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Hooyah
October 23, 2005 1:06 PM   Subscribe

Hooyah! "I imagine being a government contract killer who has taken an active role in an illegal and immoral invasion and occupation must be somewhat stressful. The poor - dears. My heart is struggling real hard to bleed here." Lots of folks agree with that apparently. [more inside]
posted by Smedleyman (52 comments total)

 
A large number of displaced and at-risk veterans live with lingering effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and substance abuse, compounded by a lack of family and social support networks.



I thought a lot about the comments in this thread.
The immorality of war, the politics of it all - no political perspective has a monopoly on compassion. I'm sure some folks are (rightly) opposed to war in all forms. I respect those who are opposed to it on principles and compassion for life. But I can't stand the holier than thou judgements for a man's past acts and refusal to help him on that basis. What is a bad man but a good man's job?

Perhaps they were lost when they joined. But they are so lost now. I've mentioned I live in a quiet little affluent suburb. Today, shopping, I saw a homeless man outside Jewel Foods. He had a sign and he was smoking a cigarette just like the homeless I'm used to seeing downtown. You could barely see his face because he was wrapped in a blanket. It's cold here in the 'burbs today and raining. I had a few bucks in my pocket but I've heard you're not supposed to give them cash. I thought about getting him a hot meal or something. His sign said he was a vet. I asked him a couple questions about his unit and where he was stationed. As we talked I became more aware that our life paths were similar. But I was the one standing there with a $7 cup of coffee in a warm expensive rain jacket heading home with groceries to my wife who was making a nice dinner for us. And he was squatting on the cold ground in a blanket. But for the grace of God, that's me. What I did doesn't matter. Thinking about it though I see why of it.
I saw it in his eyes. He couldn't let it go. And I knew.
Some of us need redemption so bad it stops our lives and life just beats on us.


"I walk around crying every day. I feel lost in my own land. The land I fought for I feel lost in. I don't know what to do no more. Sometime I just feel like picking up a gun and calling it quits – know what I'm saying? But, something's got to get better. I didn't just risk my life for nothing." Noel paused, unsure if he still believed what he was going to say next. "There's a God out there – somewhere."

More on Herold Noel here


It says U.S. troops injured in Iraq have required limb amputations at twice the rate of past wars and as many as 20% have suffered head and neck injuries that require a lifetime of care.




National Coalition for Homeless Veterans

posted by Smedleyman at 1:09 PM on October 23, 2005


oh, yeah, homeless people suck!

I mean the fact that they're homeless, of course. was this in debate yesterday or something? I'm not seeing past the obviousness of this XangaFilter.
posted by kcm at 1:38 PM on October 23, 2005


Yeah, I'm a vet.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:40 PM on October 23, 2005


MeTa'ed.

Please continue further meta-discussion there.
posted by Bugbread at 1:46 PM on October 23, 2005


From Iraq to Homelessness was the pick of the links in this post for me, for the following reason:

I've recently finished reading Will They Ever Trust Us Again, in which Michael Moore has published many letters he's received - mainly from American troops in Iraq, but also their families, and from troops and vets from elsewhere.

The book isn't perfect. There's a lot of hearing people tell Michael Moore how great he is; but there are also some really valuable insights into how troops and their families are treated under the Bush administration. I'm not giving Moore the credit for this; but to people that, in some cases, have made some significant sacrifice in telling their story.

Between WarFilter posts at MetaFilter and other websites, and the one-trick coverage of the war and the politics surrounding it in the UK-media; I became sick of war coverage, and by the time of the UK general election, I was fairly sick of MPs and members of the public that banged on about the Iraq War as if it was the only issue.

Now, though, the election is long gone. And now no one can see political-gain in the issue of the war, both the media and opposition politicians (in the UK at least) have shut up about the war. It's articles such as the above, and the best of the letters in the book I mentioned, that really highlight how now, as much as ever, the governments of the invading forces in Iraq need to undergo the most stringent scrutiny.

The problem is people get whipped into such a frenzy whenever there's a war that it's very tough to really identify the best stories, (which might not always be the biggest stories): the ones I would say that people most need to hear. I've always said of blogs that they are okay at reporting breaking news; bad at reporting breaking news well; but very good in the aftermath of a story, looking for those greater subtexts. The blogging world has too many zeit-merchants, and too few investigative hounds. I think the web can play a massively important role here, because heaven knows the majority of the mainstream media coverage is, to say the least, on a particular theme at any given time.

