Thursday May 23, 2013
Military Suicides: Are they Killing the Best Fighters?Dr. Phil Leveque Salem-News.com
What is the reason?
(MOLALLA, Ore.) - This posting is based upon a very enlightening article in Newsweek, May 28, 2012 entitled ‘We pretend the veterans don’t even exist’, by Anthony Swafford, Marine survivor of two combat tours in Iraq.
The best factor of this article is calling attention to a rotten military system getting worse. Never before in the history of the American military has the system produced more suicides, rapes, murders alcoholics drug users, homeless and all of the sociopathic trimmings which go with it.
He points out that 18 veterans commit suicide each day. The figure is probably more than double that or more, with alcoholic deaths and deaths from overdoses on drugs prescribed by the military or the VA which almost deliberately gives out drugs which frequently or usually cause such bad sad effects that the veterans in a super crisis mode will overdose on these drugs, alcohol or dangerous street drugs.
Veterans will use anything they can get to escape from the PTSD devils in their brains. He points out that “veterans return to civilian life hyper-vigilant and trusting no one.”
He is correct on this, but the term of the hyper vigilant requires an explanation. This is super paranoia, or super terror, left over from action in a hot battle zone. Few combat infantry men get over it with its nightmares and panic attacks which can occur almost randomly for years.
Swafford quotes that it took him twenty years to escape these nightmares. I doubt if he has truly escaped. He quotes the VA and the military that this is a psychological cost of killing during combat. To me, that is one of the lesser costs of kill or be killed. There are many more serious factors.
I am reading the book Flags of our Fathers by James Bradley, the son of one of the flag raisers at Iwo Jima that survived. I quote from the book, “when we hit the beach, there were stacks of dead Marine bodies”, and another, “the lead man stopped and was staring at two legs attached to the hips with no upper body”, and a report by a war correspondent, “many bodies were cut squarely in half, legs and arms lay 50 feet from the bodies”.
Killing one’s enemy is much easier after something like that. Most of us combat veterans have gone through seeing their buddies blown to bits. Most of us can’t get over it and it is probably the greatest cause of PTSD. Normandy, Solarno, Korea, and VietNam were just as bad with death and destruction.
Swafford seems to believe that military training and discipline would suppress PTSD. HE IS WRONG. When recruits are coming out of basic training have PTSD and use the Army’s first fake treatment----- beer at the PX to calm their nerves. He also informs us that “researchers and practitioners are unwilling to connect trauma of combat with (PTSD) or suicidal tendancies”.
It’s too bad these practitioners don’t understand the causes of PTSD.
One doctor, Jonathon Shay, calls the problem “MORAL INJURY”. It is more likely PSYCHIC INJURY. One’s brain can tolerate only so much terror. On Iwo Jima, 95 well-trained Marines were totally disabled by PTSD in the first day.
Another doctor, Dr. David Spiegel, of Stanford University seems to agree that “violence of warfare IS a contributing factor to suicide and PTSD.” I will agree that this sows the seed of all other pathologic actions including PTSD.
All in all, Swafford has produced a good, educational article. The main point is that the military and the VA are both screwed up with no relief in sight.
NONE OF US COMBAT VETERANS TRUSTS THE MILITARY OR THE VA!
Got a question or comment for Dr. Leveque?
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.
Watch for more streaming video question and answer segments about medical marijuana with Bonnie King and Dr. Phil Leveque.
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