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 Post subject: PTSD and murder suicides. The untold story.
PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 5:39 am 
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Where's the media on this story? Read this post on veteransforcommon sense and learn about the casualties of the war in Iraq that never get counted and seldom get reported. ... opicID=738

These poor soldiers come back to America and are left with the nightmares of combat without any post war support to help them readjust to their lives. The incidences of violence drunkenness and spousal abuse plus the effects of drugs to combat radiation and nerve toxins have created a toxic environment that leads to violence, suicides and murders of families and others.

A woman, Kathie Costos did a new video on Veterans with PTSD for them as well as their families. It can be found here. ... 4865961835

Children suffer in Iraq

“Children in Iraq are seriously suffering psychologically with all the insecurity, especially with the fear of kidnapping and explosions,” said API spokesman Maruan Abdullah. “In some cases, they’re found to be suffering extreme stress.”

More than 1,000 children were interviewed countrywide over the past four months for the study, the findings of which were released on 5 February.

According to Abdullah, the survey was undertaken after a noticeable increase in the number of children seeking psychological counselling, many of whom were found to have learning difficulties.

“It was incredible how strong the results were,” said Abdullah. “The only things they have on their minds are guns, bullets, death and a fear of the US occupation.”

"We find it sad that war seems so delightful, so often, to those
that have no knowledge of it." --Veterans for Peace

"Support our troops -- bring them home!"

Published on Tuesday, February 7, 2006 by the New York Daily News

By Juan Gonzalez

NEARLY 120,000 veterans - more than one of every four who served in Iraq and Afghanistan - have already sought treatment at Veterans Health Administration hospitals for a wide range of illnesses, according to an internal study the VHA completed late last year.

More than 30% of those sick veterans are afflicted with some type of mental disorder, mostly posttraumatic stress and depression.

An additional 35,000 - more than 29% of the total - were diagnosed with "ill-defined conditions," according to the study, which was prepared in October by VHA epidemiologist Dr. Han Kang but has yet to be publicly released.

"Those numbers are way higher than during the Persian Gulf War for 'ill-defined' symptoms," said one Department of Veterans Affairs official who asked not to be identified.

Nearly two years ago, I reported about a group of nine New York National Guardsmen from the 442nd Military Police Co. who returned from Iraq with medical problems the Army listed as "ill-defined." Nearly half of those soldiers - four out of nine - later showed signs, in independent tests arranged by the Daily News, of exposure to depleted uranium dust from exploded U.S. shells.

Mental disorders, however, rank as the biggest problem among ailing veterans.

Two previous military studies of combat troops in Iraq found that 17% to 25% of U.S. soldiers suffer from major depression or combat stress.

All the studies show a far higher rate of mental problems among our troops than during the Persian Gulf War, and levels comparable to what was found among U.S. troops during the Vietnam War.

Kang's report, because it includes only soldiers who voluntarily checked themselves in for treatment, could be understating the level of mental disorders, say veterans advocates who have seen summaries of his findings.

"With numbers this high, the problem is going to grow fast," said Paul Rieckhoff, a former lieutenant with the 1st Infantry Division in Iraq and founder and executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

"We're seeing systemwide there are major problems," Rieckhoff said. "Most local VAs just aren't prepared for the influx of sick veterans."

Rieckhoff's view is buttressed by a U.S. General Accounting Office study released last February.

The Department of Veterans Affairs "does not have sufficient capacity to meet the needs of new combat veterans while still providing for veterans of past wars," the GAO concluded.

Department of Veterans Affairs spokesman Jim Benson cautioned yesterday that it is difficult to compare the number of veterans from the current conflicts seeking help with those from previous wars.

Before 1998, Benson said, VA hospitals provided free health care only to veterans who had first been certified as suffering from some form of service-connected illness.

But in 1998, Congress mandated that all veterans be eligible for free health care for the first two years after being demobilized. After that, the free care can continue only if the veteran can prove a service-connected illness.

Well, at least President Bush has finally begun to recognize that the veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan can't be forgotten once they return home.

Top veterans officials announced yesterday that Bush is seeking $80.6 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs for next year's budget - a record increase of more than 12% above the current budget.

His request includes an additional $3.5 billion for veterans' health care.

But in a chilling sign of the terrible toll our nation has yet to pay for this dreadful war in Iraq, Bush earmarked an additional $78 million to build six new national cemeteries and expand three existing ones.

Thirty percent of U.S. troops returning from the Iraq war have developed stress-related mental health problems three to four months after coming home, the Army’s surgeon general said Thursday.

The problems include anxiety, depression, nightmares, anger and an inability to concentrate, said Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley and other military medical officials. A smaller number of troops, often with more severe symptoms, were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, a serious mental illness.

The 30 percent figure is in contrast to the 3 percent to 5 percent diagnosed with a significant mental health issue immediately after they leave the war theater, according to Col. Elspeth Ritchie, a military psychiatrist on Kiley’s staff. A study of troops who were still in the combat zone in 2004 found 13 percent experienced significant mental health problems.

When Matthew Sepi returned from Iraq a few months ago, he spoke to his family reluctantly of gunbattles and the "weird noises" children make when they die. He never told relatives whether he killed anyone during combat but said he recently had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and had been placed on a waiting list for treatment.

To help shield his psyche from images of bodies, family members said, the 20-year-old soldier had adopted a simple technique: Just don't think about it.

But early Sunday morning, Army Spc. Sepi found himself thinking about killing in front of homicide detectives. They interrogated Sepi about a double shooting in a neighborhood near Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue.

Based on Sepi's version of events, a 1 a.m. walk to a 7-Eleven proved nearly as dangerous as his tour of duty in Iraq.

According to an arrest report filed in Clark County District Court, Sepi told investigators he dressed in a black coat, tucked an assault rifle under his arm and left his apartment for a beer run.

As the 120-pound Sepi journeyed on foot and passed through a dark alley, a man and woman confronted him and yelled for him to leave the alley, police said in the report.

Sepi said the man, identified by authorities as 26-year-old Kevin Ratcliff, produced an object that he thought to be a gun and opened fire.

"(Sepi) explained that he had been trained in the military that in a situation in which he was ambushed, he was to engage the targets and retreat from the area," police wrote in the report. "He felt that the situation in the alley was an ambush, and he reacted the way he had been trained."

Sepi recalled firing four shots. Sharon Jackson, 47, fell to the ground and died at the scene of multiple gunshot wounds, police said.

Ratcliff was hit by gunfire and was taken to a hospital. He is expected to survive.

Sepi, meanwhile, had fled the shooting scene and returned to his apartment to grab more ammunition, police said. Minutes later, a police officer pulled over the infantry specialist's Oldsmobile sedan and noticed an assault rifle inside.

Sepi, an American Indian who hails from Winslow, Ariz., was arrested and booked into the Clark County Detention Center on suspicion of one count of murder and attempted murder.

Some evidence might lend credence to Sepi's self-defense story.

"We do know the victim's boyfriend (Ratcliff) got off a few rounds as well," police Lt. Tom Monahan said.

Police said they recovered a 9 mm pistol and three spent 9 mm casings at the crime scene.

Police are investigating Sepi's story that someone had pulled a knife on him, while he was unarmed, the day before the shooting.

Sepi's mother, Nora, said she had noticed changes in her son since he tried to move back to civilian life.

She said he seldom spoke of his combat but mentioned that he participated in gunbattles. But when an enemy was hit, Sepi and his fellow soldiers had a difficult time in telling precisely who had shot him.

"He said you can't tell when you're shooting from afar who killed who," Nora Sepi said.

Nora Sepi said her son, who served in the 4th Infantry Division from Fort Hood, Texas, had contacted Veterans Affairs for help with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Department of Veterans Affairs defines PTSD as a psychiatric disorder that can induce flashbacks, nightmares and other symptoms in survivors of life-threatening episodes. The agency's Web site estimates that about 30 percent of people who spend time in war zones will suffer from the disorder.

Matthew Sepi told his mother he had requested treatment from the agency.

"He said it was going to take a while," Nora Sepi said. "He's not getting anything right now."

Veterans Affairs officials at the agency's regional office in Reno would not respond to questions about the disorder.

When questions were posed to the Army Reserve's 113th Medical Company, Combat Stress Control, in Stanton, Calif., an official deferred to a VA Web site.

But a local veteran of the Vietnam and Korean wars who has been diagnosed with PTSD said the effects are usually delayed.

"It just depends on what triggers it. If someone took a shot at me, I'm afraid I'd shoot back too," said Chad Avery, a member of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 17.

"It's just a reaction after a while," said Avery, a former veterans center counselor.

"God knows if you get shot at enough, it just becomes instinct," he said.

Avery said PTSD is treated by talking about the problem in individual or group sessions. Some veterans who see psychiatrists are offered anti-depressant medication to deal with the disorder.

Sepi's military mind-set is alluded to in the arrest report.

The young man used military jargon to describe his actions in the alley, calling his shoot-and-retreat strategy "breaking contact."

Police did not mention anything about PTSD in their report but indicated that Sepi became visibly upset while speaking about Sunday's shooting and his military duties in Iraq.

"He has been very nervous since returning from Iraq," a police officer wrote in the arrest report. "While working day labor, he heard a pallet fall to the ground, and was so bothered by it, he could not function for an hour."

Army officials were reviewing Sepi's personnel records Monday. A human resources official in St. Louis said Sepi was honorably discharged sometime in May and was completing his Individual Ready Reserve obligation. ... 83251.html

VA psychologist Scott Murray says most vets traditionally don’t feel the effects of PTSD until at least 15 months after the experiences that cause it — and it can take years for symptoms to appear. “This early on, PTSD is much higher than anything we’ve seen in previous conflicts,” Murray said. “We anticipate the numbers are only going to keep getting higher.”