I'm actually pretty disgusted with myself for letting the war take a back seat at the last election, and since.

This may not be a perfect post, but I think you're going to have to do better than pick on the immediate attributes of a) it being long, b) being written in the first person; and c) *shock-horror* not being tainted with the insipid pseudo-intellectual camel jism of so-called impartiality to pick holes in it. Again, I'm sick of people with brief and relatively-dubious posting histories themselves spilling their guts about what does and doesn't belong on MetaFilter. So long as someone's making an effort, stick your throaway snarks back from the hole you pulled them out of, flag the post, and save the actual editorial decisions for those with a clue.
posted by nthdegx at 1:48 PM on October 23, 2005


"I imagine being a government contract killer who has taken an active role in an illegal and immoral invasion and occupation must be somewhat stressful. The poor - dears. My heart is struggling real hard to bleed here."

is from this thread: http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/42566


My point here was much like the soldier here: http://www.vetstories.com/samplestory.htm

I saw myself in another. As it so happens he was a vet too but he's homeless while I'm ok.

It makes me feel like shit and I'd give him my right arm if I could.



For some reason this POS computer won't put in some characters where I tell it to on the post page (so it has the nice separations I see), refuses to put in links in comment, etc. etc. even though it shows it in preview like it will.

But it's a poor workman who blames his tools tho. So I'll be far more careful when I post later.


I probably shouldn't post in this state anyway. I want to rip people's heads off. I want to sell my house and give it all to the homeless folks. I don't know what to do about the war and it's making more and more people who will come home broken physically or mentally.


Fuck it. Fuck it all. Delete this post please Matt.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:48 PM on October 23, 2005


Hey Smedley

mea culpa.....perhaps I read something into your post I shouldn;t have.

I hereby call for an embargo.....If you never served in the military, don't you dare post any BS about the quality of someone's HTML tags.

If you have an MOS or rate you choose to share, then stand up as you stood up once before, and lets let the whiny little cybergeeks fend for themselves.

Naval Expediionery Medal, Sea Service Medal with Double Clusters here, Combat Aircrew Wings as well......not much, but probably more than the fucking pukes who are debating FPP's about now.

Veterans speak up......turdboys....shutup

ts
posted by timsteil at 1:53 PM on October 23, 2005


Great info, smedlyman, and my condolences to those poor suffering souls who had to hit the down arrow a few more times than usual.
posted by Space Coyote at 2:18 PM on October 23, 2005


It's a good subject for discussion - I hope Matt or jessamyn will edit it so the major text is inside and then the tedious fuckwits criticising it in the wrong place can go moan about something else.

Hear, hear.

Thanks for the links, Smedleyman.
posted by homunculus at 2:18 PM on October 23, 2005


This is a good post - if only badly formatted.

I'm not a veteran. I'm against this war, and war in general.

The mental illnesses and stress disorders that arise from combat duty shouldn't be surprising to anyone. War is hell - or so it is said. Personally, I can only imagine and extrapolate - and then heap on even worse imaginings.

However, the fact that the US is an all volunteer army, or that you may or may not disagree with this particular war - or that you disagree with war in general - shouldn't reduce or invalidate compassion for those in dire need of it.
posted by loquacious at 2:20 PM on October 23, 2005


If you never served in the military, don't you dare post any BS about the quality of someone's HTML tags. If you have an MOS or rate you choose to share, then stand up as you stood up once before, and lets let the whiny little cybergeeks fend for themselves.

Y'know, this might be one of the more offensive pro-war canards: "If you weren't there, you don't have a right to talk about it."

Which is all a bit rich given that the war has been imagined, planned and lost by folks who weren't there last time; but none of this seems to have dawned on the pro-war crowd.

Therefore, in conclusion, a hearty fuck you to timsteil and his attempt to pull rank.
posted by docgonzo at 2:21 PM on October 23, 2005


Cover story in today's Sunday New York Times magazine --

The Fall of the Warrior King
"Nathan Sassaman was a star quarterback at West Point and a celebrated officer who carried his idealism with him to Iraq. But a nasty war has a way of undoing a good man."
posted by ericb at 2:25 PM on October 23, 2005


"I'm actually pretty disgusted with myself for letting the war take a back seat at the last election, and since.

That came out wrong. I meant to say that I'm disgusted that I let it take a back seat *in my own mind*. I'm not crediting myself with media overlord powers, there.
posted by nthdegx at 2:29 PM on October 23, 2005


I get a little more incensed over social justice than I do large paragraphs, so even though I never served (father and brother did, though) I would like to post.

