Human Resources

This week an American soldier who had served 3 tours of duty shot and killed 5 comrades in Iraq. One blog asks, ‘What made him snap?’

A humble opinion from a civilian, who remembers the Vietnam War draft, and does not think the ‘Volunteer Army’ makes everything OK.

I’m a pacifist because I think war is dumb. But I think we all owe our country service, loyalty, and active citizenship. Otherwise we will not prevail.

Maybe this man ‘snapped’ because he felt like a human commodity in a political game. Or maybe he was sick, in pain, and no one on the scene had the power to take him out of the despair he felt. Or maybe he was suffering from mental illness and guns were abundant.

Don’t forget that five soldiers who were doing their jobs were murdered without warning. None of them were expendable, they will leave a painful gap in their families, in all they would have been.

It’s very good social policy to take care of veterans. If we treat people like cogs in a machine, who will want to join the ‘volunteer army’? I think that any move towards war by our great democracy should require sacrifice by all. This notion that some of us should be drafted into multiple tours of duty, while the rest of us go shopping is deeply Un-American.

We will be paying for this war for many years.

10 thoughts on “Human Resources

  1. The soldier in question was an electronics technician.There had to be something else going on beside multiple tours.
    My best friend’s son has served two tours(Iraq)and Afghanistan)in a combat infantry unit and he is a very well adjusted individual.
    Last night a friend of mine who i served in Vietnam with called me.He is a retired psychiatrist-I got to know him over there because he also served as the Jewish
    chaplain(back when I actually cared about such stuff)after the regular chaplain for that area of the country was killed by a mine.
    He told me his replacement at the field hospital where he was assigned for 2 years was shot by a psychotic soldier and this reminded him of what could happen.
    I don’t disrespect your desire to be a pacifist,but it isn’t possible in a world where other people who mean harm to us aren’t.
    Gandhi’s pacifist campaign against the British worked because of who the british were.
    It wouldn’t have done much good against Nazis or Communists.
    I am wholeheartedly in agreement that if we are going to get involved in long term conflicts,the burden should be more evenly distributed,such as NO student deferments like were available in my day.
    I refused to take one and enlisted in the service instead.
    The Matt Jerzyks and Pat Crowleys of the world think that because they are “progressives” they are the only ones with a conscience.Not so.
    One of my friends from college,Thomas P.Noonan Jr.,was a teacher,and therefore had an automatic deferment-but he enlisted in the Marines and was killed in February 1969-he received the Medal of Honor posthumously.I knew a number of conscientous objectors who served as medics in Vietnam and were highly decorated.
    BTW Nancy-I think you are mistaken about E-verify.How checking a social security number for EVERY prospective employee can be construed as nativist/racist/xenophobic,etc,etc is beyond me.
    The Social Security Administration seems to function as smoothly as any large bureaucracy can be expected to.
    I read your comment on RI Future.

  2. Just thinking about the Florida election disaster, where citizens were assumed guilty until proved innocent and turned away from the voting place. That still amazes me.

  3. I also did two tours of duty to Vietnam 1964-1966 of my last 2 years in the military I spent 20 months in Vietnam and although I was in the US Navy as a 1st class Petty Officer I had a very big and a lot responsibilities on the ship I serve on while there and hundreds of millions of dollars of machinery to operate and repair besides the exception heat we had to endure each and every day plus all the other things that were happening around us and having to go on some air sea rescue missions for pilots shot down in the Tonkin Gulf and having to bail out there after having flown missions over North Vietnam and other issues and injuries I receive why serving there and when I came back home there was no PTSD help in the service or after service for 15 years until 1981 when we first started to get help. It doesn’t suprise me that someone flipped his lid and went ballistic and would kill members of his unit or another unit on the base because there has not been enough mental health workers in the military to take care of some of these silent casualties of this war. You don’t have to be in combat to get PTSD, just be in a combat zone for any length of time or repeatly go back from 2 or more tours of duty in that zone. War is a Man-made nightmare and what it does to the psyche is unbelievable for the rest of one’s lives. It never goes away, One needs a professional to cope with it and try to live as normal as one can get after having served in a combat zone. During the Vietnam War if I remember correctly for every man in combat it took men to support him and also served in the combat zone but did not confront the enemy at all except on the base they were stationed at when the enemy shelled the base or rocketed it during the night. There is no safe place in a combat zone besides being attacked of shelled or being rocketed we have our own munitions, fuels, chemicals such as insecticides, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and other hazardous substances to deal with each and everyday. The four chemicals listed above comes from the same chemicals that nerve gases are made from and the insecticides and pesticides are actually forms of nerve gases whether or not they are in liquid or powder forms and are just as lethal to humans as they are to pests we are trying rid ourselves of.

