Something to think about this Saturday morning
promoted by ek hornbek
There’s a piece being written on in a number of blogs about a poll that indicates Bush has little support among military families, who probably are not going to vote for a Republican president next year. It’s surprising to a lot of people who think of the military as an undifferentiated mass that gets told what to do (which is true) and how to think (they get told, but most eventually believe their experience instead). Their families get lumped in there, too.
Those families used to vote the way their military members did, and military members used to uniformly (sorry) support “conservative” candidates. I grew up in a military family, right after World War II. I thought what I was told to think, that conservatism equaled patriotism, until I had enough education and work experience to know differently. The votes of these families are going to reflect painful and terribly unjust personal experiences.
Any other subject and I would be able to write an essay about defeating a Republican into a masterpiece of clever snark. This subject encompasses too much pain, too much suffering, and too much destruction. The magnitude of what has happened to these families, the stories that underly the result of that poll, are just too awful. I won’t be able to touch it here, but I offer links that can get readers close, and I defer to them for a description of the ordeals that military families endure.
It’s estimated that 65% of combat veterans from this–Iraq–war will have brain trauma of some kind. The principal traumas are PTSD, obvious brain injuries (by some kind of penetration), and a big one–traumatic brain injury. This is what shaken baby syndrome is, and the force of the explosions uniquely prevalent in this war cause the same trauma, and range of trauma, that results when a baby is shaken until his eyeballs hemorrhage. Like all the others, this injury is not being recognized (especially because there is no visible wound) or treated. Think what it’s taking to get treatment for this when combat veterans suffering with obvious PTSD are being told they have a pre-existing “personality disorder” and are handed dishonorable discharges ending any possibility of care.
And they all have families. The daily lives of all those families, and the futures of all those families , are being tragically transformed by the horrors their military members are experiencing. The future cost of the damage they’re sustaining could be an issue in a political campaign someday, but they are paying a price today. They are living right now in a world where friends and loved ones are dying–physically, mentally, and spiritually– all around them.
A group of military wives and husbands have formed a new and already active group, Military Spouses for Change [www.militaryspousesforchange.com]. That they are already gathering so many members and are so outspoken, when the brass has always come down so hard on this kind of involvement, is just amazing. Rather than being intimidated, they’ve put a partner group together because so many veterans, and other families of active duty service members, asked for a voice like this (Veterans and Military Families for Change [www.vmfc.com]).
Better and better-informed than I are howling into the wind to get attention for this tragedy. Read a couple of DKos diaries http://www.dailykos.com/story/… http://www.dailykos.com/story/… that disappeared practically without a trace, even though they had more information, and more reasons and ways to help while advancing a political agenda, than any others I read there today. They are not to be missed.
Some day this will be a part of history that, depending upon the direction we go from here on out, may be conveniently missing from the textbooks our children and grandchildren learn from before they have to startworking to pay for all this. It will be good to have some ammunition, so to speak, to convince them to never let this happen again.
A 20-year-old Army veteran, Sammantha Owen-Ewing, has committed suicide in Rhode Island. Sammantha was newly married (June) and had been in RN training at Walter Reed Army Hospital. She was recently hospitalized at Walter Reed for a mental health diagnosis after an “uphill battle” for care. She was a combat medic in Iraq when on active duty. http://www.ivaw.org/