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Iraq War veteran who received Purple Heart says Army is making him repay money

When Fontana resident and 2001 Fontana A.B. Miller High School graduate Kevin Stonestreet joined the U.S. Army in the summer of 2001 as a member of the infantry, he was given a $20,000 bonus to be paid out over his six-year enlistment.

However, when Stonestreet was honorably discharged from the Army in 2005, he found out he needed to repay $3,800 of that bonus because he did not complete his six years.

But Stonestreet, who is now 23, said he was kicked out of the Army because he was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression from serving in Iraq.

In addition, Stonestreet, who was awarded the Purple Heart and was considered for the Bronze Star for bravery in combat, said the amount he was to pay back was originally $6,000, but the government repossessed his final paycheck of $2,200.

"They were nice enough to take out the $170 for my child support," Stonestreet said, laughingly.

(6:50 Pacific) I've pulled up this bit of the story to highlight just how outrageous this situation is:
THE GOVERNMENT IS still interested in recouping its $3,800 it believes it is entitled to. Stonestreet, who works as a clerk at Pep Boys in Rialto, said he has been contacted by a collection agency on the government's behalf and will soon be owing interest on that amount if something isn't done soon.
I'm too pissed off to add any meaningful commentary, but how many of these stories do we have to hear? It's not like the DOD shouldn't be able to take care of the 20k or so combat wounded, but kicking around a guy like this, who showed heroism under fire, ending up with PTSD? The DOD and this administration have no sense of honor.

Hey, somebody find a big name blogger who can grab this and set up a Paypal drive for this guy. I don't care who this guy is, or even if he's a rabid Republican, he should be treated better than this.

Update: Here is more from the story. First, the heroism under fire:

However, in September 2003, he was sent to fight in Iraq, and that's when everything changed for him.

STONESTREET WAS STATIONED near Fallujah, Iraq in April 2004 when an insurgency was being put down by U.S. military personnel.

On April 6, 2004, Stonestreet said he was riding in a Bradley fighting vehicle, which can seat up to 13 soldiers -- albeit not comfortably -- when it was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.

"We were providing security for the Marines as they were pulling out (of Fallujah) when they just got ambushed," Stonestreet said. "My platoon leader lost his leg and his gunner lost his right hand."

Stonestreet also was wounded. He was hit by shrapnel in his neck and was grazed by a bullet on his left arm. The shrapnel is still in his neck.

"I was a centimeter away from bleeding to death if it had hit my jugular," he said.

He was later recommended for the Bronze Star as he gave up his machine gun to a buddy when he went to get first aid for the injured -- but that's now all but forgotten, he said.

"I went on top of the Bradley to give them first aid," he said. "We were apparently under heavy fire, but because of the blast, I didn't hear anything. I was surprised there wasn't a fire, just a lot of smoke -- a lot of smoke -- and our uniforms smelled like ammonia for days."

And the aftermath:
But his world had been turned upside down by the war.

"When I first got home I had insomnia," he said. "When I could sleep, I had flashbacks, nightmares and cold sweat. "I'm a world better being away from the Army. I miss my friends, but they'll be all right, hopefully."

Update: I called Barbara's LA and Inland Empire offices, but more calls would be good.

San Francisco (415) 403-0100

Los Angeles (213) 894-5000

Inland Empire (909) 888-8525

Sacramento (916) 448-2787

San Diego (619) 239-3884

Washington D.C. (202) 224-3553

Anyone know Fontana well? It it largely mapped into Joe Baca's CD? (Joe Baca link)

We need to get on Joe Baca(D), whose office did not return calls from the local paper. If his idiot staff can't see this for what it is, we need to help them understand... Bab's LA office seemed sharp, and ready to go to work. The San Berdue office hadn't heard of this until I called.

Update (3:50 Pacific) - Rep. Baca's office: "We just got this story a few minutes ago, and we have assigned a case worker to it." (The staffer had never heard of Daily Kos)

Update (6:00 Pacific): I've added the poll on whether or not we should consider chipping in for this project. My thought here is that this looks similar to the case of the W VA soldier that John Aravosis at AmericaBlog raised funds for. Not only was it the right thing to do, it shamed the Army into doing the right thing, too... the soldier was said to have donated the funds to the mother of a soldier who helped save his life (IIRC), who lost her house in Katrina.

