Saturday, July 12, 2008

Lily Casura, In the trenches of Army of love

Lily Casura, In the trenches of Army of love

Out of all the people I know doing this kind of work, covering PTSD and our troops, Lily gets into the trenches with them, figuratively, with the way she digs at stories. She has a reporters talent, that's for sure. I'm just trying to post as much as possible so that stories don't get missed. I think it's because of how little was reported after Vietnam, that I come with deep appreciation for all the reporting being done now. Sure, I put in my two cents as the "expert chaplain" but I'm an educator/essayists and not a reporter. I just don't have the talent to be one. Lily does. Read the kind of week she just had and then think of the kind of weeks she usually has. Also keep in mind that both of us do this out of love. It sure isn't for the money.

July 12, 2008
And What a Week It Was...
This isn't a confessional/journal type blog, so my even posting this recap of "veterans, PTSD and my week" might seem out of place on it, but this past week was full of nuggets of interest at least to me -- and perhaps also to you -- that I just have to do it, if only just this once. The items are all pretty miscellaneous as well, though linked around a common theme. So sit tight, and I'll try to make this as painless as possible :-) -- although it promises, as always, to be a veritable "linkfest," to follow up at your leisure.

Started the week by learning about the crisis humanitarian photographer Zoriah was in, recently embedded with the Marines in Iraq, who'd run afoul of the Marines for posting photos of dead American servicemen on his blog, even though he'd done so with great restraint, and in effort to show the grim realities of war -- realities we're increasingly prevented from seeing, except in the most sanitized of ways. It was a shame to see how discordant and rancorous the debate over what he'd done became, but it was great to see him hold his head up high and help keep the focus on his work.

(This photo is from Zoriah's excellent, true-to-life war coverage blog, linked here and used with permission. It appears to be of a solitary American servicemember enjoying a lonely Fourth of July lunch in the chow hall on his base in Iraq.)

That gave me the chance to write another post about censorship and the Marines -- which seems to be an ongoing problem -- and mention the case of Eric Acevedo again -- only to find out from the IAVA blog, later in the week, that censorship is alive and well -- restricting freedom of the press -- even in funerals at Arlington National Cemetery. Gina Gray seems to have been fired from her job as Public Affairs Director for the cemetery, by the Army, essentially for being a whistleblower, and trying to protect the public's right to know. Depressing. If seeing is believing, I guess we're now not supposed to see anything, either. Rats...


A friend of mine, code named the Beautiful Redhead, has a Marine husband (1/25 - "New England's Own") is just about to return from his umpteenth deployment. That reminded me that the wonderful Ray Scurfield, D.S.W., had sent me some of his writings and given me permission to post them on this blog, which gave me an opportunity to post "Home Sweet Home: After Deployment, What? Support for Returning Veterans and Their Families" in her honor. On the other side of the coin, another buddy of mine, Kathie Costos, (mentioned elsewhere in this post), in her most rabble-rousing blog post of the week, questions why she gets so much static from wives of deployed military, who seemingly want to push the truths of war and its coverage aside. She argues firmly that knowledge is power, and produces compassion and understanding, even (or especially) for wives and families, whose veterans sometimes need a listening ear on the homefront, about what they've experienced. Read that post, questioning whether it's really bliss to be oblivious, here.

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