Early Morning Open Thread

One of my good and dear friends is about to be discharged with 100% disability from the Army.  At 32 years old, he can’t remember what day it is, and sometimes he can’t remember if he’s back here in the states, or in Germany, or in Afghanistan where he got hurt.

Traumatic Brain Injury is the signature wound of these current wars.  Gerald, who is one of the smartest people I know, just chatted with me on Facebook and couldn’t remember that I was retired, or that one of the last official acts I carried out was pinning his Sergeant’s stripes on him.  Because he couldn’t remember being a Sergeant, unless he sees the rank on his chest.His wife, Lisa tells me that he occasionally can’t remember her name.  “I can see that he knows I’m important to him, but he struggles with that sometimes.”

We spent over a trillion dollars on the Iraq war and got nothing out of it but 4500 dead, 30,000 wounded, and a country that’s a hell of a lot closer to Iran than we started, and in so doing, we’ve almost certainly lost ourselves the war in Afghanistan for lack of resources there.  I personally know of two men who died of wounds–bled to death–in Afghanistan because we didn’t have the air ambulance assets we needed there.  When Republicans ask me why I hate them so, I think of Gerald who can’t remember his wife and I think of Sam and Chris who bled out in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan waiting for help that never came.  I think of so many other crimes, and I think of other brothers that won’t ever come home either, but especially I think of them.

Consider this an open thread.

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129 replies
  1. 1
    Elizabelle says:

    Tragedy about your sgt. friend. I hope all of us, as taxpayers, support him and his family and allow him dignity and some kind of work. His potential was destroyed to benefit us (or so we are told.)

    You will have seen yesterday’s Doonesbury.


  2. 2

    My sympathy for your losses.

    They must have been good men. Your pain and anger mixed in with their memory does them honor.

    And very best wishes for your sgt friend.

    I’m not working with the VA now but have done so. I think that everyone who is intimately tied up with the VA becomes a pacifist, if they weren’t that way to begin with.

  3. 3
    S. cerevisiae says:

    Best wishes to your friend, and to all who have suffered in that worthless war. Here is an appropriate song for the politicians who sent them there.

  4. 4
    Elizabelle says:

    To lighten your day: yes, a WaPost link. But story of Petunia, a dog who returned home after 8 years.


  5. 5
    balconesfault says:

    I am always struck by the contrast between GHW Bush, who it was said lost many nights of sleep over deciding to put our troops in harms way during Desert Storm … and his son who was famed for never missing a wink while deciding to send our men and women to invade and occupy Iraq.

  6. 6
    Fraud Guy says:

    Peace to you.

  7. 7

    Veterans should get everything in terms of medical care, education support, and anything else they need, no questions asked. Peace unto your friend.

  8. 8
  9. 9
    Elizabelle says:

    Sooner (and others): what kind of work will Sgt Gerald be able to perform?

    Maybe working with other vets?

    Got to put that intelligence and experience to work, but what suits with the brain damage? Am curious.

  10. 10
    wilfred says:

    Yeah, it was only Republicans who were for the war. What shit.

    Write to Panetta – he thinks the Iraq War was worth it.

  11. 11
    Larry R says:

    Terrible story — I’m so sorry.

    But Democrats were complicit if not hung ho — their votes were needed, and the Republcans got them. And Obama committing more troops to Afghanistan and continuing covert ops in Iran is reminiscent of LBJ in Vietnam, another Dem.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think the “permanent war” is a feature so much of Republicans vs. Dems, but of the institution of the national security state, in which Obama and even the Dems in Congress are also to blame.

  12. 12
    Earl says:

    Words are failing me.


  13. 13
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    She’s beautiful. I love her wacky markings.

    Sooner, peace to your friend. Is TBI something that can be reversed, or at least mitigated, with therapy, other measures?

  14. 14
    Montarvillois says:

    As is too often the case, mention is made of the death and injury toll of Americans but no reference to death and injury of Iraqi people.

  15. 15
    Samara Morgan says:

    My great sympathy for your losses.

    Perhaps now you see the value of Whistleblower Bradley Manning and Hacktivist-Journalist Julian Assange.

    never again.

  16. 16
    Samara Morgan says:


    Is TBI something that can be reversed, or at least mitigated, with therapy, other measures?


  17. 17
    Betty says:

    I hate that they are still dying. My nephew just lost a good friend, a wonderful husband and dad. These “brave” men who sit in Washington and order others to die make me sick. And for what? Things are not improving in Afghanistan and won’t as long as we’re there. As for the traumatic brain injury, my husband’s condition did improve. It takes a year to see whether there will be much improvement. Should be better for a younger person. God bless him and his family and all the many others whose suffering is too much ignored.

  18. 18
    Samara Morgan says:

    @wilfred: the Iraq war was American missionariism…. to make the world safe for Israel and the “freed” market.
    i doubt Panetta thinks OIF and the occupation were “worth it” in the return-to -value sense.

  19. 19
    Schlemizel says:

    My boy was in Afghanistan at the time of the run up to Iraq. He complained bitterly about the lack of resources because everything was being diverted to the fuck up in Mesopotamia. Those were truly evil people running our nation then and the extent of the damage will never be fully accounted.

    We are lucky though, our son was not injured. But he also is not the same guy that went and having a very hard time dealing with what happened there combined with the realization that it was pointless.

  20. 20
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Betty: the human brain is somewhat plastic. with time the neural pathways can be rerouted if there is available substrate.
    but there is no regrowth or regeneration.

