Thousands of troops are being sent to war despite suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and Military Sexual Trauma (MST). Many of us within IVAW have faced or are currently facing deployment as we try to recover from the severe trauma we have already experienced.
While we recognize that we must stop the deployment of all soldiers in order to end the occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan, we see the deployment of soldiers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injuries, and Military Sexual Trauma as particularly cruel, inhumane, and dangerous. Military commanders across all branches are pushing service members far past human limits for the sake of 'combat readiness.' We cannot allow those commanders to continue to ignore the welfare of their troops who are, after all, human beings.
There is a problem, a basic right is being denied, and we will organize to get it back.
This issue affects all of us. Everyone needs to recognize that the improper standards of care in the military and VA are harming our brothers and sisters, our nation, and only furthers the cycle of dehumanization and destruction of these wars.
Service Members have the Right to Heal
Because the military is desperate for warm bodies in the field, and the VA doesn't have the resources to serve all those in need, too often service members are conveniently denied care or access to quality mental health screenings. We say, service members with PTSD, TBI, MST, and combat stress have the right to high quality health care. They have the right to seek care and pursue treatments in the best interest of their health and well-being.
Please go to IVAW's Operation Recovery website to learn more.
How does the US military deal with the trauma they create? Ask Ethan McCord. Here's an excerpt from an excellent piece called "Invisible Wounds: Mental Health and the Military," by Mark Thompson, writing in Time magazine.
US Army specialist Ethan McCord was one of the first on the scene when a group of suspected insurgents was blown up on a Baghdad street in 2007, hit by 30-mm bursts from an Apache Helicopter. "The top of one guy's head was completely off," he recalls. "Another guy was ripped open from groin to neck. A third had lost a leg... Their insides were out and exposed. I'd never seen anything like this before." Then McCord heard a child crying from a black minivan caught in the barrage. Inside, he found a frightened and wounded girl, perhaps 4. Next to her was a boy of 7 or so, soaked in blood. Their father, McCord says, "was slumped over on his side, like he was trying to protect the children, but he was just destroyed. McCord couldn't look away from the kids. "I started seeing images of my own two children back home in Kansas." . . . .
That night, he told his staff sergeant he needed help. "Get the sand out of your vagina," McCord says his sergeant responded. "He told me I was being a homo and needed to suck it up."
If you're reading this in New York City, IVAW is looking for volunteers to be trained for the GI Rights Hotline. The Hotline is often the only place service members can go for correct, unbiased information on their rights within the military.
There will be a training session on October 23 and 24, both days from 10 am to 4 pm. The training will include information on military law, service members' rights, and conscientious objection. Bill Galvin, an expert soldier-advocacy counselor from the Center on Conscience and War, will speak about military law, discharges, conscientious objection, and discrimination.
Volunteering for the GI Rights Hotline is a unique opportunity to dig in and really support the troops - and support peace. For more information or to attend, use the contact information below.
WHAT: GI Rights Hotline Volunteer Training
WHEN: October 23 and 24, 10:00 a.m. to 4 p.m.
WHERE: IVAW National Office, 630 9th Avenue, Suite 807, New York
FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO RSVP: 646.723.0989
IVAW is asking for a $10 donation to help cover their costs. A light breakfast and lunch will be provided.
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Many thanks to NN for sending me the info on the training session.
Please support Operation Recovery in any way you can.