PTSD Collateral Damage Inevitable – Military Unprepared
A Maryland murder trial is being turned into a debate on the lingering traumatic impact of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq on the psyche of the Americans who served there.
Army Ranger veteran Gary Smith is on trial for murdering fellow Ranger Michael McQueen.
Military leaders have acknowledged that the service was unprepared for the flood of mentally wounded caused by the wars. Given the lack of resources to handle the thousands of Gary Smiths and Mike McQueens returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, such collateral damage may be inevitable. “Treatment is a struggle,” the Pentagon’s top doctor, Ward Casscells, said at a March 14 congressional hearing. Five years into the Iraq war, additional funding for screening, counseling and medications should help soldiers in the future, he said. “We don’t really know very well what treatments work,” he added. “But we’ve recognized this and we’re committed now to taking a hard look at these treatments and comparing them.”
Bringing the worst parts of war home and trying to assimilate that into America’s economic crisis can lead to more and more extreme behavior. This murder trial demonstrates America’s failure to anticipate the consequences of dumping veterans back into a society that is not equipped to deal with them, is a formula for disaster.
Wrapped up in trying to survive job and mortgage insecurity, gas prices and political pundit bullshit, America needs solutions. Instead it gets additional pressure. Too late to moan about who to blame for the crisis, that is not practical triage. Pouring gas onto a fire does not contain it. So, where is the fix? America needs to clip some political wings, fast. America has created a spoiled society who expects a lot. Cheap goods; affordable gasoline; health care; education; job security; and a clean environment are just expected. What is wrong with this picture? America has gambled its human, material and economic resources into world drama. America was duped by professional marketing spinners who knew the exact words and catch phrases to mesmerize the people into buying a flawed agenda. The same people, who sell you Viagra, also sell you a war. Where this condition falls short is the rest of the story, consequences. America has been psychologically manipulated into accepting one hour stories, broken in to ten minute segments. America’s attention span has been severely damaged. That makes Americans vulnerable to the science of marketing. That is also why America has not been capable of anticipating the consequence of seeking glory and riches by engaging in war.
Now America has to sober up and get to work with the business at hand. Returning veterans in various stages of rehabilitation and repairing a broken government. This is a daunting task. Americans of the past did it. Today’s Americans are a very different breed. It will take a lot of determination to whip today’s Americans into shape to address the task before them.