1. I second the tangetial "Smedley as in Butler" question.

2. Over the past few weeks, I think I have been seeing more homeless people in my part of Brooklyn. I don't know if they're vets; don't know if I am seeing a pattern that isn't there; don't know if this is an indication of a greater trend: but I remain baffled by this world, all we have acheived and all that is possible, adds up to nothing for so many people.
Perhaps the point of the post is that vets, if anyone, are deserving of government aid, especially if their service was during wartime and the experiences have affected their ability to cope. The attitude of the gov't here seems to be "Hey thanks for 'fighting for this country' and its wonderful fuck-government-the-market-is-king system. It's awesome guys, glad you fought for it, I am sure it will pay you back handsomely in its infinite bottom-up mysterious ways."
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 2:36 PM on October 23, 2005


So, I read _The Culture of Fear_ this morning and _The Tipping Point_ yesterday. both may apply here - I feel that a lot of the vets that have ended up homeless may have done so regardless of their military status. in addition, it could very well be that while their story is sad, it's not as common as the media would have us believe through the tugging of heartstrings for a better story. we know little of the true background of some of the roads we vicariously walk.

I am minimalizing the crap that these people endure for my good, and I am truly thankful, but I can't help playing devil's advocate in my head.
posted by kcm at 2:40 PM on October 23, 2005


Thanks for the post Smedleyman. Good on ya.
posted by stenseng at 2:47 PM on October 23, 2005


kcm, if you think media distortion is all there is here (I believe that is the claim you are making with references to your reading list), then perhaps you should check out a link above with stats.

And yeah a lot of these people would be homeless anyway -- so? You might also some would have been homeless if not for the military, and some are homeless because of their time of service. Does that affect the ethical question at the core of this, which is whether the military and the post-service institutions owe veterans more than they offer now.

I know you're just "playing devil's advocate in your head," but maybe you should try playing on your DVD player, the in-skull version didn't turn out too well.
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 2:50 PM on October 23, 2005


ad hominity aside, my point is that if they are going to be homeless one way or the other, I'm not sure the gub'ment can do a lot for them even with exponential increases of efforts over current levels.
posted by kcm at 2:55 PM on October 23, 2005


if they are going to be homeless one way or the other,

"they" are not. Some subset of "they" may be, but that's .a different statement
posted by Space Coyote at 3:01 PM on October 23, 2005


And, yes, I leave out words when I type rapidly, and don't notice them on preview. Chalk it up to a learning disorder or frustration, either way, sorry.

But, gads, I remain so stunned that our country's, society's, world's, species', highest priority is not the establishing and maintaining of a minimal standard of life. I had a friend turn libertarian on me (side: the magazine of choice is Reason, which I find a comic name considering that the gist of the philosophy is 'let the market decide' and fuck the value of reason, the market is smarter) and he says "well there will be winners and losers" -- I was ok with that, there will be, but I asked why we can't establish what losing means. Does losing mean no home, little food, no health care, poor nutrition, lower quality education, little access to information, more disease, poor water, no sanitation, etc. How low does losing go? And why do we allow it to go there?

Yep, just baffles and fucks with me because you get to the point and wonder what it means I should do. Maybe just fume, read Buckminster Fuller, and fume.
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 3:02 PM on October 23, 2005


That story about Sassaman probably deserves a separate FPP. It sounds like he went in to his command with high ideals and the best of intentions and was gradually worn down by the brutality and frustrations of life as an occupier in Iraq.

What a shame that someone of his calibre isn't allowed the chance to learn from his mistakes. At the very least, he should be put into training officers heading over there.
posted by notmtwain at 3:13 PM on October 23, 2005


Sorry about the ad hominem, kcm, it started out as a jab at an awful movie . . . anyway the reasoning is still way off:

some military vets will be homeless regardless of what the government does, therefore the government should . . . what? . . . do no more than what it is doing? do less? -- not sure what your conclusion is but I will try to generalize it and will take the most extreme conclusion

generalized: some social efforts directed at a large population will fail some segment of that population, therefore the effort should not be funded.

so

some children are not so bright and be dumb regardless of how much schooling they have, therefore public education should not be funded.

or

some people who enter a hospital after a car accident will die anyway, therefore we should not concern ourselves with trying to save these people, it's a waste of money

and so on

Of course, these are absurd versions of the argument (I deleted the one about sushi), but I think it might make it a little more clear that 1. you really don't have a conclusion and 2. some degree of undefined failure does not mean the entire effort is failure. (And here I have a hard time articulate #2, since as #1 points out, you really don't have a conclusion beyond the obvious: sometimes some part of a large effort fails.)
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 3:15 PM on October 23, 2005


smedlyman, the format was a bit of a mess, but I love this post. It is an oft ignored, yet important issue in society. It seems like the left wants to just demonize anyone involved with any war, and it only gets worse with an all volunteer army, and the right wants to keep its eyes closed to the evil effects of war so as not to limit its ability to prosecute the current or future wars. These poor guys have no natural advocates. There were so many affected Vietnam vets that it seemed that they were gaining traction but their plight now seems long forgotten. This country talks up patriotism and support for the troops but never follows through. They gladly take the benefit of an underpaid army (really underpaid!) and then just forgets about them after their service is compleat. That's patriotic? That's shameful, and it's shameful whether you are left or right on the political spectrum. If you have any sense of right and wrong, you can not justify how we treat our veterans.
posted by caddis at 3:26 PM on October 23, 2005


Good post. Smedleyman, I feel something like what you describe, every time I talk to a homeless guy. Not because I used to be in the army (I didn't, thank God) but because I've been homeless, many years ago.

I've lived in squats, I've gone hungry because I don't have any money for food. And now that I have a nice place to live, in a large city, every day I walk past people, human beings just like me, who are living on the streets begging. Lots of people are in that situation, all over the world. The ones you're angry about are American ex-soldiers. You have every right to feel angry: they are being treated like dirt, exactly the same as all other poor, homeless people are treated in America.

If you're as decent a man as you appear from your posts, I'd hazard a guess that your anger really has little to do with the fact that these people are ex-Army: it's deeper than that; it's about how society treats all homeless people.

And it's an anger that just about everyone on the Left shares. If there's one thing that genuinely unites the Left, it's our anger about the way the poor are treated, and our desire to help them. To help all of them - not just the ones whose life choices we happen to agree with.

Personally, I think joining the US Army is a deeply fucked up career choice. (Note that even Bush and his pals don't seem eager to send their sons and daughters off to war: just other people's sons and daughters).

That doesn't stop me, and the rest of the Left, campaigning to help the homeless. You might want to contrast that with the view from the Right.
posted by cleardawn at 3:38 PM on October 23, 2005


Y'know, this might be one of the more offensive pro-war canards: "If you weren't there, you don't have a right to talk about it."

Which is all a bit rich given that the war has been imagined, planned and lost by folks who weren't there last time; but none of this seems to have dawned on the pro-war crowd.

Therefore, in conclusion, a hearty fuck you to timsteil and his attempt to pull rank


Well Doc Gonzo:

This is spoken from one who saw about 260 bros die in one fell swoop in Beruit.

You want to send me a hearty fuck you, then that's your right. It's a free country. Then thank me and mine for that . I never asked for your approval or thanks when I signed up. Something tells me you were probably in diapers about that time.

Sorry if you think I'm pulling rank. As an enlisted man I have pulled rank on junior officers before. I have pissed on them, locked them into their airborne racks, and told them they were little pieces of crap that needed to wake the fuck up and get with the program and quit thinking they were back in the academy and start thinking about saving lives. To a man, they all said to me man to man, I'm sorry, and thank you.

Just FYI, I am not pro-war. I am anti-war. Because I have seen to many dead bodies that used to be my roommates.

You want to spout off on metafiter, thats fine. You want to to criticize my fucking post or whether I used an FPP, then by God feel free. You have the freedom too, and your welcome for that.

If you want to question my honor, or the honor of my team, then I offer you an invitation to meet personally and do just that young sir.

As far as my "canard", yes I find it highly offensive to hear people who never served in the military speaking in bad terms of the people who did, especially if they never had the balls to step up themselves.

I'm am proud to be a veteran. I'm not proud of everything I was involved in, but I am proud to be a veteran. I feel I did a service for the very people like you, who now make shit of me, and think I am a stooge.

I did what I did, and I did it for you and yours, and you welcome.

I really don't know or care who and what you are, but if you turn out to be some college freshman who just happens to be anti-war because you saw Farenheit 911(one of my favorite movies), or someone in Rhet 101 just introduced you to Chomsky, then I guess I only have one thing to say to you.

I did what I did, and I did it for you and yours and you are welcome.