Originally posted to Pacific John on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 02:58 PM PST.

Poll

Should online Dems consider a fundraiser? (Add thoughts in comments)

89%146 votes
10%18 votes

| 164 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Another shining example (40+ / 0-)

    of Republican support for the troops.

    I think the only meaningful response to this is incoherent fury.

    But treatment of our vets HAS to be one fo the Big issues this year and ind 2008---a Republican Congress and President have voted to decrease fudning for the VA when the demands for services are increasing, and have also voted to raise Tricare copayments, drug costs, and basic cost of insurance for retirees (yes, we pay $465 a year per famikly for our "free" healthcare).

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 02:57:20 PM PST

    •  Absolutely. (30+ / 0-)

      What callous MFs would send our troops in, knowing full well that this sort of damage would be down, and then treat the same selfless heroes like trash?

      The GOP doesn't just want to send this guy off to fend for himself, they don't care for a second that THEIR administration kicks him around.

      Suggestion 2: call Boxer's office. She's a patriot.

      •  Does anybody (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elveta, javelina, Rogneid

        in the military community have a decent gauge of how supportive returning troops are of the Republican party?  I don't have too many ROTC or military friends, so I really have no clue.  I mean, we have a few peeps here on dKos like Sgt. Myers, and even Paul Hackett, but I don't know how well they represent the mainstream of returning soldiers.


        I mean, soldiers over there aren't entitled to hear liberal points of view through web browsing.  And I don't know if they can receive AAR (Air America Radio) or not.  But you'd think they'd eventually open their eyes to how they've been pawns of the Republican leadership for a meaningless agenda.  But if they're not given the chance for that, then who knows really.


        And there's also the chance that if you're in a warzone you don't want to consider the fact that you've been lied to.  Maybe believing in the Commander in Chief's mission is the only way to keep yourself sane in lieu of constant threats in the battlefield.  Can any of the military dKos peeps comment on that?  Thanks.

        Get your Free Mac Mini, you know you want one.

        by Bush B Gone on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 04:10:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Theres a few (7+ / 0-)

          Witness the ratio of Dem vets to GOP vets running. At the same time those of us in uniform walk a very fine line ( I would not appear in uniform to support any cantidate,regardless of party. ) I know from stepping on my cock a couple of times,its a shakey path for a SERVING member to follow, so I wouldn't reccomend it to anyone. My own,long overdue,promotion has been held up for a while because of my yap. My shoulders are broad,I made my bed and can deal with the consequences. I would not advise one of my troops to do the same.

          it tastes like burning...

          by eastvan on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 04:25:50 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I hate to say this (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Rogneid

          but my son says that a lot of the soldiers vote republican because their votes are done electronically, and they don't feel they have any privacy. It might be hard to get an accurate picture of how many repubs there are. Plus, every unit is different. I do think it might depend on whether they hear a lot of news from home...

    •  It should be front & center in 2006. (20+ / 0-)

      Vets can't wait until sometime in 2009 to get help.

      We have a responsibility to them NOW.  They went to war for us - I didn't agree with sending them and some didn't agree with going - but they went and they went when they were told to go.  Now they need to be taken care of now and these fools on the Hill are hanging then out to dry.

      Are the Dems going to "keep their powder dry" on this issue too?  Geez.

      The government owes this guy money.  NOT the other way around.

    •  I hear ya... (10+ / 0-)

      And the Dems are starting to come out more vocally on this issue.

      I heard Barbara Boxer on Ed Schultz at the beginning of the week (and on Larry King, too) speaking out on the returning vet PTSD problem. Sam Seeder is filling in for Al Franken on Air America this week and he devoted some 30 minutes on Monday to the PTSD/vet health problem, mentioning one incidentthat just occurred out in NJ.

      Seeder also read a large portion of an incredible Oregonian piece that was posted on Sunday. Then on Tuesday, he also brought up the PTSD topic, taking calls from vets on both days. This is all great news.

      On Monday, a Drudge post revealed the Dem’s recess strategy/talking points. The pdf has been removed from the Drudge site as far as I can tell, but a smart blogger made a copy of it before that link went dead and you can find it here. This is all good stuff for those of us who are working to get PTSD and other vet issues into the public consciousness.

