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Veteran Suicides: Deployed for DestructionDr. Phil Leveque Salem-News.com
If this story isn’t a condemnation of the Army’s Infantry philosophy I can’t imagine what is.
(MOLALLA, Ore.) - I argued with myself about reading the heartbreaking story in The Oregonian headline August 28, 2011 Deployed Against Suicide which was a story about the suicide of Matthew Brennan, an Oregon National Guard Iraq War PTSD victim. The Oregonian did a superb job of showing what destruction the American Army does to its young soldiers. His story is typical and should reflect badly on the “system” if they really have one. His mother, Maria, said he left home a cheerful, optimistic young man, he came back from his tour “dark, agitated and angry”.
The Oregonian pointed out an abysmal dereliction of duty of his officers and other superiors including the Army Medical System. This was not a singular event. Oregon Military has one of the highest counts of suicide in the U.S. Army. The VA indicates a 25% increase in suicides since 2005.
Matt Brennan started High School in Tualatin then graduated from Oregon National Guard High School in Bend. This is a “real” Army style school and gives the students what the “real” Army is like. Matt eventually joined the Army National Guard and then was deployed to Camp Victory in Iraq where he started using heroin. How that got into his unit is a sample of dereliction by his officer, Captain Eric Martz, and probably the Army Medicos who gave Matt stupefying drugs which really didn’t work and had terrible side effects. The Army acknowledges that it had a “drug, sex and command failure”. This is when and where Captain Martz failed his command duties. Matt also signed an order that he had abused prescription drugs GIVEN BY ARMY MEDICOS and drank alcohol on duty. I’d say he did anything he could to evade the master-slave situation which should have signaled “something” to Captain Martz who just sent him home early, untreated.
The VA continued to give him zombifying drugs making him worse – despite his mothers request for adequate treatment of PTSD which he was NOT getting. Matt had all of the signs of severe PTSD but was rated only 30% by the VA. He was “kicked out” of The National Guard which was the final, fatal insult which deprived him of even a semblance of care.
If this story isn’t a condemnation of the Army’s Infantry philosophy I can’t imagine what is. They teach us to be alcoholics, drug and tobacco addicts. They train us to KILL OR BE KILLED both of which are noble, heroic actions. At the same time or as a result of it, the military rate of suicides is 3.2 times the civilian rate and their victims are at the top of they psychologic function or they would not be accepted into the services. Hah, that’s a joke! The military has seriously failed its volunteer army.
“The Army intensified its suicide prevention in 2006”. I would say that it is not only a failure but is totally counter productive. Counselors of any stripe who have not been in the PTSD causing areas have no idea what they are treating and how to do it. The results are obvious.
A Federal Appeals Court has stated that about 1000 veterans attempt suicide each month. I rest my case!! The Brennan family has established the Matthew M. Brennan Foundation (www.matthewmbrennan.org or www.savingamericasheroes.org<) to aid our PTSD veterans. I am relieved that someone is doing this. The deeply entrenched Army and VA have been an abysmal failure. The worst part is that even they know it and refuse to be concerned or change!
A SALUTE TO MY FELLOW PTSD VETERAN VICTIMS!!!
Here is the Oregonian article: http://blog.oregonlive.com/oregonatwar/2011/08/the_life_and_death_of_an_orego.html
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More information on the history of Dr. Leveque can be found in his book, General Patton's Dogface Soldier of WWII about his own experiences "from a foxhole".
If you are a World War II history buff, you don't want to miss it.
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