  21. 21
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Schlemizel: 2 out of five returning vets have PTSD and/or TBI.

  22. 22
    Schlemizel says:

    Have you seen the video captured from the WH feed of Boy George as he prepared to announce his war of aggression? He is quite excited, he is pumping his little fist and whooping it up.

    It is an immoral world where there is no hell for his eternal torment.

  23. 23
    Samara Morgan says:

    sooner, you didnt answer my question.
    what secrets are permittable for a state to keep, in your opinion?

    i think Manning and Wikileaks have contributed to the end of the Iraq war, and the end of the A-stan “action”. did we ever declare war in Afghanistan?
    we just belt-loaded our best and brightest into an unwinnable, unjustifiable, immoral meatgrinder.

  24. 24
    wilfred says:

    “we’ve almost certainly lost ourselves the war in Afghanistan for lack of resources”

    Huh? According to Panetta al-qaeda is just about defeated, and according to Biden, the Taliban are not our enemy. That means WE WON! Yeh!

    And Obama can say his surge worked – because we won. Yeah.

  25. 25
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Schlemizel: muslims dont actually believe in hell. gehenna is an open pit for the burial of the dead.
    so i hope there is a christian hell for George Bush.

  26. 26
    Schlemizel says:

    @Samara Morgan:
    I know the boy has PTSD and we have discussed his getting help on several occasions. I don’t know what the real problem is, sometimes I think he has bought into all the warrior bullshit & help would be a weakness, other times he has complained about how difficult the VA made it when he tried to get help.

    I don’t think he would hurt himself or others but I do know that he lives with the war every day & it affects how he deals with his family and friends.

  27. 27
    Samara Morgan says:

    @wilfred: don’t be so thick. the mini-surge didnt work. that is why McC fired himself.
    99% of what Panetta says is press release spin for the Sauds and the Israelinazis.

  28. 28
    DanielX says:

    A truly sad story, or a sad true story, and I grieve for your lost friends. What’s worse is that with all the loss and all the spent resources, we’ve come out the other side with nothing – nothing – that justifies the cost. We engaged in a war of aggression for no better reason than because a sitting president and his enablers wanted to do so, primarily because Iraq sits on top of a large pool of light sweet crude oil. In six months or less the Iraqis will be slaughtering each other again and next time we won’t be there to stop it…and those who advocated the war will proclaim that they were right all along and that our “victory” was squandered by lesser men and women.

  29. 29
    Schlemizel says:

    @Samara Morgan:
    As a Pastifarian I don’t believe in eternal damnation – we create heaven or hell right here on Earth for ourselves. For all the work done to create a living hell here they certainly deserve in the next life. I just wish I could believe they were going to get it.

  30. 30
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @ Soonergrunt @ top: That truly sucks. I hope he recovers.

    @Schlemizel: That’s the thing, isn’t it? Contra m_c, those fuckers did it because of domestic politics, corporate profit seeking, and dick-waving compensation for their own personal inadequacies. War is horrific when necessary, when waged for the reasons I cited it is exponentially worse.

  31. 31
  32. 32
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Schlemizel: ahhh…..that is heartbreaking.
    he needs a cognitive behavioral therapist to help him.
    where are you located?

    one of my cousins came back with TBI– his brain was slammed around in his skull as the result of an IED going off under his vehicle.
    he had severe learning and memory problems, but with the help of a good cognitive therapist he is succeeding in a law enforcement program at a local junior college.
    its my hope that he can guard us again evil now, instead of unknowingly serving it.

  33. 33
    wilfred says:


    Thick? That’s pre-emptive snark against triumphalism in the making.

  34. 34


    Traumatic brain injury:

    What Samara said. No, it can’t be fixed. Destroyed brain cells are destroyed.

    I think that therapy consists mainly of training to do activities of daily living, as far as is possible. Might also be some teaching of how to cope with a messed-up memory.

  35. 35
    Schlemizel says:

    In 2000 Iran was contained between its two bitter rivals – Iraq on the West and Afghanistan on the East. With the Taliban gone (for now) they are better off. For all intents and purposes they now own 1/3 or Iraq which will soon dissolve in a 3-way civil war. The Sunni are screwed and it will be interesting to see how the Kurds make out; they may just hold on to a very important oil-rich zone unless the Turks decide they won’t tolerate a Kurdish state threatening it.

    But in the end all this blood, all this suffering, all this expense has been for the benefit of Iran. Soon enough (you can see it happening already) Saudi Arabia and Israel will be demanding we do something to stop the monster we created and I expect most Americans will be surprised at what happened and frothing at the mouth for another go in the Middle East

  36. 36
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: bzzzt.
    Peaceful Democracy Theory, COIN/Bush Doctrine, and the uber-stupid “Freedom” Agenda (OIF/OEF) are all variants of American missionariism.
    if you cant admit it, they are just going to do it again….
    like Americans forgot the lessons of Horrorshow Viet Nam.

  37. 37
    Cat Lady says:

    And yet, Cheney still breathes. WTF?

  38. 38
    Samara Morgan says:

    @wilfred: dude….do you REALLY want to see Bibi’s kepler-trigo matrix go operative?
    i fucking don’t.

  39. 39
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    @Cat Lady: The Dr who built the robot that pumps cheney’s blood is a not-too-distant cousin of mine (we’ve never met). The rest of the family is torn between admiring his medical abilities and a big dose of WTF.

