How Specialist Town Lost His Benefits
April 4, 2007 10:58 AM   Subscribe

How Specialist Town Lost His Benefits: His deafness, memory problems and depression caused were not caused by a rocket attack he survived in Ramadi, but by a pre-existing personality disorder. Well, according to the Army medical staff, that is. (via)
posted by knave (34 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
And this is why the army is the enemy to the soldier.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:01 AM on April 4, 2007

Strange that this isn't reported on LGF. By any reasonable metric he's a patriot who served the greatest country in the world with honor.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:04 AM on April 4, 2007 [2 favorites]

boy, this'll help morale. but not a withdraw timetable, no way.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 11:26 AM on April 4, 2007

Maybe that's why the enlistment age is 42 now: more back history to make the claim on. "So, looks like that shrapnel in your brain had nothing to do with this. Seems it was your divorce when you were 30 that caused your post traumatic stress. See ya!"

Oh, and hey, felons? Even easier! "Why look at this? You clearly had a lot of issues before you joined the military. I mean, you were a convicted felon son!"
posted by smallerdemon at 11:33 AM on April 4, 2007

Scum. Anyone involved in this in any way should be sent on a three year tour to Iraq.
posted by carter at 11:36 AM on April 4, 2007

Glad to have cast my vote with my feet.
posted by buzzman at 11:44 AM on April 4, 2007

This is common. If you haven't seen the documentary "The Ground Truth" you need to see it.

I work with Military Families Speak Out, every day brings a new story about someone who is denied benefits and/or getting poor or little treatment for wounds (physical or psychological).

As hard is it is to say, sometimes the ones that don't return at all are in a better place than those that come back broken.
posted by HuronBob at 11:47 AM on April 4, 2007 [2 favorites]

This The Nation article brought to might this recent Washington Post Special Report. Some choice excerpts:
"While Mologne House [one of the places recuperating soldiers are housed] has a full bar, there is not one counselor or psychologist assigned there to assist soldiers and families in crisis -- an idea proposed by Walter Reed social workers but rejected by the military command that runs the post....

Annette puts on makeup every morning and does her hair, some semblance of normalcy, but her new job in life is watching Dell.

'I'm worried about how he's gonna fit into society,' she says one night, as Dell wanders down the hall to the laundry room.

The more immediate worry concerns his disability rating. Army doctors are disputing that Dell's head injury was the cause of his mental impairment. One report says that he was slow in high school and that his cognitive problems could be linked to his native intelligence rather than to his injury.

‘They said, 'Well, he was in Title I math,' like he was retarded,’ Annette says. ‘Well, y'all took him, didn't you?’

The same fight is being waged by their friends, who aren't the young warriors in Army posters but middle-age men who left factory jobs to deploy to Iraq with their Guard units. They were fit enough for war, but now they are facing teams of Army doctors scrutinizing their injuries for signs of preexisting conditions, lessening their chance for disability benefits.

Dell and Annette's closest friend at Mologne House is a 47-year-old Guard member who was driving an Army vehicle through the Iraqi night when a flash of light blinded him and he crashed into a ditch with an eight-foot drop. Among his many injuries was a broken foot that didn't heal properly. Army doctors decided that ‘late life atrophy’ was responsible for the foot, not the truck wreck in Iraq.

When Dell sees his medical records, he explodes. ‘Special ed is for the mentally retarded, and I'm not mentally retarded, right, babe?’ he asks Annette. ‘I graduated from high school. I did some college. I worked in a steel mill.’"
posted by ericb at 12:13 PM on April 4, 2007

*brought to mind*
posted by ericb at 12:14 PM on April 4, 2007

I cannot fathom why so many military people put their faith in it, when stuff like this has happened, is happening, and likely will happen. The army does not care about you. The stuff that seems like they are caring (medals, fancy funerals), only serve the PR machine of the military, make it seem grand and wonderful and noble to die for your country.

But get injured? Well, you're no longer useful to them. All you do is cost money and remind people that war is brutal.
posted by agregoli at 12:32 PM on April 4, 2007

...and I thought that Walter Reed thing was bad!

It's just appalling. This Administration and the people who voted them in have no right to keep repeating the whole 'support our troops' mantra.
posted by chuckdarwin at 12:45 PM on April 4, 2007

Deafness caused by a personality disorder? Are they mad?

It seems unlikely that someone who had PTSD-like psychiatric disorders would even join up, let alone get sent to war. If I were already schizophrenic, already psychotic, etc. - I sure as hell wouldn't be going through basic training. Aren't those people not supposed to get accepted in the first place?
posted by etoile at 12:55 PM on April 4, 2007

Unrelated: 60,000!
posted by cortex at 1:03 PM on April 4, 2007

Hopefully this will get coverage before it slips out of control. PTSD could soon be claimed as PD, and be done for as anything the army has any responsibility for. Watching my only friend in this new small town, an iraq war vet, slowly slide into this illness (ptsd that is) has been very sobering.

I'm no support-the-troops stooge, and I frown angrily at anyone's arrogant claim he is "fighting for my freedom," but this is where war returns home. The influx of very disturbed vets from a war whose aims are unclear and suspect at best, out of a military who increasingly neglects them, back into a society who cannot or will not understand them, is going to be a long painful recovery for this nation to face, and a very real consequence of all our complicity in this war.

"You buy gas, you enjoy a rich dollar around the world, you profit from war" -anon vet. Although not entirely agreeing with the logic, this is where many servicemen and women are coming from, and where a lot of anger will come from.

I really wish I were being sarcastic...maybe next post.
posted by sarcasman at 1:07 PM on April 4, 2007

Unrelated: woo!
posted by jessamyn at 1:08 PM on April 4, 2007

‘I graduated from high school. I did some college. I worked in a steel mill.’

Here is a man who lived as every American should-- he tried, he worked hard, he did his best. And now we are screwing him royally. What a shitty, shitty place this has become.
posted by oflinkey at 1:28 PM on April 4, 2007

From the article: "They say the military is purposely misdiagnosing soldiers like Town and that it's doing so for one reason: to cheat them out of a lifetime of disability and medical benefits, thereby saving billions in expenses."

Shill doctors. They aren't everywhere, but they keep popping up. Many people can be bought, in any walk of life.
posted by Listener at 1:34 PM on April 4, 2007

After reading this, can someone explain why the number of folks in the military are disproportionately Republican ... and their families too?
posted by Azaadistani at 1:40 PM on April 4, 2007

After reading this, can someone explain why the number of folks in the military are disproportionately Republican ... and their families too?

Generally speaking, you have a lot of people wandering around in any society who are raised to believe something, and rarely if ever question it.

Being a Republican involves a lot more "rah rah USA USA" indoctrination than being a Democrat generally does (although exceptions abound, I'm sure) and when you're raised on the "rah rah USA USA" vibe you're more likely to enlist, in the belief that you're serving your country.
posted by davejay at 2:26 PM on April 4, 2007

After reading this, can someone explain why the number of folks in the military are disproportionately Republican ... and their families too?

They are ignorant? They don't read the news?
posted by chunking express at 2:26 PM on April 4, 2007

After reading this, can someone explain why the number of folks in the military are disproportionately Republican ... and their families too?

Maybe because there is more lip service paid to supporting the military and warfighters by Republicans the Democrats, because the Dems really don't have a leg to stand on. The last time the US was in a major and protracted conflict was Vietnam, which was largely escalated by Democratic Presidents. Recall that troops were being treated pretty poorly then, too. Reagan really boosted the budget and support for active military, while, like the populace at large, preferred to sweep vets under the rug. People, right and left, like to blame the troops first. It's happening today.
posted by Snyder at 2:33 PM on April 4, 2007

I don't think it's correct that military people are disproportionately Republican--officers, yes, grunts, no.

I think it's a real reach to think that the kids serving today are thinking back to what the Democrats did or didn't do during the Vietnam years.

That also suggests that everyone believes that fighting for America is a Republican value, which is what the GOP would have you believe but not true in my book.

Does anyone remember when Bob Dole and his ilk were running around talking about "Democrat wars" ? You know, World War II.

And people turned against the troops as the Vietnam war grew more and more unpopular and as vets came home and talked about atrocities. And I don't mean what Kerry said; the grunts themselves told horrible stories about things they'd done.
posted by etaoin at 4:50 PM on April 4, 2007

This is repellent.

I'm about as anti-war as they come, but even I recognize that if you're going to pull people in with promises of glory--hell, if they're going to volunteer risking their lives for a nebulous and socially-approved ideal--then they have a reasonable expectation of being taken care of when it all goes sideways.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 5:03 PM on April 4, 2007

In her report on Dykstra, Col. Ana Parodi, head of Behavioral Health at Fort Stewart's Winn Army Hospital, writes that the soldier gives a clear description of PTSD symptoms but lays them out with such detail, it's "as if he had memorized the criteria." She concludes that Dykstra has personality disorder, not PTSD, though her report also notes that Dykstra has had "no previous psychiatric history" and that she confirmed the validity of his symptoms with the soldier's wife.
So he's never had a psychiatric history. Never been depressed. Never had anxiety. And now he's some kind of sociopath?


Can a civilian licensing board revoke the certification of a professional working for the military? This has malpractice written all over it.
posted by jason's_planet at 5:35 PM on April 4, 2007

After reading this, can someone explain why the number of folks in the military are disproportionately Republican ... and their families too?

Same reason the number of folks who are negatively affected by Republican fiscal strategies are disproportionately Republican. Because they're fucking stupid. But you can't really blame them: the number of folks who are negatively affected by Republican cuts to the educational system are also Republican.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:03 PM on April 4, 2007

The last time the US was in a major and protracted conflict was Vietnam, which was largely escalated by Democratic Presidents.

