Saturday, September 29, 2007
St. Louis Post-Dispatch September 29, 2007
By Philip Dine
WASHINGTON -- Thousands of U.S. soldiers in Iraq - as many as 10 a day - are being discharged by the military for mental health reasons. But the Pentagon isn't blaming the war. It says the soldiers had "pre-existing" conditions that disqualify them for treatment by the government.
Many soldiers and Marines being discharged on this basis actually suffer from combat-related problems, experts say. But by classifying them as having a condition unrelated to the war, the Defense Department is able to quickly get rid of troops having trouble doing their work while also saving the expense of caring for them.
The result appears to be that many actually suffering from combat-relatedproblems such as post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injuries don't get the help they need.
Working behind the scenes, Sens. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., have written and inserted into the defense authorization bill a provision that would make it harder for the Pentagon to discharge thousands of troops. The Post-Dispatch has learned that the measure has been accepted into the Senate defense bill and will probably become part of the Senate-House bill to be voted on this week.
read more here
Friday, September 28, 2007
Video: Veterans of PTSD
Bouts of fierce anger, depression, and anxiety that previous generations of soldiers described as "shell shock" or "combat/battle fatigue" now earn a clinical diagnosis: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. But the relatively new medical label doesn't guarantee soldiers will get the care they need. NOW looks at how America's newest crop of returning soldiers is coping with the emotional scars of war, and some new and innovative treatments for them.In the show, we spent time with Iraq War veteran Michael Zacchea, a Marine lieutenant colonel who trained Iraqi troops and fought in the battle of Fallujah. Haunted by the violence he saw there, Zacchea and other soldiers diagnosed with PTSD now face what could be a lifelong struggle to leave the horrors of war behind and reclaim their once-peaceful lives.
PTSD Facts and Figures
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur after one experiences a traumatic event. The disorder is characterized by flashbacks of the event, nightmares, anxiety, avoidance, and social withdrawal. PTSD may take months or years to manifest.
Facts and Figures
The following factors increase the likelihood of PTSD: Youth, a history of depression or trauma, multiple deployments, and relentless exposure to violence.
30.9% of Vietnam veterans in one study had developed PTSD during their lifetimes.
Between 1999 and 2004, the number of veterans seeking benefits for PTSD increased 79%.
In Iraq, roughly one in six combatants has experienced PTSD.
35 percent of Iraq veterans sought psychological counseling within a year of coming home, according to the Department of Defense.
I think this is a great program, but I can't say for sure. The video was cutting out after six minutes. I'll check back later on this.
One thing that really bothers the hell out of me is that they never talk about veterans coming back from Afghanistan. What they do not fully understand is that many serving are doing it in two occpations. They may be in Iraq one year and in Afghanistan the next. It is not just Iraq and it's about time everyone in this country remembered we have two occupations going on while we only fight about one of them.
Non Mortal Casualties,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Army Navy Marines Air Force Total
Wounded - No Medical Air Transport Required 567... 22...... 0 ..........35.......... 624
Wounded - Medical Air Transport Required ,,,,,,,719..... 11..... 81........ 37.......... 848
Non-Hostile Injuries - Medical Air Transport
Required,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, 1,095.... 11..... 181...... 37........ 1,538
Diseases - Medical Air Transport Required,,,,,,,, 3,280... 187.... 203.... 654........ 4,324
TOTAL - WOUNDED,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, 1,286.... 11...... 103..... 72........ 1,472
TOTAL - MEDICAL AIR TRANSPORTED,,,,,,,, 4,353.. 270..... 339.... 878........ 5,844
TOTAL - MEDICAL AIR TRANSPORTS
(HOSTILE AND NON-HOSTILE),,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, 5,094.... 281.... 420... 915........ 6,710
Period US Other Total
+ 2007 88 96 184
+ 2006 98 93 191
+ 2005 99 31 130
+ 2004 52 6 58
+ 2003 48 9 57
+ 2002 48 20 68
+ 2001 12 0 12
Total 445 255 700
I am glad there are people speaking out and the seventy percent of the people of this country think what was done to Iraq is wrong. Unlike what Rush has to say about it, the majority of the people are on the side of doing the right thing even though the impulse to label people anti-war is repeated by the media as well as the congress. It's a good tool to use to divide people. What I am not glad about is that Afghanistan keeps getting ignored as if it never happened.
NATO's Afghanistan gains could be lost: commander
Fri Sep 28, 2007 11:51am EDT
LONDON (Reuters) - Hardfought gains by NATO troops this year could be lost in coming months if Afghan forces fail to hold ground seized from the Taliban, the NATO commander in Afghanistan said in an interview broadcast on Friday.
U.S. General Dan McNeill, who commands the alliance's 35,000-strong force, said NATO had scored successes this year in driving Taliban fighters from mountain valleys in the southern Helmand province, an opium-producing Taliban heartland.
The NATO forces in the area are mostly British troops who arrived in large numbers only last year. They say they have recaptured much of the Helmand River valley from the Taliban over the past six months.
But McNeill said Afghan troops had not yet performed as well as hoped in holding the ground after it was cleared, and there was a chance the Taliban could regroup and return.
go here for the rest of this and for links to other reports
Is Afghanistan ignored because it is no longer being controlled by the US?
Nato takes control of operations in Afghanistan
30 Sep 2006, 0039 hrs IST,AP
PORTOROZ (SLOVENIA): Nato decided on Thursday to take control of military operations across all of Afghanistan a move that US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld hailed as a "bold step forward" for the alliance.
Under the new arrangements, as many as 12,000 additional American troops will be put under foreign battlefield command, a number that US officials said could be the most since World War II. The move is expected to take place in the next few weeks, Nato spokesman James Appathurai said.
go here for the rest of this
Dothan Eagle - Dothan,AL,USA
Thursday, Sep 27, 2007 - 06:59 PM
By Jim Cook
When he left the Navy 10 years ago, Byron Wright couldn’t readjust to civilian life. His marriage ended in divorce and he developed a drug abuse problem. He now lives at the House of Benjamin, a facility designed to help struggling veterans get back on their feet.
“Everybody goes through different things,” Wright said. “It was hard for me. I felt sorry for myself.”
Wright’s story is all too common among veterans, an estimated 200,000 of whom are homeless.
The House of Benjamin, local veterans’ agencies and other civic organizations on Wednesday held a stand down, an event to help veterans like Wright gain access to counseling, health care services and the benefits they’re entitled to for serving their country. About 100 veterans showed up for the event before noon, and received services such as haircuts, flu shots, clothing and counseling.
click above for the rest
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Sep 27, 2007 06:29 PM
THE CANADIAN PRESS
WINNIPEG – A groundbreaking ruling that found a former soldier not criminally responsible for a sex assault he admitted to committing was overturned by the Manitoba Court of Appeal today.
The Appeal Court ordered a new trial for Roger Borsch, who did not face criminal penalties for breaking into a colleague's home in The Pas, Man., in 2004 and attacking her 13-year-old daughter.
Borsch argued that his mind was affected by atrocities he witnessed on a six-month tour of duty in Bosnia a decade earlier.
The original decision by Court of Queen's Bench Justice Nathan Nurgitz marked the first time a Canadian soldier successfully used post-traumatic stress disorder as a defence.
Borsch, 35, appeared tense – his brow furrowed, his head down – at today's court appearance at which the three-judge appeal panel released its reasons in a written report.
The panel said Nurgitz had to determine Borsch's state of mind at the time of the offences before he could find the accused not criminally responsible, the decision states.
"He failed to do this," it says.
Crown prosecutor Don Knight applauded the ruling.
"I guess you could say mission accomplished," Knight said outside court.
"The Crown's position at trial was he didn't suffer from (post-traumatic stress disorder) and even if he did, it's still not an excuse for committing crimes."
