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For at least a moment a thoughtful conscious reflection?

Political scandals enthrall us and pettiness blinds us and real problems pass us by, often unnoticed.

Bridgegate, as it's called, is serious business, a grotesque misuse of power that has put a potential Republican presidential candidate's career at risk. And I joined the masses Thursday in watching with a voyeur's curiosity as Christie fielded questions on the scandal.

That same day, a report was released by the Veterans Health Administration. It found that the number of young male veterans committing suicide has spiked in recent years, jumping 44 percent from 2009 to 2011.

So wrapped up was I in the New Jersey drama that I didn't notice the report, didn't process the appalling reality of its data until a couple of days later: An increasing number of men between the ages of 18 and 29, men who served this country, many who fought overseas and survived, are returning home and taking their own lives.

And the number of suicides among female veterans was also up 11.5 percent over the same period of time, a smaller jump but no less concerning.

This all went largely unnoticed. {the link to this blockquote found embedded below}

"If military action is worth our troops’ blood, it should be worth
our treasure, too" "not just in the abstract, but in the form of a
specific ante by every American."
-Andrew Rosenthal 10 Feb. 2013

Portraits of Vietnam Veterans Fighting Heroin Addiction
Sonny Martin was just 23 when he returned home from Vietnam with a grim souvenir of his stint in uniform: a heroin addiction. Martin turned to the drug to help stave off the memory of his time in Southeast Asia, where he had bribed villagers for information that would help him identify and “eliminate” Viet Cong collaborators. Back in the States, he found few people willing to help heal the invisible wounds that remained from his time in that brutal war.

“I had to keep it all inside,” Martin said in a July 1971 LIFE magazine story that illuminated the struggles — and addictions — short-circuiting so many veterans’ return to civilian life. According to the LIFE article, “the number of addicts is still not confirmed. Congressman Robert Steele (R-Conn.) and many returning veterans estimate that 15 percent of the men in Vietnam are hooked on heroin. The military claims the figure is 2 percent.” Whatever the actual numbers, it didn’t help that the drug was so easy to find: just two bucks would secure a fix of high-grade smack — a high that, for a while, blunted the anxiety, shock, and loneliness that defined so many veterans’ post-war lives.

Here, on the heels of recent reports about the enormous difficulties (joblessness, horrific suicide rates and more) facing American veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, recalls that long-ago magazine article, and the all-too-familiar stories of young men struggling to put their lives back together after serving their country in a divisive, seemingly endless conflict.


In this photo gallery, remembers the intensely personal war waged by so many who returned from Vietnam — as well as the inner conflicts that plague veterans today in the aftermath of witnessing, up close and personal, humanity’s boundless capacity for brutality.   read more>>>

"12 years also is a long time. We now have a lifetime responsibility
to a generation of service members, veterans and their families."
Dr. Jonathan Woodson 11 Sep. 2013: With 9/11 Came Lifetime Responsibility
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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (16+ / 0-)

    "If military action is worth our troops' blood, it should be worth our treasure, too; not just in the abstract, but in the form of a specific ante by every American." -Andrew Rosenthal 10 Feb. 2013

    by jimstaro on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 05:31:14 AM PST

  •  Those who serve in the Military, (8+ / 0-)

    Or Veterans of, especially in our wars and occupations, don't serve political parties, political ideologies, religious ideologies, corporate ideologies, we serve the Country and it's Constitution, not groups interpretations of, as the Oath's taken reflect.

    Same with politicians, hired as public servants, as are those they hire to work for them, their Oath's are similar. But the political ideologies come into play and must be thought out and presented to help all represented in the society or the greater majority in a civil democracy, of the people.

    The 'bridgegate', like much of any political charges, needs addressing in a rational civil manner.

    The Christie administration says the, unannounced closing of the bridge lanes for four days was for a traffic study, so where's the results of that study or if still taking place the proof it is being done and purpose for! As to the charges about the Hurricane Sandy relief funding where's the spread sheets, or any records within the NJ executive branches agencies, showing what Hoboken NJ, and others, received in both State and Federal funding, not figures of what private insurance companies paid out and policy holders paid for!

    As to Veterans' of the Military that's self explanatory, we had and the Military personal have, a contract unfulfilled by those served, the Country. Wars yet paid for and Veterans' Administration long under funded especially at times of Conflicts waged by the Country!  

    "If military action is worth our troops' blood, it should be worth our treasure, too; not just in the abstract, but in the form of a specific ante by every American." -Andrew Rosenthal 10 Feb. 2013

    by jimstaro on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 06:35:37 AM PST

  •  The VA was using the herbal cannabinoids found (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vetwife, Santa Susanna Kid, WakeUpNeo

    in cannabis resins to effectively treat depression and PTSD until the DEA stepped in and shut down the program to only protect their funding. Cannabinoids are an obvious safe and effective treatment for this problem. It's criminal what the DEA has been doing for decades blocking the honest study of herbal cannabinoids.

    Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

    by RMForbes on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 11:00:47 AM PST

  •  Anecdotal but needs investigation is the link (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Santa Susanna Kid, WakeUpNeo

    between the automatic prescribing of antidepressants to vets presenting w/ ptsd and suicide.

    In my personal experience, the meds seemed mainly designed to make me compliant w/ VA med personnel while completely ignoring the increased suicide rate and the insidious way that the meds made me feel like killing myself was the best option.

    I'm thinking that we vets w/ ptsd are nothing but acceptable losses to the command structure.

    Yes, I'm the real Lia Whirlwind. Do you hear anybody else screaming?

    by Lia Whirlwind on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 12:06:02 PM PST

  •  Thank you, jimstaro. If only people paid as much (0+ / 0-)

    attention to our Veterans and their needs as most do to who's going to win the Super Bowl...

    Priorities, I guess?

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