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Wild: 'Our kids' and PTSD

Discussion in 'News, Politics & Debates' started by anthony, Oct 5, 2006.

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  1. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    In the days that followed Sept. 11, as our nation mourned, there was a sense that anyone and everyone we encountered might have lost someone that day. Our sense of loss was so pervasive, it wasn't difficult to imagine that we lived in the midst of thousands of grief-stricken people whose wives or husbands or children died in that terrible tragedy.

    After seeing "Ground Truth: After the Killing Ends" recently, I am once again aware that we're living in the midst of thousands of people who have been deeply and irrevocably changed by a terrible tragedy. A powerful documentary produced and directed by Patricia Foulkrod, "Ground Truth" is about the Iraqi war and how so many of the men and women returning from that war now struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder. "If Vietnam was about Agent Orange," someone notes in the film, "this war is about PTSD."

    As the film makes graphically clear, the soldiers in Iraq ("Our kids," a Vietnam vet calls them) are not fighting a conventional war. Which, as the film also makes abundantly clear, means a war being fought not on a battlefield, but on the bombed, torn-up streets and alleyways and in the homes of Iraqi citizens. We see the bloodied bodies of women and children. We see shocking footage of highly armed soldiers seemingly clueless as to their mission: "What are we doing here?" We see "our kids" screaming and bullying terrified Iraqi families.

    Their tour over, "our kids" come home. You and I know this. Every day on every highway in Massachusetts, we see the "Welcome Home" signs posted on overpasses. But what we may not know is that so many of these returning soldiers bring home some heavy-duty baggage beside their duffels. They can still picture dead and maimed children. Some may remember, again and again, incidents when they, themselves, were responsible for an innocent civilian's death. (In "Ground Truth," several former soldiers tell such stories.) Some may have lost arms or legs or mobility. Some may be deeply depressed. Many are wracked with guilt. "We train our soldiers to kill in our name, and then we forget who they are."

    So now, after seeing this amazing film, if an apoplectic driver behinds me insistently honks his horn and shakes his fist because I've somehow irritated him, I no longer dismiss his behavior as "road rage" and mutter, "Get over it!" Now I wonder if this incensed driver might be one of "our kids;" out-of-control angry about what his country just been made him endure, exhausted by horrible nightmares, pretty much permanently stressed and furious. That woman who shoves ahead of me to get a seat on the Ashmont train? Maybe her daughter just got back from Iraq and is now holed up in her room and won't come out except to eat. PTSD is scary, debilitating and, I now realize, all around us, like the widespread mourning after Sept. 11. For those seeking a connection between Sept. 11 and Iraq, here it is.

    So many of the stories told by the Iraqi vets in "Ground Truth" are depressingly familiar: the young men and women who join the military because they thought it would be a good way to pay for college, the lies told by recruitment officers, how basic training creates killers, the unmitigated horrors of war, how difficult it is for a returning vet to adjust to civilian life, how the Veterans Administration has let them down. (According to the film, most Iraqi vets are not receiving the sort of counseling and help they so badly need.)

    Haven't we been through this before? Haven't we read "The Red Badge of Courage," "All's Quiet on the Western Front," "The Things They Carried?" Haven't we walked through flag-strewn cemeteries and wondered who those dead soldiers were and how the world might have been different had they lived? Haven't we driven past Somerville's memorials and parks dedicated to our city's war dead and prayed for no more dedication ceremonies? What does it take before the majority of Americans finally say, "You know what? War is not the answer."