Borsch, who was working as a jail guard at the time of the assault, admitted to breaking into a co-worker's home, taping her 13-year-old daughter's mouth shut and then sexually assaulting her.
Borsch testified he only remembered waking up hours later in a canoe with no paddles on the Saskatchewan River.
go here for the rest
ELIZABETH EVANS The York Dispatch
Fifteen Newberry Township police officers and their chief sat unmoved in York County Courtroom No. 11 Wednesday morning, listening to an Etters-area man explain why he pulled a gun on township Sgt. Andrew Knaub and threatened to kill him during a DUI traffic stop.
A mental-health counselor told the judge that David Alan Martin -- a Marine who served in Vietnam -- suffers post-traumatic stress disorder and alcohol problems.
Martin, 54, of Pines Road in Newberry Township, said he never intended to shoot Knaub, but wanted Knaub to shoot him. In August, he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and driving under the influence.
Then, police had their say. Newberry Lt. John Snyder explained to Common Pleas Judge Michael J. Brillhart what an officer goes through, looking down the barrel of a gun and hearing he's going to be killed.
go here for the rest
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
In times of combat, it is very hard to feel anything Godly. Humans are trying to kill other humans and the horrors of wars become an evil act. The absence of God becomes overwhelming. We wonder how a loving God who blessed us with Jesus, would allow the carnage of war. We wonder how He could possibly forgive us for being a part of it. For soldiers, this is often the hardest personal crisis they face.
They are raised to love God and to be told how much God loves them. For Christians, they are reminded of the gift of Jesus, yet in moments of crisis they forget most of what Jesus went through.
Here are a few lessons and you don't even have to go to church to hear them.
( Matthew 8:5-13)
As he entered Caper'na-um, a centurion came forward to him, beseeching him and saying, "Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, in terrible distress." And he said to him, "I will come and heal him." But the centurion answered him, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes, and to another, 'Come,' and he comes, and to my slave, 'Do this,' and he does it." When Jesus heard him, he marveled, and said to those who followed him, "Truly, I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth." And to the centurion Jesus said, "Go; be it done for you as you have believed." And the servant was healed at that very moment.
This sounds like a great act Jesus did. You think about the Roman Centurion, powerful, commanding, able to lead men into combat, perhaps Jesus even knew of the other men this Centurion has killed. Yet this same man, capable of killing, was also capable of great compassion for what some regarded as a piece of property, his slave. He showed he didn't trust the pagan gods the Romans prayed to but was willing to trust Jesus.
Yet when you look deeper into this act, it proves that Jesus has compassion for the warriors. The life and death of Jesus were not surprises to Him. He knew from the very beginning how it would end. This is apparent throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament. He knew He would be betrayed, beaten, mocked, humiliated and nailed to the cross by the hands of Romans. Yet even knowing this would come, He had compassion for this Roman soldier. The Romans had tortured and killed the Jews since the beginning of their empire as well as other conquered people. The Roman soldiers believed in what they were doing, yet even with that, there was still documentation of them suffering for what they did.
Ancient historians documented the illness striking the Greeks, which is what we now call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. There is evidence this illness hit every generation of warriors. Jesus would be aware that saving the Centurion's slave, because of the faith and trust He placed in Jesus, would be reported from soldier to soldier. Jesus showed compassion even to the Romans.
How can we think that He would not show compassion to today's soldiers? How can we think that He would look any differently on them than He did toward the soldiers who would nail Him to the Cross?
God didn't send you into combat. Another human did. God however created who you are inside. The ability to be willing to lay down your life for the sake of others was in you the day you were born. While God allows freewill, for good and for evil, He also has a place in His heart for all of His children. We humans however let go of His hand at the time we need to hold onto it the most.
When tragedy and trauma strike, we wonder where God was that He allowed it to happen. Then we blame ourselves. We do the "if" and " but" over and over again in our own minds thinking it was our fault and the trauma was a judgment from God. Yet we do not consider that God could very well be the reason we survived it all.
PTSD is a double edge cut to the person. The trauma strikes the emotions and the sense that God has abandoned us strikes at the soul. There is no greater sense of loss than to feel as if God has left you alone especially after surviving trauma and war. If you read the passage of Jesus and the Roman, you know that this would be impossible for God to do to you. Search your soul and you will find Him still there.
For the last story on this we have none other than the Arch Angel Michael. The warrior angel. If God did not value the warrior for the sake of good, then why would He create a warrior angel and make him as mighty as he was?
Michael has a sword in one hand and a scale in the other. God places things in balance for the warriors.
And in John 15:
12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
When it comes to waging war, issuing orders, God will judge the hearts and minds of those who sent you and He will also know your's. If you feel you need to be forgiven, then ask for it and you will be forgiven. Yet if you know in your heart the basis of your service was that of the willingness to lay down your life for your friends, then ask to be healed. Know this. That if Jesus had the compassion for a Roman how could He have any less compassion for you?
Because the military is in enough trouble already trying to evangelize soldiers for a certain branch of Christianity, understand this is not part of that. It's one of the benefits of having I don't care what faith you have or which place of worship you attended. If you were a religious person at any level before combat, your soul is in need of healing as well. There is a tremendous gift when the psychological healing is combined with the spiritual healing. If you have a religious leader you can talk to, please seek them out.
Stress disorder suspected in attack
Family of Olympian's father says he suffered from war flashbacks; Fresno police defend pursuit.
By Denny Boyles and Marc Benjamin / The Fresno Bee
Experts in post-traumatic stress disorder said Tuesday it's possible the condition could have contributed to Cliff Finch's actions during a police chase and shootout Monday.
Finch, 58, father of Olympic snowboarder Andy Finch, remains in critical condition at Community Regional Medical Center after being shot multiple times. Tuesday, Finch's family offered more details about the days leading up to the shootout and the steps they tried to take to get him help.
"He's been as stable as a rock," Craig Finch said of his brother. "But when he broke, we knew it. We knew it was not Cliff."
Police said that regardless of Cliff Finch's state of mind, they responded the only way they could to an armed suspect who refused to stop and then fired at officers.
"Throughout this whole case, we were put in situations where we were left with little or no options," said Fresno police spokesman Jeff Cardinale. "Cliff Finch ran from officers, refused to surrender and shot first."
Craig Finch said he believes his brother did not know what he was doing when he ran from police and shot at them.
Cliff Finch has been charged with two counts of attempted murder of a police officer. Tuesday, Police Chief Jerry Dyer announced that officers had recovered a second loaded weapon from Finch's truck, along with a box of .223 caliber ammunition.
go here for the rest
By Catherine Mylinh
Watch the story Disbelief is starting to give way to pain and confusion for Clifford Finch's loved ones. Timothy Jones still can't believe the accusations against his cousin.
"The family is struggling. Obviously it's been a difficult time," Jones told KSEE 24 News Tuesday evening.
Fresno police say Finch, 58, led them on a high-speed chase. It ended with a crash in the northwest district near Herdon Avenue and Golden State; then a dramatic shootout, where Finch was hit several times.
Finch is now facing two counts of attempted murder on a police officer as well as a host of other felonies.
"There is so much shock. This is out of character. It's difficult for everybody to comprehend," Jones said.
Finch has been a recognized member of the community in part because of his topiary business and in part because his son, Andy Finch, is an Olympic snowboarder.
go here for the rest and for the video
Update on officer-involved shooting
Fresno police say they had no choice but to open fire on a man after a dramatic encounter. Officers say Clifford Finch, 58, shot at them first after leading them on a dangerous high speed chase.
PTSD may have led to high speed chase and police shootout
Could post-traumatic stress have played a role in an officer-involved shooting? Clifford Finch's family says the Vietnam veteran may have been suffering from PSTD when he led officers on a high-speed chase, ending in a shootout with police.
Copyright © 2007
© 2007 KSEE-TV, a Granite Broadcasting Station
Portions may also be copyrighted by the Associated Press and/or MSNBC.