      So it mystifies me (and I really hate to complain) that I see very little support on this issue on the FP here at Daily Kos. Definitely, many, many individuals support this issue here, but I have yet to see one mention of any of this on the FP. No independent reporting on it. No link to a diary. No FP-ing of a diary dealing with vet health/PTSD. Why not?

      Meanwhile, Maryscott O'Connor and her very fine My Left Wing have routinely front paged this topic; so has ePluribus Media and Political Cortex -- even SoapBlox/Chicago.

      But, here? Not a mention on the front page. It mystifies me because this is such a common sense win-win moral and just plain decent issue. No matter what side of the fence you're on, taking care of the health of our veterans is something that most people can easily support.

  •  Natalie was right... (15+ / 0-)

    ...we should all be ashamed of George Bush. Just like with every other failure of leadership, this should have been prevented with a simple order: don't fuck with our wounded vets.

    •  Except (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      javelina, Rogneid

      it was obvious in the election how they treated Max Cleland.  Yet that didn't raise much uproar amongst the right-wing military community.  If they're that disrespectful of a triple-amputee, how will they respect the boys coming home from Iraq with 'only' PTSD for example?


      It sucks that the Dems weren't so forceful in responding to the swiftboating of Kerry and Cleland, saying that such behavior is disrespecting the troops, and that if the Bush administration will do this to Vietnam vets than who knows how these Yellow Elephants will treat the Iraqi war vets too.

      Get your Free Mac Mini, you know you want one.

      by Bush B Gone on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 08:27:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Have him Call (12+ / 0-)

    His Senator, this kinda shit has to stop !

    -8.63 -7.28 Vote+$.01 I will vote Dem., but in protest and support.

    by OneCrankyDom on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 02:58:11 PM PST

  •  Typical of the (22+ / 1-)

    treatment meted out to veterans by the Yellow Elephant crowd. As far as I am concerned ,he met the terms of his enlistment. THEY discharged him. THEY broke the contract. On many,many levels.
    WE owe him better. As a soldier I am disgusted,almost too pissed off to respond coherantly. I'm going for a walk,to calm down. Back later.

    it tastes like burning...

    by eastvan on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 03:02:19 PM PST

    •  I'm back (7+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mbc, joynow, elveta, roses, javelina, jimstaro, LibChicAZ

      Still hyper ventilating tho'.

      it tastes like burning...

      by eastvan on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 03:44:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hi Eastvan, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      javelina, Rogneid

      Do you know of how things were done in previous wars regarding purple hearts?  I mean, in WWII or Korea or Viet Nam, would soldiers be ineligible for the various military college scholarships if they got a Purple Heart before their required years of active duty were completed?

      Get your Free Mac Mini, you know you want one.

      by Bush B Gone on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 08:30:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •   Not 100% (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        javelina, Rogneid

        sure but the idea of bonuses and such are a much more recent sort of thing as a result of an all volunteer army. WW1,WW2,Korea and Viet Nam had a draft to augment ( esp WW1&2 years) a very small Regular Army. Korea,initially was fought by'Regulars'(many of them post war draftees)and then by called up reservists. My understanding is that then the GI Bill eligibility had nothing to do with a PH (In WW2,it would get you home faster under the points system,I think in VN two PH's got you home) I am sure vets then had their own tribulations but I don't think bonuses figured in,unlike now. I do wonder how common this problem is. The GI Bill did however educate many a man,including disabled(eg Bob Dole)and changed the face of American society--thank you FDR. I worry that the GOP want to return society to the '30s by destroying FDRs middle class.

        it tastes like burning...

        by eastvan on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 09:24:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Bastards - are we surprised? (7+ / 0-)

    -4.63,-3.54 If the people will lead the leaders will follow

    by calebfaux on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 03:03:31 PM PST

  •  And yet on a daily (17+ / 0-)

    basis there is some GOP crony making millions off of bogus contracts in Iraq.

    "I was Rambo in the disco. I was shootin' to the beat. When they burned me in effigy. My vacation was complete." Neil Young. Mideast Vacation.

    by Mike S on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 03:04:54 PM PST

  •  Fuck raising money for the guy (18+ / 0-)

    SHAME these motherfuckers into reversing this utter travesty of an action.

    Unbe-FUCKING-lievable.

  •  Let me get this straight (23+ / 0-)

    they cause his medical problems...which will affect him for possibly years...kick him out AND want their bribe back ?

