Thursday, June 24, 2010

I Hate The War

Tuesday's snapshot and Wednesday's snapshot covered a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on military suicides, PTSD and TBI. We're going to focus on that for this entry.

PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. That's apparently confusing to the generals offering testimony to the Committee on Tuesday because they repeatedly referred to it as "PTS." As though it were just stress, nothing serious, and certainly not a disorder. The generals were wonderful when it came to downplaying real issues, weren't they?

It was Post Traumatic Stress, it was a "behavorial issue" in need of "behavioral therapy." I don't know if they're honestly that stupid/insensitive or if, once you make it that high up the chain of command, no one has the nerve to tell you how wrong you are?

And they were wrong. And each mistake, each attempt to minimize made it clear that the culture at the top had not changed. They would not have spoken as they did otherwise. They would not, for example, have publicly found certain things amusing if they took the issue seriously.

And what does it say when, in the face of the scandal that continues to be the military suicides, that the generals message to the senators was:

1) Everything's taken care of
2) We don't need more money
3) We have many empty slots for care providers that we haven't filled
4) Everything's taken care of

They're not doing their jobs. That's obvious. That's obvious just from the unfilled positions. In this economy? You're going to have to do better than, as one general offered, believing that psychiatrists would rather practice in Nashville then on a base.

If you can't stem the suicides, you have an emergency and you can't afford to let key positions go unfilled. That may mean you have to up the salary (maybe meaning ask Congress for money). It may not. But it does mean you need to be fully staffed and, until you are, everything is NOT taken care of.

There is apparently one suicide already since the hearing. The generals need to be asked -- repeatedly -- every time a military suicide is confirmed, "Do you still think everything's taken care of?"

In their attempt to spin, they short changed human life. And whether that was the intended message or not, it ws the one they sent.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

Last Thursday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4406. Tonight? 4408.

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