Veterans...we're sorry for how our country treated you

It’s time to stop saying thank you, and start saying sorry.

Today is Veterans Day, a day when Americans give thanks for the service of the men and women of our armed forces, who have bravely served our country, and in many cases, made the ultimate sacrifice. Veterans Day aside, our society teaches us to thank veterans for their service, but in reality, particularly for Republicans, that thanks is a big slap in the face.

We’re flooded with television ads and YouTube videos thanking veterans for their service. It’s become an obligatory thing to say: "Thank you for your service." Instead, we should be saying we're sorry to the nearly 23 million surviving veterans in America, and we're sorry to those who are no longer with us.

We should be saying we're sorry to them for destroying their lives, and for forgetting about them when they come home from the battlefields. But the apologies don’t stop there.

We should be saying sorry to the millions of veterans who fought in unjust wars that our lawmakers lied us into, and sorry to the families who lost their loved ones in those violent, deadly and completely unnecessary wars. And, we should be saying sorry for having Republican lawmakers in Washington who have repeatedly shot down bills and filibustered legislation meant to help America’s veterans.

From the day President Obama was first sworn into office to May of 2012, Republicans have blocked no fewer than 7 major pieces of legislation that would have helped veterans. They blocked the Wounded Veteran Job Security Act, which would have provided job security for veterans who are receiving medical treatment for injuries suffered. They blocked the Veterans Retraining Act, which would have provided assistance to help unemployed veterans with their expenses while getting job training and looking for a job. And Republicans also blocked the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program Reauthorization, which would have reauthorized programs to support homeless veterans, and would have assisted them with job training, counseling, and placement services through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Meanwhile, earlier this year, Republicans in the Senate blocked yet another bill that would have expanded healthcare and education programs for veterans. Just months later, they blocked a $21 billion plan to build new VA clinics, because they said it was "too expensive." And last year, Republicans blocked legislation that would have expanded mental health screening for veterans.

Not surprisingly, Republicans have also refused to support legislation aimed at curbing homelessness in America, something that, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, at least 49,333 veterans experience on any given night.

Aside from the apologies we need to make to veterans for the actions of Republicans in Washington, we also need to say "sorry" for Bush and Cheney exposing American troops in Iraq to chemical weapons, and then lying about it and not giving them the proper medical treatment.

Finally, we need to say sorry for George W. Bush not allowing pictures to be taken of soldiers’ homecomings from the Iraq War, and for having so little respect for the men and women he sent off to die in war.

Lost in all the hubbub of Veterans Day is the fact that our country really does a terrible job at taking care of the men and women who have risked their lives to save others. And, to make matters worse, We the People have become desensitized to the struggles our veterans face. Instead, we say thank you, and feel like we’ve done our part and fulfilled our obligation.

In her famous Mother’s Day proclamation, Julia Ward Howe, who wrote The Battle Hymn of the Republic, said that:

“From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with Our own.
It says: "Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.
Blood does not wipe out dishonor, Nor violence indicate possession.”

On the battlefields, our veterans have gone to hell and back. On the home-front, they’re still struggling to survive. We need to recognize those struggles, apologize for putting our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines into them, and most importantly, fight against the ongoing Republican efforts to screw our veterans.


sandlewould's picture
sandlewould 9 years 32 weeks ago

I have felt torn between these two responses for years... I have had T-shirts printed that I give away occasionally; "Starve the Beast, DON'T ENLIST!!"

Off topic here, but it took me a week to find the article I wanted to reference. I could no longer track a link to the source on line, but saved the text when it first was published after Scott Walker's recall "victory". I am re-posting below. It is long and the links detailed, but worth reading to understand how pervasive electronic electiion fraud has indeed become. I live across the street from one of the biggest voter precincts in Mason Co. KY. Allison L. Grimes' Grandmother still lives in my town. Her local campaign headquarters were just down the street. The Lexington Herald Leader endorsed her. She was forecast to take Mason Co. easily. For the first time since voting here 3 years ago, I had to wait for a paper ballot. (though they are scanned and disgarded). African American turn out was very heavy. Urban areas had very heavy turn out all over the state and they weren't voting for McTurtle! After the election, I was told by a friend of mine that the Leader reported she lost Mason Co. nearly 2-1!

Meet Command Central, the People in Charge of Wisconsin Voting Machines
By Barbara With, Marianne M. Moonhouse and John Washburn

Command Central is one of Wisconsin’s leading vendors of voting machines and election supplies. They are distributors for Dominion Voting Systems, a privately-owned electronic voting equipment company. Founded in Canada in 2002, Dominion is now based in Denver, CO, since their acquisitions of Premier Election Solutions, from Election Systems & Software (ES&S), and Sequoia Voting Systems.

Command Central deals directly with Wisconsin county and municipal clerks and is closely involved in their selection of voting machines, ballots, and other election supplies. Command Central does all the maintenance on the voting machines and provides tech support throughout the year, with a special “hot line” should clerks need help with glitches, etc., on election day.

In June 2011, the Wisconsin County Clerks Association held their annual summer conference in Ladysmith. Seventy-five county clerks from across the state came together to, among other things, “assist the legislators in developing sound legislation that affects county clerks and county government by providing accurate and useful information.” WCCA Legislation Committee chair at the time was Kathy Nickolaus.

Last summer’s meeting featured a break-out session entitled, “Mastering Tough Questions from News Media, Directors and Other Audiences”:

Whether it’s a news event, a hostile public hearing or a difficult internal meeting, the knowledge and skills gained in this class will increase our ability and confidence to succeed as mastering the tough questions everyone fears. By understanding the anatomy of ‘tough questions’ you will gain power of them. Learn response techniques and model answers that you can apply to any situation.