It's still amazing to me, that people like me do what we do, for people like you

Something tells me that if your father ever saw this, he would smack the crap out of you for your stupid mouth.

ts
posted by timsteil at 3:43 PM on October 23, 2005


As an enlisted man I have pulled rank on junior officers before. I have pissed on them, locked them into their airborne racks, and told them they were little pieces of crap that needed to wake the fuck up and get with the program and quit thinking they were back in the academy and start thinking about saving lives.

Well, thank goodness you managed to find some people who find such loathsome behaviour impressive.

I find it highly offensive to hear people who never served in the military speaking in bad terms of the people who did, especially if they never had the balls to step up themselves.

Oh dear, what a pity. I wonder if you find it as offensive as I find the actions being perpetrated by proud soldiers like you in the middle east right now? I guess we'll never know, eh?

And that comes from someone who didn't join the military because he had a functioning brain, not because he lacked balls. But hey, you stick with your pride and your prejudices. They're clearly working out real well for you.
posted by Decani at 3:54 PM on October 23, 2005


So


My initial response to this has been deleted, complaining about people "grading" posts as to whether they have FPPS on them.

Welcome to 1984 folks

god...I thought Haughey was better than that

guess I was wrong

ban in 5-4-3-2-1.....


ts
posted by timsteil at 3:55 PM on October 23, 2005


If you want to question my honor, or the honor of my team, then I offer you an invitation to meet personally and do just that young sir.

Nobody questioned your honor. DocGonzo simply suggested that when you wrote...

If you never served in the military, don't you dare post any BS about the quality of someone's HTML tags. If you have an MOS or rate you choose to share, then stand up as you stood up once before, and lets let the whiny little cybergeeks fend for themselves

...you were being kind of a dick.

In posting thinly veiled threats of physical violence you are certainly not proving him wrong.
posted by dersins at 3:56 PM on October 23, 2005


Christ timsteil: Would you please stop signing your posts? We see your name below it.

And dude, what is whith the paternalistic father complex? You are telling all the "turdboys" to shut up (because, presumably we don't have anything worth saying because we didn't join up) and then can't take the heat when the fuck you is dropped. Seriously, shut up. You aren't engaging the topic, you're just saying whatever the fuck you want because some unlucky bastards you knew got blown up in an American colonial excursion.
posted by jmgorman at 4:02 PM on October 23, 2005


If you want to question my honor, or the honor of my team, then I offer you an invitation to meet personally and do just that young sir.

God, it's pathetic. Another puffed-up temple-buster who can't refrain from implied threats against those who have th etemerity to criticise their life choices. How very unamerican these people are.

I guess certain aspects of jail might be a little reminiscent of the military life. Maybe that's it. Not that I'd know of course, being a "turdboy" who was never in the forces. What a great advert for the job these people are.
posted by Decani at 4:04 PM on October 23, 2005


tim: If I could enlist, I would. I believe in fixing the problem from the inside. But, apparently, my life isn't good enough for my country.

I was told that since I'm a woman* and I'm legally married to another woman, that is an "automatic disqualifier" as the act of being married to another woman is a "permanent state of telling."

(You are required to list spouses and children on enlistment forms. I'm married in Massachusetts.)

So, am I allowed to have a voice in this debate?

* Well, male-to-female transwoman, but by the time that mattered it would be all over anyway.
posted by andreaazure at 4:08 PM on October 23, 2005


As far as my "canard", yes I find it highly offensive to hear people who never served in the military speaking in bad terms of the people who did, especially if they never had the balls to step up themselves.

Participation in a group has never really been necessary to being able to intelligently criticize the group. Frequently, the group members are a bit partial in their analysis of the group and in a spirit of protecting the group are unable to offer critical analysis of the group. Hence is born the industry of management consultants. Which brings up the point of how valid criticism of the group can be from someone outside of the group who may not have sufficient information about the group to really understand and criticize the group.

All criticism of groups should be taken with liberal grains of salt, but no group is beyond criticism, no matter how noble their purpose.
posted by caddis at 4:14 PM on October 23, 2005


MetaFilter: Veterans speak up......turdboys....shutup

ts
posted by fixedgear at 4:21 PM on October 23, 2005


gee


if my posts werent being immediately censored, I might be able to respond to you better...I dont know who is riding herd on this blog tonight, but they are obviously expresssing their own particular view in their decision

just a small note to Jm gorman

Since you feel the way you do, I would invite you to write letters to over 500 parents, and tell them their sons were some kind of unforunate victiims of American imperialism.

