Many American, Canadian
, and British
military veterans opposed to the actions of ISIS in Iraq have been, individually
, going over to fight with the Kurdish Peshmerga for some time now, bringing thousands of dollars of military gear and irreplaceable training. There have been so many of them fighting
that the Peshmerga are now actively recruiting
military veterans online
. Not to be internet-outdone, military veterans
have begun investigating forming units of their own
to fight ISIS
-including notable and controversial science-fiction author John Ringo
, who suggested trying to crowdfund for 'a brigade of soldiers'. [more inside]
Behind the Mask - Revealing the Trauma of War
"Brain injuries caused by blast events change soldiers in ways many can’t articulate. Some use art therapy, creating painted masks to express how they feel."
How A War Hero Became A Serial Bank Robber.
"Army medic Nicholas Walker returned home from Iraq after 250 combat missions, traumatized and broken. His friends and family couldn’t help him. Therapy couldn’t help him. Heroin couldn’t help him. Pulling bank heists helped him." [Via]
"A Gazette investigation
shows an increasing number of soldiers, including wounded combat veterans, are being kicked out of the service for misconduct, often with no benefits, as the Army downsizes after a decade of war."
: Surge in discharges includes wounded soldiers"
: No break for the wounded"
: Army struggles with wounded soldiers"
A New Theory of PTSD and Veterans: Moral Injury
But as clergy and good clinicians have listened to more stories like these, they have heard a new narrative, one that signals changes to the brain along with what in less spiritually challenged times might be called a shadow on the soul. It is the tale of disintegrating vets, but also of seemingly squared-away former soldiers and spit-shined generals shuttling between two worlds: ours, where thou shalt not kill is chiseled into everyday life, and another, where thou better kill, be killed, or suffer the shame of not trying. There is no more hellish commute. [more inside]
The Things They Leave Behind.
"When the Vietnam Veterans Memorial opened 30 years ago, something unexpected happened: People started leaving things at the wall. One veteran has spent decades cataloging the letters, mementos, and other artifacts of loss — all 400,000 of them." (Via.) [more inside]
The first thing we learned about war re-enactment is that it's fucking terrifying having guns fired at you, even ones loaded with blanks. The second thing we learned is a common re-enactor's dilemma called "The G.I. Effect", which is basically that people playing Americans don't like to die. So sometimes they just don't.It's Like Vietnam All Over Again, pt 1
. Part 2
"Hell Broke Luce" -- a surreal anti-war video
from Tom Waits
for his powerful song based on the harrowing story of Lance Corporal Jeff Lucey
, a 23-year old Iraq war Marine veteran who committed suicide in 2004.
From Waits' 22d album Bad As Me
(2011, AntiRecords) [more inside]
An essay which looks inside the conflicted mind of an Israeli soldier, stationed at a West Bank checkpoint. By Oded Na'aman, currently a student in the Philosophy PhD program at Harvard University, who served in the Israeli Defense Forces from November 2000 to October 2003. Mr. Na'aman is also a member of Breaking the Silence
, a website that gathers and publishes anonymous testimonials
from IDF soldiers -- combat veterans -- about their experiences and the realities of life in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.
"First Kill is a war documentary
that explores the dark side of man and the psychology of soldiers at war. Vietnam veterans are interviewed about their experiences and what war does to the human mind and soul."
Army vet with PTSD sought the treatment he needed by taking hostages – but got jail instead.
