Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Veterans issues

Days before a deployment to Iraq last year, the 26-year-old soldier's sergeant told his troops that they would get to know one another pretty well over the next few months.
"I'm in trouble," the specialist remembered thinking. He feared comrades would find out he is gay. Worse, he said, they could figure out that he has been dating another soldier in the combat arms battalion for more than five years. Their careers were on the line.

The above is from Ernesto Londono's "More tolerance for gay troops as end of 'don't ask, don't tell' is debated" (Washington Post) and, at the Post's online blogs, Colbert King explains the basics on how Don't Ask, Don't Tell came to be:

Clinton was trying to fulfill a campaign promise, and he was counting on the military and Congress to ultimately go along with his idea after maybe some grumbling around Pentagon watercoolers and in congressional cloakrooms. He encountered a cauldron of opposition instead, stoked by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Colin Powell and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sam Nunn. At one point, Clinton's Secretary of Defense Les Aspin said the administration could count on only about 30 senators to support lifting the ban. The current DADT is the compromise agreed to by Clinton and the critics -- an agreement now enshrined in law.

This morning Gregg Zoroya (USA Today) reports on substance-abuse problems in the army which lacks needed substance-abuse counselors and Gen Peter Chiarelli states, "There's no doubt in my mind that since 2001 and being involved in two wars ... that we probably have a higher incidence of alcohol abuse." Meanwhile Tim King (Salem-News) reports on Jamie Keyes' battle to help her son, Iraq War veteran Nathan Keyes. Nathan suffers from PTSD and King reports:

Nathan had a violent flashback from the war in August 2008 that led to his three-year incarceration in St. Augustine.
Nathan and his girlfriend Kristan Mae Hundley, were driving August 13, 2008, when according to reports, a driver named Anthony Petrilli pulled behind Keye's Toyota RAV4, with his young daughter in the front passenger seat.
Petrilli, a former U.S. Marine from the Lebanon period in the early 1980's, decided to honk his horn behind Keyes and Hundley. When Keyes reacted, Petrilli said, "Buddy, don't even say anything."
That is when Nathan Keyes pointed a 9mm Glock at the Petrilli's vehicle. Hundley's reaction was to yell "no" and swatted at Nathan's arm. She decided to put some distance between themselves and the other driver, but Petrilli followed them.
Later he would say that he felt a bond with Keyes, as he had served with the Marines in Lebanon, suggesting he understood where this former soldier was coming from.

On PTSD, Genevieve Long (Epoch Times) reports that the University of Michigan's Depress Center and Department of Psychiatry, with a $350,000 grant from the McCormick Foundation, is using/studying "a buddy-to-buddy system where a vet reaches out to other vets. A veteran calls a central number and gets matched with another veteran, who is a volunetter, who then links him or her with a resource."

The following community sites updated last night:

And we'll note this upcoming event from UCLA's Asia Institute:

A public lecture by Anne Nivat, Award-Winning Paris-Based Freelance War Reporter and Writer
Thursday, February 11, 2010
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Anne Nivat is a Paris-based freelance war reporter and writer. She holds a doctorate in political science from the Institut d'Etudes Politique de Paris and was a Fullbright Fellow at the Davis Center for Russian Studies at Harvard University. She is the author of Chienne de Guerre: A Woman Reported behind the Lines of the War in Chechnya (Albert Londres Prize, 2000) and The Wake of War: Encounters with the People of Iraq and Afghanistan (Erwan Bergot Literary Award, 2004). In 2001, she received the SAIS-Novartis International Journalism Award from Johns Hopkins University.
Sponsor(s): Center for European and Eurasian Studies, Center for Near Eastern Studies, Center for the Study of Women, UCLA Law School's International Human Rights Program

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends