Friday, January 20, 2006

Suicide Note


[Note. Originally the first part of this post contained many links for reference purposes. I decided that the important part of the post might not get read in lieu of all the links, so I deleted them. The original post intact with the links can be found after the “Suicide Note.”]

Intelligent people like Jimmy Carter know all the reasons as to why war has to be the last resort.

Earlier this week I got another e-mail about the hypocrisy of Ted Kennedy because of the Mary Jo Kopechne incident of over 30 years ago. Responding to these e-mails have proven to be frustrating, upsetting and ultimately futile, so I stopped some time ago.

What I wanted to say was, "Fine. We all know about Mary Jo. Lots of us wish Ted Kennedy would go away. You want me to agree with you, that he's a hypocrite? You want to call him a murderer? I actually think he was more of drunken loser who screwed-up royally, but you have a right to call him what you will."

"What do you call the men who orchestrated The War in Iraq catastrophe that had been in the planning phases prior to 9/11? That has been a complete sham, from false justifications, from poor planning, from the blatant and vulgar profiteering all the way down to the name, 'Operation Iraqi Freedom?'"

I am so sick of all of them calling us names, labeling us cowards, saying we are all treasonous, lying about our commitment to the American Soldier, the whole lot of it.

It is all a bunch of bullshit.

This is EXACTLY what we are talking about:

"Suicide Note"
by Spc Douglas Barber.

Spc Douglas Barber: PTSD- Every Soldier's Personal WAR!
1/9/05

By Doug Barber

In the last month I have been working with Jay Shaft, the editor of Coalition For Free Thought in media regarding my experiances in Iraq and since coming home from the war. We have only touched on some of the struggles of being a soldier, however we have not dug deeply into the personal war that Operation Iraqi Freedom has caused for returning soldiers.

Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush do not want to reveal to the American people that this war is a personal war. They want to run the war like a business, and thus they refuse to show the personal sacrifices the soldiers and their families have made for this country.

My thought today is to help you the reader understand what happens to a soldier when they come home and the sacrifice we continue to make. This may be lengthy, it may be short; but no matter how long it is, just close your eyes and imagine a flag drapped coffin.

Inside that coffin is the body of a man or woman who will never get to live their life to the fullest, yet they bore the total cost so that we could live free. Their soul is somewhere else and all we have is their memory which over time will be forgotten by other everts of greater importance. The families of these soldiers have a hole in their hearts that will never be replaced, even though they have pictures and happy memories.

Some families will refuse to believe they are gone, but still their sons and daughters are the heros of a country that sent them to war. This war on terror has become a personal war for so many, yet the Bush Administration does not want journalists or families to photograph the only thing that is left of our soldiers who have died. They do not want the people to remember that image of a flag draped coffin as the last memory this country will ever have of our fallen men and woman.

They say that America will raise their voices and demand a stop to the war, but my question is why should we not show the results of war? For us as a country, we send these soldiers to war and we see their faces while they are alive. I say let their memories live on in every photo, even when they do come home in a flag drapped coffin. Let their sacrifice be forever etched in the memory of America. We owe their families this at the very least.

All is not okay or right for those of us who return home alive and supposedly well. What looks like normalcy and readjustment is only an illusion to be revealed by time and torment. Some soldiers come home missing limbs and other parts of their bodies. Still others will live with permanent scars from horrific events that no one other than those who served will ever understand.

We come home from war trying to put our lives back togather but some cannot stand the memories and decide that death is better. They kill themselves because they are so haunted by seeing children killed and whole families wiped out.

They ask themselves how you put a price tag on someone elses life? The question goes unanswered as they become another casualty of the war. Heros become another statistic to America and they are another little article relegated to the back of a newspaper.

Still others come home to nothing, families have abandoned them: husbands and wives have left these soldiers, and so have parents as well. Post Tramatic Stress Disorder has become the norm amongst these soldiers because they don't know how to cope with returning to a society that will never understand what they have had to endure to liberate another country.

PTSD comes in many forms not understood by many: but yet if a soldier has it, America thinks the soldiers are crazy. PTSD comes in the form of depression, anger, regret, being confrontational, anxiety, chronic pain, compulsion, delusions, grief, guilt,dependance,loneliness, sleep disorders, suspiciousness/paranoia, low self-esteem and so many other things.

We are easily startled with a loud bang or noise and can be found ducking for cover when we get panicked. This is a result of artillery rounds going off in a combat zone, or an IED blowing up.

I myself have trouble coping with an everyday routine that deals with other people that often causes me to have a short fuse. A lot of soldiers lose multiple jobs just because they are trained to be killers and they have lived in an enviroment that is condusive to that. We are always on guard for our safety and that of our commrades. When you go to bed at night you wonder will you be sent home in a flag draped coffin because a motar round went off on your sleeping area.

Soldiers live in deplorable conditions where burning your own feces is the order of the day. Where going days on end with no shower and the uniform you wear gets so crusty it sometimes sticks to your body becomes a common occurence. We also deal with rationing water or even food for that matter. So when a soldier comes home to what they left they are unsure of what to do being in a civilized world again.

This is what PTSD comes in the shape of--soldiers can not often handle coming back to the same world they left behind. It is something that drives soldiers over the edge and causes them to withdraw from society. As Americans we turn our nose down at them wondering why they act the way they do. Who cares about them, why should we help them?

Talk show hosts like Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and so many others act like they know all about war; then they refuse to give any creadence to soldiers like me who have been to war and seen the brutality of war. These guys are nothing but WEAK SPINELESS COWARDS hiding behind microphones while soldiers come home and are losing everything they have.

I ask every American who reads this e-mail to stand up for the soldier who has given their everything for this country to stand up to these guys in the media; ask them why they don't pick up a weapon and follow in the steps of a soldier. Send this e-mail to as many people on your e-mail lists and ask them to do the same.