    •  Don't fucking (7+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mbc, ilona, elveta, javelina, Rogneid, Lashe, LibChicAZ

      professional atheletes get paid out on their contract. Or are they somehow special?

      it tastes like burning...

      by eastvan on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 03:52:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not if they leave early they don't (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mimi, eecee, elveta, Rogneid

        Like Ricky Williams.

        Now, I think it sucks that it seems apparent that this guy did NOT leave early because of a desire to leave early, but because it became necessary to his mental health to leave, and his mental health was threatened as a result of his time in the military.

        Under those circumstances, even if he left early, he should still get to keep it all.

        But under normal circumstances, if you are promised a bonus for performance in the future, if you do not perform in the future, they should be able to take away some of that bonus - it sucks, but I think it makes sense. If they say they'll pay you extra for 6 years of service, and you fail to give them that full 6 years because of choices you made (remember, I said that THIS guy SHOULD get the full amount), then you should have to pay back a prorated amount.

        ...but not your own facts.

        by slouise217 on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 04:06:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)

          I should have been clearer. I meant,if hurt. I'm still pretty bent on this one and perhaps could check before posting!

          it tastes like burning...

          by eastvan on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 04:11:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  You get no choice (9+ / 0-)

          You sign the contract, your ass belongs to Uncle Sam... You cannot break it of your own volition without ending up in jail... This guy was discharged due to service related injuries, if you extend the logic of these m.f.sob's if the guy died, his widow would have had to pay the bonus back...

          Someone should let Wes Clark know about this.

          •  good call (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ilona, roses, javelina, Rogneid, Ellicatt

            I have a log on to his PAC. I may just use it.

            it tastes like burning...

            by eastvan on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 04:29:02 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Yes you can (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            eecee, Rogneid

            You CAN get out of the military before your contract ends without ending up in the brig.

            There are a couple of ways that can work.

            Also, we do NOT know that the guy was discharged because of that - it is what he says, but if you read the article, he also claims that he never got the last payment of the bonus, but the government says he did.

            He was honorably discharged in 2005, 2/3rds of the way through his contract, and they want about 1/3rd of the money back. If he could prove that he did not get the money into his account, as he says he did not, then I find it hard to believe that 3 months into 2006 they would still be looking to collect that money from him. If they ARE looking to collect money that he never actually got, then it is really sleazy, but if he has proof that he never got the money, I don't think that would happen.

            I would not be surprised if this guy's story is not 100% accurate as to why he left the service and exactly how things happened. I am  not asserting it is, but some pieces of his story sound suspicious.

            But, if in fact the military ended the contract with him, rather than him saying that he was unable to continue serving and so they let him out of his contract, then I believe that if he can prove that his mental disability was the result of his service that he should keep the money.

            He says the military ended the contract. If that's the case, then I think they owe him. But I think there are too many questions about this to jump to conclusions. And you can voluntarily leave the service for a variety of reasons and not end up in jail.

            ...but not your own facts.

            by slouise217 on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 04:29:10 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  It seems to me that he should (0+ / 0-)

      get to keep any part of his signing bonus earned while still enlisted.  Any part unearned, i.e., the 1/3 of his term that he didn't serve, shouldn't be paid.  (My understanding is that the bonuses aren't paid in advance, but instead are paid on a monthly basis, so I can't imagine why he'd be required to pay anything unearned back to the government.)

      Of course, this is a logical approach and may have absolutely nothing to do with how the military currently approaches compensation and bonuses.

      •  my son's bonus was paid in full (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mbc, roses

        after basic training and tech school. May be they have different types of payment schedules and may be they change the rules every so often.

        My son had to repay at the end of his time and the procedure was finished with his last paycheck. Ten month later though he received a letter saying that he stills owes money and must repay his bonus. Luckily he had all his paperwork kept neatly so that he could prove THEY made a mistake and that he had paid back everything on time.

        A country is not only what it does - it is also what it puts up with, what it tolerates. - Kurt Tucholsky

        by mimi on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 04:59:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  where is Fontana - what state? n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    roses
  •  This is the GOP's version of spitting on Nam vets (8+ / 0-)

    Guilty guilty guilty guilty guilty.

    I keep sayin' it, but sometimes I hope there's a hell.  I would just be afraid I'd end up in it because I live in this brutal and wasteful country.