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Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Hear Jonathan Shay talk about a scene in the Odyssey and how it relates to soldiers back from Iraq today.
Psychiatrist Who Counsels Vets Wins Genius Grant
by Joseph Shapiro
Morning Edition, September 25, 2007 · Among this year's MacArthur fellowships — sometimes called the "genius grant" — is a half-million dollar award to a psychiatrist who helps heal combat veterans with post traumatic stress disorder by talking about the mythological Greek warriors Achilles and Odysseus.
Soldiers, and generals, too, listen to Dr. Jonathan Shay, of the Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic in Boston. They listen especially when he talks about why it's crucial to soldiers' mental health to keep them together in the same unit over time, so they truly come to know and rely upon each other. This wasn't the practice in Vietnam. But it is again, today, thanks in part to Shay.
A lot of Shay's insight about how to prevent the mental health problems of war comes from reading the Iliad and the Odyssey. He first picked up the books while recovering from a stroke some 25 years ago. He was just 40.
As he slowly recovered, he took what he figured would be a temporary gig counseling Vietnam veterans at the Boston VA. He told them stories of Achilles and Odysseus — and those tales of betrayal by leaders and of guilt and loss among soldiers resonated with the Vietnam veterans.
"One of the things they appreciate," Shay says, "is the sense that they're part of a long historical context — that they are not personally deficient for having become injured in war."
go here for the rest
I read a lot of books about Vietnam and PTSD in a lot of years. This was the first one I read that made me want to contact the author. I was crying when I emailed Jonathan because this book was the first one that looked at PTSD as something personal. I didn't know very much about emailing or the web back then. I had the email blocking people not in my address book, without knowing it. Jonathan tried to email me back, but when he found it wouldn't go, he didn't give up. He searched until he found me. I was shocked. I didn't imagine him wanting to even email me back at all. I just wanted to let him know how much his book touched me.
Over the years, we emailed back and forth. He read my book when I was still working on it and helped me to keep pushing to have it published. It didn't work out and I went the self-publishing route but I will never forget his kindness. If anyone should be awarded for the work they do on PTSD and for our veterans, it's Jonathan Shay. He writes books so that everyone can understand and writes them from his heart.
If you want to read some of the best writing on PTSD and combat, go to the book store and find his name. He has several great ones but Achilles in Vietnam will always be my favorite.
Iraq War Stirs Memories for Vietnam Vets
by Libby Lewis
Morning Edition, September 25, 2007 · The number of Vietnam veterans seeking help for post-traumatic stress disorder has been steadily rising since the 1990s, and the rate has spiked since the United States prepared to invade Iraq in 2003.
Experts say a number of factors could be at play, including that America's present is rekindling ideas of its past and the Iraq war is triggering Vietnam memories.
For Jim Hale, a Vietnam veteran who ran electrical generators on Phu Quoc Island for the U.S. military, the Iraq war is almost like "watching a rerun" of the Vietnam war.
Since 1987, Hale has lived off the grid with his wife, Deena, in the Ozarks, 10 miles from the nearest paved road. He said that for years he thought he was doing all right.
He's always been a bad sleeper, and he tends to get nervous when he's alone at night. But four years ago, Hale got pulled emotionally into helping two old war buddies whose feelings about Vietnam were resurfacing as the United States began laying the groundwork to invade Iraq. All the while, he said, he listened to the news about Iraq on his battery-powered radio.
go here for the rest
Homeless veterans on the rise
There is a growing issue among our soldiers, returning from war, with mental health problems.
More and more are ending up homeless, and on the streets. A conference to address the homeless in Colorado Springs was held at the First Presbyterian church on Monday. A hot topic there was the cause of a growing number of soldiers, who are returning home, only to end up on the streets.
Jack Freeman works with homeless vets through the Department of Veterans Affairs. He says, "We're starting to see the beginning of vets that have gotten out after the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts."
From the battle zone to home life, it's a transition more and more soldiers can't seem to make.
Steven Kidd is a clinical psychologist for the VA. His job is to go inside the mind of a homeless vet. He says, "Those memories, all those issues keep coming back, and resurfacing, and disrupt the desire to live a normal life."
Part of the blame, he says, is mental health issues that are not properly addressed. He says, "Most of the folks we've seen are trying to self treat other problems, like traumatic brain injury or PTSD through alcohol and drugs."
Fort Carson leaders have said as many as 20% of returning soldiers are reporting symptoms of PTSD. Kidd says, "We're asking more of them than we ever have, so it wouldn't be surprising if we had a higher rate of PTSD from this war, that's purely speculation."
go here for the rest
19 hours ago
OTTAWA (AFP) — A Canadian soldier's recent death from a gunshot wound in the Kabul headquarters of the NATO-lead forces in Afghanistan has been deemed a suicide, the Canadian defense ministry said Monday.
After conducting a thorough investigation, the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service "has concluded that his tragic death was a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound," the defense ministry said in a statement.
"His death has been ruled a suicide."
Major Raymond Ruckpaul succumbed to a gunshot wound in his living quarters within the secure compound of the ISAF headquarters in Kabul on August 29.
click post title for the rest
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Full Circle- U.K. RELEASE! »
A BAND ON A MISSION : THIS IS FOR THE SOLDIERS…
A BAND ON A MISSION : THIS IS FOR THE SOLDIERS…
Drowning Pool Challenges Fellow Recording Artists To Show Support For Troops
DROWNING POOL STEPS IT UP FOR THE SOLDIERS; CONTINUED PARTNERSHIP WITH IRAQ & AFGHANISTAN VETERANS OF AMERICA (IAVA) GENERATES SUPPORT ON CAPITOL HILL FOR BETTER MENTAL HEALTH CARE FOR U.S. TROOPS
Veterans Group and Rock Band Present Congress with Letter of Support Containing 25,000 Signatures for Lane Evans Bill
Platinum rock band Drowning Pool is a band on a mission. Immediately following the successful launch of their “This Is For the Soldiers Tour”, the Texas rockers have stepped it up with Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), actively campaigning for better mental health care for U.S. Troops on Capitol Hill. Drowning Pool and IAVA presented Representative Patrick Murphy with a petition containing 25,000 signatures in support of the Lane Evans Veterans Health and Benefits Improvement Act of 2007. Murphy, who is the first Iraq veteran to serve in Congress, is a co-sponsor of the bipartisan legislation, which requires mandatory mental health care screening for returning troops. He served in Baghdad in 2003-2004 as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division.
Drowning Pool and IAVA first joined forces to launch the “This Is For The Soldiers” campaign and accompanying website www.thisisforthesoldiers.org, which continues to ask supporters to sign an online petition urging Congress to pass the Lane Evans bill. The group has been instrumental in involving their young fans in the political process and they challenge their fellow recording artists to show their support for our troops.
“It’s exciting to be on Capitol Hill with a rock band to raise awareness about this urgent issue. Tens of thousands of people from across the country have stepped up to help us support the troops,” said Paul Rieckhoff, IAVA Executive Director. “More than 1.5 million Americans have served in Iraq and Afghanistan and almost a third of them will face a serious mental health issue, ranging from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to depression. It’s critical that we get these troops the help they need now and the Lane Evans Bill is a major step in that direction. We are honored to work with Representative Murphy and Drowning Pool to get this important legislation passed.”
To view footage from the press conference click here: http://www.ivpnewmedia.com/10thst/dpvideo/pc.htm
Or go here
MySpace video embed Drowning Pool Takes DC
Add to My Profile More Videoshttp://myspacetv.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=18565685
Drowning Pool is a longtime supporter of the troops. The band’s current single “Soldiers” pays homage to our Armed Forces and their current “This Is For The Soldiers Tour” donates one dollar of every ticket sold to IAVA and the USO, while encouraging young fans to support the cause. The band has been a favorite of U.S. troops, performing USO tours in Iraq, Kuwait and South Korea.