There needs to be a National awareness for every Veteran who has ever served in any war. Send e-mails to the Big Mouths on TV and ask them to have soldiers like me on their programs. I am asking you as Americans to BOYCOTT every TV show or host/journalist that refuses to tell the real truth.

THIS IS A PERSONAL CHALLENGE TO BILL,SEAN AND RUSH TO HAVE ME ON YOUR PROGRAM TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT. Other wise you are nothing but dirt under every soldiers boot!

***

Thanks to Shakespeare's sister for linking to it.


***
Intelligent people like Jimmy Carter know all the reasons as to why war has to be the last resort.

Earlier this week I got another e-mail about the hypocrisy of Ted Kennedy because of the
Mary Jo Kopechne incident. Responding to these e-mails have proven to be frustrating, upsetting and ultimately futile, so I stopped some time ago.

What I wanted to say was, "Fine. We all know about Mary Jo. Lots of us wish Ted Kennedy would go away. You want me to agree with you, that he's a hypocrite? You want to call him a murderer? I actually think he was more of drunken loser who screwed-up royally, but you have a right to call him what you will."

"What do you call the men who orchestrated The War in Iraq catastrophe that had been in the
planning phases prior to 9/11? That has been a complete sham, from false justifications, from poor planning, from the blatant and vulgar profiteering all the way down to the name, 'Operation Iraqi Freedom?'"

6 Comments:

Anonymous Decatur Dem said...

Gary Trudeau has done a splendid job, in four Doonesbury panels a day, of rendering one soldier's battle with PTSD after losing a leg to a roadside bomb. The soldier, B.D., spent months at Walter Reed in surgery, psychological counseling, and physical therapy, and now is back at home, where his wife and daughter have adjustments of their own to deal with. And all that, multiplied by several thousand, plus all the GIs with no physical trauma who simply experienced more than anyone should have to experience.

If you ever get the chance to see the CSPAN program of extended interviews with soldiers at Walter Reed who were recovering from multiple amputations, grab the Kleenex box and have a seat. One of them, Tammy Duckworth, was a helicopter pilot who lost both legs and a hand. She has more heart and steel and character in her fingernail clippings than George Bush ever dreamed of. She's running for the House this year. Send a campaign contribution, or not, as your inclination and ability direct you.
Another soldier interviewed was a Mexican-American legal immigrant who has lived here since early childhood, and became a citizen after returning to Walter Reed minus both legs. He is such a sweet kid, with such a positive attitude, I just wanted to adopt him. Dick Cheney isn't fit to clean this kid's toilet. Every time some administration hack blathers on about how war opponents encourage the terrorists, and we must not give in, they should be sentenced to an entire day in a combat surgical hospital where they triage the salvageable soldiers from the ones whose only possible treatment is enough narcotics to induce oblivion, or Landstuhl, where surgeons induce coma in order to treat the Humvee driver with cerebral edema from blast trauma, or the PT department at Walter Reed where some corporal is learning to use his new prostheses and adjusting to fifty or sixty more years of a life with phantom limb pain and PTSD.

But at least we're preventing the use of WMDs. Or bringing democracy to the Middle East. Or overthrowing a cruel tyrant. I forget what our reason is, exactly. But I'm sure it's a good one.

4:38 PM  
Blogger fgfdsg said...

Has this been verified as real?

Back to the 'Offensive News Footage' point you were making a couple of days ago and my discomfort with televised grief:

The fact that this essay is doing the rounds and being used as a political tool because the guy has committed suicide both an invasion of something very, very private and deeply morally offensive.

If we score cheap political points off of someone else's tragedy then we're no better than the people we're pointing fingers at.

War's wrong from the very first moment of injustice, and if someone doesn't feel and understand that, a story like this isn't going to change their attitude.

Sorry for ranting, just a very touchy subject for me.

5:24 PM  
Blogger The Viscount LaCarte said...

Simon:

Normally I would agree with you, but this man had made it a mission to educate people about Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, from which he was suffering.

I was moved by it, and thought some of my readers would be to.

I have an axe to grind with the talk-show hosts he addresses by name. They act tough, but they are not even brave enough to have a man like him on their show, who ultimately gave his life for an ideal that has been exploited and abused. Ideals that these evil cowards talk about but won't suffer any minor inconvenience whatsoever. They are afraid of real soldiers who may tell the truth about war, specifically about this "war of choice" that was unnessesary. They couldn't risk having a real soldier on who risked his life, who might just call them "cowards" to their faces.

Dem: Great sharing a beer with you last night. I hope we can do it again soon...

5:50 PM  
Blogger fgfdsg said...

I suppose I look too far ahead and I see the way this man will be slandered after his death by the right wing.

Simply, they will use his suicide as the excuse to negate any valid points he brings up, since they will label him a 'coward' for killing himself.

They will also likely suggest that the suicide came from a history of mental health problems, which were obviously there before he went away to war. Therefore, the sacrifice he made fighting for his country is also negated - "He's an abberation, not the rule".

I'm expected the spin will be something like: "His negative view of the Iraq War was obviously slated by his deep-seated mental issues".

7:25 PM  
Blogger Neil Shakespeare said...

Poor soldiers have been sold on 'Glory' since time immemorial. Truth is they're shunned and treated like dirt. What 'Glory' there may be goes to the King or the President. There are no soldiers' names in the history books.

4:28 AM  
Blogger fuckstick2020 said...

It's a damn shame that a man can be impeached for getting his knob shined but a man who had preplanned ideas and lied to the faces of millions gets re-elected and sits pretty and no one is even brave enough to whisper the word.

It's a damn crime kids.

4:30 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home