Psychologist Kaye Baron currently treats some 70 active soldiers and their families in a private practice in Colorado Springs, near Fort Carson. Many of the soldiers she treats tell her they only want to get far away from their lives at home. “They just want to go off in the mountains,” she said, “and be by themselves.”

Based on clinical discussions she’s had with soldiers, Baron thinks the PTSD rate among Iraq war veterans could spike at 75 percent.

Such a rate, Robert Jay Lifton said, is inexorably tied to the character of the war itself. “This is a counterinsurgency being fought against an enemy who is hard to identify, and that leads to extraordinary stress,” he said.

According to Jonathan Shay, the issue with the most potential for psychological torment is soldiers’ doubt about whether the cause they’ve been led into battle for is a noble one. In his book, Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and The Undoing of Character, Shay wrote about how the Greek hero felt betrayed by his arrogant general, Agamemnon, whose actions brought down a plague on the Greeks. The battle experiences of many Vietnam veterans caused them to feel much like Achilles, he said. “If a soldier has experienced a betrayal of what’s right by those in charge, their capacity for social trust can be impaired for the rest of their lives.”

Some of the drugs that they take have strange side effects. The drug pyridostigmine was used in the Gulf war to protect soldiers against chemical attack. Within one hour of taking the drug, some people began to experience serious side-effects, such as uncontrollable twitching eyes, runny nose, excessive frothing from the mouth, neck and shoulder pain.

Nerve gas pre-treatment drugs such as pyridostigmine bromide, paradoxically, also meddle with these metabolic processes by creating carbamate-inhibited acetylcholinesterase, which interferes with the actions of nerve gas -- theorectically permitting the process to be partially reversed.

Depleted Uranium Ammunition
When depleted-uranium penetrators strike their target, the aluminum covering is torn away and a large protion of the kinetic energy is dissipated as heat. The heat of the impact causes the depleted uranium to oxidize or burn momentarily.

When uranium particles enter the body, they become lodged in bones or major organs, affecting the bone marrow and producing DNA damage.

Larium has side effects that include paranoia, anxiety, hallucinations, suicide, violence, and psychosis. All of these things contribute to PTSD and suicide attempts. Hell, we’ve got people on death row for crimes we believe they committed as a result of these medications — to say nothing of the uppers and downers the military provides some of the troops. We’re turning these kids into emotional zombies.”

As for depleted uranium, she said, “We’ve got entire troops sick from exposure to it. The U.S. military uses it in shell casings, in 500-pound bombs, and even in the lining of tanks. We’ve used maybe 10 times more DU in Iraq than we did in the first Gulf War. A lot of those troops aren’t just sick, they’re dying. The bottom line is that they’re being affected by a number of things. And they have physical problems. And as long as the Department of Defense denies there are physical problems, they are an army left to die.”

Col. James A. Polo, a physician and chief of the Department of Behavioral Health at the Evans Army Community Hospital at Fort Carson, believes those alleged problems are mostly the product of someone’s overworked imagination. “If a kid is having bad effects on Larium, we take them off and give them something else,” he said. “And the depleted uranium — well, I’m not an expert on that, but we’ve been assured the danger is minimal.”

Time will reveal the actual effects of anthrax vaccinations and exposure to massive amounts of DU in the air. And while the military might intend to take soldiers off Larium if they are having any of its horrendous side effects, the reality is that there is not always someone in the field who would even recognize the symptoms, since they so often mimic general battle stress disorders.

Halliburton, Vice President Dick Cheney’s old company, was hired to help in Iraq with many of the resupply jobs traditionally done by the military, from bringing mail to the troops to supplying drinking water and spare parts. It’s a job they have not always done well.

“Don’t even get me started on that,” said Sharon Allen of Fort Worth, whose son is about to leave for his second tour in Iraq. “When my son was there the first time, the people at Halliburton said they couldn’t bring anything because it was too dangerous. They told my son’s company to come get water if they needed it. My son says the only way he kept his tank running was to steal parts. How are he and his crew supposed to support soldiers on the ground if they don’t even have an operating vehicle?”

One sergeant at Fort Hood — who asked that neither his name nor his unit be identified — said that when he’s training men he prefers to tell them the truth. “I tell them they’re not fighting to eliminate weapons of mass destruction because there were none and are none. I tell them we’re not fighting because Hussein harbored Osama, because Hussein hated Osama and would have had him killed if he’d have stepped foot in Iraq. I tell them we’re not fighting for our freedom because no one was threatening it. I tell them the truth: We’re fighting for oil so that their fellow Americans can drive SUV’s and burn gas. That’s all they’re fighting for. That and their own asses. Then I tell them to get home safe. I just can’t lie to them.”

Oh the "Masters of War" by Dylan comes to mind.

What also comes to mind is- Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. (Mt 5:9)

Peacemaker or warmonger. Which do you choose?

Completely sane world
madness the only freedom

An ability to see both sides of a question
one of the marks of a mature mind

People don't choose to be dishonest
the choice chooses them

Now I know how Kusinich feels.

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