Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Why does this have to happen?

Why?

These folk put their lives on the line for the country and come back to this.... I find it to be a massive slap in the face for them. If the govt can spend Trillions on the war, can they not make sure that there is some more support for the troops when they get back? Isn't that logical?

14 comments:

TonyC said...

I'll take a stab at this. For one thing, it takes time for a government to set up a program with the infrastructure to work. Then you need funding. America didn't go to war with 5 years to plan for it. 911 happened. From a trade surplus, I believe America is now very deeply in debt because of the war. And then again, there's always been a lack of balance of some sort. They can afford to man spacecraft, yet not have the structure to look after the homeless. They have the structure to look after those working within the service, that I know as some friends have brothers in the US Navy. However it looks like once you're out of there, you're on your own.

Andrew said...

Some things never change. War vets have always got a raw deal, especially in America.

When soldiers came back from Vietnam they were spat on and ostracized. Homelessness was very common. And by 1990 an estimated 100,000 Vietnam vets had suicided - and only 58,000 died in the war.

Soldiers are trained to operate like animals fighting for their lives. A primal part of their brain is activated and when they leave the military they have to deal with it on their own - and many can't cope.

One of the big problems for vets are moral issues. They perceive America's political motives for war to be illegitimate. They feel they are fighting for oil price stability against villagers who are fighting to survive.

They are exposed to Agent Orange, depleted uranium shells etc and then the military doesn't want to know about their problems.

America has never had much time for its vets and it probably never will.

Mike J. Stark said...

I agree its an issue that does need attention. Further funding will help but only in the short term if the correct management systems are'nt in place.

Aaron Bhatnagar said...

Andrew said "America has never had much time for its vets and it probably never will."

Andrew, that's an incredibly ignorant thing to say.

Yes, it is tragic that some veterans are not getting the support they need to get back into a meaningful life. But this is a comparatively small minority. Reading the article, it seems that one of the reasons why vets are homeless in new york is because of the very high cost of housing - something not just veterans suffer from in NY City. Artificial rent limits have caused a shortage of cheaper housing in NYC in the past, and no amount of veteran aid could change that.

The US has a comprehensive veterans affairs program. I would point out that there are countless hospitals and care facilities funded privately and via the state to help those who fought for America. it's just plain dishonest to say that "America doesn't have time for them" when theres a massive government department set up to help them. www.va.gov

I'd point out that there were tens of thousands of Americans who served and came home wounded to recuperate and lead fulfilling lives. We don't hear about those, nor do we read blog comments acknowledging the work of US Generals who came home from WW2 and petitioned like crazy to set up one of the most comprehensive veterans hospital and care networks in the world.

If you want to see a society where veterans get treated like shit, go to Moscow, where every third beggar is anex Afghan campaign amputee holding a vodka bottle in one hand, and a sign in the other asking for food or money.

Rymann said...

Very sad, but not unexpected.
Many of these cases went into the armed forces very young, often with minimal high school education if that. In a lot of small towns, its the Marines or McDonalds.
Once they rotate out of their units back to civilian life, they are often no more employable than before they went in. Its a very different story for those who become NCO's. In most cases these people will have skills that transfer readily, but for the average pfc grunt thats not the case.

That said, I'm sure substance abuse/dependance is the biggest contributing factor. And in no way do I mean to sound judgmental in saying that. Hell, put me in Iraq and I would be on a bottle of Jack for breakfast.

Rob Good said...

While the VA does help, it is not really till these veterans pass on that the benefits for spouses and familys kick in. A lot more should be done for these hero's who put their life on the line. A lot of these folks are scarred for life and turn to suicide to fix their problems. This tells me that more could be done in the way troops are discharged. I have been told that 30% of Iraqi vets from UK have commited suicide.... I also have been told that the suicide rate from Vietnam is closer to 200,000.... Simple fact of the matter is that with the amount of money spend training and sending these folk overseas into war, there should be a reserve fund to retrain them when they get home and make sure that there is an adequate place for them to live, and that they have funds to suppport themselves and their families. It is not right to discharge and forget in my opinion.

Aaron Bhatnagar said...

Hmm. Let's be careful with statistics here. 30% of UK vets who served in Iraq sounds REAL high to me - I don't recall any news about mass suicides in the tens of thousands from the UK armed forces - they did send over 46,000 troops in total as at end of May 2003.

(http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/FactSheets/OperationsInIraqKeyFactsFigures.htm)

I would also helpfully point out that suicides from Vietnam veterans may not necessarily be because of their service in Vietnam. It could just be that they happened to serve in vietnam, and sadly committed suicide at some point after their service (which could be as much as 30 years plus now). As Rymann rightly points out, substance abuse may have a lot to do with this, although I guess the trauma of serving in a wartime zone like Vietnam is a convenient "catch-all" description instead of citing inherent mental weakness, drug dependency, family breakups or financial hardship.

Rob Good said...

As I said... That was a number that had been touted around. A lot of soldiers commit suicide while they are still in Iraq, and a lot do it once they are discharged therefor not being part of the official statistic.

I seems alarming that there is all of these suicides, and it has been a pattern starting in Vietnam...

I am not sure that the community and govt and military are extending themselves enough to work with the returning soldiers so that they dont resort to suicide.

Andrew said...

Read my review of the book War and the Soul. I discuss this very topic: http://andrewinamerica.blogspot.com/2006/04/war-and-soul.html

Dobegoo said...

I think you men are all amazing to be taking such a concerned interest in the Veterans. War is a fact of life and death. Keep up your concern and Bless you all.

Rob Good said...

Well as you know Ananda was a good friend... Andrew I replied to your post.....

Andrew said...

Sorry to hear about your friend Ananda. It must have been very hard for him.

The trouble is that modern medicine doesn't really know what to do with vets with Soldiers Heart. Typically the shrink will ask about their childhood and the vet will say that their childhood was fine and it wasn't until the shooting started that they got all messed up.

IMHO, the real solution doesn't lie with medication, but with deeper cultural and spiritual values - something which America is running away from as fast as it can.

Mental disorders are becoming more common rapidly. I read recently that decades ago psychological disorders like depression weren't common in people under age 30. Now it is common starting from age 14.

Rob Good said...

Too true Andrew...

B.C.A. said...

Havent left a comment in awhile so robbie how long r u staying in new zealand for i would expect more than 3 weeks

-B.C.A.