Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Veterans Deserve Much Better

How the justice system has been manipulated to put astonishing numbers of vets with PTSD and other psychiatric injuries behind bars.

The Tragedy of Our 'Disappeared' Veterans

By Penny Coleman, AlterNet. Posted August 12, 2009.

Wayne McMahon was busted on gun charges six months after he got out of the Marines.

He was jumped by a gang of kids in his hometown of Albany, N.Y. , and he went for the assault rifle he kept in the back of his SUV.

He's serving "three flat, with two years of post-release" at Groveland Prison in upstate New York.

Maybe it's tempting to write McMahon off as just a screwed-up person who made the kinds of mistakes that should have landed him in jail, but maybe that's because his injuries don't show on the outside.

Unlike physical injuries, psychiatric injuries are invisible; the burden of proof lands on the soldier (or sailor or Marine), and such injuries are easy for the public to deny.

The diagnostic criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder include a preoccupation with danger.

According to Jonathan Shay, a Veterans Administration psychiatrist and author of Achilles in Vietnam, hypervigilance in soldiers and veterans is expressed as the persistent mobilization of both body and mind to protect against lethal danger -- they act as though they were still in combat, even when the danger is no longer present.

Read more

10 comments:

John Doe said...

And who runs the VA? The government. The same ones you liberals want to put in charge of our health insurance. Then next time you feel the urge for socialized medicine, go visit your nearest V.A. Hospital. We have one in Richmond, VA, McGuire Hospital. Or ask a disgruntled vet about the crappy care they routinely get there.

Rockdem said...

John,

This is about much more than the VA.

Take a little time this evening and read the entire article. I'd like to have a conversation about this situation.

Thanks,

Lowell

Chaplain Kathie said...

John Doe,
You don't know me I'm sure but I do this 70 hours a week and have done it for years. There isn't much that I do not know about what is going on across the nation when it comes to veterans. You are way, way off on your assumption.

This is why there was a huge problem with the VA and it came from the top down.

President Bush's VA Budget is $3 Billion Short
Vietnam Veterans of America: President Bush's VA Budget is $3 Billion Short

February 13, 2008 - "The annual exercise of debating the merits of the President's proposed budget is flawed," said John Rowan, National President of Vietnam Veterans of America, before the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs. "Medical Center directors should not be held in limbo as Congress adjusts this budget and misses, yet again, the start of the fiscal year.

"These public servants can be more effective and efficient managers if they are able to properly plan for the funding needed to care for their patients. We ask that you consider an immediate alternative to the broken system we currently have," Rowan said.

Rowan characterized as "inadequate" the FY'09 request for $2.34 billion more than the FY'08 appropriation. This "barely keeps up with inflation" and "will not allow the Department of Veterans Affairs to continue enhancing its physical and mental health care services for returning veterans, restore needed long-term care programs for aging veterans, or allow working-class veterans to return to their health care system."
go here for the rest
http://www.veteransforcommonsense.org/ArticleID/9380

Two active wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and there were less doctors and nurses working for the VA than there were after the Gulf War. It wasn't a "liberal" in charge during those eight years setting the budget, doing the appointments and it wasn't a "liberal" in charge of the committees. They are all Republicans that were not watched once they were elected. People are just too lazy I guess to pay attention.

In 2007 the Democrats had a small majority enough to take over the committees and things started to change but Bush told them if they wanted to increase the funding for the VA, they had to find the money on their own. He was too busy taking care of the rich I guess.

It's not that these programs don't work but it is about if the people in charge care or not and if we pay enough attention to know what they are doing.

My Dad was a 100% disabled and received great care. My husband is a 70-30% disabled vet and he gets great care. At least he did once his claim was approved. That part was hell.

As for this post, it's been going on far too long for all of them but things are changing because people are talking and veterans with PTSD paying the price of their service cannot be America's dirty secret anymore. They have nothing to be ashamed of except the fact we did not honor their service enough to care about them after they came home.

John Doe said...

Chaplain Katie, that crap of blaming Bush doesn't fly with me. First, he is not President, Obama is. If there is a problem now, it is Obama's problem. Second, Dems were in charge of the House and Senate Bush's last two years. If there was a problem then it was their problem. Third, the problems with the VA have been going on for decades, not just the eight years that Bush was President. Bush may have been a big part of the problem, I don't know, don't really care, because nothing can be done about what happened in the past.

I agree the Vets need their health care needs to be better met. I do not think the Government is the solution. They get shoddy doctors, who often are immune from lawsuits, who aren't paid enough, so they get a little practice and then leave to more lucrative civilian practices. Gross generalizations, I know, with many exceptions to the rule, but I believe that I am correct. A story was in the news in the past year or two about over a hundred people being exposed to Hepatitis/AIDS from incorrect sterilization procedures at a VA hospital. Too lazy to look it up for the details but you probably remember it. Military doctors are immune from suit; in certain circumstances you can sue the US government. I don't know the solution to all the problems, I just know that blaming it all on GWB AIN'T it. That might fly with the people who typically frequent this blog, but it won't fly with me. Neither is just throwing more money at the problem by increasing the budget.

Old Vet said...

And what situation is that? The part where the Alternet minions think that anyone who served in the military is a Rambo waiting for the right trigger? Or the part where the vast majority of veterans can't even use the VA because they got on with their lives and make too much money to qualify?

http://www.va.gov/healtheligibility/apps/enrollmentcalculator/

Toni D. said...

Doe, you have never served anything other than your own greedy and base self interests, so you don't count for dog poop. "Old Vet", you are neither old, nor a Veteran, you're a lair, prove me wrong. No real fighter in a foreign war would demean a fellow Veteran like you have, but you have. You should be ashamed. I am proud of, and care greatly for, the young men and women who have sacrificed their lives and future for us. And you want to call into question their worth or patriotism? What a piece of crap you are.

Rockdem said...

Thank you so much for your perspective Chaplain Kathie. And thank you for the work you do.

Old Vet said...

First off, I demeaned no one. Your Alternet commenters are the ones demeaning veterans with their snide remarks.

Secondly I am most assuredly old and a Vet of several conflicts. In fact, shortly after 9/11 I formally requested to return to active duty. When told I was too old, I obtained a job at an undisclosed overseas base to provide logistics support before our troops even went there. I continue to work with our troops on a daily basis, marking 40 years of commitment to the ideals that permit you to make stupid remarks.

One thing people like you will never understand is that there are people like me who do things for our country, never expecting recognition, reward, or undeserved benefits. While others are playing the victim card seeking to game an overburdened system, we're still out here working our tails off for the country we love.

John Doe said...

Toni D, the only thing you've ever served is cocktails at the local gin joint. Here's a tip, witch: Being butch isn't a license to attack those who are intellectually superior to you.

Rockdem said...

I'd like to ask, what veterans are "playing the victim card"? And yes, you certainly seem to demean.