I may or may not publish this. PTSD has a bad habit of hiding in the dark recesses of my mind, letting me believe for a little while that I can live a normal life with a wife and kid and job. But those are just distractions. Once you no longer have those things to occupy your mind, that’s when your mind begins to dig those memories back up and to remind you that, yeah, maybe now you act like and talk like a normal guy but you know, in your deepest heart, that that’s all just so much bullshit because you know exactly how low and how evil and how “different” from others you really are. That’s when the nightmares come back, when you see children playing in the park and flash back to tiny bodies that you caused to be dead or you see a face and it brings back the memory of tossing what was left of a friend into that big plastic body bag for the trip back to the dirt that will be their permanent home.
I served with the Marines in Vietnam in the late 60s in I Corps, right along the DMZ and the scene of some the heaviest fighting of that war. Trying to explain the horrors we witnessed and engaged in on an almost daily basis to an outsider always brings two of the most common reactions; an uncaring statement of “You just have to forget it and get it together (with the unspoken “and quit being such a weenie”) or “Yeah, war sucks but we have to defend democracy”. There are an infinite number of variations on those two themes but those seem to be the majority mindset with the other, slightly less common reaction being simply a change of subject to something of zero importance in the world (“Wow! Did you see that idiot actor get all sparkly in that stupid movie based on that poorly written book that was a complete waste of everyone’s valuable time and money? That was so cool. And that girl was so pretty in her two tons of make up and $500,000 in professional lighting. I wish my girlfriend was that pretty every day. Hell, I wish I had a girlfriend.”).
Now we are creating an entirely new generation of men and women who will live lives so unbelievably different from everyone else. As I’ve tried to tell stupid, badly raised kids who still believe the patriotic lies and propaganda that their parents and schools and the media and politicians taught them, “The second you step on that plane to go to whatever war the wealthy want you to fight today so that they can be richer tomorrow, say goodbye to the person you are because that person will die on the very first step on the path to that plane. You will never, ever be the same person you are now and you will wake up every single morning of your life wondering where that person went and why you can’t bring them back.”
I have memories of what I did before I became this sad excuse for a human being. I remember what I did and I remember the people I knew but I can not, even in my deepest sleep, remember that innocence and happiness that seemed so natural.
We were all told that our country would take care of us when we came home, that people would respect us and that our physical injuries would be seen to. But nobody even mentioned the nightmares, the flashbacks and the aches in our souls that we would bring back. In fact, as in my case, when I tried in the very early 70s to find someone within the Veteran’s Administration, the VA, to talk to and seek some sort of answers I was told, in a session that lasted less than ten minutes, that they were seeing a lot of vets with problems dealing with their times in war but they weren’t equipped to deal with it and couldn’t afford to try and, anyway, many men have come home from wars for centuries without “whining” (his word) about what they saw and what they did.
So, what kind of respect did vets from that war and the others that the wealthy sent our children off to? We find ourselves governed by the cowards that not only found uncountable ways to avoid serving but then lied openly about it in order to appear like actual human beings (for a very partial list go to TPM). In the 2011 Congress, only 1.9% of Democrats, 0.9% of Republicans and no Independents fought in Vietnam. That means that only 2.8% of the fools that love to send your children off to die or come home missing limbs or minds have ever saw one second of actual combat. Understand, these figures come from a website that actually supports one of the dumbest human beings on earth to be our president, Michelle Bachmann, who admits she has never, even once, read the Constitution or the Bill of Rights yet runs as a “Constitutional Conservative”.
So, what we have are basically cowards and idiots running this nation who cannot, or will not because those who own them stop them from, creating a nation that does not believe that war is the answer to every single problem in the world. Think about the terminology Americans have become so comfortable with; The War On Poverty, The War On Drugs, The War on Terrorism, even muscle-bound morons who play children’s game for millions of dollars proclaim themselves “warriors” and the grass or wood they play those games on their “field of battle”. Everything is a war, nothing is an answer that doesn’t include violent images or pure, unmitigated violence as reality. Every single one of those “wars” are wars on nouns, wars on ideas, wars on people, wars that are impossible to win but impossible to end (except the war on poverty which that senile old fool Reagan turned into the War On The Middle Class and Poor and one that he and all soulless conservatives have won hands down).