    •  The military must follow the laws Congress writes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      slouise217

      If you believe this case is an example of Republican  heartlessness, you have a poor understanding of how the  military works. The same rules were applied under President Clinton.

      Uninformed overreactions such as those seen here make Democrats look passionately silly.  

      What matters most is what lasts longest.

      by Sargon on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 07:56:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not true... (0+ / 0-)

        As we saw with the AmericaBlog example, sometimes the letter of the law is self-evidently offensive to all.

        Aravosis and his readers came out of that looking golden.

      •  So spitting on Nam vets is OK with you (0+ / 0-)

        I've not been in the military, but I come from a line of veterans:  Viet Nam (combat) WWII (both grandfathers, uncles) and a great uncle in Normandy that came home alive.  YOU have a POOR understanding of how this country works if YOU'RE not willing to wake up and smell the coffee.  THEY seem to UNDERSTAND PERFECTLY.

        PS:  If Clinton did it, that makes it OK, doesn't it?

        Take your overreaction to my comment AWAY FROM ME!

        •  Sorry to overreact myself (0+ / 0-)

          But I'm allergic to lectures.  Going out of town for a week, into the heart of Redville.  I'd better get a thicker skin when I hear this type of thing...not every one down there is rational like most Kossacks.

  •  call john kerry's office (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ilona, joynow, roses, javelina, mjd in florida

    i know john kerry read (and post) on Daily Kos
    hopefully he will read this posting and help

  •  Call many of the Democrat (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    roses, javelina

    reps who have served. Don't bother with rethugs. A waste of effort.

    SHAME

    it tastes like burning...

    by eastvan on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 03:53:39 PM PST

  •  I urge (6+ / 0-)

    recco's on this Kossacks. This deserves a good ride on the diary list. Thank Pacific John for bringing it up and to our attention. Maybe,just maybe,something can be done.

    it tastes like burning...

    by eastvan on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 03:57:26 PM PST

  •  I'm ticked along with everyone else... (8+ / 0-)

    Another instance of this administration's 'Support Our Troops' in action. What an utter disgrace. I've started adding self-reported incidents like this to the PTSD Timeline. I'll add this one this weekend...Sigh.

    I think a lot of people might have missed Jay Shaft's explosive diary from yesterday amid all of the Box Turtle Ben news. I'd recommend anyone interested in hearing from some of our soldiers what's really going on over there to dip into that diary. Just be sure to up the blood pressure meds before you head over there.

    A complete and utter disgusting disgrace.

    •  Couldn't agree (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ilona, roses, javelina, lilnubber, jimstaro

      more Ilona. Its another job for you and the good work you are doing. You do realize,though,your work is just beginning,unfortunatly. From me thanks(this one really pressed my hot buttons!!!).

      it tastes like burning...

      by eastvan on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 04:38:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Everyone's work is just beginning... (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        roses, javelina, lilnubber, bellevie, jimstaro

        ...with absolutely no help from the Support the Troops administration.

        And in case anyone missed it, we're also medicating our troops who have PTSD and sending them back into combat on second, third, and fourth tours. Can you believe that?! Barbara Boxer's working on blowing the lid off of this story, too. Keep this following snippet of Army regs in mind before you read the rest:

        Army Regulation 40-501 Medical Services Standards of Medical Fitness
        5-14. Medical fitness standards for deployment and certain geographical areas
        ...
        (8) Psychiatric. Any disorder that has the potential to prevent performance of duty, even if controlled by medication, should not deploy.

        From Monday's San Diego Union-Tribune:

        Besides bringing antibiotics and painkillers, military personnel nationwide are heading back to Iraq with a cache of antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications.

        The psychotropic drugs are a bow to a little-discussed truth fraught with implications: Mentally ill service members are being returned to combat. The redeployments are legal, and the service members are often eager to go. But veterans groups, lawmakers and mental-health professionals fear that the practice lacks adequate civilian oversight. They also worry that such redeployments are becoming more frequent as multiple combat tours become the norm and traumatized service members are retained out of loyalty or wartime pressures to maintain troop numbers.

        Sen. Barbara Boxer hopes to address the controversy through the Department of Defense Task Force on Mental Health, which is expected to start work next month. The California Democrat wrote the legislation that created the panel. She wants the task force to examine deployment policies and the quality and availability of mental-health care for the military.