Drowning Pool’s lead vocalist Ryan McCombs says, “It’s an honor and a privilege to work on something as important as this legislation.”
The Lane Evans Bill would help troops and veterans get mental health care in the following ways:
-Require in-person mental health screening for returning combat veterans
-Extend the window for Veterans Affairs mental health treatment
-Establish a registry to track Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to monitor their health and benefit use
-Improve the transferability of military records from Department of Defense to Veterans Affairs
IAVA, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, is the nation’s first and largest organization for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, representing more than 60,000 members and civilian supporters in all 50 states. For more information visit www.iava.org.
For more information on Drowning Pool, please visit www.drowningpool.com or www.myspace.com/drowningpool.
Barack Obama photo:
L-R: Stevie Benton (Drowning Pool); Paul Rieckhoff, Executive Director Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA); Ryan McCombs (Drowning Pool); Senator Barack Obama, D-Ill; Rob Timmons, Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA); Todd Bowers, Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA); CJ Pierce (Drowning Pool); Mike Luce (Drowning Pool).
From L-R Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-PA; Rob Timmons, Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA); Ryan McCombs (Drowning Pool); Paul Rieckhoff, Executive Director, Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA); Stevie Benton (Drowning Pool); CJ Pierce (Drowning Pool); Mike Luce (Drowning Pool).
Contact: Sandy Friedman Karen Sundell
Michael Houston(IAVA) Tiffany Youhanna
212/982-9699 10th Street Entertainment
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Back then the media, even the local newspapers were not talking about PTSD. They didn't want to be bothered by it. Publishers were not interested either. Very few books had been published on PTSD.
My husband was in treatment and even he had an increase in his problems. His doctor and I had a great relationship and we talked often about the increase in older veterans seeking treatment for PTSD by the VA. They were seeing veterans of Vietnam being joined by veterans of Korea and WWII. I have been trying to warn people ever since but no one would listen. I was not alone in sounding the alarm.
Though the years, my focus was on trying to get rid of the stigma of PTSD, but when this kept getting worse year after year for them, it became a dual mission to remove the stigma as well as educate those who were suffering from it so they could get help early.
They had years to get ready for what was coming but they ignored it. Now the only people paying for the ignorance of the government and their failure to act, are the veterans still paying the price. No one is held accountable and no one is found responsible. Everyone offers excuses.
If someone like me, not trained but in the trenches, could figure this out, why couldn't the people paid to do it, do the same? Where were all the experts back in 2001 when they could have been screaming about this and making people pay attention to them? Where was the media when all the indicators were already glowing red?
Iraq stress hits veterans of past wars
Most PTSD cases locally are triggered by stories, images of current conflict.
By Denny Boyles / The Fresno Bee
The war in Iraq has caused an increase in the number of local veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, an anxiety illness that can make it difficult -- or even impossible -- to lead a normal life.
But relatively few of those seeking treatment fought in Iraq. Instead, the televised images of war -- and daily news of bombings and deaths -- have caused the disorder to surface in Vietnam and Korean war veterans who have been off the battlefield for decades.
At Fresno's VA hospital, 190 new patients are referred for treatment of PTSD each month.
Up to 80% are older veterans who served in Vietnam and Korea and suffer from anxiety, anger or depression.
They did not seek treatment before because they didn't know they had the disorder or they didn't want to ask for help, say VA officials.
They believe the trend is seen elsewhere as well, and will continue as the war in Iraq progresses.
Dr. Cara Zuccarelli Miller, a clinical psychologist at the Fresno VA, said many older veterans only become aware that they have PTSD because they recognize their symptoms in those returning from Iraq who have been diagnosed.
go here for the rest
This is a perfect example of what I've been talking about. David Cox served six tours as a nurse in Iraq. Even now as you will read, he would go back if he could. So please stop letting people get away with attacking combat veterans with PTSD as being cowards, being lazy, being "un-patriotic" or all just being against Bush. Don't pass them off as if no one pays attention to them because people do. It has nothing to do with character, being brave or anything else because it comes to people from all sides. It is nothing to be ashamed of because they are wounded humans who survived an abnormal situation. Can you get more abnormal than combat? They do not all end up with the same level of PTSD and they do not all end up snapping or committing suicide. Sadly they do not all heal either. Some never seek the help they need. They just need someone to reach out to them as one human to another human. No politics and no judgements. Just help. It's one of the reason why I keep my personal views of Iraq off this page and out of my videos. I have other ways of expressing that. Why can't we all do that in the proper time and the proper place?
America has finally made peace with Vietnam veterans but look how long it took to do it. Don't let it be thirty years before we find a way to just co-exist as humans with these newer generations of wounded veterans. David Cox is a combat veteran in need of help to heal along with his family. He deserves no greater and certainly no less than veterans and their families who not only fought in Iraq but did not agree with any of it. We all support what was begun in Afghanistan and they too deserve no less and no more than veterans of Iraq. They all serve this country and they all pay the price. The least we can do is stand by their side as Americans helping them.
Soldier struggling to overcome post-traumatic stress disorder returns to civilian life
September 23, 2007
By Jerry Davich Post-Tribune staff writer
David Cox didn't hesitate to answer the question.
Kim Cox choked up before her husband could reply. She knew his feelings all too well.
"Even knowing the outcome and problems I have now," Cox said, staring past Kim, "I'd do it all over again, no doubt about it."
David reached for a sip to drink. Kim reached for a Kleenex.
Since the war in Iraq began, David has served six tours of duty as a critical care nurse for the Indiana Air National Guard. He helped transport roughly 500 critical patients during 156 combat missions, body after body, death after death.
It all caught up to him earlier this year.
Cox, a staunch supporter of the war from day one, lost 57 pounds in one month while in Iraq. That's when he stopped sending photos of himself back home to Kim. That's when he couldn't shake the nightmares and the sadness. That's when Kim knew something was wrong with her husband of 30 years but couldn't do anything from 7,500 miles away.
Finally, an explanation: David had post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD. He still does.
After finally arriving home in June -- he's been home only nine months in the past four years -- he went away once again, but this time for residential treatment in an out-of-state military medical facility.
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Saturday, September 22, 2007
By Peter Whoriskey
Washington Post Staff Writer Saturday, September 22, 2007; Page A01
NEW ORLEANS -- A gravel-voiced fire department captain, Michael Gowland says he had never been a big crier.
"I'm not a Neanderthal," he said last week, "but I wasn't much for tears."
Now, sometimes, he cries two or three hours at a stretch. Other times, his temper has exploded, prompting him one day to pick up a crescent wrench and chase an auto mechanic around a garage. Even more perplexing to him, the once devout Roman Catholic now wonders "if there's anything out there."
"If anyone had told me before that depression could bring me this low, I'd have said they were a phony," Gowland, 46, married and a father of three, said during a break from fixing his flooded home. "Everything bothers me."
More than two years after the storm, it is not Hurricane Katrina itself, but the persistent frustrations of the delayed recovery that are exacting a high psychological toll on people who never before had such troubles, psychiatrists and a major study say. A burst of adrenaline and hope propelled many here through the first months but, with so many neighborhoods still semi-deserted, inspiration has ended.
Calls to a mental health hotline jumped after the storm and have remained high, organizers said. Psychiatrists report being overbooked, at least partly because demand has spiked. And the most thorough survey of the Gulf Coast's mental health recently showed that while signs of depression and other ills doubled after the hurricane, two years later, those levels have not subsided, they have risen.
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Stand Down 2007 helps veterans in Connecticut - by Crystal Haynes
by News Channel 8's Crystal HaynesPosted Sept. 21, 2007Updated 12:12 PM
Rocky Hill (WTNH) _ They served our country, and now the state of Connecticut is lending some of our veterans' a helping hand. "Stand Down 2007" is aimed at making sure the state's veterans have everything they need.
