Tuesday, May 27, 2014

From ‘This Cannot Be So’ To ‘This Is How Our Army Treats Its Battle‑Damaged Troops’: The Fort Hood Testimonies

This article by Kevin Gosztola at FDL is so nearly unbelievable that I read it twice to make sure I understood as many of the particulars as I could. There is no "short version"; please read the whole thing, and whether or not you are a veteran of the US military; no matter how bad your "outrage fatigue" may be... if you are an American citizen, prepare to be outraged.

The only summary I can offer is this: many if not most of the promises made to our troops as they rotate through an unbelievable number of deployments in war zones are blatantly and willfully not fulfilled by their commanding officers, by the command hierarchy all the way up to the President, by the Department of Defense and by the VA (which, in fairness, does not have independent discretion). We may think of the era of the disposable soldier and of deplorable treatment of combat veterans as having begun with the era of Cheney, Rumsfeld et al, and indeed that is possible... but never forget that the most unconscionable, despicable practices, e.g., disciplining and discharging soldiers for their battle-induced disabilities, are systemic, and continue to this very day.

These findings and associated analysis (.pdf, 42pp) were extracted from the report issued by Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), Civilian-Soldier Alliance, and Under the Hood Cafe and Outreach Center, in Killeen, Texas. The Findings and Analysis section begins as follows:
The testimonies herein concern Fort Hood—as the country’s largest Army installation; as a place that experienced high deployment and redeployment rates throughout the Iraq and Afghanistan wars; as a post with a notoriously under-resourced and over-taxed mental health care and service infrastructure; and as a community grappling with the effects of those shortfalls. But the Fort Hood testimonies also concern something much broader—the Army’s attempt to hold down combat and counterinsurgency operations in two theaters with volunteer forces over the course of a decade; the long legacy of multiple deployments; and the ongoing health care needs of a generation of veterans on whose labor and bodies these wars have depended.
This section is not a long document, but it is a difficult read... you may want to wait to read it until you are in a calm frame of mind.

There is no justification for this maltreatment of the men and women who volunteer to protect us and in doing so often sacrifice their health for the rest of their lives. And yet the maltreatment clearly represents the premeditated policies of two presidential administrations and of two political parties, led by people many of whom never served in the military. America needs to take a good, hard look at these policies, and Americans need to know enough about them to feel the justified outrage. On this day after Memorial Day, we can do no less for those who protect and defend us.

"War is hell," with or without such policies, and that probably cannot be changed. But our leaders have arranged things so that peace after war is also hell for our battle-damaged and administratively maltreated troops, and it is an obligation of the highest order to rectify that obscenity.


  1. Tea Party Takes Texas:

    1. Enfant, you might as well believe Fox News as Breitbart. Indeed, Fox probably involves itself in less actual illegal activity than Breitbart. There are sources right-of-center, e.g., Politico, which are at least somewhat careful of their facts, if one makes allowances for their politics. Breitbart is wholly untrustworthy. You will forgive me if I continue not reading Breitbart.

    2. Fox News has been caught lying several times, I am fully aware of this.

      So, first appeared in:
      Tea Party Takes Texas
      If you say it is wholly untrustworthy, there is no reason I should not believe you !



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