  40. 40
    Quincy says:

    I had the very brief opportunity to work with veterans and saw stories similar to Gerald’s. Since then I’ve found it bitterly, horrifyingly ironic that the party that sees its purpose as getting people off of entitlements has put thousands of 25 year-olds on to the Social Security system for the rest of their lives. And you just know those bastards will kick them all off if they can get away with it, without ever even stopping to think about who put them there.

    Talking heads are already using yesterday’s bombings as evidence Obama should not have pulled out of Iraq. I dread the response from the village and the right if the violence increases. I think stories about TBI and the veteran suicide rate have always deserved much more attention than they’ve received, but now it seems especially important.

  41. 41
    Brian R. says:

    Thanks for your service, soonergrunt — there, but also here.

  42. 42
    Samara Morgan says:


    We spent over a trillion dollars on the Iraq war and got nothing out of it but 4500 dead, 30,000 wounded, and a country that’s a hell of a lot closer to Iran than we started

    you forgot a million muslim Iraqi civilians dead, 450,000 muslim Iraqi orphans, and the undying enmity of dar ul Islam.
    its not just about America and Americans.

    we’ve almost certainly lost ourselves the war in Afghanistan for lack of resources there.

    we LOST already. Not for lack of resources– 30k talibs are asswhupping 450k combined NATO/US/Karzai forces. we got plenty of resources.
    yet the Taliban are staging daylight attacks on Kabul hotels and the American Embassy, and they whacked Karzai’s brother in his own office.
    COIN is an epic fail. Counter-insurgency is basically anti-democratic, because it is counter the will of a segment of the local population.
    we should fold out tents before any more Americans and Afghanis die.
    GTFO big white american bwana.


    in the battle for hearts and minds, America just got its ass handed to it.

  43. 43
    Cat Lady says:


    Kick him in the nuts for me if you ever see him. kthx.

  44. 44
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    Best wishes to your friends — both Gerald and Lisa.

    It’s hard when injury or illness remove part of the personality of some one you love — you see the person still there sometimes, but other times they are someone else, and the contrast is wrenching.

    It’s particularly hard when the damage to our young men and women in the military and to their families was COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY. I hope they manage to cope with this rage in order to heal and leave the anger against those childish fucking assholes to the rest of us.

  45. 45
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Quincy: Obama had no choice. We got kicked out of Iraq.

  46. 46
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Contra m_c, those fuckers did it because of domestic politics, corporate profit seeking, and dick-waving compensation

    and the REASON they COULD do it, is that you morons thought you were gunna get to make lemonade.

  47. 47

    Sorry to read about Gerald’s condition, soonergrunt. I’ve worked a vast array of jobs over the years, and one of them was working at a medical facility with a TBI unit. I’ve seen people in Gerald’s condition (as you describe it) go back to normal seemingly overnight, while others brains never formed the new connections. Here’s to hoping that Gerald joins the former group rather than the latter.

  48. 48
    Lee says:

    I’ve got a Marine buddy with the same burning hatred of Republicans on a personal level.

    He was in the first group of Marines to enter Afghanistan. They were literally saddled up and ready to attack OBL’s Tora Bora camp when they were ordered to stand down. They had no idea why.

    Shortly thereafter they got orders they were being redeployed to Iraq (obviously not right away). He knew if they had been successful in capturing or killing OBL in Tora Bora there was no way the administration would have been able to sell the Iraq war.

  49. 49
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Schlemizel: umm…..this might be super presumptuous of me….but my cousins mom read him the entire Chronicles of Narnia when he couldn’t sleep after he came back from A-stan….
    CS Lewis in the Last Battle proposed that the afterlife is whatever you believed in life.
    And whatever good you do is service to the Real, even if you do it in the name of Tash.

    “Nevertheless, it is better to see the Lion and die than to be Tisroc of the world and live and not to have seen him. But the Glorious One bent down his golden head and touched my forehead with his tongue and said, Son thou art welcome. But I said, Alas, Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash. He answered, Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me. Then by reasons of my great desire for wisdom and understanding, I overcame my fear and questioned the Glorious One and said, Lord, is it then true, as the Ape said, that thou and Tash are one? The Lion growled so that the earth shook (but his wrath was not against me) and said, It is false. Not because he and I are one, but because we are opposites, I take to me the services which thou hast done to him. For I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath’s sake, it is by me that he had truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then, though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted. Dost thou understand, Child? I said, Lord, thou knowest how much I understand. But I said also (for the truth constrained me), Yet I have been seeking Tash all my days. Beloved, said the Glorious One, unless thy desire had been for me thou wouldst not have sought so long and so truly. For all find what they truly seek.
    “Then he breathed upon me and took away the trembling from my limbs and caused me to stand upon my feet. And after that, he said not much but that we should meet again, and I must go further up and further in. Then he turned him about in a storm and flurry of gold and was gone suddenly”

  50. 50
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Samara Morgan: No. I will point out to you one more time that I was never a supporter of the Iraq War. Unlike some.

  51. 51
    superluminar says:

    My sympathies with you and your friends, soonergrunt. There’s not really anything that makes it less sucky, but I’m glad you guys have something like the VA, and good people like yourself work there. Small mercies, I guess. Here’s to no more dumbass “crusades”.

  52. 52
    Schlemizel says:

    @Samara Morgan:
    I have never read any Lewis although I find part of his personal story fascinating –

    He marries an American woman not out of love but so she can come to the UK for medical treatment. He spends time with her & they actually fall in love before she dies. –

    But I know is a fav of the fundies because he converted from atheism to Christianity later in life. But reading that excerpt makes me believe those people have not read his work any more than they have the work of the alleged cosmic muffin they purport to believe in.

