Wednesday, January 13, 2016

State of Union Obama Forgot Spec. Chris Dana

Watched Criminal Minds Because of Wounded Minds
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
January 13, 2016

Last night when President Obama delivered his final State of the Union, I was watching a rerun of Criminal Minds. I just couldn't watch another speech on what shape this union is in.

Considering this whole bunch of politicians has basically said they cannot fix anything. The worst thing is, with President Obama in his last year in office, he hasn't fixed the one thing I really hoped he would have. Suicides in the military and in the veterans community have gone up. So far, POTUS stands for Pretend Outrage To Up Spending.

For all the billions gone into reducing suicides, they ended up reducing the number of veterans surviving combat but not being home.
Every time I think about all the speeches and claims of making "efforts" to prevent suicides, this bit from Blazing Saddles echoes in my head. Governor William J. Le Petomane: We've gotta protect our phoney baloney jobs, gentlemen! and that is exactly what all of them have done because they think we're too dumb to have noticed.

Too dumb to notice that this same bunch of folks elected to fix stuff managed to pull off a fake town with a tollgate.

They tell us that the Affordable Care Act is bad and voted too many times to kill it because it wasn't working for the American people, then they turned around saying veterans should go into that mess as well since the VA was not working right. OK, but they never managed to explain how they didn't fix the VA since they had jurisdiction over it since 1946 or how they didn't fix the issues with the ACA.

We paid the bill with taxes and mortuary fees.

This same bunch wrote bills and rules, plus spent money to fund them while they told us the troops and veterans needed help to survive. Knowing we'd never complain about spending money on them, they just repeated the same failed bills they wrote before. Not sure how they didn't end up with writers cramp to go along with their writer's block void of original ideas.

And that takes us back to President Obama and a speech he gave back in 2008. Well, not so much a speech as it was a promise.

Running for the nomination, then Senator Obama found out about Montana National Guardsman Spec. Chris Dana committing suicide.
Chris Dana came home from the war in Iraq in 2005 and slipped into a mental abyss so quietly that neither his family nor the Montana Army National Guard noticed.

He returned to his former life: a job at a Target store, nights in a trailer across the road from his father's house. When he started to isolate himself, missing family events and football games, his father urged him to get counseling. When the National Guard called his father to say that he'd missed weekend duty, Gary Dana pushed his son to get in touch with his unit.

''I can't go back. I can't do it,'' Chris Dana responded.

Things went downhill from there. He blew though all his money, and last March 4, he shot himself in the head with a .22-caliber rifle. He was 23 years old.

With the press reporting on every move he made, he managed to get away from them for a bit and went to go meet with Dana's stepbrother.
Since Dana’s death, his stepbrother Matt Kuntz has campaigned for more awareness of the costs of untreated post traumatic stress syndrome in Iraq war veterans. Wednesday, he was invited to meet with Sen. Barack Obama to share the message he’s been spreading statewide for more than a year. At a quiet picnic table at Riverfront Park Obama sat across from Kuntz, his wife Sandy and their infant daughter Fiona.

Kuntz was heavy with emotion, but hopeful and eager to share Dana’s story, and tell the senator about his work to ensure other Montana veterans aren’t suffering from the same condition that made his step-brother take his life.

So Obama made another speech
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, speaking Wednesday in Billings, faulted Republican leaders for chronically underfunding veteran services for troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I have some significant differences with McCain and George Bush about the war in Iraq,” Obama said. “But one thing I thought we'd agree to is when the troops came home, we'd treat them with the honor and respect they deserve.”

Several trends indicate veterans are not getting the health care and other benefits they need to succeed at home, Obama told a group of around 200 people during an invitation-only morning listening session in Riverfront Park.

Followed by this,
After the briefing, Obama spent about 20 minutes telling several hundred veterans and their families that, if elected as president, he will be committed to meeting their needs.

But speeches and promises didn't really amount to much after Obama was in fact elected. This was reported in 2009. Army official: Suicides in January 'terrifying'
Last week, in releasing the report that showed a record number of suicides in 2008, the Army said it soon will conduct servicewide training to help identify soldiers at risk of suicide.

The program, which will run February 15 through March 15, will include training to recognize behaviors that may lead to suicide and instruction on how to intervene. The Army will follow the training with another teaching program, from March 15 to June 15, focused on suicide prevention at all unit levels.

The 2008 numbers were the highest annual level of suicides among soldiers since the Pentagon began tracking the rate 28 years ago. The Army said 128 soldiers were confirmed to have committed suicide in 2008, and an additional 15 were suspected of having killed themselves. The statistics cover active-duty soldiers and activated National Guard and reserves.

The Army's confirmed rate of suicides in 2008 was 20.2 per 100,000 soldiers. The nation's suicide rate was 19.5 per 100,000 people in 2005, the most recent figure available, Army officials said last month.

Suicides for Marines were also up in 2008. There were 41 in 2008, up from 33 in 2007 and 25 in 2006, according to a Marines report.

In addition to the new training, the service has a program called Battlemind, intended to prepare soldiers and their families to cope with the stresses of war before, during and after deployment. It also is intended to help detect mental-health issues before and after deployments.
Battlemind was followed by another miserable failure called Comprehensive Soldier Fitness, predicted to so poorly researched it would in fact increase suicides by feeding the stigma at the same time failing to provide any kind of understanding what PTSD is.

It got worse for service members along with veterans at the same time everyone was heading to the feeding trough to get what they could without ever having to explain or account for anything when suicides went up. Heck, they even got away with it when the number of servicemembers went down but suicides didn't follow with the flow out.

Oh, ya, but wait, wait this gets even better. All that training ended up leaving the OEF and OIF veterans triple their peer rate for suicides, yet not one single fine had to be repaid to the tax payers or to the families when they had to pay for funerals every year.

Now maybe you know why I would rather watch a rerun of Criminal Minds instead of spending one more second on yet one more President leaving office without living up to the promises he made running to get into the chair as Commander-in-Chief.

President Obama is leaving office without holding any of the Joint Chiefs accountable for any of this! Hey, heard congress is writing another bill for "prevention" so I bet he'll sign that one too without ever once wondering why nothing has worked in all these years he's had the time to do it.


  1. Ah political speeches. GHW Bush made similar promises and when confronted by the League of families at a meeting.....his response was "SHUT UP AND SIT DOWN!!!......more of the same old same old. Why would this speech be any different? Suppose a republican wins the election? Entrenched bueracrats will just wait out the president if he makes too many waves. The economy has sucked for the last ten years and eight years ago the "next great recession appeared almost on cue a year out from the election. Today the economy is rosy according to democrats and ready to go to hell according to republicans. Remember bankers get paid when the economy is good, and the same as when it is bad. And create most of the financial turmoil hand in hand with the congress. Congress and the administration real signature piece of legislation was thrown billions at the VA and then turning around and diverting the money for other "stuff". Just like social security.
    For a minute there I thought you were talking about me but I checked and I was still breathing air.

  2. Good comment! The thing is that all politicians are great at making promises to veterans no matter what party they belong to but with decades of promises, it's all talk to "protect their phony boloney jobs" and we end up sucker punched by Mongo. In this case, Mongo (congress) wasn't just riding a bull, they were spreading it out. Nothing is new but until we wake up and hold them all accountable, we're going to be paying the toll for something we could just ride around.


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