Service members who experience PTSD, TBI, MST, and combat stress have the right to exit the traumatic situation and receive immediate support, and compensation. Too often, service members are forced to redeploy back into dangerous combat, or train in situations that re-traumatize them. We say, individuals suffering from trauma have the right to remove themselves from the source of the trauma. Service members who are not physically or mentally healthy shall not be forced to deploy or continue service. Learn more about what Operation Recovery is fighting for here
More troops lost to suicide
For the second year in a row, the U.S. military has lost more troops to suicide than it has to combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The reasons are complicated and the accounting uncertain — for instance, should returning soldiers who take their own lives after being mustered out be included?
But the suicide rate is a further indication of the stress that military personnel live under after nearly a decade of war.
Veterans for Peace chapter on Cape Cod to rename itself after Jeffrey Lucey of Belchertown who committed suicide after serving in Iraq
Published: Friday, February 04, 2011, 11:45 AM
By John Appleton, The Republican
“BELCHERTOWN – As part of its effort to draw attention to suicides by veterans and combat stress, the Cape Cod chapter of Veterans for Peace is renaming itself in honor of Cpl. Jeffrey M. Lucey.
Lucey, a Belchertown resident, committed suicide in 2004 after returning from a tour of duty with the Marines in Iraq.
The renaming will take place March 18 at a ceremony at Barnstable High School, 744 West Main St., Hyannis.”
by Rose Marie Berger
Originally published 11/11/10 at God’s Politics (Sojourners)
Today, on Armistice Day, 18 American military vets will commit suicide. This weekend, military veterans are gathering in Washington, D.C., for the second Truth Commission on Conscience in War. Today is also the feast day of Saint Martin of Tours: Patron Saint of Conscientious Objectors.
“War inflicts terrible, tragic consequences on all touched by it,” says Truth Commission member Herman Keizer (U.S. Army ret.). “Moral conscience should not be one of its casualties.”
by Logan Mehl-Laituri
Originally published 11/8/10 at God’s Politics (Sojourners)
Another piece from Truth Commission testifier Logan Mehl-Laituri…
This week we celebrate Veterans Day. For me, it is a tragic holiday. I know many do not share that perspective. Sometimes it is easy to overlook the fact that veterans are a troubled minority, living sometimes in heartbreaking silence about the pain we bear for the things we have done or left undone in combat. When I came home in February of 2005, I was bombarded by banners thanking me for my service; service which, just days prior in the streets of Mosul, had left people dead or wounded. What was I being thanked for?
That moral ambiguity has left me and other veterans with deep moral questions about our service. Some of my compatriots, even my own team leader (a non commissioned officer) would go on to attempt suicide because the ambiguity was so overpowering. Another NCO on my team turned to crystal methamphetamine, but lower enlisted guys could only afford alcohol. We were not given the opportunity to grieve what we had done; our moral consciences were as scarred as our minds and our bodies. We were not allowed to heal properly, and society does not know how to deal with us.
Originally published at ivaw.org
Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) has launched Operation Recovery: a campaign to stop the deployment of thousands of troops suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury and Military Sexual Trauma. Urging that “this issue affects all of us”, IVAW states that “military commanders across all branches are pushing service members far past human limits for the sake of ‘combat readiness’.”
Service members have a right to heal. Because the military is desperate for warm bodies in the field, and the VA doesn’t have the resources to serve all those in need, too often service members are conveniently denied care or access to quality mental health screenings. … Too often service members are forced to redeploy back into dangerous combat, or train in situations that re-traumatize them.
IVAW’s campaign pledges support for these service members and demands that those responsible be held accountable for denying these traumatized human beings their right to heal.
Read the full article
by Greg Mitchell
Originally published on 9/15/2010 at huffingtonpost.com
On the date marking the 7th year anniversary of Spc. Alyssa Peterson’s death in Iraq, Greg Mitchell, blogger for The Nation, describes the events leading up to the suicide of this devout Mormon. Peterson was an Arabic-speaking interrogator assigned to a prison in Tal Afar. Official records released after her death listed the cause as a “non-hostile weapons discharge”, and her parents were given no definitive explanation. A tenacious reporter from her home state, Arizona, eventually uncovered the truth.
With each revelation, or court decision, on U.S. torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and Gitmo — or the airing … of The Tillman Story and Lawrence Wright’s My Trip to Al-Qaeda — I am reminded of the chilling story of Alyssa Peterson, who died seven years ago today. Appalled when ordered to take part in interrogations that, no doubt, involved what most would call torture, she refused, then killed herself a few days later, on September 15, 2003. …
The official probe of her death would later note that earlier she had been “reprimanded” for showing “empathy” for the prisoners. One of the most moving parts of the report, in fact, is this: ”She said that she did not know how to be two people: she … could not be one person in the cage and another outside the wire.”
Peterson’s suicide was reportedly the only fatality suffered by her battalion during its Iraq tour. Her suicide note and journal contents have never been released.
The Untold War: Inside the Hearts, Minds and Souls of Our Soldiers
by Nancy Sherman
Nancy Sherman’s new book, The Untold War, tells the stories of veterans seeking to deal with the pains of psychological and physical wounds. Sherman, who held the United States Naval Academy’s first distinguished chair in ethics (1997 – 99), frames these compelling soldiers’ narratives in philosophical and psychoanalytic terms. As reviewer Elizabeth D. Samet writes, “Sherman rightly construes it as a national ‘duty’ to understand the soldier’s ‘healthy struggle .. to remain alive to civilian sensibilities without losing the … steel and resilience’ essential to military service and to facilitate healing of the psychic rifts war can cause.”
Video Trailer: The Untold War (Video)
Book Excerpt: click here
Author Nancy Sherman’s Website: http://nancysherman.com/