And continued by a two-term Republican crook who escaped impeachment by resigning.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:11 PM on April 4, 2007

Damn this pisses me off! We are treating returning vets like total shit and yet I gotta hear fucking dick fucking cheney say every day that I am a traitor for wanting accountability in this damned war.
posted by UseyurBrain at 8:28 PM on April 4, 2007 [1 favorite]

unlike doctors in the private sector, Army doctors who give questionable diagnoses face no danger of malpractice suits due to Feres v. U.S., a 1950 Supreme Court ruling that bars soldiers from suing for negligence. To maintain that protection, Terry says, most doctors will diagnose personality disorder when prodded to do so by military officials.

posted by granted at 12:10 AM on April 5, 2007

Sorry to rain on the (justifiable) hate festival, but Democratic administrations weren't especially any different when it comes to caring for messed up vets. The same story was told during and after Viet Nam. I wouldn't be at all surprised if this administration does it more offten and more extremely, but over all, it's the same-old-shit.
posted by Goofyy at 1:07 AM on April 5, 2007

What was/is being done to Specialist Town is a total outrage. It's disgusting, it's deeply wrong. Hope there is greater media coverage of the ongoing betrayal. With tax dollars backing up this grotesque bs, paying for these US Army bureaucrats to screw up people's lives. ugh.

There are 10 basic personality disorders (PDs):
Cluster A (odd or eccentric disorders)

Paranoid personality disorder
Schizoid personality disorder
Schizotypal personality disorder
Cluster B (dramatic, emotional, or erratic disorders)

Antisocial personality disorder
Borderline personality disorder
Histrionic personality disorder
Narcissistic personality disorder
Cluster C (anxious or fearful disorders)

Avoidant personality disorder
Dependent personality disorder (not the same as Dysthymia)
Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (not the same as Obsessive-compulsive disorder)

The more I thought about Specialist Town's situation, the more it seems that to be in the army as a soldier in battle, it requires a personality disorder. One is killing total strangers just because somebody else says so. So to then have soldiers do this unthinkable act of killing strangers, mass killing them, and then blame the soldiers for being ill is insane.

"The Army is committed to the well being of the community of people who serve and stand ready to defend the nation." Big lie.

That absurdity aside, any one of these PDs would have been detectable at the time of a person being recruited or during basic training. To use having a PD as an excuse not to treat a wounded soldier, who was doing everything right according to the US Army is despicable, it's the US Army in this case with the personality disorder! They are being grossly exploitative, manipulative, destructive and pathologically deceitful.
posted by nickyskye at 9:00 AM on April 5, 2007

Been thinking of Sun Tzu: All warfare is based on deception.

Bit of sarcasm there.

But, more importantly: What is essential in war is victory, not prolonged operations. There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare. Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.

Most importantly: Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley.

I don’t think it’s surprising that this war has been advertised, branded, and sold to the people in the U.S. It’s always a lot of ‘support the troops’ hot air and no real support when you come back home. Mom courage doesn’t want to be reminded what she’s pimping. And folks against the war don’t have to buy into the idea that they’re responsible at all either. So no one has to do anything really tangible. And many people benefit greatly, but this is perfectly natural and nothing to be ashamed of because no one really pays — at least no one worth speaking of.
And everyone feels good about it too, isn’t that nice?

Y’know - the thing with Vietnam and democrats and’s not that nothings changed, it’s that it hasn’t substantially changed, but it is different.

As a f’rinstnstance - cola companies (other companies too, but for this example - cola) used to have giveaways/prizes/contests - to sell their product. Now this is sneaky because the product itself is pretty much crap. I mean it’s sugarwater. But you don’t see that racket there, you see the prizes. Ok, so you buy a Coke to try to get that Coke tumbler or blanket - whatever. Maybe someone really wins. I don’t know. Either way, you’re drinking more Coke instead of something actually good for you that costs less. In the interim companies work with ‘points’ (Marlboro comes to mind) and such so they can market at you better. Well, years later you have the internet. (Pepsi Blue ain’t the half of it)
Now you get a code and go to a website or use your phone to be directed to other vaccuous products that are just as insubstantial.
American Idol or sports or rent one get one free rental at Blockbusters - etc. etc. and you put forth effort to buy into that whole world to get more stuff you don’t really need either.

Same thing, ‘cept with patriotism. And this democrat/republican thing is Coke/Pepsi. For peace? Ah, you buy Sprite then. It’s the uncola. Same game.

Meanwhile - reality - Spec. Town’s reality that he can’t hear and needs help - is lost in this morass of other unreal and ultimately unobtainable set of goals.

And - before someone trots it out - same schtick applies to Iraqis who get blowed up.
Whole big set of point system “but we’re trying to” excuses there too.
A doctor who takes an order to screw someone like this has Pepsi Blue all over him. He’s “trying to” - whatever: save the government money. Follow orders. Blah blah blah. Some goal other than actually doing something tangible himself.
Same song and dance Smed Butler went on about. Same reason Danny Shays boys marched. Same reason bonus riots occured.
It’s just been refined and has co-opted erstwhile opponents so it doesn’t seem rigged.
Hey, McDonalds brought the Monopoly game back. I’m sure it’s all on the square now.

More Sun Tzu: If our soldiers are not overburdened with money, it is not because they have a distaste for riches; if their lives are not unduly long, it is not because they are disinclined to longevity.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:26 PM on April 5, 2007

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