For Eddie Torres Mills, the road from the battlefields of Iraq to a normal life in Connecticut has been a rough one.
"My company, we lost a guy. We were transportation, doing convoys. And right now they talking about PTSD and stuff and I don't really know what it is, but they say I might have it," he said.
'They' are the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs, the sponsor of Stand Down 2007. Here Torres Mills, an Army veteran, along with hundreds of the state's homeless and needy veterans, have an opportunity to get haircuts, have health screenings, get their driver's licenses restored, and even take care of misdemeanors at a special satellite superior courtroom.
Torres Mills plans to take advantage of the free legal advice.
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".,,,they talking about PTSD and stuff and I don't really know what it is," Why? Why after all this time a combat veteran does not know what PTSD is even though he must have been diagnosed with it? How is this possible? What more needs to be done and how fast can we do it?
Friday, September 21, 2007
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View GalleryA CONCERNED mum is calling on the UK Government to give better support to war veterans affected by their time in combat.
Patricia Davis, from Lennoxtown, says her son George suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) since serving in the army.
When he was 17, George joined the Queen's Own Highlanders, serving in Germany, Northern Ireland and Iraq.
He left the forces in the mid-90s after developing a range of symptoms which are commonly referred to as 'Gulf War Syndrome'.
Now 37, and after years of suffering alone, George attends Hollybush House, a veterans' facility in Ayr.
Hollybush House offers residential respite care for those affected by PTSD.
More than 34 people from East Dunbartonshire use the facility annually, benefiting from services such as counselling, massage and relaxation treatments.
The centre, which treats approximately 850 people every year, is a charity funded by organisations such as the Royal British Legion and the Congregational Church of Scotland.
Patricia said: "Hollybush is a wonderful place, but it needs support from the Government.
"My son used to be a fun, kind, caring person - now he is virtually a recluse. It is very sad for all the family.
"The Government is quick to sign these young people up, but they don't support them enough when they are discharged."
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Community providers learn to recognize combat stress symptoms in returning troops
PHOENIX,AZ (CompNewsNetwork) - As part of their continuing efforts to address the needs of returning Guard members, TriWest Healthcare Alliance, the Department of Defense's TRICARE contractor in Montana and the VA Montana Health Care System have partnered to launch the first Combat Stress Video Conference. The conference, being held from 2 to 5 p.m. on Sept. 19, 2007, will bring together nearly 150 community-based health care providers that care for the thousands of returning Montana National Guard troops throughout the state.
The conference will be broadcast simultaneously to providers in nine locations including Billings, Culbertson, Glasgow, Glendive, Great Falls, Havre, Helena, Kalispell and Lewistown. It is intended to help rural providers identify deployment-related symptoms such as combat stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD and traumatic brain injury, as well as providing treatment methods.
The Montana National Guard consists of more than 3,700 members who live in nearly every corner of the state. Since 2001, more than 80 percent have been mobilized for active duty.
"Family practitioners and community-based health care providers are integral in helping Montana's returning National Guard troops cope with the emotional and mental health issues resulting from serving in combat," explained David J. McIntyre, President and Chief Executive Officer of TriWest Healthcare Alliance. "This video conference is the first of its kind to combine the resources of the VA and TriWest to reach rural providers caring for these service members as they reintegrate into mainstream civilian life."
"The onset of emotional or mental health symptoms is unpredictable.
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News Staff Reporter
Posted: 07:45 AM, Friday, September 21, 2007
MOUNT VERNON — Point Man Ministries of Central Ohio is a faith-based organization that connects veterans with other veterans seeking support and fellowship. Point Man Ministries has outposts in 40 states and 14 countries, as well as a chapter in Newark serving the central Ohio area, including some veterans from Knox County. There are plans to form an outpost in Mount Vernon.
The leader of the Newark post, Russ Clark, is a retired Marine who fought in Vietnam. Clark was a Methodist minister for 25 years before leaving the pastorate due to life upheaval brought on by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He knows firsthand the devastation PTSD can bring into the lives of veterans and their families.
“I lost a family. I lost a ministry. Point Man is now my calling,” Clark explained. He said helping other veterans has brought him great healing. He encourages other veterans to reach out to those with similar experiences.
The Newark Outpost meets on Tuesday evenings for a support group, which involves sharing experiences and providing support, but Clark said members try to avoid discussing politics. People new to the group are not pressured to participate, some come just to listen.
“A vet may come for the first time and not say a word. But the fact that he or she is there is a huge step,” Clark said.
Point Man’s stated mission is “to provide aid and comfort to the men and women who have served their country in the past and are serving in the present.” They believe they can help other veterans by providing spiritual, physical and social support for veterans.
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Native American veterans seen at risk (PTSD)
By Thunderwolf Mental health workers are looking for new ways to help Native American service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. In some parts of the United States, specialists are ...allnurses.com Nursing for Nurses - http://allnurses.com/forums
Caring For Our Troops and Veterans
By Brian Bresnahan(Brian Bresnahan) Requirements for a comprehensive plan on prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, and treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and authorization of $50 million for improved diagnosis, treatment, ...High Plains Patriot - http://highplainspatriot.blogspot.com/
Is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder on the Rise?
By email@example.com (Abigail Franks) The national Institute of mental health states that post traumatic stress disorder is one of the five most recognized types of mental disorders. PTSD was originally identified as a post war syndrome ...GoArticles Health Category - http://www.goarticles.com
Support The 'Woodruff Fund'
By jimstaro Special emphasis is placed on the "hidden signature injuries" of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan traumatic brain injury (TBI) and combat stress injuries including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The Fund works with private ...
ImagineATolerantWorld - http://bostonnow.com/community/blogs/jimstaro
Adequate post-combat care should be high priority
Daytona Beach News-Journal - Daytona,FL,USA... should help veterans navigate bureaucracy, the report said, and the VA should provide enhanced, life-long treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. ...See all stories on this topic
Vets Say Gloves Are Off for Omvig Suicide Bill, Two Others
PR Newswire (press release) - New York,NY,USASince Joshua's death, they work to inform others about post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the illness that, as much as the handgun, took Joshua's life. ...See all stories on this topic
[RESEARCH] Mental health consequences of overstretch in the UK ... ...
By Rona, R. J, Fear, N. T, Hull, L., Greenberg,... Results Personnel who were deployed for 13 months or more in the past three years were more likely to fulfil the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (odds ratio 1.55, 95% confidence interval 1.07 to 2.32), show caseness on the ...
BMJ current issue - http://www.bmj.com
Iraq Vet Road Rager Has PTSD, Family Says
KOIN.com - Portland,OR,USA... been bothering him for miles, but more importantly, they say his service in Iraq has made him a changed man, with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). ...See all stories on this topic
WASHINGTON, Septtember 20, 2007 -- Ellen and Randy Omvig channel the grief they suffer into service to other military families. Their son, Joshua, took his own life following a second tour of duty in Iraq, three days before Christmas 2005. To make sense of the 22-year-old’s death, the pair work to spread the message of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the illness that, as much as the handgun, deprived their son of life. The Iowa couple’s ultimate goal is to see the Joshua Omvig Veteran Suicide Prevention Act get signed into law this year.
“A single Senator is holding it up,” Tom Howe, mentor of the bill for Veterans and Military Families for Progress said. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) has reservations about the bill, sponsored by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and co-sponsored by 31 other Senators, which the House passed 423-0 in March. Coburn is taking advantage of a Senate rule that gives him the power to delay the bill’s final passage.
The Department of Veterans Affairs reports more than 5,000 veterans die at their own hands annually and the numbers are increasing. Worse still, an August, 2007 Pentagon reports indicates the problem is not limited to veterans as a record number of active duty service members committed suicide in 2006 as well. With but one vote in the senate standing between veterans and suicide prevention, VMFP demands leadership on this issue.