    Source: Town Online
     
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  3. scarlette_crimson

    scarlette_crimson Active Member

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    Gosh I allmost don't want to touch this Anthoney

    I have been around guns a bullets a lot(and not nesicerally always aimed at me.I have watched people get the living shit beat out of them and wonder if they were dead.I have seen children druged and raped and thought they were good as gone.But you have to ask yourself who started this and who is going to do somthing about it.If it was some one Sick and morbid in the head Like for instance Adolf Hitler then you can not just sit back and say it's wrong to have a battle.Yes there are senceless fights that make people come home with P.T.S.D. I just wonder why so many years have gone by and no one has preconditioned our soldgers with ways to cope before they even go out and serve our country.I love the people that serve our country and can't believe there is that many that would.I am so gratefull to them.People keep coplaining about wars.No matter what we do this world is a world with out perfection and there will allways be someone sick starting something sick...
    Those twin towers did not come down on there own.Some foul minded person caused them to crumble to the ground and those poor people did not volunteer to be traumatized like that.Our world is always going to have danger in it.Death in it.Sick people in it.What is thee most inportant thing in this world is how we react to it when it comes.We as a society need to learn to brace our selfs and reach our hands out to those who need us so they will be there to when we need them.Focusing on how to stop this bloody world from turning the way it dose.Dose not help any one.I love my husband so much he is from nam and he witnessed things he should not have.But his soul is so buitifull he knows that life will keep packing it to you.All that really matters inthe end is how your going to deal.How are you going to react.People every day see things that are so bad we all have our serving of crap.look at the kid that shot his own face off.His parents did not volunteer for that but there in it.What about the familys that get grave stricken watching there loved one being totured to death.Becuse he is dying from aids.Or many other examples.Yes reality is horrable for us all.But it feels like we have forgotten to be gratefull about life.what happen to just living what happen to the joy of seeing a new baby or the joy of seeing some one getting married or the joy that your still here and you rock!or the joy of seeing some one laugh or learn something new.
    We need to be proavtive in our world and stop sitting onthe sidelines saying to ourselfs how are we going to stop this? But how can we solve things from geting worse?Can we comfort people before they go through a trial.Yes I believe we can.Listen we all our on our own run away bull ride Just remember to hang on tight.
     
  4. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    What I see, is a person who doesn't have PTSD, may now tolerated and be more open to the wider picture and surroundings of world violence, and the impact it embeds upon the human viewers of such violence.
     
  5. scarlette_crimson

    scarlette_crimson Active Member

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    I do have P.T. S.D.

    And if you must no I have medal in my face on top of my head and in my hips in my knees.And I have had it since I was 12 what about you I? I have been sufering this for a very long time and am tied of feeling sorry for myself all the time.I am 37 know and no better.
     
  6. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Scarlette, that wasn't in regard to you, it was in regard to the author of that document from Town Online.
     
  7. scarlette_crimson

    scarlette_crimson Active Member

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    I am very sorry

    Sometimes I jump the gun:crazy:lol.
     
  8. Nam

    Nam I'm a VIP

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    I think articles like this help the non-sufferer public understand us a bit better. I also think that it makes us think...is the war effort worth it? Are we protecting our country from terroists, or are we just terrorizing our own troops? I don't mean to start a debate here. I know there is no easy answer. If the military know that they are sending our troops into this war, the least they could do is help them when they return.
     
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  9. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    I totally agree with you Nam... well said.
     
  10. Kells

    Kells Active Member

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    I figure it like this. My husband spent quite a bit of time in the Middle East. He says the war on terror is a necessity, and he'd go back in a heartbeat if given the opportunity. Since he knows more about the subject far more, I trust his judgment.
    I personally think there are far more important fish to fry, more threatening areas of the world to the civilized world than Iraq, and I don't understand why we didn't address those first rather than fretting over Iraq... At any rate, I think we need to stay off the political discussion and focus on the veterans themselves.

    Nam, I completely agree with you. The VA doesn't provide the kind of therapy these veterans absolutely need. My husband has particpated in "groups" that are nothing more than a social session with a fancy name on them. They never taught him coping skills or anything. The only two forms of true therapy available here and in the Loma Linda VA areas are one, inpatient treatment or two, anger management. Both help, but they certainly don't cover anywhere near the entire scope of the kind of treatment of PTSD that they need.
     
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