  53. 53
    Quincy says:

    @Samara Morgan: Sorry, I should’ve phrased it better. I know he had no choice. I was trying to reference how it will be reported and discussed by pundits from now until the 2012 election.

  54. 54
    jeffreyw says:

    @Linda Featheringill: @SiubhanDuinne:
    Yup, Li’l Bit. She’s taking a nap right now, when she wakes I’ll mention your praise. I betcha she purrs.

  55. 55
    SW says:

    My generation’s war was in S.E. Asia. Of course it wasn’t the first time in history this sort of thing has happened, but it was sort of the template for being in ambiguous circumstances. Not really knowing who the enemy was. Under those circumstances you inevitably end up killing a lot of innocent people. You harden yourself to it. You close ranks. You dehumanize the population to make it a bit more bare able. But you live with it for the rest of your life. The civilian population thinks of post traumatic stress as primarily a consequence of seeing terrible things. Of bad things happening to you and your buddies. Of the fear of what might happen to you. Something like shell shock. What remains unstated is the underlying sense of guilt. The dead kids at checkpoints. The old women in burnt out villages. Things that were done by your hand. I will never forgive the politicians for putting our people in this position yet again. Never.

  56. 56
    dave says:

    My sympathies for you and your friends, the daughter of a friend came home last year after severe injuries. She was a medic in the AF and was blown into a well as she got off a chopper. She broke her back and suffered a brain injury. We’re thankful she is alive but it is difficult to see bright young people come home in a box, or with such loss of potential.

  57. 57
    rlrr says:


    Yet, there are some fundies who consider the Narnia stories satanic…

  58. 58
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Schlemizel: i converted from atheism to Islam in college, and i still dig Lewis. :)
    All paths are the One Path.
    @Omnes Omnibus: let me ax you a question….do you think freedom of speech and freedom of religion are “better” for humans? do you believe missionaries have the “right” to proselytize?
    careful naow, its a trick question.

  59. 59
    Cermet says:

    @wilfred: Last I check it was bush the asswipe puppet’s war 100% with cheney bloody hands the walking corpse doing all it could to create false intelligence – the puppet king then lied and used obviously false so-called intelligence to whip up support and get enough people on board to create a critical mass to cause others to follow. So, if we are led into a war by a series of totally false statements that most can not nor have the ability to determine is false, then who is to blame? I can’t believe anyone could make a statement like yours – did you not ever read anyone here, at all or just troll here after reading a heading?

    Soonergrunt: Sorry for your losses – I have coworkers who’se children are in combat still. Sorry for hijacking the thread on this topic but troll’s that ignore the human tragedy that this hell on Earth called the Iraq war caused to so many is, had for me to believe, rather common here.

    The thug party owns the Iraqi war and terrible losses in the Afgan war as well due to their fu*king it up.

  60. 60
    Samara Morgan says:

    @rlrr: im a muslim. and i love Lewis. for my cousin…it was a combination of a simple message and forgiveness, and a comfort read from his childhood.
    it helped him.
    i dont know if it would help anyone else.

  61. 61
    Chris says:

    @ SW @55,

    The last thing the powers that be want is veterans airing their guilt. That kind of stuff breeds pacifism. Or at least less enthusiasm for war.

    I’ve long thought one of the “benefits” of suicide bombings for the people who order them is that those who do them don’t have a chance to come back and say “son, I’ve killed people, and it SUCKS.”

  62. 62
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Cermet: do you believe freedom of speech and freedom would be better for Iraqis?
    then Bush abd Cheney paved the road to hell with your good intentions.

  63. 63
    BruinKid says:

    Have you guys seen what Stephen Colbert is trying to do in South Carolina?

    Oh man, if they can actually get that referendum on the ballot about corporate personhood………….

  64. 64
    jeffreyw says:

    Occupy this open thread:
    Living well is the best revenge. – George Herbert

  65. 65
    Lojasmo says:

    A majority of congressional democrats voted against the war, dumbass.

  66. 66
    Cermet says:

    @Schlemizel: Then pray that Iran gets a number of bombs so thousands of amerikan lives are saved.

  67. 67
    Cermet says:

    @Samara Morgan: Why ask such a queation? After answering that I will decide if you are a nutcase troll or are serious.

  68. 68
    Lojasmo says:

    @Cat Lady:

    At least his heart is no longer beating.

  69. 69
    DanielX says:

    @Schlemizel: I know – that’s maybe the most horrible/ironic part of all. The ultimate beneficiary of W’s Excellent Adventure will be Iran, always provided we don’t turn the place into a glass ashtray or something similar. Bin Laden may be in hell, but in his aim of injuring the Great Satan he succeeded beyond his wildest dreams, with most of the injury self-inflected at his instigation.

  70. 70
    honus says:

    @Samara Morgan: Yes. I have personal experience.

  71. 71
    NedPointsman says:

    its not just about America and Americans.

    Oh but it is, amongst ‘compassionate liberals’ the aggressors are the victims dontcha know.

  72. 72
    honus says:

    @Samara Morgan: Two vastly different conditions.

  73. 73
    seanindc says:

    preach brother.

  74. 74
    Samara Morgan says:

    @honus: yup, but both exist in returning vets.

    Yes. I have personal experience.

    i think you have personal experience of brain pathway re-assignment plasticity, not of brain pathway tissue regrowth.