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By Norma Meyer
COPLEY NEWS SERVICE
September 21, 2007
Their only son's skeletal remains were housed in a cardboard box and tagged as prosecution evidence for more than three years. Finally this spring, in a cemetery in California's high desert, Vietnam vet Lanny Davis and his retired Army medic wife, Remy, laid to rest the bone fragments etched with stab marks from a knife.
“This ain't my America. My son tried doing the same thing his daddy did. He made me proud,” says a still grief-stricken Davis from his home in St. Charles, Mo. His voice is raspy, a permanent condition caused when a Viet Cong soldier jammed a rifle butt into his throat and damaged his vocal cords.
Army Spc. Richard Davis, 25, had been at the forefront of the bloody invasion of Iraq, but he didn't die in one of those fierce battles. A day after returning to Fort Benning, Ga., from their tour of duty, he and four platoon members celebrated by drinking at a Hooters and a topless bar.
The men he had fought alongside in Iraq would later be convicted on charges stemming from the stabbing of Richard at least 33 times that night and their driving to a convenience store to buy lighter fluid that they poured on his body and torched.
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Thursday, September 20, 2007
The family of 56-year-old Emily Delafield said it would take the Green Cove Springs Police Department to court, according to a WJXT-TV report.
In April 2006, officers with the police department said they were called to a disturbance at a home in the 400 block of Harrison Street just before 5 p.m.
In a 911 call made to the Green Cove Springs, Delafield can be heard telling a dispatcher that she believed she was in danger:
Dispatcher: And what's the problem?
Delafield: My sister is waiting on my property.
Dispatcher: Your what?
Delafield: My sister (inaudible) is on my property trying to harm me.
Officers said they arrived to find Delafield in a wheelchair, armed with two knives and a hammer. Police said the woman was swinging the weapons at family members and police.
Within an hour of her call to 911, Delafield, a wheelchair-bound woman documented to have mental illness, was dead.
Family attorney Rick Alexander said Delafield's death could have been prevented and that there are four things that jump out at him about the case.
"One, she's in a wheelchair. Two, she's schizophrenic. Three, they're using a Taser on a person that's in a wheelchair, and then four is that they tasered her 10 times for a period of like two minutes," Alexander said.
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Mike Aivaz and Muriel Kane
Published: Wednesday September 19, 2007
Susan Sarandon appeared on Tuesday's Colbert Report to discuss her new film, In the Valley of Elah, which concerns a military cover-up of the murder of an Iraq War veteran
"I think it might start a dialogue about the fact that, actually, war changes you," said Sarandon. "There's a big disconnect between the politicized war and the actual war. ... All the guys who got us into this war never went to a war. They avoided a war, so they don't really have any idea what war means.
"They didn't avoid this war," objected Colbert. "They actively went after this war,"
"You're saying there's some trauma these people experience and they have to deal with that when they come home?" asked Colbert. "Isn't the answer, maybe, to not bring them home? I mean, the president has done his part in that regard."
click post title for link and the video
By Gregg Zoroya - USA TodayPosted : Thursday Sep 20, 2007 12:45:05 EDT
Army Staff Sgt. Ian Newland spotted the enemy grenade inside the Humvee. Almost simultaneously, he saw Spc. Ross McGinnis, 19 — a gunner standing in the turret of the vehicle — lower himself onto it.
“I saw him jam it with his elbow up underneath him,” said Newland, who was sitting inches away. “He pressed his whole body with his back [armor] plate to smother it up against the radios.”
The heat and flash of an explosion followed, and McGinnis was killed. Hours later, after surgery for shrapnel wounds, Newland realized the enormity of what happened: McGinnis had sacrificed himself to save four other soldiers in the Humvee on Dec. 4.
“Why he did it? Because we were his brothers. He loved us,” Newland said.
Since the Iraq war began, at least five Americans — two soldiers, two Marines and a Navy SEAL — are believed to have thrown themselves on a grenade to save comrades. Each time, the service member died from massive wounds.
Heroic acts mark every war. Among the most remarkable involve self-sacrifice.
“What a decision that is,” said Frank Farley, a Temple University psychologist who studies bravery. “I can’t think of anything more profound in human nature.”
Survivors, while deeply grateful for their lives, find the aftermath complicated. According to interviews with a dozen surviving soldiers, sailors and Marines, there remains an overpowering sense of guilt and an unspoken feeling that they need to be worthy of the sacrifice.
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Wednesday, September 19, 2007
By Kelly Kennedy - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Sep 19, 2007 12:55:30 EDT
The concept of getting rid of a stigma can be a little nebulous, but experts on a post-traumatic stress disorder panel offered up some concrete changes that could help people overcome years of stereotypes.
“Mental health issues are in many ways the top issue of veterans of our generation. It needs to be treated like a pulled hamstring,” said Paul Rieckhoff, founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, at a forum sponsored by the Military Officers Association of America and the U.S. Naval Institute.
And he said he thinks the military is ready for that change.
“Beyond all the macho and hard-headed culture, I think we understand we have to perform,” Rieckhoff said.
If service members get the help they need, they’ll perform much better on the battlefield, he said. But convincing them that a trip to mental health won’t ruin their careers can be the toughest issue.
Marine Col. Keith Pankhurst, Combat/Operational Stress Control Program Coordinator for the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, said it wasn’t very long ago that he believed Marines who had PTSD just didn’t have what it takes to serve.
“I would have been the first to say, ‘What kind of weakness is that?’” He said. “It took a lot of education to overcome that attitude.”
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It's great they are doing this but it is so late in coming they need to pull out the biggest jack hammer they can find to totally get the stigma out of PTSD. I can't count how many blogs I go into and get sick because they are attacking veterans with PTSD as if getting wounded is now something they should be ashamed of.
The recent "war" movies coming out cause outrage from "war bloggers" when they say it makes the rest of the "troops" and the "veterans" look bad. It makes them all come of as "crazy" and all kinds of other remarks. They do this because they don't understand what PTSD is. In the process of defending their own ego problems, they end up attacking combat wounded veterans instead of helping them heal. What is it with these people when they think the "brotherhood" should end when one of them needs help? Twisted!
Where is the Republican Leadership? Stalled Suicide Prevention Bill Irks Iowa Democratic Veterans
by: T.M. Lindsey
Tuesday (09/18) at 11:16 AM
Like death itself, suicide is a nonpartisan issue, but Sen. Tom Coburn's, R-Okla., procedural hold on a bill that would help prevent suicide among veterans has thrown a partisan cog into the congressional machine. The Joshua Omvig Suicide Prevention bill (S. 479), introduced in the House by Iowa Rep. Leonard Boswell, D-3rd District, sailed through the House in March, passing by a vote of 423-0. And now, Iowa Democratic veterans are speaking out against silence on the matter among the Republican leadership -- in particular, the GOP presidential candidates.
"This is clear bipartisan support for a bill of vital importance," said Bob Krause, chair of the Iowa Democratic Veterans' Caucus. "We are surprised that none of the Republican presidential candidates has publicly voiced objection to Senator Tom Coburn's action that continues to block debate on the measure in the Senate."
Coburn has vowed to continue his hold on the Joshua Omvig bill, introduced in the Senate by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, before the August recess. Coburn called the bill insulting to veterans and warned that its mandatory mental-health screening could harm their future job options. "I'm going to continue to hold this bill until we work on the issues to guarantee freedoms of the veterans in terms of the tracking," Coburn said on the Senate floor.
go to link above for the rest
He thinks suicide is ok as long as the veterans have a gun to do it with!
September 18, 2007
Virtually ignored in last week's national debate on the US military surge was a report by military experts recommending that the Iraqi police service be scrapped because of its brutal sectarian character.
The scathing report stopped short of acknowledging that continuing US support for the Iraqi Security Forces is in violation of the 1997 Leahy Amendment barring assistance to known human rights violators.