Perhaps if you had carried the body bags like I did, perhaps you would be thinking before you are talking. How dare you dishonor these people. I mean really....how fucking dare you.

Why don;t you stand up right now, tell us your real name, and tell us exactly where you were in October 1983?????

Are you going to cop out by saying it doesnt matter?...Are you going to somehow say your experience equates to mine. No it doesnt and it never will....so just sit down and shut up will you"

Until you have put your own roommates arm back into a black plastic zippered bag, dont you dare run your damned mouth at me.

By the way..yer very damned welcome sport! Hope your latest game of Grand Theft Auto is working out....

ts
posted by timsteil at 4:34 PM on October 23, 2005


I have nothing but the utmost respect for those who have selflessly served for my country.
posted by kcm at 4:35 PM on October 23, 2005


Sorry ts, but all of our military excursions are not noble. Very many are just some form of imperialism. It doesn't make the soldiers's deaths any less poignant, but what do you say to the parents? Of course officially you say how sorry you are that their son or daughter lost their life in protection of their country and our liberties. However, these parents are not fools. Even liberal parents want to believe that lie, when in fact it is a lie, and even conservative parents know in their hearts, sometimes, that their son or daughter's death was for less than a noble cause. The patriotic thing to do is commit our young men and women only when absolutely necessary, not just for a few political gains. Throw money around if you want, but not lives.
posted by caddis at 5:00 PM on October 23, 2005


Might piling on Tim be shortsighted?
Just a thought as I sit here in South Fort Myers 2000 feet from the Caloosahatchee river waiting for the arrival of Miss Wilma. :)
posted by notreally at 5:02 PM on October 23, 2005


I won't go into chapter and verse, ts, over the errors, misunderstandings and prejudices in your posts. Those that aren't blindingly obvious have been pointed out by others.

Just one thing: Even if I accepted the supposition, which I don't, you should know that I am a proud Canadian and, therefore, do not owe one iota of my rights and freedoms to you or your brothers in arms.

Oh, and besides: As the historical record shows, in the fights that mattered, the Canadian forces were there before you, fought longer and harder, and lost more.

So, again: Fuck you very much.
posted by docgonzo at 5:44 PM on October 23, 2005



Oh, and besides: As the historical record shows, in the fights that mattered, the Canadian forces were there before you, fought longer and harder, and lost more.


That is somewhat true. Canadian military has not been recognized for the fine force it has been historically.

Glad you brought that up...but then again YOU wern't one of them were you.

[snipage] ...from someone outside of the group who may not have sufficient information about the group to really understand and criticize the group.

Hey. Yeah. Like Burning Man.
posted by tkchrist at 6:48 PM on October 23, 2005


I'm still trying to find where the "government contract killer" fits in here.
posted by dingobully at 6:54 PM on October 23, 2005


government contract killer = soldier

in the minds of some.

And you know. That's fine now that I have had time to think about it. I suppose the problem (IE: homeless vets) is "honoring" the contract. It seems people, society, governments have this habit of forgetting they hired these guys on the predicate that they would then take care of them later - even when it was unsavory and no longer convenient.
posted by tkchrist at 6:59 PM on October 23, 2005


ts,

My father served in WWII, a medic. He's Chinese (born in the U.S., so an American citizen) and he was assigned to the Pacific theater (no doubt someone's idea of a joke - he was nearly killed by friendly fire at least twice that he knows of because he looked Japanese). He was a very decidated soldier and medic in that war, and he did his best for President and country at that time.

He came back home, surviving. Like you, he saw friends and colleagues die all around him.

On his return, he took advantage of the G.I. bill and got a good college education, went on, on the strength of scholarships and assistantships and got a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry. Now he's pushing 80, retired from a professorhip in California.

Somehow, he never really had the huge chip on his shoulder that you do about the anti-war people. I'm not going to say he's anti-war, but he definitely did all he could to keep me out of war's way, and strongly discouraged me from investigating any career in the armed forces.

Lucky for him, I ended up a quaker, bisexual and asthmatic. And he's pleased to have me, as I am, as his son.

I am anti-war. I think that there are plenty of better ways to get through international poltiics these days that are a lot more pre-emptive and effective than blowing the crap out of each other with our hi-tech (and not so) toys. I grieve whenever politics get so bad that people think blowing each others' heads off is a good idea that will eventually get our point across in international poltics.

