Once upon a time….. it was a dark and stormy night…….when we increased the troops and the bombing in Vietnam, right before Christmas too. And we wonder why vets are freaked out over the holidays?
Where do I begin? Five calls tonight asking my take on the Presidents speech.
“Do I have to?” I say.
“Well yes,” my 85 year old World War ll pal says.
“How can you be in the advocacy business and not comment on War?”
One reason, is that the last time I outed my editorial brain, some blogger trolls slammed me for not being an advocate for veterans. Huh? So, advocates are supposed to be mindless puppets?
So, from the advocacy corner, where I have resided since 1972, I would say that the absence of any and all discussion about the impact of war on our family, friends and employers is so conspicuous that one wonders if we have so sanitized the entire affair and desensitized the citizenry that it is as if war has become a third party experience akin to reality TV.
My elderly friend then asked why I thought the President did not “rally” the people behind the war effort. Whew… where is Rosie the Riveter when we need her? I guess that is what he meant.
Well, “this is not your Fathers war I tell him” ( a bit of an anachronism for him, as he could be my father!). Meaning, there is no declared war and I do not see any major sacrifices being made for the war cause. Key word being “sacrifices,” a world of difference from “support.” We support now with bumper stickers and head out to Monday Night Football.
In the past 8 years name me the sacrifices the American people have made for the war effort? Rationing…? well yes, sort of, if you count the number of people out of work as a result of the cost of the war. How many in the neighborhood are packing up Christmas gifts for the troops? Is anyone contacting the families of the deployed to see if they need help? Do you know who the veterans are in your neighborhood? Have you welcomed them home.. personally?
You will not hear a political stance here…so keep calm blog trolls, I am remaining focused on the impact and intense need for advocacy that is on the horizon with the continued rotation and increase in troops.
The obvious effect of multiple tours is going to permeate our entire culture for the next ten years and hopefully abate beyond that. The Outreach programs with both the VA and private non-profits are going to be maxed. The medical facilities are going to be utilized to their tolerable limits, as the increase in Traumatic Brain Injury, which is now at about 240% above the days of the invasion of Iraq. The enemy has figured something out here. Possibly, how to fight the most well financed Army in the world. Ho Chi Minh used booby traps and tunnels that were impervious to bombs, to offset the Goliath. Now it is IED’s. An Iraq vet at one of our retreats said, “head injuries are the enemies memo to take home.” He had two, and will be compromised for life. His comment about a head injuries being an “invasion of our country..sorta,’ is a bit macabre.
The expected increase in the incidence of Post Traumatic Stress, in both the NCO and Officer ranks, now that it is okay for them to admit it, will take a toll that is a complete unknown. The fabric of the home-front will be altered in ways America has never experienced, as America has never experienced multiple tours in a war zone. Even the seasoned and highly skilled Psychologists are pondering the symptomatic cluster they will be confronted with in men and women who have served up to 5 tours of duty.
One Psychologist I met at a workshop in California said, “I have no idea, what kind of hybrid humans we are creating with so much exposure to a war.” “We were not trained for this, no one is, really,” he said.
As a trained combat Marine, I know full well what it is like to deal with a thinking and highly devious enemy who is hell bent for leather to wear down our morale. I frankly never thought I would experience another waking hell like this in my lifetime. But here we are. And the Soldiers,Sailors, Airman and Marines need us more now then ever.
As the saying goes, “the soldier is always subsidiary to the politician.”
The mission never changes. We need to Clear-Hold- Build,(the locals that is). That mission needs a ton of allies this time around. Our abacus does not have that many beads.
I say Semper Fi. But this time, the old war torn Marine says, “Semper Fi” to my brothers and sisters comin’ home. I am indeed my brothers keeper. And, as St Paul admonished us, we should “pray unceasingly,” that the decisions announced tonight will work out for the good of the order.
The symmetrical escalation and second guessing polemics that will hit the radio waves tomorrow, is not called supporting the troops.