Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


(60,364 posts)
Sun Sep 23, 2012, 09:47 AM Sep 2012

Veterans and Chaos

It's been another glorious week in the Halls of Congress and the DoD.

Now that President Obama's Afghanistan surge troops have come home (a whole week ahead of schedule) everything is just fine there, no?


Troop ‘Surge’ in Afghanistan Ends With Mixed Results
Published: September 21, 2012

KABUL, Afghanistan — The American military says it has now fully withdrawn the last of the 33,000 “surge troops” sent to pacify Afghanistan two years ago, but they are leaving behind an uncertain landscape of rising violence and political instability that threatens to undo considerable gains in security, particularly in the former Taliban strongholds in the south and southwest.


“What did the surge give us?” a senior American official reflected on Friday, speaking anonymously as a matter of military policy. “We’re going to hit a point where, I won’t say that’s as good as it gets, but now it’s up to them to hold what we gave them. Now, really, it’s Karzai’s turn.”

No one claimed there was not a great deal yet to be done against an insurgency that its foes describe as tenacious and determined. “They’re not going to go away for years,” the senior official said. “Every fighting season the Taliban, or some number of them, come out of the corner and they’re ready to fight again.”

Both American and Afghan officials have acknowledged the seriousness of the so-called green-on-blue attacks, in which this year more than 50 American soldiers were killed at the hands of Afghan allies. The allies’ dispute over how and how long to hold suspected insurgents has led to personal negotiations between President Obama and Mr. Karzai in recent days, while the video parody of the Prophet Muhammad has cast a long shadow over relations between the two countries.

Perhaps President Obama should read about Vietnam sometime. Same shit, different day. I watched the disintegration of Army morale 40 years ago. Fraggings, dope and GI resistance were the order of the day. Fast forward 40 years and fraud, traumatic injuries and loss of morale are the new order of the day.

The Veterans Administration is still having the same problems today they they had 40 years ago, 20 years before that, and five years before that, and ....... Too many veterans and not enough money. I believe General Shinseki is doing his very best to make the VA work for veterans, but the Tea Party dumbos elected in 2010 have done everything they could to make sure President Obama can't do shit.

Taking care of veterans is as expensive as making veterans. And after every war and every adventure veterans continue to pay the price. Here are two tiny slivers of what veterans face:

Invisible War Wounds Can Leave Very Deep Scars

This is a story about a trauma surgeon and her PTSD, It is a heart-breaking story about a front line surgeon who did two tours in Iraq. It is a heart-breaking story because we can dimly see some of the things she encountered.


Program helps disfigured war veterans look and feel better
By David Tarrant
[email protected]
2:38 pm on September 20, 2012

Operation Mend, the nonprofit organization that helps soldiers in need of reconstructive and plastic surgery, was the focus of a fundraiser Wednesday, hosted by billionaire T. Boone Pickens, at the Dallas Country Club.

Operation Mend began in 2007 after founder Ron Katz visited San Antonio’s Brooke Army Medical Center, the military’s primary burn center. Katz met with troops suffering from burns and other complex blast injuries. As a board member and benefactor of UCLA Medical Center, Katz was in a position to help, by making available the services of world-class plastic surgeons. Along with his late wife, Maddie, Katz forged a private-public partnership between the military and UCLA called Operation Mend, to provide cosmetic surgery at no cost to the injured veterans..

Since then, Operation Mend has reached out to dozens of service members in desperate need of plastic and reconstructive surgery. Many of these troops sustained facial trauma injuries that left them badly scarred, with missing or mutilated ears, noses and mouths. They also experienced post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues, including depression.


Katz said that Operation Mend has provided free surgeries to more than 50 veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He estimated that each surgery costs about $500,000. Pickens, 84, said that while he is opposed to the war in Afghanistan, he’s committed to helping wounded veterans, like Paulk. “We want to do our best for these men and women when they come home.”

To sum up this story, 50 veterans had 50 surgeries costing $25 million dollars that were caused by our adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan. The United States government sent these men and women into harms way and the United States government is not taking care of them when they come home. I'm of the Pottery Barn view when it comes to veterans: "If you break it, you fix it"

Suicides, military sexual trauma, PTSD and TBI are things you can slap a label on. They are not things that go away on their own. They are things that require immediate attention that costs money. Because we sent them over there.

Meanwhile the Air Force legal system is also experiencing difficulties.


Air Force slow to handle appeals for convicted airmen, officers
By Michael Doyle | McClatchy Newspapers
Posted on Friday, September 21, 2012

WASHINGTON - Timothy L. Merritt is waiting for final justice from the Air Force he once served.


Any delay longer than 18 months between when an appeal is put on the court’s docket and when it’s decided is “presumptively unreasonable,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces has said. Long appellate delays can be seen as violating the constitutional guarantees of due process and speedy trials. The court set the 18-month standard in a 2006 case that involved a Marine, Javier Moreno, who’d waited four years and seven months for his appeal to be decided. The Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals, which had let Moreno and others like him languish, has since sped up its work significantly.


But at the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals, at least 83 pending and fully briefed cases have been waiting longer than 18 months for decisions.


In recent cases in which the court has acknowledged missing the 18-month deadline for action, the judges invariably have concluded that the delay was harmless.

Finally, let's talk about Camp Lejeune. There have been hundreds, if not thousands of stories about folks who were poisoned by Camp Lejeune's water over the past six decades. The DoD and the Marine Corps were in denial for a looooong time. This little gem popped up last Friday:


Mercury found in Camp Lejeune water plant pipe
By Martha Waggoner - The Associated Press
Posted : Friday Sep 21, 2012 12:50:19 EDT

RALEIGH, N.C. — Camp Lejeune, the coastal Marine base with a history of problems with its drinking water, shut down one of its water treatment plants after about 8 pounds of the type of the mercury found in thermometers was discovered last week in a pipe in the facility.

Eight fucking pounds of mercury in a fucking Camp Lejeune water plant pipe. Jerry Ensminger, who lost his daughter to leukemia said "These people don't have a good track record with their drinking water..." Yup, that about sums it up.

And the costs of both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars are funded by Supplementals, aka not on the budget and on the United States' credit card. At least three trillion dollars on our national debt is a direct result of putting these invasions and occupations on the credit card.

1 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies
Veterans and Chaos (Original Post) unhappycamper Sep 2012 OP
Excellent post, hits on many issues on which I have mutual concern. (n/t) MIDNITERIDER1438 Sep 2012 #1
Latest Discussions»Issue Forums»Veterans»Veterans and Chaos