still managed to get back on a bicycle for some long distance rides. If you can’t do that, do I have a right to call you a pussie, or do we have our own individual limitations, and instead of playing some Housewives of Bitch City sort of reality show shame game in which we descend to our base selves we decide that we need to help each other deal with our inherent differences and limits. Really upset by the suicide of Robin Williams? Prove it by moving the conversation on mental illness forward and fucking helping people instead of remaining content just to be another asshole!

CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. He is currently working on a new book “Shoot Down: An unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post