Is it time to MOVE ON from the hardship WAR has caused YOU

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This article, A Veteran Weighs the Costs of War, was sent into VT by Persian Gulf War Veteran Chante Wolf with permission to re-publish. What follows is an excerpt from her article. For the full article go to VetSpeak at www.VetSpeak.org

What caught my eye when Chante sent this to us is how much my military family can relate to how one’s perspective on these wars can tear a family apart. Unfortunately, those families that get torn asunder are those with Skin in the Game.

Robert L. Hanafin, Major, U.S. Air Force-Retired, GS-14, U.S. Civil Service-Retired, Editorial Board Member, VT News Network

A Veteran Weighs the Costs of War…

Do The Costs of Two Wars Exceed Our Human Capacity to Care? by Persian Gulf War Veteran Chante Wolf

As an uncle recently told me, “I probably will not read your [soon to be published Veterans Book Project] because, for me, it is time to move on, NOT from your [War] story exactly, but the hardship some of it has caused you.”

I already get the tip-toe treatment and a pat on the head sort of speak from other family members when I get really upset with our military missions of pre-meditated mass murder. So what next?

If I cannot voice my feelings about war and the currently proposed never-ending one, when do I get to “move on?”

When do the troops who have been exposed to mass horror tour after tour get the chance to protect their ‘beautiful minds’ [from the ravages of PTSD and/or TBI]?

Families in Emotional Overload?

Are our families in emotional overload? Are they tired of the anger, money problems, isolation and walking on egg shells around their veteran, careful not to set them off over the simplest thing? I know that there are family members who have started to commit suicide themselves. On two different occasions I heard the stories about the children of veterans attempting suicide, including a niece of a veteran who killed himself.

Often [some] soldiers come home disillusioned, full of guilt, remorse and displaced anger over the tremendous loss of life and destruction as well as the calamities of friendly fire, accidents and fraud, waste and abuse of U.S. tax dollars. And what happens when they get dissed by their own families who can not find the courage to listen with heart or begin to grasp the enormous change their loved one has just gone through, for the fourth, fifth, or sixth time? Are the soldiers told, “it is time for me to move on”, or “shut the fuck up and get over it – it is in the past now”, or “there is more to life than your war shit, you fucking drunk!”?

Where do the soldiers go next and who can they trust to hear their pain without judgement?

Recently at the Minneapolis VA, I walked in with an ex-Marine hurting from the recent losses of two more men in his original unit (7 already committed suicide alone). He was suicidal. We went to the PTSR clinic for lack of knowledge of where we should have gone. We were then escorted from the PTSR clinic to the Emergency Room, and the woman escort relayed why we were there to the woman at the front desk. Once at the desk the woman asked the ex-Marine some questions, then started to “should” on him for not keeping his appointments three-years ago. He began to cry and told her he can’t get the war out of his head and he wants to kill himself.

After he went through the task of getting evaluated he was wheel-chaired behind closed doors and left by himself for over 45 minutes. The young man was then ‘should’ on again, this time by the social worker about needing not to do alcohol or drugs for a period of time before he could get help and was then let go to his own accord. Once outside with a fellow VFP Vietnam Marine, he told us that out of his original unit it was only him and another guy left alive, that he just wanted to be normal like everyone else.

Where do us vets go when our families have had enough heartache? What safe space do we find when the family still wants to ‘rah-rah’ about war and all the good we are doing in Afghanistan and Iraq liberating all those people to Allah? Who will toss the soldiers the life line they need to get them out of their basements? And the flip of the coin, how will the families begin to find their lives after they have cut their loved one down from the water pipe and garden hose they used to hang themselves?

Support the Troops – A Very Effective Propaganda Tool to Silence Dissent

Support the troops has been a very affective [Pro-WAR] propaganda tool, which in my opinion only means that to protest the war the family member may jinx the life of their loved one deployed. [Or worse yet, get their love one in trouble when the Pentagon retaliates against the military member. This as been the root cause of most military divorces. VT Ed Note]

Then the guilt and remorse those families would carry would be unbearable when, in reality it again serves its purpose to silence dissent. Even the spitting image has been effectively used against the peace protesters, specifically women. It seems interesting to me that women are the spitters. Hitler used the same image of women spitting on the German troops after their losing WWI to drum up support for his next war.

Why are Women always the Peace protestors doing the Spiting in the Spitting Image?

How do we ever navigate through all the hypocrisy, spitting images, and calling war veterans cowards because they have been injured mentally from the brutality of war? How do the families negotiate the heartache and adjustments they must deal with their wounded warriors? How do the children grow up with all the confusion going on around them and not themselves be forever affected by war?

Why do Americans continue to buy the lies and deceit of the rich and the Pentagon to wage war?

If this is really all very confusing – welcome home. This is just the tip of the iceberg that has just broken off in Greenland and is coming to a theater near you.

Why do Americans continue to buy the lies and deceit of the rich and the Pentagon to wage war? What can we really do about it all?

Perhaps the sand is a better place to put our heads when the shit is too hard to swallow anymore. I certainly feel this way, and have found myself shying away from other war vets when their stories and heart ache has become too hard for me to bear. And the last nine years has been a long time to hold my breath for the current wars and 19 years of my own guilt and remorse that has cost me more than just brain cells, sleep, my friends from the military, my ex-partner, it has now cost me most of my family.

www.VetSpeak.org

http://bit.ly/counterspin


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Readers are more than welcome to use the articles I've posted on Veterans Today, I've had to take a break from VT as Veterans Issues and Peace Activism Editor and staff writer due to personal medical reasons in our military family that take away too much time needed to properly express future stories or respond to readers in a timely manner. My association with VT since its founding in 2004 has been a very rewarding experience for me. Retired from both the Air Force and Civil Service. Went in the regular Army at 17 during Vietnam (1968), stayed in the Army Reserve to complete my eight year commitment in 1976. Served in Air Defense Artillery, and a Mechanized Infantry Division (4MID) at Fort Carson, Co. Used the GI Bill to go to college, worked full time at the VA, and non-scholarship Air Force 2-Year ROTC program for prior service military. Commissioned in the Air Force in 1977. Served as a Military Intelligence Officer from 1977 to 1994. Upon retirement I entered retail drugstore management training with Safeway Drugs Stores in California. Retail Sales Management was not my cup of tea, so I applied my former U.S. Civil Service status with the VA to get my foot in the door at the Justice Department, and later Department of the Navy retiring with disability from the Civil Service in 2000. I've been with Veterans Today since the site originated. I'm now on the Editorial Board. I was also on the Editorial Board of Our Troops News Ladder another progressive leaning Veterans and Military Family news clearing house. I remain married for over 45 years. I am both a Vietnam Era and Gulf War Veteran. I served on Okinawa and Fort Carson, Colorado during Vietnam and in the Office of the Air Force Inspector General at Norton AFB, CA during Desert Storm. I retired from the Air Force in 1994 having worked on the Air Staff and Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon.