Over the last few weeks I have heard and read a number of stories about war vets. Vets who can not relate and are receiving little or no compassion. As an end result they are committing suicide. I weep. Me, a middle-age Viet Nam War Vet weep and say " It's happening again".
When I came home on leave in 1970, my father offered to drive me to Canada. This man who had fought in North Africa and Normandy; had voted for Goldwater in '64, was ready to take me away from the abomination that was Viet Nam.
The reality was that he had raised me and that duty, in this case, demanded that I follow orders. Those orders were to report for duty in Viet Nam. That my tour was horseshit and that what was going on in Viet Nam had little to do with what "we" as a nation held true. I stuck it out.
Years later we, my father and I, watched on television a play where a Viet Nam Vet worked at committing suicide by overdosing on aspirin. It, aspirin, ruins the blood's ability to clot and any wound then allows the body to bleed without clotting. The thing with aspirin is, that it causes the platelets of blood to break down and hemorrhage. Thereby causing the body to bleed to death from the inside out.
The play was a metaphor. It was meant to illuminate the pain and ache that we as warriors and returning vets shared. It attempted to show the individual conflict and shared futility of an undefined war. The returning veterans of Viet Nam all found or tried to find our place in a world safe from the tragedies (a minimal description) of a rationalized conflict. Some of us continued to believe that it was a holy war (AKA Domino Theory). Some of us compartmentalized it. Some us tried to go on with life (Yeah, I killed some gooks). Some of us retreated to the back woods. Some of us are still homeless and living on the streets. Some of us drink and do drugs.
We look at our fellow veterans return from the current Domino War and see them go through identical situations. Where even though the public at large professes support for them. They are still neglected and overlooked. I can see now that this treatment is a pattern that first appeared after World War I. It was called shell shock then, with the same overall consequences that happened after Korea and Viet Nam. Now it is called Post Traumatic Stress, but those are still only words and do not convey that which is really happening. There is a sense of aloneness, we have seen those things that many people think they know and try to empathize with. But we are still alone. And now just as in the past our returning veterans see a futility to the protected lives the American public live. War Veterans know that facade and still react in the same ways as the returning Viet Nam vet and some sscommit suicide. It is happening again and I Weep.
If you doubt any of the above there is an article in the July 2007 issue of The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health that shows how veterns are more susceptible to suicide at a higher rate than non-veterns. And that the form of suicide is more often violent. The article was first reported by Reuters News at reuters.com
Continue the study of how little the government really supports our value troops. The abundance of jawboneing is eclisped by the actual treatment the men and women really receive is further exposed in this Washington Post report.