  75. 75
    different-church-lady says:

    This is a parody, right?

    Adults have no right to arbitrarily boss those I like to call littler but not lesser (LBNL) around. However, my research has led me to an interesting conclusion: the LBNLs are far from passive in the dynamic between them and those I label bigger but bit better (BBNB).

    It’s a parody. It’s gotta be a parody.

    Please tell me it’s a parody.

  76. 76
    Cermet says:

    @Samara Morgan: Nutcase troll or other, I’m still waiting. As for my war, you really do appear to be a nutcase or you can’t understand what I wrote? Try reading what I wrote and explain how that makes it my war.

  77. 77
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Cermet: because Iraq, Afghanistan and Viet Nam were all missionary missions.
    we were attempting to impose westernstyle democracy.
    as opposed to our traditional ME strat of Searching for Ataturk.

  78. 78
    Schlemizel says:

    @Samara Morgan:
    feel free to ignore this if it is too personal but I am intrigued by you having converted to Islam. My son was very moved by the faith while he was there, bought a Koran and studies it occasionally. He mentions converting once in a while.

    Are you in the US?
    If I met you in person would I assume you were of European extraction?
    How has your conversion affected how your old friends & family interact with you?
    Do you feel any negative impact from society in general?

  79. 79
    Tone in DC says:

    Sooner, I am sorry to hear about your friends.

    The VA and military hospitals probably won’t be properly funded with this congress, I suspect.

  80. 80
    Schlemizel says:

    Sadly you are probably right.

    Although it scares the hell out of me that the Israelis may decide they have to whack Iran with or without a nuclear response.

  81. 81
    superluminar says:

    “Do you feel any negative impact from society in general?”

    Reposted without comment.

  82. 82
    Samara Morgan says:

    Are you in the US? yes.
    If I met you in person would I assume you were of European extraction? no.
    How has your conversion affected how your old friends & family interact with you? some of the hate me, some of them love me. My older brothers have an extemely hard time with it.
    Do you feel any negative impact from society in general? yes. i quit my job and went back to school full time because i thought i couldn’t pass my yearly poly any more.

    i wrote this poem for my brothers on my reversion….
    maybe your son would like to read it.
    The Swan Princes

  83. 83
    Cermet says:

    @Samara Morgan: Ataturk? Really?

    Ok, I think you are a nutcase despite your other more sensible posts but this one is really way out in left field… this thread is also about the terrible harm done to amerikans and why are you mocking them with this nonsense statement?

  84. 84
    Brachiator says:

    Very sobering stuff. I have read that some increase in traumatic brain injury may be due to advances in military medicine and body armor, and the increased deployment of various types of explosive devices by antagonists. No matter, the outcome is terrible.

    My deepest sympathies to your friends, Sooner. And I hope that those wounded can get the best treatment and therapy possible.

  85. 85
    Schlemizel says:

    @Samara Morgan:
    Thanks, I’ll pass this on.

    It would be interesting to document actual religious animosity as demonstrated to Muslims in the US compared to what is perceived by the Christianist crackpots.

  86. 86
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Schlemizel: if your son would like to mail me, i’m jinnilyyah@gmail.com. he might feel guilt about being attracted to Islam…..as well as…other stuff.

  87. 87
    Trakker says:

    As a veteran (Vietnam era) it rips me up to hear of this. Our elites just love this volunteer military system. If you can outsource jobs and keep unemployment high you will have a never ending source of cannon fodder for wars that benefit the wealthy, and the children of the elites are never in danger of having to put their lives on the line. Win-win.

    The dumbest thing we ever did was abolish the draft. The draft (and to be effective there should be no way out for the wealthy) does two things, it means the children of the wealthy share in fighting our wars, and just as importantly it brings rich and poor kids together, black, white, Hispanic, Muslims, Christians, atheists. Right now kids in the rural heartland never interact with anyone but fellow white Christian conservatives…and it shows.

    People don’t realize how important the draft was for the success of civil rights in this country. I went into the military opposed to civil rights, but in the military I met and hung out with blacks and Hispanics for the first time. It changed my life. I also saw raw hate first hand by a few from the South who couldn’t handle it.

    I know the draft is not a popular idea here, and I know my son would have left the country during the Iraq War if he had been drafted (with my blessing), but right now the war makers have nothing holding them back, and mark my word, if a Republican gets elected President in 2012, there will be more wars, and the poor will fight them, and we will have even more 32 year-olds who will spend the rest of their lives trying to remember where they are and what they did yesterday.

  88. 88
    dance around in your bones says:

    Good gawd, lately these early morning posts have been reducing me to tears. Must be ‘the season’ or something.

    I just truly despise the waste and tragedy of war. It is NOT a freakin’ video game; the human costs are all too real and deadly and tragic.

    I am so sorry for your friend, and his wife, and for every soldier who came home drastically changed by their experience. Gawddamnit.

  89. 89
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Schlemizel: here is the backstory for the poem.

  90. 90
    Hill Dweller says:

    Brent Bozell said Obama looked like a ‘skinny, ghetto crackhead’ on Fox yesterday.

  91. 91
    Cassidy says:

    @Schlemizel: If your son wants to talk, but not talk to a counselor, let me know and I’ll give you my email address. I was in Baghdad in 2005 with 3rd ID. I’ve been “different” since then too. I’m finding out, especially now that I’m out, that the support network for Vets has a lot of cracks and we’re gonna have to take care of our own.

