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Feb-18-2008 14:12printcomments

PTSD Veterans: Suicide and Murder

Phillip Leveque has spent his life as a Combat Infantryman, Physician, Toxicologist and Pharmacologist.

Scene from movie about WWII PT boat sailors called
A movie about WWII PT boat sailors called "They Were Expendable" portrayed the way military men are so often sent to their deaths, is it different today?
Photo courtesy: medalofhonor.com

(SALEM, Ore.) - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is defined in the Merck Manual, a premier medical referencing index, under Psychotic Disorders and Anxiety Disorders as follows: "A disorder in which an overwhelming traumatic event is re-experienced causing intense fear, helplessness, horror and avoidance of stimuli associated with that trauma."

As a frontline combat veteran, I can only respond that the above is a euphemism - we KNEW we could not survive and we lived in misery. "They are expendable."

Current newspaper and television stories about these problems take me back to WWII. There was even a book titled "They Were Expendable" (If I remember right, this was about 63 years ago!) This was about the PT boats; wooden ultra-fast patrol/torpedo boats. Future President John F. Kennedy was a captain of a PT boat that was cut in half by a Japanese destroyer on a combat mission.

I don't remember what the survival rate was of PT sailors but I'll bet it was low. A wooden boat can't outrun machine guns or naval artillery.

The idea behind "They are Expendable" seems to be fixed in the Army, Marines and VA system. How else could all of these suicides and criminal behavior be explained?

Battle veteran suicides are increasing catastrophically as are murders by returning battle veterans.

Recent news stories on TV and in the Washington Post and New York Times portray miserable schizophrenic remarks by "experts" who are doing the treatments, and who don't seem to know what they are doing, or talking about.

Dr. Lawrence Sherman, Director of Jerry Lee Center at Criminology at the University of Pennsylvania says, "when people are exposed to serious trauma and don't get treated, it is a serious risk factor for violence."

Infantry soldiers and Marines are not only trained to kill but to respond and react within micro-seconds, otherwise they'd be dead. Shoot first and ask questions later is the motto. With a little booze or the equivalent rapid reflex response takes over.

The Times article states that the Army has developed "Battle Mind Training" to transition veterans back to civilian society, "In combat, the enemy is the target, back home there are no enemies."

Vietnam vets were spit on and the Army and VA have histories of discharging troubled veterans as soon as they can get rid of them. Even President Bush says that things are or will be "hunky dory". How would he know with his history?

Got a question or comment for Dr. Leveque?
Email him: Newsroom@Salem-News.com

More information on the history of Leveque can be found in his book, General Patton's Dogface Soldier of Phil Leveque about his experiences in WWII.
Order the book by mail by following this link: Dogface Soldier.
If you are a World War II history buff, you don't want to miss it.

Watch for more streaming video question and answer segments about medical marijuana with Bonnie King Dr. Phil Leveque.

Click on this link for other articles and video segments about PTSD and medical marijuana on Salem-News.com: Dr. Leveque INTERVIEWS & ARTICLES

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.