Janet's Conner

This Blog tell the Truth and will never not tell the Truth. Impeach Bush

Monday, May 29, 2006

SUICIDES ARE CASUALTIES OF WAR, TOO




My husband Daniel came home from Vietnam in 1969 with what is now known as post traumatic stress disorder and subsequently took his own life. So did tens of thousands of other husbands, son and fathers whose names are not on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial War. For those of us left behind, Memorial Day has a particular sadness. Officially, this is not our holiday because officially these were not combat deaths. Yet the psychic wounds suffered by the men we loved were deadly.

No one actually knows how many Vietnam veterans have taken their lives. The government refuses to track or count veteran suicides, and then uses the absence of those numbers to deny casualties and responsibility.

It is more difficult to deny the death of an active-duty soldier. In 2003, following alarming reports of suicides among American troops in Iraq, the Pentagon sent a team of health experts to investigate. Their report confirmed a suicide rate three times greater than what is statistically normal for the armed forces and acknowledged that fully one-third of the evacuated psychiatric casualties "departed theater with suicide-related behaviors as part of their clinical presentation."

Dismissing the obvious stress of combat entirely, the report concluded that "suicide among OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom) deployed soldiers is occuring for the same reasons typically found among soldier-suicides:" namely insufficient or underdeveloped life coping skills; marital, legal and financial problems; chronic substance abuse; and mood disorders.

Last month, the army released another report showing that, in spite of new and much-touted prevention measures, suicide among soldiers in Iraq and Afghanastan has continued to escalate. Once again, the Army would have us believe that individual soliders with personal problems are to blame.

It is baffling that military psychiatrists, supposed experts in combat-related stress, have so normalized war that it is overlooked as the source of the disease they have been asked to diagnose. And it is simply disingenuous for the Army to continue to insist that the marital and financial crises faced by the deployed soldiers, and the self-medication they use to distance themselves from the horror of their circumstances, are not themselves by-products of the war. Yet, there is no acknowledgement that the most likely stressor for these soldiers is being plucked from their lives and dumped into a combat zone, followed by the realization that, once home, the war will not leave them just because they have left the war.

The suicides of deployed soldiers are camouflaged by the military, reported only as generic noncombat fatalities. The suicides of veterans are reported only in hometown newspapers, locally acknowledged and locally mourned, but there is no attempt to connect them to each other or to war. These deaths derserve a public as well as a private meaning. It is time to stop pretending that terror and horror cannot be every bit as lethal as bullets and bombs. It is time to insist that our government be forthcoming with casualty figures of all kinds.

Horace said that it is a sweet and fitting thing to die for one's country. However hollow and inadequate that might seem to those who are left with memories and a folded flag, it has been offered as comfort to widows and children for more than 2,000 years. I have never heard it suggested that there is anything sweet or fitting about being a psychiatric casualty for one's country, yet it is entirely possible that what they cannot forgive or forget represents what is most honorable in our soldiers and our veterans.

On Memorial Day especially, we should remember that their despair is ours as well to carry.


Source: Times Union (Albany, N.Y.)
By: Penny Coleman
May 28, 2006

CANES, COMPUTERS HELP BLIND VETERANS COPE

CHICAGO---A year before the end of hostilities in World War II, two U.S. Army soldiers were asked to help blind veterans use long canes to get around.

Cpl. Richard Hoover and Technical Sgt. C. Warren Bledsoe, both experienced in working with the blind, were working to fulfill their task by war's end.

By 1948, when Bledsoe was assigned to establish a blind center at the Edward Hines Jr. Veterans Affairs Hospital in Hines, Illinois, the use of long canes---the red-tipped, white poles now commonly used by people with visual impairments---was being refined to a fine art.

Today, canes are just one of many specialized tools Hines uses to help veterans, from World War II through the ongoing war on terrorism, cope with life without sight.

State of the art computers allow veterans to read magazines and newspapers by sight or by voice-activated auto transcriptions. Braile tape measures and levels give audio signals for blind carpenters and woodworkers. And global positioning system devises assist in travel.

I can teach completely blind individuals how to rewire their homes. I also teach folks to hammer nails without seeing the hammer or nail and still not hurt themselves," said Samuel Janusauskas, a teacher and counselor at Hines who is leading the rehabilitation of Andrew Neumeyer of Neenah, injured Jan. 31 in a roadside bombing near Baghdad.