So, tell me. Over 50,000 of us died and 500,000 were wounded and millions of Vietnamese and Cambodians and Laotians died and what, exactly, did it serve for our country? Millions of Iraqis and possible a million Afghans have died and an unknown number of Americans have died because of Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush the Moron and now Obama the liar and, other than stealing the wealth of those nations, what have we accomplished? Absolutely nothing. Oh, you can buy gas for you car cheaper because of those deaths but you never think about that, do you?
Now, after massive tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, massive taxpayer funded “subsidies” (political shorthand for repayments of the bribes given as campaign contributions), what is our government doing to solve the huge crisis they, themselves caused? They are cutting every benefit that the poor and middle class depend on. They are cutting Social Security, Medicare, school funding, job training, the list is endless but the wealthy will see no harm to them whatsoever.
Worst, for people like me and the tens and hundreds of thousands of others who this government so gleefully creates like me, they are cutting funds for the VA, the only resource so many men and women have to try to put their lives back together again. Appointments take a month or more. Some of the doctors simply cancel appointments and you don’t discover that until you arrive. Nobody explains the tests they take because they are so understaffed and overbooked that they have to rush you through as quickly as possible and so you have to fight through the system simply to try to find out why you are sick and what to do for yourself to feel better. I am repeatedly told that I have to “be my own advocate” in order to get the system to work but if I and the other hundreds of thousands of vets wee mentally capable of figuring out the maze of people and specialists we wouldn’t be in such a screwed up condition as to need their help in the first place.
Hell, even when you call looking for help their phone menus are created to be as useless as possible. Feeling suicidal? How do you find a way to talk to someone? You call the local office which has the same basic menu as the national number and which instructs you to press some random number in order to be transferred to the next confusing menu. But if you’re suicidal and are desperately reaching out for help? The system gives you an entirely different phone number to call, says it just once and screw you if you didn’t write it down, and then goes on to the next useless option. Of all of the options every single phone call to the VA entails, the option to speak to someone if you are so desperate that you are considering ending the pain yourself should be the easiest, fastest option and that option to lead to a phone that is answered on no later than the second ring. But the reality that 8, yes EIGHT, veterans take their own lives every single day of every single week of every single month of every single year isn’t important enough to the VA or your little animals that you allowed to buy their way into government elected offices to give a rat’s ass about.
So, here’s a little advice to the kids too stupid to know better and who are considering enlisting and killing other human beings; DON’T! Take that advice from a guy that wakes up every single morning and goes to bed every single night wondering what reason I can find to keep going day after day. Take it from a guy that failed twice to kill himself and took massive quantities of legal and illegal drugs in hopes that some combination would either end the pain or the breathing. There is nothing good about our military now. It’s leaders are fools, chosen by the most evil creature in America’s history, Dick Cheney, to carry out his greed-driven world view and who believe they can send you off to kill brown people until they learn to love us. The leaders are chosen by people who have that special knack of sucking up to the people with the money needed to buy themselves into office. They are people who lie by habit and lie when the truth would be of greater benefit but they lie because that is all they know how to do. They are owned by people whose one and only desire is more money, more money, more money and who could not care less how many real human beings must die for them to make that money. These animals are owned by people who claim to love some invisible friend in the sky and who proclaim that this invisible friend is the source of their wealth and not the piles of dead bodies that they left behind. You are nothing but a tiny toy soldier that they will gleefully sacrifice if there is a dollar to be made for themselves. You are irrelevant. Your death means nothing to them and, in a few years, will mean even less to your nation. If you die then your wife or parents or kids get a dyed piece of cloth all folded nicely after they put your meat into the ground and then your benefits will be stolen by the same people who sent you off to die. If you live you will be considered a burden on the taxpayer and any help that you do receive will be as minimal as possible.
One last thought, though. Most of the people who do try to help you are good, decent people trying to do a job that, even if well funded, would be terribly difficult but, with the constant budget cuts and lies and pure avalanche of new patients, are trying to do that job with little or no resources. Some I’ve had to deal with do it because they can’t get a real job in their profession because they are basically uncaring and incompetent, that’s true, but the majority are trying against all odds to save as many of us as they can.
I always sign off what I write, be it letters or emails or articles, with the simple word “Peace”. There are few words that should be spoken and written more and understood vastly better. If we revered the word “Peace” as much as we worship the almighty dollar, what would our world be?