Saturday, July 16, 2005

Collateral Damage

I live in close proximity to Fort Lewis, Washington. Three times in the last two years the wives of Fort Lewis soldiers have been killed by their spouses. Each of the husbands was a recently returned Iraq War veteran. The most recent case was that of Brandon Bare, just 18, a native of North Carolina.

This is a sad tragedy that is being played out in the trailer courts and slumlord apartments sprawling out from the main gate of every military post in the country, from Fort Bragg to Fort Bliss, from Fort Hood to Fort Campbell. Young soldiers are abusing their wives, even to the point of death, because they can't cope with the stress of being a returning combat veteran.

We saw the very same thing play out in the years following the Vietnam War, and mostly caused by the same thing: The inability on the part of the warrior class to even acknowledge the existence of PTSD, let alone try to do anything to alleviate it. Instead these young men are told to suck it up, tough it out, move on, it don't mean shit.

The Bush Maladminstration apparently believes that. Otherwise they wouldn't be cutting back on the VA health care, and especially care for PTSD victims: Suck it up, tough it out, move on, it don't mean shit.

Well, I am sorry, but it DOES mean shit. The escalating number of dead military wives provides mute but eloquent proof. These women -- girls, really, in most cases -- are as much a casualty of war as are the soldiers killed on the battlefield, and we're going to be seeing a lot more of them.

Wake up, people. These are our sons and daughters, and this will be yet another generation marked forever with the broad brush of the "psychotic vet". We had enough of that in the aftermath of Vietnam. Let's not have any more of it.

Mr. Bush, Members of Congress, you must fully fund VA health care -- including PTSD treatment -- for our returning veterans. A generation is counting on you.

1 Comment:

merlallen said...

I'll bet if a $5.00 a year tax were levied on "support our troops" magnets , the landfills would be choked with them. Cheap fucking pricks piss me off.