I do support our troops, though. I believe that in general the soliders are not the ones who decide foreign policy, and when they get out there to do their jobs, I think they should be supported at least to the extent that their lives are comfortable and that they are able to spare enough thought and energy to be able to make the difficult ethical deicisions that inevitably fall on a soldier's shoulders.

And I think that returning vets also deserve a lot better than they appear to be getting.

I'm sorry you feel attacked, but I don't think that you personally need to act hostile and insulting in response. I understand the impulse, and I undersatnd where you're coming from, but really, this isn't helping anyone, least of all you.

I'm sorry it got this far, but I don't think anyone wants to take the kind of crap you're dishing out.

K
posted by kalessin at 7:23 PM on October 23, 2005


How low does losing go? And why do we allow it to go there?

Amidst all this chest-beating, and with a dodgy keyboard, I would just like to give kingfisher a hearty "Well said!"
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:56 PM on October 23, 2005


By the way..yer very damned welcome sport! Hope your latest game of Grand Theft Auto is working out....

First of all, what the fuck? I don't even really know what that means.

Tell you what, let's try to get onto the same page. You are anti war because you had to carry your 'mate's arm around. I'm anti war because you had to carry your mate's arm around and I question the necessity of unnecessary loss of life.

Yet, my opinion doesn't count because I wasn't furthering American imperial objectives in October 1983 or any other time. (Turdboy, non.) Just to be clear, in 1983 I was safe and sound in Illinois. Though that safety was in no way secured by your presence in Lebanon, so don't you dare wave that dismembered arm around any more. I've had quite enough of that maturbatory bullshit.

My experience does not equate to yours, but neither does yours to mine. You are not being censored, you are being engaged in a discussion. Well maybe you were once, now it has just devolved into a flamewar. Sorry for derailing the thread, y'all.
posted by jmgorman at 8:26 PM on October 23, 2005


Thank god I avoided all of the bullshit that appeared to have gone on upthread that has now been edited/deleted. Whether or not they may have at one stage been in a uniform is neither here nor there. A veteran doesn't get a lifetime's welfare just because they were warm blood for the ruling classes.

The problem isn't (to me) that there are homeless veterans on the street, it's that there are that many homeless people whatever their previous occupations. Total bullshit that such a well off nation can accept such poverty with apparent total equanimity. Still, I suppose that's one of the main freedoms that these fellows have been protecting, right?
posted by wilful at 10:14 PM on October 23, 2005


A veteran doesn't get a lifetime's welfare just because they were warm blood for the ruling classes.


Actually, they sort of do. Veteran's preferences in hiring for civilian DoD jobs? Check. GI Bill? Check. VA (such as it is)? Check. PX privileges? Check. Some fall through the safety net, but many take advantage of the fairly robust set of benefits.
posted by fixedgear at 3:47 AM on October 24, 2005


I'll bet seeing all those magnetic "Support the Troops" ribbons all over the place makes those homeless vets feel all warm and appreciated inside.
posted by beth at 10:27 AM on October 24, 2005



“Veterans speak up......turdboys....shutup”
posted by timsteil at 1:53 PM PST on October 23 [!]


Not really what I meant. I meant to be more inclusion in compassion. Obviously some folks want to put their attention into other areas. But I don’t think anyone is beyond redemption and (with due considerations to your other posts and other comments here) I don’t think anyone’s voice shouldn’t be heard. I get your sentiment though.
It seems close to caddis’ comment: (at 3:26 PM PST on October 23) “These poor guys have no natural advocates.”
I would qualify - except ourselves.


“The problem isn't (to me) that there are homeless veterans on the street, it's that there are that many homeless people whatever their previous occupations.”
posted by wilful at 10:14 PM PST on October 23 [!]


The problem is that many vets are homeless because they are broken. If you're a typist and you're homeless you can’t really say ‘Well, typing is a rough business.’ Perhaps you are mentally ill. Perhaps you have emotional scars from abuse of some kind.
The difference here is these people served their country and it shattered them. They were twisted into dehumanizing others - which is admittedly a necessity for some, we can’t all be Arjuna - then left in that state of mind trying to adjust to being human again and having humans around them.
It wasn’t an abusive husband or father that did that, it was the country. And then abandoned them.
Oh yeah, except for cutting them a check and letting them shop at the PX. Thanks Uncle Sam!