Every veteran at Hines, ranging in age from 18 to 98, is legally blind, although not all are completely sightless, said Jerry Schutter, who manages day-to-day activities at the center.

"Eighty-five percent of people who are legally blind have some useful vision, even a vision arc of 20 degrees, which is like looking through a straw," Schutter said.

Veterans attend daylong classes during stays at Hines that range from several days to several months.

They learn skills including orientation, mobility, independent living, communication, visual skills for those with remaining vision, and manual skills such as woodworking, leathercraft, metal working and mechanics.

"We teach the veterans things like how to fill a glass of water without it overflowing," Janusauskas said, describing how a battery-operated indicator placed on the glass sounds when the poured water reaches the top.

The veterans stay in college dorm-type rooms, Schutter said.

"Our program is more like a school and unlike hospital. Our job is to keep the veterans out of their rooms," Schutter said.

"The idea is they are up and doing things for themselves. That's the goal....to make them more safe, independent and confident to do whatever they want to do."

Before 1948, blind veterans essentially were warehoused in group settings, Schutter said.

"They were keeping them in nice accomodations," he said, "but not teaching them skills that allowed them to be independent and able to go home."


Sorce of Information: Post-Crescent
Story By: Steve Wideman, staff writer
May 28, 2006

AFGHANASTAN: U.S. MILITARY HITS CARS IN KABUL

Update on Afghanastan---May 29, 2006

4 dead, 16 wounded after accident, riot; angry protestors march on palace


KABUL, Afghanastan---A deadly traffic accident involving U.S. troops sparked a riot in the Afghan captial on Monday, with U.S. and Afghan security forces firing on protesters, police and witnesses said. At least four people were killed.

Hundreds of protesters marched on the palace of U.S.-backed President Hamid Karzai, in the city center after the incident, shouting "Death to Karzia! Death to America!"

***When are we getting out of there?


Gunfire was heard near the U.S. embassy. The staff was moved to a secure location within the heavily fortified compound, said Chris Harris, an embassy spokesman.

Rioters broke into shops and stole household items, and an Associated Press reporter said he saw several demonstrators pull a foreign man from a vehicle and beat him. The man escaped and ran to a line of police, who fired shots over the heads of the demonstrators.

***You gotta wonder if this foreign man was an American.


Afghan troops deployed around Kabul, and two tanks of NATO peacekeepres drove at high speed through the city center. Rioters smashed police guards boxes and set fire to police cars.


Witnesses: Convoy smashes into traffic jam

Witnesses said the incident began when a convoy of at least three U.S. Humvees came into the city from the outskirts and hit several civilian cars in a rush-hour traffic jam.

"The American convoy hit all the vehicles which were in their way. They didn't care about the civilians at all," said Mahammad Wali, 21, a shopkeeper.

Three people were wounded and 16 wounded in the crash, said Sher Shah Usafi, a Kabul police chief. U.S. forces fired on the crowd, killing one person and wounding two, he said.

A commander with the city's traffic police who was at the scene said he also saw U.S. forces firing on protestors. He spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonynimity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

A U.S. military spokeman, Lt. Col. Paul Fitzpatrick, confirmed U.S. troops were involved in the accident but said the military had "no indication that U.S. forces fired any shots." He said an investigation was continuing.

***What's with all of these investigations? Are our troops that tired? How long are they going to have to go through this? Aren't they done building that pipeline from Iraq to Afghanastan yet?!!!!!!!!!!!


Clashes in downtown Kabul

Associated Press TV footage showed hundreds of angry young men hurling rocks at what appeared to be three U.S. military trucks and three Humvees as they sped from the area after the crash, their windscreens cracked by the stones.

A center-mounted machine gun on one of the Humvees was seen firing into the air over the crowd as the vehicle sped away. The video footage also showed an Afghan man apparently hurt in the riots on the ground, being confronted by others around him.

No disrespect to our troops because they are human and were probably afraid, but they have to know that what goes up must come down. And why did they flee? Some of our troops aren't making the other troops look very good and most are there with the best of intentions!

An AP reporter at the scene said he saw about 10 Afghan police firing into a crowd of about 50 demonstrators, and that U.S. troops had already left the area. The protesters scattered when the firing erupted, but later regrouped.

Two helicopters belonging to a NATO-led peacekeeping force hovered over the area.

Phones in Kabul were only working sporadically. Repeated attempts to get through to the city's hospitals to get the latest casualty toll from the unrest were unsuccessful.