"Fifteen months of carnage in Iraq had left the 29-year-old debilitated by post-traumatic stress disorder. But despite his doctor’s urgent recommendation, the Army failed to send him to a Warrior Transition Unit for help. The best the Department of Veterans Affairs could offer was 10-minute therapy sessions — via videoconference. So, early on Labor Day morning last year, after topping off a night of drinking with a handful of sleeping pills, Quinones barged into Fort Stewart’s hospital, forced his way to the third-floor psychiatric ward and held three soldiers hostage, demanding better mental health treatment." [Via] [more inside]
This documentary is the story of two Mennonite brothers from Manitoba who were forced to make a decision in 1939, as Canada joined World War II
. In the face of 400 years of pacifist tradition, should they now go to war? Ted became a conscientious objector while his brother went into military service. Fifty years later, the town of Winkler dedicates its first war memorial and John begins to share his war experiences with Ted. [more inside]
A comic strip has caused a political uproar by making a bold, controversial statement on Veteran's Day, considered by some to be an insult to our nation's fighting men and women. The strip that has spit on the work of our country's bravest veterans is, as you would expect, that anti-American bastion of subversive vitriolic societal commentary, Garfield
PTSD: The War Within. A Marine writes about his PTSD experience.
This article from the January issue of the Marine Corps Gazette
was written by USMC Staff Sergeant Travis N. Twiggs
. Twiggs killed himself and his brother
after a long police chase in Arizona earlier this week.
. I’ve come to bear witness to American folly, to rest my eyes on the flying machines that flattened the forests of Southeast Asia, poisoned its people, and changed my life.
A personal essay about the long-reaching effects of Agent Orange. [more inside]
With the death of Louis de Cazenave
, Lazare Ponticelli
is the last surviving French veteran of World War One, and the country has been wondering how to mark the inevitable.
By contrast, Germany's response to the recent death of Erich Kaestner
has been a more muted affair, indeed, all but unnoted. [more inside]
- in honor of Veteran's Day, it might be fitting to check in on the recovery of J.R. Salzman
, known here on mefi as Logboy
The killing of Jamie Dean.
"Police in rural Maryland staged a military stakeout and shot a troubled Army vet. As his family plans to sue, they are asking how a soldier being treated for PTSD could be shipped to Iraq."
The Other War: Iraq Vets Bear Witness.
"Investigating the impact of the war on Iraqi civilians, Chris Hedges
and Laila Al-Arian reveal disturbing patterns of behavior by US troops in Iraq--brutal acts that often go unreported and almost always go unpunished." [Via No Quarter.]
The Iraq Veterans Memorial
is "an online war memorial that honors the members of the U.S. armed forces who have lost their lives serving in the Iraq War. The Memorial
is a collection of video memories from family, friends, military colleagues, and co-workers of those that have fallen." A project of the Brave New Foundation
. [Via Bushflash.]
Soldiers Face Neglect, Frustration At Army's Top Medical Facility.
The Iraq war has transformed Walter Reed into "a holding ground for physically and psychologically damaged outpatients." Meanwhile, despite predictions that the cost of medical care for veterans will skyrocket
, the Bush administration apparently plans to cut funding for veterans' health care
. Tired of waiting for the government, more people are taking the initiative in developing alternative facilities
to help veterans.
When I Came Home:
Iraq War veteran Herold Noel suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and lives out of his car in Brooklyn. Using Noel's story as a fulcrum, this doc examines the wider issue of homeless U.S. military veterans-from Vietnam to Iraq-who have to fight tooth-and-nail to receive the benefits promised to them by their government.
Only 2,029 out of 9,145 veterans with post traumatic stress
disorder resulting from combat have been referred to mental health for evaluation/treatment. I say give them the same treatment
the IDF gets.
Are you a Gulf War veteran still suffering from mysterious symptoms
or post-combat trauma? The Veteran's Administration has just the prescription for you: "Obecalp," otherwise known as placebo
. (p.s. -- They'd better start working on an Extra-Strength version
for Iraq War vets.)
Ron Kovic writes about returning wounded vets There are things here you can never forget, images and sounds and smells that you will never see on TV or read about in the newspapers.
Marine's Final Salute to fallen comrades
Very emotional piece by the Rocky Mountain News where they shadow'ed a Marine that is responsible for notifying next-of-kin. Seeing as today is Veteran's Day, how 'bout we salute our men and women in uniform ... and leave the political discussions for other forums.