  92. 92
    Cermet says:

    @Trakker: Sorry – I was totally wrong to say what I did – your point about Ataturk was right, fully supported your point and my name-calling was stupid on my part. I apologize for my nasty remark. Your knowledge is deep and I am an ass for my comment.

  93. 93
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    Sooner and Schlemizel; I am so very sorry. It’s just wrong, and I wish I had words of comfort.

  94. 94
    Cermet says:

    @Samara Morgan: Sorry – I was totally wrong to say what I did about you – your point Samara Morgan about Ataturk was right on, and fully supported the point you were making. My name-calling was stupid on my part and I apologize for that demeaning remark. Your knowledge is deep and I am an ass for my comment.

  95. 95
    suzanne says:


    Is TBI something that can be reversed, or at least mitigated, with therapy, other measures?

    To varying extent for each patient. Mr. Suzanne is a speech/language pathologist, and much of what they do is therapy for TBI. Some can improve a great deal, others cannot. It all depends on the injury.

  96. 96
    suzanne says:


    Is TBI something that can be reversed, or at least mitigated, with therapy, other measures?

    To varying extent for each patient. Mr. Suzanne is a speech/language pathologist, and much of what they do is therapy for TBI. Some can improve a great deal, others cannot. It all depends on the injury.

  97. 97
    Schlemizel says:

    I was not eligible (4F) but I campaigned hard to end the draft when it existed. What a mistake. If more Americans had the threat of deployment hanging over their heads the opposition to the wars would probably unseated Boy Blunder in 04.

    I have come to discover that a lot of my fellow boomers were not against the war because it was illegal, immoral and stupid. They were against the war because it might put them in the line of fire. It explains how they came to vote for Reagan & Bush.

  98. 98
    Schlemizel says:

    Its nice some people around here can own up to being wrong, thanks.

    I’m constantly amazed at how quickly people around here can pull the F trigger (even when guns are not the subject) and how many of us can instantly assume bad intent on the part of other commenters. Its nice to see people admit when they are wrong & apologize, wish it happned more often but needed to happen less often.

    My holiday wish would be for us all to be nicer and more lienient on each other.

    Pastafarians celebrate “Holiday”. Holiday does not take place on a specific date but is around this time of year. Because Pastafarians reject dogma and formalism, there are no specific requirements for Holiday. Pastafarians celebrate Holiday however they please.

  99. 99
    Mnemosyne says:

    “Remember My Forgotten Man,” from Gold Diggers of 1933.

    Remember my forgotten man?
    You put a rifle in his hand
    You sent him far away
    You shouted ‘Hip hooray!’
    But look at him today.

    (In case you have trouble with the iconography: Joan Blondell’s character in this musical number is a WWI war widow who had to turn to prostitution when the Great Depression hit. They didn’t make musicals like this anymore once censorship came in, kiddies.)

  100. 100
    Schlemizel says:

    @Samara Morgan:
    I’ll ask him this weekend & try to let you know – thats very sweet of you.

    I can certainly tell him but he has been increasingly opposed to seeking any help. He probably would be unhappy with me for even discussing this outside the family. At least me being a sock puppet I can always say nobody could figure out who he was.

  101. 101
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @ m_c: We have had this discussion before. I am not going to put everyone through it again. I remain convinced that the Iraq War grew from seeds of cynicism, greed, and pathology. You do not. I do not view the events primarily through the lens of religion. You do. I will not continue this discussion with you as it is pointless.

  102. 102
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    In part, it’s because we’re better at treating traumatic injuries that, in the past, would have been a certain fatality.

    The result is, because we’re saving lives that would have been lost before, we’re encountering new situations that didn’t exist in the past.

    Those successes have led to new challenges.

  103. 103
    dmbeaster says:

    @Trakker: what Trakker said, which are basic points that get overlooked too often in the calculus of who we are and what we have become. Something as odious as the draft actually served a very useful function in a democracy. The elites treat the volunteer army like mercenaries.

  104. 104
    Schlemizel says:

    We have become a whole lot less open & honest about war since 1945. It would be interesting to know what the cause of that is. War has always been viewed as a ‘great adventure’ but there seemed to be much more bitter critiques in the past. Other than Phil Ochs I can’t think of anything as bitter as what came out between the wars. “Johny Got His Gun” is the story of a blind, quadriplegic, mute veteran of WWI attempting to communicate with the outside would by taping out code with his head.

    I also think about the 19th C. Irish who wrote stuff like this:
    Where are your legs that used to run, hurroo, hurroo
    Where are your legs that used to run, hurroo, hurroo
    Where are your legs that used to run
    When you went to carry a gun
    Indeed your dancing days are done
    Oh Johnny, I hardly knew ye.

    Ye haven’t an arm, ye haven’t a leg, hurroo, hurroo
    Ye haven’t an arm, ye haven’t a leg, hurroo, hurroo
    Ye haven’t an arm, ye haven’t a leg
    Ye’re an armless, boneless, chickenless egg
    Ye’ll have to be put with a bowl out to beg
    Oh Johnny I hardly knew ye.

    They’re rolling out the guns again, hurroo, hurroo
    They’re rolling out the guns again, hurroo, hurroo
    They’re rolling out the guns again
    But they’ll never will take my sons again
    No they’ll never will take my sons again
    Johnny I’m swearing to ye.

  105. 105
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    Amen, brother.

    I’ve never been a fan of the all-volunteer force, for those reasons.

