Saturday, May 19, 2012

Iraq War veterans explain how the bureaucracy jerks around traumatized vets

Saturday morning I arrived late. My South Shore train was delayed twenty-five minutes by someone flagging a package at the 57th Street station as "suspicious".

Something tells me the same package would have been handled in a less disruptive way if the authorities hadn't been sowing fear through the corporate media.

I attended some of "Veterans Fight for the Right to Heal". Iraq Veterans Against the War is pushing Operation Recovery.

Too often, service members are forced to redeploy back into dangerous combat, or train in situations that re-traumatize them.  We say, individuals suffering from trauma have the right to remove themselves from the source of the trauma. Service members who are not physically or mentally healthy shall not be forced to deploy or continue service.
  • We will support service members standing up for their right to heal, and we will stand against those responsible for violating them.
  • We will expose those responsible for the deployment of traumatized troops. Those responsible will do everything they can to hide the truth, but Operation Recovery will expose the truth.
  • We will demand those responsible for the deployment of traumatized troops end this inhumane practice, and back our demands up with collective action.
  • We will end these wars by winning our Right to Heal. We know that without the repeated use of traumatized soldiers on the battlefield, the occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan could not continue.
The campaign seeks to get letters and messages to the general in charge of Ft. Hood. The letter demand he enforce his order to prioritize medical diagnoses over deployment. If the mental health professional says the soldier shouldn't handle weapons or ammunition, the soldier shouldn't handle weapons and ammunition.

There were two anecdotes. One soldier told of rescuing his best friend from suicide. The friend, who had been a top notch soldier when deployed, received a "general discharge". With support of soldiers who deployed with him, the friend fought for a discharge upgrade. After years of fighting, the friend got a hearing. Three people who deployed with him flew in for the hearing, including his company officer. The upgrade was denied because he was diagnosed with PTSD after discharge.

Another soldier told of experiencing multiple IED attacks. His unit was hit with eight IED attacks in an eleven day period. The physician's assistant note the soldier looked overly stressed and gave him Valium. The soldier still performed his duties doped-up on Valium. The PA either didn't record the prescription or the documentation was separated from the soldier's record. When the soldier told his story to the VA, the VA flagged him as trying to obtain drugs because the documentation didn't match what he self reported. He started calm, but by the time he got to the end of the story, he was angry.

1 comment:

  1. The suspicous package was an empty suitcase.