        “We've also heard reports that doctors are being encouraged not to identify mental-health illness in our troops. I am asking for a lot of answers,” Boxer said during a March 8 telephone interview. “If people are suffering from mental-health problems, they should not be sent on the battlefield.”

        The DOD doesn't keep track of troops returning to combat medicated for mental health disorders; however, Army and Marine Corps medical officers confirm that medicated soldiers and marines are returning to the combat zone.

        Buttressing the idea that large numbers of service members are medicated, more than 200,000 prescriptions for the most common types of antidepressants were written in the past 14 months for service members and their families, said Sydney Hickey, a spokeswoman for the National Military Family Association.

        Politics and penny-pinching are part of the problem.

        Mental-health care for service members and the Defense Department's efforts to keep the mentally ill in uniform are becoming national issues, said Steve Robinson, director of the National Gulf War Resource Center in Silver Spring, Md. Robinson said three Army doctors have told him about being pressured by their commanders not to identify mental conditions that would prevent personnel from being deployed.

        “They are being told to diagnose combat-stress reaction instead of PTSD,” he said. “That does two things: It keeps the troops deployable and it makes it hard for them to collect disability claims once they get out of the military.” Robinson contends that the Pentagon is trying to control its spending on mental-health disabilities. ...

        Overall, service members' mental health is a hot-button subject because it goes to the cost of the war in dollars and lives, said Joy Ilem, an assistant national legislative director for the organization Disabled American Veterans. “The (Department of Veterans Affairs) is very worried about the political implications of PTSD and other mental issues arising from the war,” Ilem said. “They are talking about early outreach and treatment, but they are really trying to tamp down the discussion.”

        Medical practice and ethics questions loom large, too.

        Cmdr. Paul S. Hammer deals with such issues daily. Hammer, a psychiatrist, is responsible for the Marine Corps' mental-health programs during this deployment rotation. He confirmed that Marines with post-traumatic stress disorder and combat stress are returning to Iraq, though he would not say how many.

        Hammer said deciding who is deployed is often anguishing. Sometimes he has to tell Marine commanders that personnel they had counted on will not be deploying. In other instances, he said, “We'll hold some guy's feet to the fire and say, 'This is what you signed up for, and you have to go.'” Marines are “amazingly resilient,” Hammer added. “You've got people exposed to incredible violence, but they do entirely well.”

        It's the tough calls that worry Adrian Atizado, a legislative director for Disabled American Veterans. “Currently, the services will deploy a service member if the person is medically stable and it is determined that the deployment won't aggravate (his) condition,” Atizado said. “How does one gauge that? This a gray area; this is asking a medical provider to make a decision based on the future. The medical providers are human beings. I have no doubt that they are looking out for the best interest of the service members, but they are under pressure to check off on their deployment.”

        Unbelievable, if we haven't come to expect this kind of thing anymore from what's become of our country.

        •  The Support The Troops (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ilona, raines, roses, javelina, jimstaro

          people remind me of parents saying to a kid "yes you can have a cat/dog but you have to clean up after it. Its a lot of responsibility." Of course we all know who actually wound up cleaning that litter box or walking that dog don't we? They are like kids who are very enthusiastic on taking on a task but don't want to clean up the mess once they find it might smell a bit or take a little effort and resposibility. The sloganeers are no better than those ill behaved children. Talk without action =

          Nothing.

          it tastes like burning...

          by eastvan on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 05:30:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  That's fucking outrageous! (0+ / 0-)

          My father is a Korean War vet and a retired psych nurse, who still suffers from PTSD from when he was in Korea.  I woke up many times to hear him screaming, and when he has outbursts...well, it's not pretty, but he's got a strong soul and keeps on going.  He's seen PTSD cases ranging from mild to severe and he's outraged that they would consider sending even a soldier with mild PTSD back in.  Even a mild case, he says, will be aggravated.  Medications do not cure, just control the symptoms. They will return home even more scarred.  

          The cumulative effect of giving a soldier with PTSD medications and then sending them back has got to be the worst decision any medical officer could possibly make.  If the decisions are even being made by them!  Who makes the decision to send these men and women back?  