  106. 106
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: its not religion, per se.
    its western culture chauvinism.
    we tried to cram missionary democracy down muslim throats. That is what COIN, the BD, Peaceful Democracy Theory and Bush’s “Freedom” Agenda were all about.

    religion just made it impossible for the US to succeed.

  107. 107
    asteele says:

    no empire has instituted conscription so that it could start less wars, we’re not going to be the first.

  108. 108
    4jkb4ia says:

    Soonergrunt, there are no words for this, at least as far as the limited extent to which I can use them. Country radio is one of the few outlets that acknowledged that there was a war, and people suffered as a result, with the honorable exception of Green Day. Maybe 15 years later country radio will bother to play songs about Iraq/Afghanistan veterans and how they were broken mentally, just as the trio of Vietnam songs I wrote about two days ago were allowed to become hits. The deaths of our soldiers are a tragedy because every one of them had families and friends. Every one of them had an outpouring of grief among the people who knew them similar to what Andrew Olmsted got. Unless you read IGTNT, you don’t know them all as people. If someone has a mental impairment, every one of them have families and friends, and the families and friends will suffer with them for a much longer time.

  109. 109
    Mnemosyne says:


    We have become a whole lot less open & honest about war since 1945. It would be interesting to know what the cause of that is.

    That particular censorship actually happened later than 1945 — post-war, there were Oscar-winning films like The Best Years of Our Lives about WWII veterans (including real-life double amputee Harold Russell). John Ford’s war movies became a whole lot less gung-ho — They Were Expendable strongly questions the costs of the war.

    I think it was McCarthyism and the blacklist that killed off any questioning of “The Good War.” People were accused of being “prematurely anti-Fascist,” ie they were against Hitler before we declared war, therefore they were Dirty Commies! It suppressed any dissent and, unfortunately, any additional help that veterans might have needed post-war, since having continuing problems after the war was clearly because you were a Dirty Commie Who Hated America.

  110. 110
    dmbeaster says:

    @asteele: No democracy has been able to use the draft to institute more wars that do not have popular support.

  111. 111
    dmbeaster says:

    We have become a whole lot less open & honest about war since 1945. It would be interesting to know what the cause of that is.

    Anybody who thinks this has amnesia about the Viet Nam years.

  112. 112
    Mnemosyne says:


    I think you misread what Schlemizel is saying — if it hadn’t been for the censorship of the realities of veterans returning from WWII, we might not have had a Vietnam. We very nearly didn’t have a WWII because Americans were still so traumatized by the experiences of WWI.

  113. 113
    Loviatar says:

    When Balloon Juicers ask me why I hate John Cole/Andrew Sullivan, etc. so, I think of Gerald who can’t remember his wife and I think of Sam and Chris who bled out in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan waiting for help that never came. I think of so many other crimes, and I think of other brothers that won’t ever come home either, but especially I think of them.


    FUCK your apologies.

  114. 114
    Steve Young says:


    I’ve always been enraged by George W. Bush’s declaring himself a war President and claiming how difficult it was for him. We had some real war Presidents, war Senators, etc. etc., in WWII, and all of their children were in the military or involved in the war effort. Bush’s daughters couldn’t even be bothered to pretend that they gave a s**t, like volunteering at a USO now and then or anything. That entire family’s contribution to the war effort was the excise taxes on the alcohol they consumed partying.

    I’m also pretty sure the 100’s or 1,000’s of teenage Iraqi girls working as prostitutes in Syria don’t think the war in Iraq was worth it, along with the tens or hundreds of thousands killed and injured and all the other refugees.

    There should be a special circle in Hell for George W. Bush and all of his neo-con buddies who were creaming their jeans in their excitement to invade Iraq.

  115. 115
    harlana says:

    @Schlemizel: i love that number!

  116. 116
    The Moar You Know says:

    @Loviatar: That’s helpful.

  117. 117
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    The US wasn’t the first aggressive Empire to invade Afghanistan. It’ll be interesting to compare the role of the US veterans betrayed by the elite running their country with that of the Soviet veterans.

  118. 118
    Schlemizel says:

    I am not surprised – I am sure there are fundies that think Word Of The Day and Hints From Heloise are satanic!

  119. 119
    Schlemizel says:

    Thanks! It never occurred to me but I can see exactly how this would have worked.

  120. 120
    liberal says:


    Anybody who thinks this has amnesia about the Viet Nam years.


    The massive turn against the Vietnam “conflict” perhaps could be dated to 1968. When did our involvement start? Well, by the end of the French-Indochinese war, we were paying for more than 1/2 of the French war effort, IIRC. And that war ended in…1954.

    If you read actual media from those years, it’s just striking how different it is. E.g. when Suharto murdered (on the order of) a million Indonesian communists (c. 1965?), Time had some article headline like “A welcoming light in Asia.”

    There’s nothing new under the sun.

  121. 121
    Loviatar says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    @Loviatar: That’s helpful.

    Who said I was trying to be helpful. I’m just airing my Festivus grievances.

    The personnel who fought in Iraq gave pieces of themselves, sometimes there all and because John, Andrew and their ilk “apologized”, the ditto heads here and other places are willing to forgive all with a hey no problem, welcome back to society.

    Too bad Gerald, Sam or Chris won’t ever get or appreciate a hey no problem, welcome back to society.

    Happy Fucking Festivus.

  122. 122
    Ruckus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    War is, at best, horrific when necessary, when waged for the wrong reasons it is exponentially worse.