  4. Craig-PTSD is a very strange thing-it hits some people and not others.There were things I saw working on th aircraft that I’d as soon put out of my mind.
    For whatever reason,I haven’t had mental health problems as a result of anything that happened in Vietnam.I ahve had some bad physical stuff from Agent Orange exposure,which I believe came from disposing of refuse from C123’s that came in for enroute maintenance at my airfield.
    Some of those 123’s were Ranch Hand planes that sprayed the stuff,plus our whole perimeter was defoliated to prevent being overrun(they wound up hitting us from sampans with sappers because we were on the coast)and they fired rockets,etc and all that.
    My problems were with lymphoma,premature diabetes,and resultant coronary artery disease.
    Every war has really bad potential consequences for everybody that gets
    near it.I really don’t know what to say about that.
    The government sat on the Agent Orange info for years,hoping we’d all die sooner rather than later.Which we are certainly doing.
    But they got caught and now they have to take care of us and they do a pretty good job of it.
    Nancy-voter fraud?Come on.The Democrats in Chicago are past masters at this.I was involved in a voter fraud case in 1982 there and you’d not believe what was going on-multiple voting by single individuals,dead people voting(really),illegal aliens voting,you name it-it was allgoing on.
    How many of our men and women serving abroad have had their votes thrown in the trash.Please don’t expect me to believe it doesn’t happen.
    How about Acorn?No problem there,right?
    Get real-everybody stoops into the gutter to win elections,because that’s where the money and power are at.

  5. No-there are 11 recognized conditions,although “respiratory carcinomas” includes everything below the oral cavity and extending into the lungs,so that includes more than a few distinct cancers.

  6. And American children whose fathers were exposed have suffered such things as spina bifida among other birth defects.
    Agent Orange is an equal opportunity destroyer.
    Nancy,I am not going to blame my country for things that happened.I don’t think the people who developed Agent Orange knew what it could do to humans.I do blame the bureaucrats who covered it up for years after it became apparent what the results were.
    While you seem to be frequently concerned about what we do to people in other parts of the world,just remember that after the Vietnam War ended the communists slaughtered millions in Cambodia and hundreds of thousands in Vietnam,aside from those sent to “re-education” camps.
    Where do you think the “boat people” came from?
    They weren’t risking their lives on the open seas in little cockleshell craft to escape from a benevolent regime.
    Nowadays things have simmered down in Vietnam,but I will never take a position against my country because 99% of the needless deaths we cause are inadvertent.
    I can’t imagine a communist regime prosecuting a Lt.Calley.
    When I hear a homegrown radical like Shana Kurland of the Olneyville Neighborhood Association ranting against this country at the State Senate like she did last night,I can only hope she finds someplace else that suits her better.I realize she was only a poor “oppressed” Brown graduate who has to eke out an existence as a professional agitator,but somehow I am lacking in sympathy for her predicament.

  7. I wasn’t criticizing my country, I was stating a fact about war. No country wages clean and righteous war. Every war harms future generations in every country involved.
    It’s not a contest of who is more to blame, just counting the cost.

  8. You’re right and wrong.No country leaves a war with clean hands.It isn’t possible.
    it’s just that the US hasn’t gone to war abroad with visions of empire or conquest.
    We have a tendency to get into wars because we think we’re helping someone out.It doesn’t always work that way.
    Monstrosities like the USSR and Red China went to war against their own people and inflicted casualties that dwarfed Hitler’s crimes in sheer numbers.
    If you get killed it doesn’t really matter to you,you’re just dead.
    I think we’ve gotten to the point where we can wage a war and think the public can be spared seeing the cost.Bad policy.People ahve to see for themselves and decide if it’s worth it.

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