          BushCo doesn't give a damn about US soldiers.  To them they are faceless and disposable.  It's sickening. Soldiers lives and their families lives are going to suffer permanently because of this.  It's all about the almightly dollar for BushCo.  Trying to get a "refund" from a Purple Heart recipient is just outrageous. If they can't get their monies worth, they want a refund for the unused portion.

          I am so pissed at this I could spit nails!

          Can't wait 'til -08, censure and impeach NOW!

          by Rogneid on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 10:59:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  My son had to do the same thing (12+ / 0-)

    Enlisted for six years with the Air Force/Iraq War Veteran/Served in Korea.

    My son never really wanted to leave the AF, but wanted to relocate back to a base near Washington DC, after having been stationed in Montana as his home base since summer of 2001. After 9/11 (he helped clean up in NY the first week after the towers came down) and later was sent into Iraq exactly March 20th. He left Iraq after 5 1/2 months and returned to Montana. My son planned to change his home base closer to home (ie Washington DC). The AF told him, if he would sign up to a two year tour outside the US (like Korea), he would be rewarded with chosing his preferred base after that and be secured a place in his first choice home base thereafter. My son planned to make his career in the AF and go to school here in DC while serving his time. He also wanted to marry his girl friend in DC, which stood by him for quite some time during his enlistment.

    My son accepted this and signed up for Korea. Later, already being a couple of months in Korea, he was told, they couldn't assign him to a base near Washington DC, because too many people apply for those bases, but they could offer him two years in England (I think they have closed meanwhile that base). My son "was suprised" to say the least. GF didn't want to go to England, well, you can make up the rest of the story.

    Later on he accepted to participate in a program that was offered by Rumsfeld, who wanted to get rid of people within the civil engineer squadrons of the AF, because, AFAIK, Rumsfeld thought the duties people like my son did as an "engineer" (among others repairing and building landing strips and other structures in a couple of Iraqi Air Force Bases, they captured in the first weeks of the war - that wasn't a piece of cake either, but that's another story) could be outsourced.

    My son was so to speak superfluous and too cheap a laborer within the AF, according to Rumsfeld's thinking, I believe. I wonder how much DoD pays now for outsourcing the jobs. He left with Rumsfeld's blessings, so to speak, 10 month before his time was up, with honors. Actually my son was perfect, because he did do Rumsfeld a favour and helped him "save taxpayer's money" by accepting to trim down the Armed Forces by removing himself deliberately and make the Forces leaner. Yep.

    He had to repay part of his bonus, he also had to cash out all his saved retirement benefits from of their pension fund and ended up repaying parts of his bonus with his cashed out retirement funds.

    Considering that this program was offered and was desired by Rumsfeld, I thought it was quite a stretch to make them take out their retirement funds.

    If it wouldn't be so laughable, I would say, greed, Sec. Rumsfeld, is your middle name.

    But really, I couldn't care less and my son either. He has no bad feelings about his time in the AF and says that without his time served, he wouldn't be the same man. I accept that face value.

     

    A country is not only what it does - it is also what it puts up with, what it tolerates. - Kurt Tucholsky

    by mimi on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 04:17:01 PM PST

    •  This is exactly the question. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mimi, Rogneid

      This is the crux of it!  Rumsfeld sold the entire country a bill of goods-- a country drunk on management-school technospeak like "quality" and "resource management" and "downsizing"-- with his notion of a "leaner military."  But what he did not make clear was that the same jobs would still have to be done-- just not by enlisted.  Instead, by outside contractors' employees.  And how much do those outside contractors make on the dollar per employee hired?  Without having to shell out money toward giving them benefits or retirement funding?  How much of our tax dollars, voted in the name of "reconstruction" and "freedom" by a cowardly lockstepping GOP congress, are being funneled into creating sheer profit for outside contractors-- and creating losses of opportunities for Americans?

      •  I really wait for the analysis (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rogneid

        in how far Rumsfeld's downsizing and restructuring has saved money or did in fact cost a lot of money.
        I don't believe a minute that private contractors are more cost-efficient than using soldiers at least not for the kind of work that involves hard physical work in dangerous working conditions like in a war zones. You have to pay contractors huge amounts of money to do this kind of work, whereas soldiers can simply be used and worked to their limits for the same salary.

        I want to follow the money and see the numbers.