State television cut transmission of a live broadcast of parliament when one angry lawmaker interrupted the proceedings to protest the indicent.

***State television! I thought we not only went to Afghanastan because of 9/11, but while we were there, weren't we getting democracy for the people of Afghanastan? If this is President Bush's idea of democracy, I wonder how long it's going to take him to get us "state televison?"

"I have seen the incident....I come from that area and I have to tell you," Taj Mohammed Mujahid shouted before the house speaker ruled him out of order and the screen went black.


Calls for calm

Transmission resumed minutes later and parliamentary speaker Yunus Qanooni called for calm.

"We call on the people to be tolerant because there is the risk this could be exploited by our enemies," he said, referring to Taliban rebels who are waging a fierce insurgency in the country's southern and eastern regions.

He said the Cabinet was discussing the matter.

Afghans often complain about what they call the aggressive driving tactics of the U.S. military. Convoys often pass through crowded areas at high speeds and sometimes disregard road rules.

The U.S. military say such tactics are necessary to protect the troops from attacks.


Source of Information: MSNBC
The Associated Press
May 29, 2006

"ON MEMORIAL DAY, ANOTHER INCONVENIENT TRUTH"

As Al Gore takes the world by storm in his environmental movie an "Inconvenient Truth" in which he shows the horrors of man's impact on the environment, another inconvenient truth must be realized on this Memorial Day. Since the "Bush War" in Iraq started on March 19, 2003, more than 2,460 of our soldiers have been killed. They are dead for a convenient lie and set of lies put forth by George W. Bush.

I even wish to include in this piece that since the start of the "Bush War' in Iraq, 17,648 of our soldiers came home wounded and I suspect that some may have wished they had died over in Iraq. Their innocence dies on the battlefield along with their ability to live out the rest of their days emotionally intact.

A while ago, a female soldier whose face was burned off was pictured meeting with Danzel Washington and one wonders how she will live out the rest of her days. Does she privately wish she had died over in Iraq, instead of living life like this? So on this Memorial Day we must remember her joyful face as it died on the battlefiled.

Another incomvenient truth is that these soldiers came home so psychologically damaged that demons now live in their heads. These demons, at every point replay the horrors of this war on an endless loop and the result for some of that is, they have taken their own lives. A while back I read with horror how Specialist Douglas Barber took his own life while fighting for the benefits he so rightly deserved. He committed suicide by cop and his death, must also be remembered on this Memorial Day, as well as others who chose to do the same.

I was so angry in hearing of his death, that I faxed Bush about it and stated: "His blood is on your hands, President Bush. If it is not the lack of body armor these soldiers fight for, they must also fight for a full range of health benefits when they come home. You might as well be the one who pulled that trigger that ended his life. As far as I'm concerned, this was not suicide, but murder brought in by greed and power."

Another horror that our soldiers must live with is when under stress, some react by killing unarmed Iraqis. This killing of innocence is a truly saddening situation, which Congressman John Murtha angrily addressed. This is what Murtha had to say of these killings:

"Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood." The incident in which these soldiers went on a rampage killing fifteen unarmed Iraqi that included seven women and three children was a direct result of a road side bomb. Perhaps if our toops were not in Iraq in the first place, our soldiers who were responsible for this massacre would not have to live with this for the rest of their lives. But more importantly, those massacred would still be alive today. Will some of these soldiers come home only to take their own lives?

What about our soldiers who will succumb to the affects of our use of depleted uranium at a later date? Depleted uranium which has a half life of 4.5 billion years causes cancers and birth defects of innocent babies yet to come. Do we include their future deaths on this Memorial Day? Do the babies yet to be born who will die as a result also get to be included in the casualty rate?

One can't help but wonder, had the Supreme Court stayed out of the 2000 presidential election and Al Gore went on to become our president, would 2,460 soliders still be with us today? But more importantly, they would have been with their families. Back before the start of this heinous war, Mr. Gore spoke angrily of our invasion of Iraq when most cowered. Those who came home wounded would still be intact today. Those who took their own lives would still be with us today. And those who must live with the horrors of their actions, would not have been in the position to massacre innocent people.

The inconvenient truth that most of us are not willing to take is that this war was based on lies and was a direct result of an election that was stolen right from under us. This is what we must all remember this Memorial Day.

How many times must we say thal Al Gore and others like him were right? All who angrily spoke out against this war spoke of another inconvenient truth.


Source: The Progressive Daily Beacon
Opinion Piece By: Mary MacElveen
May 28, 2006