    The proof is taken from Sooner’s story and the untold thousands of stories just like it. Anyone who has seen the damage of those left barely living can attest to this.

  123. 123
    ruemara says:

    I’m sorry Sooner. For you, the Sargent and your brothers. It’s stories like this that make me bite my nails over some of my young friends who are enlisted. Some are deployed and I try to keep in contact, but I’ve known them from pre–enlistment. It’s hard, because this is the first time I’ve really been scared that either they, or who I’ve known them to be, will die for a stupid war.

    @Samara Morgan: Shut up, you asinine piece of crap. Bradley Manning never, ever had any heroic intentions in his file dump. Just shut that festering, lickspittle, worthless gob you drool nonsense out of.

  124. 124
    debbie says:

    Maybe I’m hanging out in the wrong places, but I’d have thought I’d be hearing much louder protests from vets and the military against the adminisration who prided itself on its militaristic prowes and righteousness, even as it refused to consider TBI as legitimate, refused to provide soldiers with kevlar protection, disrespected their remains, and on and on and on?

    I understand about loyalty and duty and all that, but still, when does the outrage stop being stifled?

  125. 125
    Sleeping Dog says:

    The sad and added tragedy is that as soon as next year politicians of a certain stripe will complain that your friend is a slacker and should simply suck it up.

    Thank him for his sacrifice.

  126. 126
    Scamp Dog says:

    You’d think that the party that is considered “strong on defense” would know that you concentrate on winning the war you’re in before starting a second one.

    On the other hand, maybe “strong on defense” is actually code for “likes to spend money on ‘defense’ projects and knows how to talk smack in a way that makes sense to a domestic audience”.

  127. 127
    Samara Morgan says:

    @ruemara: its Manning an’ Assange that helped stop what happened to Sooner’s friend happening to more American soldiers, you puffed up poisonous gawd-an-country toad.
    if cudlips like you had their way we’d be there for another ten years getting our ass kicked.

  128. 128
    vector56 says:

    The Pay Roll Tax Holiday is the same Pay Roll Tax Holiday Louie Gohmert and Michael Bachman proposed in the 1990s to “defund” Social Security. For 30 years, the Republicans have been trying to “cut” the funding to Social Security using one trick after the other. The term “Pay Roll Tax Holiday” is a Republican idea straight from the damned Heritage Foundation. I will guarantee you, aside from this charade that both Democrats and Republicans are playing (for their Wall Street masters), this funding cut to Social Security will pass just in the nick of time! Michael Moore just recently wondered why Wall Street had not picked their man in the 2012 presidential race?

    When it came out that Obama has received more money from Wall Street than all the Republican candidates combined, Moore declared that they (Wall Street) had already picked their man. For years Republicans have tried to cut funding to Social Security, thereby turning it into a welfare program which would make it much easier to kill. Notice that the “tax on millionaires” to make up the difference fell through. Greenspan came up with the idea of using our homes as ATM’s to stimulate the economy because “wages”, thanks to the “Reagan revolution”, were kept flat for 30 years! These men of little empathy tried to use “smoke and mirrors” to substitute for “locking us in a cage and stealing from us the value of our wage” (Makana: “We are the Many”). Now, Obama asks us to spend our retirement and go Christmas shopping to give the economy a little kick . Other than boosting his poll numbers, this strategy will do little to fix the long term financial problem. Are we really that gullible?

    Alan (Cat Food) Simpson is all for this so-called Pay Roll Tax Holiday. That fact should give us a clue as to what is really going on. All of the corporate media “fake-Liberals” on MSNBC and Current TV are pushing this Social Security de-funding shamelessly! FDR’s “New Deal” is being taken apart brick by brick! The myth perpetuated in the corporate media these days is that Republicans and “Blue Dog Democrats are the culprits. In reality, (as Nader pointed out years ago) both parties serve their “corporate pay-masters” equally. Glass-Steagall was butchered by both Democratic and Republican are heads of the same corporate monster. T.A.R.P. passed overwhelmingly by both parties, the Iraq war was funded in unison, Retroactive Immunity with bipartisan support and was given to the Telecoms for helping the NSA spy on US citizens. The Levin (D) and McCain (R) Defense Authorization Bill exposes us to unconstitutional detention without trial and even “rendition” (taken to another country to loosen out tongues). Now something I thought even for the Democrats was a “bridge too far”, the de-funding of Social Security sold as short term stimulus has become the norm. When Obama’s deficit commission placed Alan Simpson at the helm, alarms should have gone off! At this point, it should be obvious that both major Political parties, with cover from the corporate media, have managed to start the process of de-funding Social Security.

    The health insurance company and pharmaceutical bailout, thinly disguised as health care reform, (Affordable Care Act) should have been enough to cause this fool to realize that it was over between “the people” and the Democratic party. Outright rejection of single payer, a public option and the Federal health exchanges (“half loaf is better than none”) should have sent the Left bolting for the door! At this point, it is obvious to us and our abusers that WE HAVE NO PLACE TO GO! So we, the children of Stockholm syndrome, beg for our “Pay Roll Tax Holiday”, allowing the Democrats to deliver by stealth to the Republicans a Christmas gift that has eluded them for 30 plus years; the de-funding of Social Security.

  129. 129
    VikingRN says:

    As a VA nurse I hate the wasted lives we have created over the past decade.

    It is nauseating to see the sequellae of this war. As a vet I love caring for vets. But it is a crime how we have failed to minimize and end these wars.

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