        A country is not only what it does - it is also what it puts up with, what it tolerates. - Kurt Tucholsky

        by mimi on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 08:16:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I do too. And I am not heartened (0+ / 0-)

          by reports we've seen intermittently about overbilling in Iraq, about unaccounted-for millions channeled to the Coalition Provisional Authority, about soldiers having been given suitcases full of cash during the first months of the occupation, and told to distribute it as need be to do what they needed to do in a given area, etc.  

  •  This Is 'Disgusting'..... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ilona, roses, eastvan

    But Not At All Surprising!!!!!!!!!

    This is How this Country has Always Treated those who Serve It on the Grunt End of the Military, No Matter Political Party!!

    I've said it before and I'll Keep Repeating,

    One: This Country had Better be Prepared to Handle the Influx of PTSD Cases, which will have Much More Devestating Results, above even Vietnam, from this Illegal Invasion and Multiple Tours in both Iraq and Afganistan!!!

    Two: This Country Better Start NOW Really Supporting these Military Personal and That Means The Monies Needed To Take Care Of Them!!!!!!!

    James Starowicz
    USN '67-'71 GMG3 Vietnam In-Country '70-'71
    Member: Veterans For Peace

  •  I just got (0+ / 0-)

    Troll rated for the very first time! Whats with that? ( I mean I get it at work--but thats differant!)

    it tastes like burning...

    by eastvan on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 06:04:05 PM PST

  •  Once Again (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pacific John, ilona

    this raggel taggel band of bleeding heart liberals will step up to the plate and actually support our troops in a very real way. We can raise that money in a hot minute.  

    "The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country..." - Thomas Paine

    by elveta on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 06:15:50 PM PST

  •  This is complicated for me. (0+ / 0-)

    On the one hand, hell yes, this guy needs help.  EVERYONE shafted by Bush in his bloody Iraq morass of lies needs help dealing with the damage done to their lives and to this country.  

    On the other hand, I find myself really wanting to know more about this guy.  Not "is he a democrat?," but rather, "what are his views of George W. Bush and the GOP congress who have rubberstamped everything the President ordered for this war"?  I want to know what this guy thinks of the GOP that characterizes dissent as treason, and of a President who can brook not even a hint of a rational critique of the disasters he has created.

    I guess what I want to know is, how have this guy's experiences in all this-- the war, the government's coming after him-- affected his understanding, as a citizen, of the massive spending and bloodshed our President and congress have committed us to in Iraq?

    •  I totally understand your position... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mimi, concernedamerican, eastvan

      ...but this really boils down to two things, for me at least:

      It's the right thing to do. He went to war in our name, and he's getting screwed. Even if he turned out to be an asshole, we'd earn good psychic payment for a good deed.

      This is a leveraged action, illustrating just how toxic this topic is to people who support this disaster. It is proof of who we really are, and it shames the the other side into acting human.

    •  We can affect his answer (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      concernedamerican

      If, on the one hand, he's getting screwed by the government, and on the other hand, a whole bunch of liberals and Democrats are helping him out, he might have something to think about.

      The absolute, primary reason to help him is because he needs help. But I would not dismiss the effect that unasked for kindness can have on a person. Especially when they really need it.

  •  Republicans sure know how to support the troops (0+ / 0-)

    I guess if supporting the troops involves much more than slapping one of those yellow magnets on their cars all they do is cut and run.  Why any veteran would continue to support BushCo and the Republican Party is baffling to me.  

    Don't be so afraid of dying that you forget to live.

    by LionelEHutz on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 07:35:12 PM PST

  •  Speaking as a troop... (4+ / 0-)

    Who has to repay part of his bonus when he gets out in May, I would throw a few bucks this guys way.

    My story isn't the same as his, but I requested to get out early after I had deployed for the second time. When we got back from the second deployment, we were told that we would deploy again in 15 months, making it my third deployment. No thanks, I would rather pay money back and get out early.

    I feel bad for this guy...

  •  OIF III VET : BROTHER SCREW THOSE BASTARDS ! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pacific John

    Disgusting ! , Disgusting ! , Disgusting !
    This is how this administration treats its soldiers !
    This must stop !

    The Damn Liberal

    This must stop !
    Leonard Clark
    Desert Storm/OIF III
    and
    Candidate for the U.S. Senate
    in Arizona, on March 29th, 2006

  •  Interesting choice of tags. n/t (0+ / 0-)

    "Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by sgilman on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 10:03:20 PM PST

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