Friday, March 14, 2008

Winter Soldier Hearings

I am watching the Winter Soldier Hearings on FSTV, DISH network 9415. They are incredibly powerful. I recommend that everyone watch them. If you don't have FSTV, go to for video streaming.

The testimony this morning left me in tears, especially the testimony from parents of one veteran who killed himself in despair after he came home. They were left to deal with him alone. They tried to get help from the VA, but were unable to, due to underfunding leading to understaffing of the VA.

When I worked at a bookstore, I had a man call me to ask for a book on PSTD. He wanted a book to tell him how long the nightmares would last. I knew that there was no book that could tell him such a thing, but he was so desperate that I tried to find him something. I know that he was hoping that it was like the chickenpox or something, 21 days and it's over. Then he could hang on and try to deal with his child. It was heartbreaking. He was a good 'ol boy, and not one to confess his troubles to a stranger. He made it a business transaction, but I knew that he was hurting.

I have to admit that it is eye-opening to me to see veterans who have a conscience and regret what they did in the atrocity producing situation that is the occupation. All I know are vets who have no regrets and no shame (except for one IVAW vet I know, who is a great guy). Wednesday, at work, while I was speaking out against the war, one vet started venting, "Kill them all and let God sort them out. I like to stomp on babies heads, because they have grenades". Then, after, he said he was just kidding, and he loved me, and he was going to take me to Iraq next time he went. The baby-grenade equation was one he used before, and was also one that Vietnam vets that I knew made. They justify killing babies and children because they said that the parents used the children as weapons carriers.

So, fresh from Wednesday's confrontation, I am so moved by the bravery and decency of the soldiers testifying in Maryland. Please try to make time to watch these hearings. And remember that the US government doesn't want to take care of the veterans. It will be cheaper for them to allow suicides. If we want the veterans to get the help they need, we have to be aware of PTSD and pressure our congressman to take the money they are spending to make Iraqis lives a living hell, and spend it on the men and women who fell for the lies and participated in atrocities, and now are back and unable to deal with their guilt and misery.

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