Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Marine Thought I'd Care Enough to Change

Do We Care Enough to Change?
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
August 10, 2017

Ten years ago today, this site started because of a Marine serving in Iraq. I had another site for years, Screaming in an empty room. He was a regular reader but was bothered by my political views and didn't want to have to read them while searching for posts on PTSD. There are over 8,000 posts on it, so he had a lot to read.

Anyway, he sent me an email explaining how much it bothered him. Naturally, I was an idiot in the responding email. I explained that I had the right to post what I wanted, basically telling him if he didn't like it, don't read it. (Ya, I know! I was a real jerk and it isn't easy admitting it, anymore than it was back then.)

What was the Marine's response? One question. "Are you doing this for yourself or us?"

As soon as I read it, I lost my vision because the tears did not stop coming. Imagine, being a Marine, serving in Iraq, asking someone back home for a tiny little thing like keep politics out of something he thought was helpful, and all he got back was my rant and anger. Then imagine what it took for him to simply reply with that fantastic question that changed everything!

I made him a promise that from that day on, I'd have a new site, where the only thing political he'd ever read, was when a politician did something for them or against them. I had fallen into the same trap I had complained about for years. As a matter of fact, I am so ashamed of all of it that I left the old posts up to remind me of how easy it is to turn into a real jerk and forget that when it comes to the men and women risking their lives and our veterans, politics should stay out of it.

If you can't understand that, then think of it this way. Congress has been responsible for how our veterans are treated since 1946. This mess didn't happen overnight. Until we get that through our thick sculls, nothing will ever changed. When it comes to our veterans and currently serving troops, it is up to us to fight for them!

In these ten years, over 28,000 posts and well over 3.3 million page views, it turns out that Marine was right! Politics has no place here and the truth does matter. So do facts.

I track news reports from across the country and in Canada, Australia, England, New Zealand, Scotland and a few others. Most of the great reporting being done is from towns and cities with their local reporters. It gets harder to track them because I work a full time job and do what I can working with veterans with PTSD.

I love this country and that is why I expect so much more out of it. I know we have some of the best minds and have seen acts of human kindness proving that there is nothing we are not capable of, yet far too many seem all too willing to settle for the way things are. Nothing will change as long as we stop believing we not only should do better, but we can do better!

One of the first posts I put up here, was read over 8,000 time and it is about suicides. Hard to believe it was ten years ago, but you can read it for yourself. I was searching for reports on military suicides for a video I was doing. 

Back then, it was one of those topics no one really wanted to talk about. Much like PTSD itself, but the thing is, we were talking about all of it for decades. No one was listening.

I came across a report on suicides and it caused me to take all the reports I found putting together the video, and put them all online.

Why Isn't the Press on a Suicide Watch?
You'd never know that at least 3% of all American deaths in Iraq are due to self-inflicted wounds. And that doesn't include the many vets who have killed themselves after returning home.
By Greg Mitchell
NEW YORK (August 13, 2007) -- Would it surprise you to learn that according to official Pentagon figures, at least 118 U.S. military personnel in Iraq have committed suicide since April 2003? That number does not include many unconfirmed reports, or those who served in the war and then killed themselves at home (a sizable, if uncharted, number).
While troops who have died in "hostile action" -- and those gravely injured and rehabbing at Walter Reed and other hospitals -- have gained much wider media attention in recent years, the suicides (about 3% of our overall Iraq death toll) remain in the shadows.
And I added in my two cents after that and before the reports on far too many names.

Thank you Greg Mitchell for doing this!
That 118 number is the number they will admit to. There are a lot more.
Consider a few things. "Under investigation" hides many of these suicides. If the DOD does not finish an "investigation" then that death is not counted as a suicide, even if it is.
The DOD would not be in emergency mode if there were only 118 suicides considering there have been years of occupations in two nations. I am in no way trivializing 118 suicides but what I am suggesting is that the DOD will not jump into action unless there is a crisis. They know they have a crisis.
The VA during testimonies before congress have admitting they have 1,000 committing suicide every year within their system alone. They also stated that there are an additional 5,000 committing suicide yearly.
When I was doing the research for the video, Death Because They Served, I was looking into the reports of the "non-combat deaths" while taking a look at the reports from the other nations involved in both occupations. What I found was startling. There seems to be a consistent pattern of information buried. What appears to be a suicide when the DOD releases a death press release is that it is always "under investigation" but there is never a follow up release that can be easily found. The other tactic they use now is they do not release the name. This makes follow up research impossible.
I really suggest you read the piece from Editor and Publisher. If the following is not enough to compel you to push the media to do their job, then you must be among the people Bush told to go shopping to show their support for the troops.

Looking back over the old posts, it is sicking to see that the numbers of suicides went up, homeless veterans still walk the streets, the stigma of PTSD is almost as strong as it was back then and families, well, still feel as lost as I did over 3 decades ago when I met my husband.

There has been over 200 videos, three books and 4th one as soon as I can finish it and right now, I feel like a failure because of how little most people have learned in all these years.

Don't get me wrong, I wish I could find the email for the Marine responsible for this work, but I've been searching for a long time now.  
All I know is that he was in Iraq on August 10, 2007 when he decided I just may care enough to change.

No comments:

Post a Comment

If it is not helpful, do not be hurtful. Spam removed so do not try putting up free ad.