So far representatives Maxine Waters, Lynn Woolsey and Barbara Lee have raised the issue with their HR 3134, which would end funding for the repressive Iraqi security forces. The Center for American Progress [CAP], headed by former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta, takes the same view in its July document, "Strategic Reset." Perhaps the most important sign of rising awareness is the new willingness of Senate leader Harry Reid to remove the provision for funding American trainers in the timetable legislation he is co-sponsoring with Sen. Russell Feingold.
The little-noticed new report exposes the lethal nature of the counterinsurgency doctrines promoted by Gen. David Petraeus and the official warfighting manual developed in collaboration between the Army, the Marines and Harvard's Carr Center.
In comparison with past public outcries about "tiger cages" and Operation Phoenix in Vietnam, death squads in El Salvador and Honduras, or ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, there is little or no attention today to the issues raised in the new report. All the major Democratic presidential candidates support maintaining thousands of American trainers embedded with what the new report calls "dysfunctional and sectarian" forces. In short, whether intentional or not, all the major proposals on Iraq are based on a lower-visibility, lower-casualty dirty war reminiscent of Algeria, Central America, South Vietnam and, today, Afghanistan.
Gen. Petraeus was the commander of US transitional forces [MNSTC-I] in 2004-2005, in charge of training, arming and organizing Iraq's military and police forces. A scandal involving tens of thousands of missing weapons on Petraeus' watch has been pursued by the American Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction since that time.
A Petraeus subordinate, Col. Theodore Westhusing, committed apparent suicide on June 5, 2005, leaving a note which said,
"I cannot support a [mission] that leads to corruption, human rights abuses, and liars...I don't know who to trust anymore." [Newsweek, Aug. 20-27]
read more here
Sgt. Denise A. Lannaman fatally shot herself in Kuwait last year.
From Queens to Kuwait, Where a Life Was Ended
In the space of three months last year, three members of the U.S. Army who had been part of a logistics group in Kuwait committed suicide. Two of them — a colonel and a major — had power over contract awards and had been accused of taking bribes just before they killed themselves.
The third was Sgt. Denise A. Lannaman of Queens. In a war that has cost the lives of more than 3,700 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis, the death of one woman by her own hand has attracted little attention beyond the circle of shattered family and friends.
Yet those who know her say that questions about Sergeant Lannaman’s death remain unsettled, and go well beyond psychic agonies that she struggled with her entire life. “From the day she was born, she was different,” Barbara Lannaman, her mother, said. “Life was just not satisfactory to her.”
Gifted as a mechanic, fastidious as an administrator, brave in a combat zone, Sergeant Lannaman at the end of her life had landed in a spot where, investigators say, officers were able to scoop up millions of dollars in bribes from merchants who wanted the contracts the Army awarded for everything from water to laundry.
Far as it was from the bombs that she drove past in Iraq, the logistics operation in Kuwait would lead to its own peculiar casualties.
That Sergeant Lannaman was in the Army at all — whether in Iraq or behind a desk — could be seen as a testament to her own shrewdness, or to the Army’s hunger for recruits in a grindingly long war.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, she spent nine years in the Navy, then bounced from job to job. By the time she was 42, in the spring of 2003, Denise Lannaman had been a firefighter, a sailor, a filmmaker, a scuba diver, a paramedic and an auto mechanic.
She also had been a frequent psychiatric patient, her family says, an iron-willed perfectionist who had dealt with life’s ragged edges by making four suicide attempts.
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By Gregory Phillips
As head of Womack Army Medical Center, Col. Terry Walters is preparing for what she calls the coming storm of soldiers returning to Fort Bragg in the next year.
“There’s going to be huge medical fallout from this war,” said Walters, who has directed Womack since July 2006.
The conflict in the Middle East has led to the Army’s lowest fatality rate in the history of warfare, Walters said, but the Army’s medical system is a victim of that success.
More soldiers than ever are surviving serious injuries and needing medical care when they get home. The injured soldiers have overwhelmed some Army hospitals, including Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where neglect of patients was exposed earlier this year.
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Veterans face both combat and Katrina
By MEGHA SATYANARAYANASUN HERALD
BILOXI --The number of Gulf Coast veterans seeking treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder rivals that of major cities such as San Antonio, Minneapolis and Salt Lake City, according to an internal document obtained by McClatchy Newspapers through the Freedom of Information Act.
With the New Orleans and Gulfport facilities destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, the stress of nearly 1,400 veterans with PTSD and their 10,700 outpatient visits during 2006 fell on remaining facilities of the VA Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System in Biloxi, Mobile, Pensacola and Panama City. The workload is intense, said Kelly Woods, assistant chief of psychology services in the Gulf Coast system. They see at least 20 people each month in a residential program and do at least 100 new and followup appointments each month in Biloxi and at other sites.
Many PTSD vets are from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, and the numbers needing treatment are expected to grow as more come home.
Several will have to deal with both combat stress and losses suffered from the hurricane, he said. PTSD symptoms, from the vague, "My wife says I'm different," to things like nightmares, violent outbursts and substance abuse, take months to years to surface. The combination of war and Katrina has pushed some to exhibit symptoms earlier. "Katrina was a trigger - I need help," Woods said. "Lots of guys lost their home while in an active war zone."
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By John Waltz Published Sep 17, 2007
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Near the end of a long deployment, the thoughts of coming home fill your mind and your heart yearns for the familiarity of loved ones. Once getting home it all seems great until you wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat and realizing, you had the most horrific nightmare of your life. A nightmare so vivid you thought you were back on a patrol in a foreign country. The smells, the sights and the tastes are all there just like the day it happened. The days keep passing by and you start to isolate yourself, withdrawing from those around you. Every time you go out in public, you are on guard watching everything around you. The slightest sounds startles you and you have that feeling you are coming under fire. Your old friends call and ask if you want to go fishing but you tell them that you are just not feeling it. This soldier has no clue what is going on to him but can tell something is not right. What he is suffering from is a posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) a recognized disorder by the American Psychological Association using the DSM IV.
VA Suicide Prevention Hotline Flooded with Calls
The VA opened the new national call center about a month ago to respond to the growing number of returning troops experiencing mental health problems. The 24 hour call center is located in Canandagua, New York but takes calls from veterans anywhere in the country.
About 4,500 people, including some non-veterans, have called the hotline for help. Of those, 100 were admitted to VA hospitals for treatment. Three of those cases were referred to Buffalo's VA Medical Center.
Michael Finegan is Director of the Center. He says they have long provided emergency mental health care at the facility. But he says the hotline adds another level of critical response.
It's estimated that roughly 50,000 returning veterans suffer from some type of combat related mental health stress.
The hotline number is 1-800-273-TALK.
Click the "listen" icon above to hear Joyce Kryszak's story now or use your podcasting software to download it to your computer or iPod.
© Copyright 2007, WBFO
This is wonderful! Think of the lives being saved because there is someone there for them! Veterans risk their lives for us, for a nation sending them into combat. It's our turn to fight for them. It shouldn't be this way. They should all have whatever they need waiting for them to help them heal their wounds, but until that day comes, we have to make sure the same government sending them, takes care of them.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder conference to be held next week at Eden Resort Inn.
By ANYA LITVAK, Staff
Lancaster New Era
Published: Sep 18, 2007 11:12 AM EST
LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. - Jan Yupcavage, a Vietnam War veteran and a readjustment counselor at the Harrisbug-based Vet Center, recently met with a young veteran of the Iraq War who was traumatized while watching "Monday Night Football."
The former soldier was stunned watching his friends cheer and yell at professional football players, as he had once done.
To muster such emotion for something so meaningless, he thought — comparing the experience to his time in battle — seemed, for the first time, ridiculous.
Now, Yupcavage said, the veteran dreads Monday nights.
That's just one way Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can hinder a soldier's readjustment into civil society, he said.
