August 16, 2013
All of us assume when journalists decide to tell us something, they tell us everything they discover on the story. After all, that is their job. Isn't it? There was a time I believed they did but that was long ago. Six years of tracking news reports from across the country for Wounded Times clued me in on a deep dark secret.
When it comes to the majority of journalists, they spin the reporting. Most lack the ability to know their subject so they cannot challenge what they are being told. They simply hit the keyboard whacking out words that would make Pavlov proud. Their dog whistle works on me every time when they are reporting on our troops and veterans, especially when they are hit by PTSD. Hit? Yes hit. The only way to get PTSD is after a traumatic event. It hits them from the outside. It doesn't start inside of them.
The latest spin on what has commonly been connected to military suicides is the fact most researchers have connected them to PTSD is now being reported as having little to do with combat. The kicker is they say it has to do with "mental health" instead.
First read this.
Thomas Donnelly: The Military Epidemics That Aren’tReporters like Donnelly have been jumping all over the "study" as if it is anything new or even honest. They are missing obvious points we keep talking about.
A wildly off-base trend is medicalizing the armed forces as a group of victims, patients and predators.
A major study published this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that factors such as substance abuse, depression, financial and relationship problems accounted for the rise in soldier suicides—in other words, the same factors that influence civilians to take their own lives. “The findings from this study,” the authors concluded, “are not consistent with the assumption that specific deployment-related characteristics, such as length of deployment, number of deployments, or combat experiences, are directly associated with increased suicide risk.”
At the DAV convention I managed to meet a lot of veterans. Most of them are Vietnam veterans and their spouses. We were trying to find a bright spot in all of this but ended up shaking our heads disgusted by what "research" has gotten the attention while the best has been avoided.
Let's take the report about the absence of combat connected to military suicides. I'll get to the statistics later but for now we have to start with the obvious questions not being addressed.
The military has two screenings they do before anyone can join. One is to make sure they are physically fit. The other is a mental health evaluation. Reporters should be asking how this test failed if so many were allowed in with mental health problems. After all that would mean they have not only trained these "mentally unstable" people to kill, they gave them the weapons. But that isn't what really happened. These men and women passed the tests. They didn't have any history of mental illness or trouble with the law. If the military's test was so lousy they really believed they were letting in people with mental illness, they would have changed the test a long time ago.
Then there is the claim they know who is prone to PTSD. This isn't a new claim but this has to be dissected too. If they were even close to understanding PTSD caused by military service, they would have proven it by coming up with "prevention" programs that actually worked instead of the catastrophic "resilience training" preventing too many from seeking help or even gaining a basic understanding of what PTSD is.
The truth is, when it comes to the mental health of the troops, they know less today than they did during Vietnam. Last year alone the military suicides topped all suicide deaths reported during the Vietnam War. Keep in mind that deployments into Vietnam lasted only one year. While some did redeploy, most were done after a year. We know what their suicides were after their year in combat. They are still committing suicide today. The last study put the number of Vietnam veterans suicides at 200,000 but we also know now that they make up the largest percentage of veterans committing suicide still.
This clues us in on what to expect if we follow the same path of mistreating the war fighters. This is just the beginning of what is to come with Afghanistan and Iraq veterans. The DOD can claim whatever they want to spin the outcome but in the end, they do not have to face any accountability for what happens once they are discharged.
Reporters seem to believe that what happens to veterans committing suicide have nothing to do with the DOD but everything to do with the VA. Nice. They lack the ability to comprehend the simple fact that these men and women were trained by the military supposedly to do more than just fire their weapons. They were supposed to be trained to do it mentally as well. We just assumed they were being trained to come home.
As reporters leave out Vietnam veterans and what was learned from them, they also leave out the fact that what happened to them happened during a time when there was nothing done for them during combat or afterwards.
There are now over 900 suicide prevention programs and RAND Corp pointed out why they do not work. The numbers speak for themselves. There are also thousands of calls into the suicide prevention hotline. Vietnam veterans are calling that number but so are the OEF and OIF veterans and their families.
When we come to reading the numbers going up since 2008 that should settle the argument. The DOD doesn't understand these men and women, what makes them different from the rest of the 93% of the population any more than they have a clue about how much harm they have done.
When you have people willing to die for the sake of someone else not wanting to live anymore there is no excuse the DOD can offer considering they spend billions a year on what has failed.
Veterans are begging the DOD to KISS off. Keep It Simple Stupid because they have complicated the hell out PTSD instead of knowing what the hell they are talking about in the first place.
Reporters have been wagging their tails for far too long with every word the DOD speaks without the ability to ask them what is in the other hand.