On my 19th birthday in 1917, we were in the trenches at Passchendaele... Haig put a three-day barrage on the Germans, and thought, "Well, there can't be much left of them." I think it was the Yorkshires and Lancashires that went over. I watched them as they came out of their dugouts and the German machine guns just mowed them down. I doubt whether any of them reached the front line.
Harry Patch, Private, Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry. Born June 17 1898.
Of the millions who fought in WWI, only a handful are still alive today -- and all are now well over 100 years old. With the horror of the trenches about to slip from living memory, Max Arthur
has tracked down and interviewed these last survivors of the 'carnage incomparable
"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.
. My heart
Lots of folks agree with that
apparently. [more inside]
Pentagon to close Walter Reed Medical Center
More than 3,700 doctors and other medical personnel will be moved to a new and expanded facility to be built at the Navy's National Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., a few miles away. The move will cost nearly $989 million, and is expected to save more than $301 million over 20 years as the Pentagon seeks to streamline care and provide state of the art medical treatment for wounded servicemen and women.
And saving $301 million over 20 years is better than spending a billion dollars within the next 2 years, how?
And never mind those 18,000+ American casualties
coming back from the M.E. I'm sure they'll be able to improvise bedrolls during the renovations up in Bethesda...
His name is Leroy Bailey, and he was once briefly famous.
The legacy of war for one Vietnam veteran. Part of an excellent series
in the Chicago Sun-Times, previous article linked here
Homeless Iraq vets showing up at shelters
U.S. veterans from the war in Iraq are beginning to show up at homeless shelters around the country, and advocates fear they are the leading edge of a new generation of homeless vets not seen since the Vietnam era.
Yesterday, Iraq. Today, homeless in the Bronx.
Welcome back, soldier, and god bless America.
Eleventh hour stories
: a project to gather true tales of war from the past 100 years from civilians, soldiers and veterans: " The telling and the receiving of these stories are activities that say: 'This must stop here and now.'"
PeaceTrees Vietnam. Reversing the Legacy of War.
"A group of American volunteers, including Vietnam War veterans, helped Vietnamese victims of the war move Thursday into a newly built 'peace village'
on the site of a former U.S. Marine base. The 100 families who will live in the village lost relatives or limbs in explosions of bombs, shells or other ordnance left over from the war. PeaceTrees Vietnam, the Washington State-based nonprofit group which sponsored the $385,000 project, says it spent months digging out 339 pieces of ordnance both American and North Vietnamese to make the 100-acre site safe."
Beautiful project and story....but one can't help wonder how many years will pass before we reverse the legacies of today's (and tomorrow's) wars.
The Green Fields of Vietnam
There was an interesting program aired tonight on RTE (Irish TV), about Irish born soliders who fought in the Vietnam War. Although only one Irish born solider is officially listed as having been killed, there were 20 others, who gave their US address when they enlisted. It's believed that 2000 Irish born men served in that conflict (they had emigrated and a Greencard means you can be conscripted) but the vast majority of these remain unknown.
Speaking of Veterans Day,
here in Chicago we have the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum. Art by Vets about the War. Most pieces are on-line with a short essay. The Above and Beyond memorial
is impressive to say the least.
In Flanders Fields
- by John McCrae
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields
MetaFilter readers wherever you are, please take a moment of silence to honour those who gave their lives so that we could live ours.
USA's Depleted Uranium Weapons
1 in 7 Gulf War veterans suffer from Gulf War Syndrome, including a high incidence of birth defects, respiratory, kidney and liver problems. There are outrageously high rates of leukemia and severe birth defects among Iraqi civilians. Now Israel uses DU weapons against Palestinians. After DU weapons were used in Kosovo,
Italy wants to know why Kosovo veterans are getting cancer.
Still the pentagon insists that "... we do not believe it poses any significant health risk." Does anybody in the US give a damn?