• How Many More?

    April 20, 2011

    Tags: , , ,
    Posted in: Afghanistan, Iraq, Military, Other Ideas

    On March 31, Clay W. Hunt took his own life at age 28, after returning home from a career in the Marine Corps that had him see combat in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He served his brothers and sisters back in the US as an advocate for troops suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) before the disease claimed his own life.

    Some 26 percent of returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan are depressed, drug and alcohol-dependent, homeless or suicidal. Estimates for the costs of mental health problems from the global war on terror are between $750 million and $1.35 billion annually. Argue with the numbers; cut them in half if you like and it is still a very big, very bad problem.

    Hunt tried to go to school, but was stymied by poor medical care and delayed Veteran’s Administration payments. “You fight for your country, then come home and have to fight against your own country for the benefits you were promised,” Hunt told the Los Angeles Times in 2010. “I can track my pizza from Pizza Hut on my BlackBerry, but the VA can’t find my claim for four months.”

    In 2010, as in 2009, more soldiers died by their own hand than in combat. While death in combat may serve some higher purpose, at least in the expedient, what can be said of the deaths that occur of the war but not in it?

    Meanwhile, in their own support the troops empty gesture, Michelle Obama and Jill Biden held a baby shower at Camp Lejeune for pregnant straight dependent spouses (Lesbian couples were specifically excluded under the still nagging Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy.) Mrs. Obama also oddly addressed the crowd, saying “I’m proud of you for holding it together while your man is doing something hard. And there’s nothing like having a man that’s doing something hard, right, Jill?”

    Let’s drop the bullshit. Throw away that stupid car magnet and stop just shaking hands in airports. Instead, get someone a job interview. Demand accountability from the VA. Donate to Fisher House. Volunteer at the USO. Stop reading this and do something meaningful.

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