The guy I met doesn’t have a car or a fixed address. He's got the DTs because he self-medicates (he drinks a lot).
The question of why doesn’t he take advantage of the benefits is moot.
You have to ask why he drinks, why he is so down on himself, why does he not give a shit if he has open infected cuts?
After that it becomes clear.


It’s a problem that doesn’t have to happen. We could eliminate 1/4 of our homeless people if we put returning vets back together. But they’re just making more and more.
Hell, I get nightmares sometimes. I have problems sleeping without (over the counter) pills. It can’t be good for you. But I have to put food on the table.
Anyone who’s seen my posts knows I’m a little over the top with violence. Think that translates well interpersonally?
I have fairly good social and conversation skills (large family), but I have to really reign it in most of the time. It requires an effort that many of you don’t even have to think about.


I disagree with some of what timsteil says, but I completely understand his method of expression.
Some of you here are writers, artists, computer folks, whatever, no one gets on you for reflecting your idiom.
Well, we’re (former) practitioners of violence. We have the same habits that a lifetime of thinking about engineering or being a lawyer has, except it’s warfighting and killing crowded into a small handful of months or years.
It offends and/or scares many people. Think my wife is happy when I sneak around the house at 3 am with my Gerber MK II because I heard something?

If your first reaction to stimuli is: “kill” or “take cover” and you’re in combat, you will likely do well. If a car backfires or a door slams and that’s your first reaction, you tend to get looks. You feel guilty for wanting to kill someone who could be your friend or someone in your family.

Consider a (completely hypothetical) situation where it’s necessary to rape children. At first you’re appalled, but you realize the necessity of it. As time goes on it becomes second nature. It’s just what is done. Then you come home.
You are put back into the life you had before with the moral judgments you had then (and now). You see a kid.
Think about those feelings.


I was home on leave, I believe the second year I was in, talking about the goriest shit in the foulest language in front of my mother and my grandmother and a few of their ladyfriends. It actually took a few minutes to realize that they were not being silent because my stories were so interesting.
It just all came out. And I’m thinking ‘Jesus Christ, what the hell am I doing?’ But I couldn’t think of a way out of that. I just excused myself and left. And it’s not their fault, but they couldn’t relate. So you’re left alone with all this.



You need time to adjust your habits and many aren’t given that time.
In many cases, it’s only guys who were there who don’t think of you as a monster deserving only of a disdain or perhaps a grudging respect.

I don’t know. I’m still just trying to wrap my head around it.

It seems like a problem that’s going to get worse and worse and very few people are seeing it.

-----

My sincere apologies again for the poor start. I was a bit shaken up by what happened. Like looking into an alternate universe.
Thanks for the upbeat and cogent comments brothers and sisters.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:47 PM on October 24, 2005


Think my wife is happy when I sneak around the house at 3 am with my Gerber MK II because I heard something?

LOL. Mine too... but an MK II? Brother! That's um... a rather intimate way to deal with naughty intruder. I mean if I was the wife I 'd appreciate you not wanting to wake the family and all... but getting up close in personal like that? Yucky.

I prefer the respectful distance a .380 affords.
posted by tkchrist at 5:12 PM on October 24, 2005


Consider a (completely hypothetical) situation where it’s necessary to rape children.

Sorry pal, such a situation NEVER exists.
posted by caddis at 8:10 PM on October 24, 2005


I prefer the respectful distance a .380 affords.
posted by tkchrist at 5:12 PM PST on October 24 [!]


Brother, you must have a HUGE house!


Consider a (completely hypothetical) situation where it’s necessary to rape children.
Sorry pal, such a situation NEVER exists.
posted by caddis at 8:10 PM PST on October 24 [!]


Agreed caddis. I meant it as an analogy for killing people. I purposefully chose a completely untenable situation to bring the emotional impact home.

Some folks think there is never a situation that warrents killing anyone, anytime, even wartime. They believe perfect non-violence is the highest bravery. And have a similar abhorance to violence that you just did to child abuse.
I still enjoy violence, but I would like to have that state of mind.


"I am but a poor struggling soul yearning to be wholly good, wholly truthful and wholly non-violent in thought, word and deed, but ever failing to reach the ideal which I know to be true. It is a painful climb, but the pain of it is a positive pleasure to me. Each step upwards makes me feel stronger and fit for the next." - Ghandi.

I still have the big disconnect between my reactions and my beliefs. But I'm trying.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:29 PM on October 24, 2005


* oh, .380. Thought it was .338.

I should really get some sleep.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:38 PM on October 24, 2005


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