Yupcavage is scheduled to speak on the issue at a conference sponsored by the YWCA of Lancaster and Samaritan Counseling Center called "The Many Faces of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder."
The two-day event, focusing on soldiers and others with PTSD, will be held Thursday and Friday, Sept. 27-28 at Eden Resort Inn.
A keynote speech given by Dr. Sandra Bloom of Community Works will kick off the event at 6:30 p.m on Sept. 27. The following day, lectures and workshops will run from 7:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.
Registration is open until Monday, Sept. 24, at $65 per person, or $75 for those obtaining continuing graduation credits at the event.
Yupcavage's presentation — "When the Soldier Comes Home: The Impact of PTSD on Relationships" — is scheduled for 10:20 a.m. on Sept. 28.
"The experience of war is so intense that you come back altered," Yupcavage said.
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Mental Wounds: The world after Lister
9/17/2007 - VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
One hundred and thirty years ago, almost 50 percent of the patients undergoing major surgery died from infection. Dr. Joseph Lister was the first to treat wounds with dressings soaked in carbolic acid. Dr. Lister and Dr. Louis Pasteur suggested surgeons wash their hands and sterilize their instruments before operating. The medical community in Britain and the United States initially shunned them. Drs. Lister and Pasteur were personal friends. When his medical peers publicly honored Dr. Pasteur at age 70, he turned and bowed his head towards Dr. Lister, saying: "The future belongs to him who has done the most for suffering humanity."
Sufferers of mental wounds
Today we all understand the importance of keeping wounds clean. Unfortunately our views on "mental illness" are much like those of the peers of Drs. Lister and Pasteur 130 years ago. Recently, startling advances have been made in understanding "mental disease."
J. Douglas Bremner, M.D. of Yale University School of Medicine, Departments of Diagnostic Radiology and Psychiatry was commissioned by a number of organizations including the National Institute of Health to study the long-term effect of trauma on the brain. Dr. Bremner concluded, "Individuals with a history of exposure to childhood abuse or combat had a reduction in volume of a brain area involved in learning and memory called the hippocampus, which is felt to be related to stress, with associated deficits in hippocampal-based learning and memory." In plain English, extreme stressors can have lasting effects on the areas of the brain that are used for memory and emotional control.
These are not chemical changes, but actual reductions the in size of the brain. Dr. Bremner used magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, on combat veterans diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and found them to have an 8-percent reduction in right hippocampal volume and a 12-percent reduction in left hippocampal volume. Two subsequent studies confirmed Dr. Bremner's original findings.
In other studies, patients were provided a stimulus or cue that provoked traumatic memories. Using positron emission tomography, or PET, these studies revealed dysfunction of the medial prefrontal cortex and hippocampus portions of the brain when traumatic memories were evoked.
Sympathy for those in pain
Forty million women and about one-third that number of men in the United States report rape, attempted rape, or molestation prior to their 18th birthday. Add a myriad of other traumas and it is no wonder we are experiencing an avalanche of problem in today's society, and our military services.
Much of what in the past has been attributed to the lack of ability to "suck it up" is in fact caused by a physical alteration of the brain. Telling a person who has experienced repeated trauma to "get over it" is the equivalent of telling a blind person you could see if you just really tried.
It is time for 21st century people to begin to understand that what has been labeled "mental illness" is in fact often a physical illness, just like diabetes, cancer, or pneumonia.
I posted all of this, which I do not do often, but there was too much that needed to be posted.
Beltrami suicide rate triggers Health Department investigation
by Lorna Benson, Minnesota Public Radio
September 17, 2007
The Minnesota Department of Health has opened an investigation into the causes behind Beltrami County's high suicide rate. New analysis from the department shows that the rate is nearly double the statewide average. Beltrami County is located in north central Minnesota. Its largest city is Bemidji and it's home to the Red Lake Indian Reservation. The new analysis found high numbers of suicides among Indians and white people.
St. Paul, Minn. — Officials in Beltrami County suspected they had a high suicide mortality rate.
They just didn't have the proof. So they asked the Minnesota Department of Health to look into the numbers. The department poured over death certificates from public records and injury details from hospital discharge data.
Epidemiologist Jon Roesler was surprised by what he found.
"Not only does Beltrami County have a problem with suicide, but they have probably one of the worst problems of suicide in the whole state of any of the counties," he says.
When adjusted for age and population, Beltrami County had an average of 19 suicides per year per 100,000 people from 1996 to 2005. That compares to a statewide rate of 10 suicides per 100,000, Roesler says.
"Not only are the rates higher for the county overall, but in particular the rates are higher for the youth ages 15 to 24. That really seemed to be where the problem of suicide was the greatest."
The suicide rate among youth reached 21 in Beltrami County - that's two additional suicides per 100,000 people. For the same age group, the statewide average is 9.
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Just one more example that this country and the world have a very serious problem with sucides. People don't commit suicide for no reason at all. There are problems all over the world and the numbers seem to be growing.
It's premature to blame FDA for suicide rise
By Scott Allen, Globe Staff September 17, 2007
The front page headline in the Washington Post was alarming: "Youth suicides increased as antidepressant use fell." A new study argued that a record increase in youth suicides in 2004 may have been the unintended consequence of federal warnings that antidepressants such as Prozac can trigger suicidal thoughts in children. Media outlets across the country reported the painful irony that the Food and Drug Administration's attempt to prevent suicides seemed to have increased them by discouraging doctors from properly treating depressed young people.
"We may have inadvertently created a problem," lamented Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, to the Post earlier this month.
But a closer look at the numbers suggests that the suicide fears are at least premature, if not baseless, say people who specialize in health statistics.
Suicide is so rare among young people that even the record increase reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - based on 2004 statistics - represents just 248 extra deaths among 61.5 million youths in the United States ages 5 to 19. And almost half the extra deaths involved 18- and 19-year-olds who were not included in the antidepressant warning. As a result, the suicide rise is so small that statisticians will not be able to say whether it's a real trend or just bad luck - at least until 2005 totals are available later this year.
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Suicide overwhelmingly remains Oregon's number one violent cause ...By mrollins Of 748 Oregonians who died violently in 2005, suicide accounted for 555, or 74 percent of them, according to a study released this morning by the Oregon Department of Human Services. Far back as a cause of death was homicide,...OregonLive.com: Breaking News Updates - http://blog.oregonlive.com/breakingnews/
Monday, September 17, 2007
Wall Walk to aid Guards' children
By Andrew Robinson
A CHARITY set up in memory of a Yorkshire Coldstream Guard killed in Iraq is hoping to raise £20,000 to help the children of needy serving and former Guardsmen.
Twenty supporters of Coldstream Kids, set up following the deaths of two Guardsmen, including Sergeant Christian Hickey, from East Bierley in Bradford, will set off on Thursday to walk the length of Hadrian's Wall.Former Guardsman Franco Gasparotti, 42, has organised the walk but a spinal injury will prevent him from walking more than a few miles of the 84-mile route. He suffered the injury when he was attacked during a riot in Belfast in 1989. His injuries meant he had to retire from the Army and is on a war pension.
Mr Gasparotti, originally from Thornbury in Bradford, spent two years in rehabilitation, learned to walk again and now runs a business offering personalised fitness training.Based in Epsom, Surrey, he works to improve the fitness of clients and draws on his Army experience when he was a keen boxer, runner, swimmer and footballer.Setting up the charity and org-anising the walk was his way of "putting something back", he says."The incident in Belfast ended my career and I spent two years in rehabilitation.
Two vertebrae in my back were crushed and this triggered rheumatic disease of the spine."I felt forgotten about when I came out of rehabilitation and it was a big wrench. I missed out on a career that I really enjoyed."The Ministry of Defence and the way it works didn't do enough for me. I am still being treated for post traumatic stress disorder and am a 50 per cent disabled war pensioner. I wanted to try and put something back.
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