Who was forgotten? The Gulf War veterans. They covered the Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam, then jumped right into Afghanistan and Iraq.
The other thing that was forgotten was when it was said that no on knew how long it would take for Afghanistan and Iraq. That claim was made 38:33 minutes into this documentary. It was then said that these were more complicated wars but the truth is, they were not different from other wars other than the repeated deployments.
Wars begin when politicians decide to start them. Contractors get paid to gear up the branches. How many men to send it decided and up until the end of Vietnam, many of them were drafted. Women decided to go with them. After Vietnam, it was an all volunteer force.
Politicians never seem to manage to plan for survivors coming home as they begin propaganda campaigns to get the citizens to approve of sending them to risk their lives.
That is what happened before troops were sent into Afghanistan. Propaganda stated it would be over fast. History however told a much different story.
Since many find history too boring, there is a great movie, Charlie Wilson's War about what happened during the 10 years of Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Yes, 10 years and they were forced to give up because the US helped the Afghan people.
"In the early 1980s, Charlie Wilson is a womanizing US congressional representative from Texas who seemed to be in the minor leagues, except for the fact that he is a member of two major foreign policy and covert-ops committees. However, prodded by his major conservative supporter, Houston Socialite Joanne Herring, Wilson learns about the plight the people are suffering in the brutal Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. With the help of the maverick CIA agent, Gustav "Gust" Avrakotos, Wilson dedicates his canny political efforts to supply the Afghan mujahideen with the weapons and support to defeat the Soviet Union. However, Charlie Wilson eventually learns that while military victory can be had, there are other consequences and prices to that fight that are ignored to everyone's sorrow."
They also said Iraq would be over fast, however, again, history had already proven that wrong. We know this because of the Gulf War and the decision to not remove Saddam from office. Dick Cheney used the word "quagmire" and he was right however when it came time to defend sending troops to eventually remove Saddam from power, all that was forgotten.
They knew both wars would take years and cost many lives, and maybe they were prepared to accept that, but the truth is, the VA was not prepared to take care of the influx of the wounded any more than they were prepared to care for the veterans of all other wars they were sent to fight.
That is another thing that was missing from this. They knew what redeployments would do to those sent back. They knew as far back as 2006.
Repeat Iraq Tours Raise Risk of PTSD, Army FindsThe documentary is a reminder the price paid that does not end when politicians decide they can come home. Really good way to spend at least an hour today if you really do honor them.
By Ann Scott Tyson
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
U.S. soldiers serving repeated Iraq deployments are 50 percent more likely than those with one tour to suffer from acute combat stress, raising their risk of post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the Army's first survey exploring how today's multiple war-zone rotations affect soldiers' mental health.
Debt of Honor: Disabled Veterans in American History
“There is a real necessity to bridge the gap between civilians and those who have served in the military. It is our hope that the film will encourage a candid discussion in communities across the country, and create understanding and awareness of the sacrifices involved in military service.”— Ric Burns, American documentary filmmaker and writer read more here
Three veterans overlook headstones at Arlington Cemetery
on the anniversary of Armistice Day, 1951.
Courtesy of Bettman/Corbis
Debt of Honor | Full Episode