1. numerobis says

    Not just the warriors; civilians too.

    A friend was pointing out that war has effects on the children and grandchildren. If you lost everything because the Germans and later the Russians invaded, you’ll (perhaps unconsciously) teach your grandchildren they will someday lose everything as well.

  2. says

    Warriors should expect nothing more. Governments have always lied to them, discarded them like pawns, and treated the survivors as garbage. This has been obvious since ancient times. The only soldiers who come home to be feted as heroes are the unusual members of the oligarchy who get close enough to the action to have a bullet whizz overhead then scurry home to put on fancy threads and be talking heads on TV or drawling mashers in salons, or prime ministers.

  3. says

    Trigger warning.

    The VA does more damage than the insurgents. They first ask you in theatre if you think you have PTSD. If you say yes you get confronted with the “post” part—because the VA treats all vets as scammers—- and then—-you don’t get to home!

    If you say no because, hello, “post”, and you want to go home, they use that denial against you mercilessly later. You really cannot imagine how desperately soldiers want to go home after seeing your friends—-Iraqi and American both—-die.

    There can be a period after you get home where you marvel at no bombs going off—-EVER. In Iraq, it was every day. The VA will actually make injuries worse by letting them fester for months or years. Buddy of mine got the muscles of her forearm ripped off her arm at one end like an over cooked turkey wing when her FOB got mortared. They sewed her up in theatre, then sent her home. The arm healed badly, she filed a claim, and the VA diagnosed it as “arthritis.”

    She was 23.

    I broke a tooth off at the gumline a month ago. By way of example, The VA sent me to the ER six months ago for another thing but they couldn’t figure out what was wrong, so the VA said, “Not emergent, give us seven thousand dollars.” I came down with the flu three days later and staggered around with the most awful flu I’d ever experienced for three months. Fever, aches, nausea, headaches, dizziness, falling down, passing out—and I lost thirty pounds.

    I can’t find a dentist to treat this tooth because the VA refuses to pay without pre-authorization and then they refuse to pre-authorize procedures unless the procedures are precisely specified. How can you tell what procedures you need without an exam? Noy a precise procedure. There are doctors in this town waiting for payment after YEARS, and veterans who’ve gone untreated.

    As a final kicker, there’s apparently a new form of insurance the VA is offering for a certain monthly fee. To veterans. I kinda think I paid that fee on a battlefield in Iraq.

    The really fun part is that the VA doesn’t treat you like a vet. I keep having to explain that vehicles give me panic attacks after hundreds of convoys on bomb-sewn roads, where the best-case scenario was where you just passed countless bomb craters and burnt out vehicles in the ditches. Sometimes the insurgents would use both to place new bombs. The VA seems to regard it as a monumental inconvenience that veterans—–especially female ones—–actually want care after battles. I do not know a single female veteran who hasn’t been diagnosed with arthritis. Under Trump, it’s just about impossible to work your way through the thicket of catch-22s that his buddies have set up.

    And keep in mind, this guy in the story and myself are both pretty typical but not the worst. I’ve lost friends to suicide and keep the hotline number on speed dial. I tried four times and thank dog the ambulance took me to a civilian hospital. It was shocking to discover that in REAL hospitals, people are NICE to you.

    I keep thinking of this young Marine I chatted with one day in an internet café in a base in southern Iraq. The Iraqi proprietors were hanging up Christmas lights and wreaths behind us so the soldiers wouldn’t be as homesick. (I asked them and that’s what they said.)

    This young officer’s young guys had just survived a series of ghastly battles. They had discovered the way knitting and crocheting and sewing soothed the mind and busied the hands, but they were all worried that they’d be judged as less masculine for it. They were all half my age. I think of him and his kids when I think about this guy and the guys from my unit who also committed suicide because the VA just couldn’t “find a bed.”

    No matter what this story makes you think, it’s far, far, worse for veterans. Trump wants a military full of Eddie Gallaghers, the kind of guy who’d order a troop to commit murder.

  4. says

    @number2—-really? Yeah, next you’ll be talking about “hired killers” like some people I know.

    There are quite a lot of liberal peasants in the ranks. The “oligarchs” tend to keep out of harm’s way. I met lots of soldiers who were liberal in every sense of the word but were reluctant to adopt the label, so effective has been the cultural conditioning. Where are the blue collar liberals? Liberals genuinely fight for the so-called “little” people, and yet get characterized as elites while Repubs—–if they serve at all—–seem to willfully ignore the oath they swore.

    And the military still represents one of the only ways still left to get a college education.

  5. pilgham says

    You can expect that it rises to a whole new level in the age of Trump. I don’t mind politicians trotting out aging veterans for applause. Anyone can do it and it makes grandpa smile. Trump, on the other hand, pardons war criminals and then uses them for fund-raising rallies. It’s not really a gray area.

    And @2, yeah, whenever you let someone go to war, they never come back. Not really, anyway.

  6. says

    Maybe they shouldn’t expect better treatment because history says they won’t, but they still deserve better. I never set foot on an army base until my son joined up, and one of the big surprises was how many of these people are young minorities. It’s the opposite of an elitist institution, and everything I see from the VA (and the Republicans, and way too many Democrats) is that they regard them as disposable people.

  7. says

    The military is about 40% women and minorities. Says something about Trump that he pardons war criminals but deports honorable American soldiers who were birn elsewhere.

    People kind of ignored the way the Joint Chiefs came down from Mount Olympus and pointedly express support for transgender soldiers when Trump first proposed his hateful transgender ban.

  8. says

    My father was a Korean combat vet, and a draftee. He didn’t have a high opinion of volunteers.
    Some of his uncles were German soldiers in Russia.

  9. dorfl says

    […] one of the big surprises was how many of these people are young minorities.

    As I understand it, that’s more-or-less the historical norm: If you are running an empire and want to create an army, a good way to start is by trashing the economy of some disposable ethnic minority, then making sure that the only way out of destitution for them is through military service. Preferably also humiliate them and convince them that the army is a way to get back their dignity. The English did it to the Scots, Irish, Sikhs and the Nepalese. Russia did it to the Cossacks. I suspect Sweden’s brief attempt at empire-building involved doing it to the Finns.

  10. says

    My brother is still trying to adapt back to civilian life after almost a decade in Iraq. Depression and PTSD are literally killing him. My last girlfriend was a soldier in the Soviet/Afghan war. She’s 50 years old and still has nightmares about things from 30 years ago. I like to think it takes a lot of training and conditioning to make a human being who is capable of killing another human being. People killing people is not natural. You need to practically brainwash someone to make that happen.