Al Guyant, president of Guyant and Associates, a training firm specializing in human communications, conducted the session. Guyant has prepared clients for 60 Minutes, Dateline and other “tough question” formats. When asked why county clerks would need this kind of training, he said, “The obvious public scrutiny of elections has increased so much that the clerks need to be able to convey the essence of their statement in the 10 to 15 seconds because of the short attention span of America, and relative space and time in the media.”

Another break-out session was scheduled specifically to spend time with the election vendors: Command Central and Dominion. Command Central was represented by Vice President Aaron Storbeck. On display at his booth was an Edge DRE touch screen machine much like the kind that have been documented flipping votes on Election Day.
Many of our clerks have undoubtedly met Aaron Storbeck, who travels to conventions and sets up wares to show county clerks how easy these machines are to use. In a follow-up email interview Storbeck denied his machines could be corrupted:

BW: So as far as you know, you don’t know how anyone could create corruptible programming that would not show up until Election Day.

CC: Hasn’t happened and we have 46 counties as customers in Wisconsin and 3,000 pieces of equipment out there.

I asked if these machines force a straight party ticket. But unless a voter knows how to back out and re-enter the choices to force a split ticket as he explains below, how would they know?:

BW: Voters have to vote straight ticket. There is a way to overwrite having to vote straight ticket by selecting the first choice, then unselecting it, and then selecting the second choice. Even if voting Republican and the second choice is a Democrat, it will register a split ticket.

CC: Yes It check-marks the office in a straight party, however you can go in and deselect names if you wanted to change your vote(s).

But perhaps the most disturbing answer Storbeck gave was to the question of who programs the computer pacs that tabulate the votes.
CC: My step-mother is Sue Wahl and she does the programming.

Who is Command Central? Listed only as a P.O. box number on Storbeck’s card, on further investigation, Command Central’ s office can be found in Marketplace strip mall, 110 2nd Street South, Suite 300, in Waite Park, a suburb of St. Cloud, MN. They also are listed as doing business from suite 219 at this address. Coincidentally, Michelle Bachman’s campaign office is also located at this address, right down the hall in Suite 232.

Command Central's offices are located in this strip mall west of St. Cloud, MN. Michelle Bachman's campaign office is across the hall.

And who is Sue Wahl-Storbeck and should we trust her with our voting machines?
In 2007, Sue Wahl-Storbeck filed suit against a former employer and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development for disqualifying her from receiving unemployment benefits because she had been fired. The company, ACS Enterprise Solutions, claims that in 2005, Wahl-Storbeck refused to take the annual ethics exam that was required for employment with ACS. She claimed the organization was so dysfunctional that it was “hypocritical” to take the test. She lost both her original case and the appeal. “Because each refusal to take the ethics exam was intentional conduct that displayed clearly Storbeck’s refusal to comply with ACS’s reasonable request, her actions do not constitute a single incident under Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 6(a). Accordingly, the ULJ properly determined that Storbeck is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits because she was discharged for employment misconduct.”

This is the woman who has control over the programming of 3,000 voting machines in 46 districts in the State of Wisconsin.

Sue Wahl-Storbeck programs the software for 3,000 voting machines in Wisconsin.
Regardless of her achievements, whenever anyone is given the sole responsibility to program our voting machines, we are placing the vitality of our entire democracy in their hands.

Forty-six Wisconsin counties and 3,000 voting machines are being controlled by a two-person company operating out of a strip mall in Minnesota.

By law, voting machines must be publicly tested prior to every election. A Programmable Read Only Memory (P.R.O.M.) pack or cartridge is used to reprogram the machines with the details of the current election. Clerks receive two PROM packs from Command Central: A PRE-LAT, which is used a week or so before the election for the public test, and an “Official” pack used on Election Day. Whoever programs the PROM packs has the ability to inject all the machines with a virus that will flip votes only on Election Day. With two different PROM packs in play, it’s easy to see how public tests could be flawless and the machines could still flip votes Election Day.

In his report of his experience with the November 2010 gubernatorial election for Scott Walker, John Washburn, an election integrity investigator and professional software tester for almost 20 years, states, “I have been to dozens of voting system test sessions and have never seen any of this faux ‘testing’ actually test the voting system software correctly. This is the professional opinion of a software tester testing software since 1994.”

Washburn also filed an open records request with Command Central to examine the PROM packs from the July 15, 2011 recall election in wards 1-4 in Fox Point. When they responded that it would cost him $450, Washburn filed a complaint alleging that Command Central LLC wasn’t cooperative in responding to the open records request.

Command Central Makes Its Move—A Shady Deal With WI County Clerks Last September, Election Integrity investigators discovered that unbeknownst to average citizens of Wisconsin, Command Central sent those 46 districts an offer: trade out your old Optech Insight Scanner for two DRE Touch Screen models, at no charge. The Optech machine is the one that paper ballots are fed through to read and register the votes.

While these machines are also susceptible to hacking in the case of a recount, it is possible to physically monitor the paper ballots as they are fed through the machine to see if they match the machine totals.

With DRE Touch Screens, however, one’s vote could be flipped and one would never know because there is no receipt or paper trail voters receive to confirm their vote was counted as voted. All that is left is a paper tape that shows votes and vote totals. If the machine is hacked, those totals have no other verifiable trail to confirm the results.

And yet according to John Washburn, this swap-out two-for-one offer violates the statutes issued by the GAB for State approved system as described on the Government Accountability Board’s website that requires the inclusion of an Optech Insight Scanner.
On January 13, 2012, Washburn emailed the GAB about this situation. When he did not receive an answer, he submitted an Open Records request to the GAB, with no reply. On May 2, he submitted another, again to no response. On May 4, he turned the case over to Dane County Attorney, and on May 14 he kicked it up to the Department of Justice.
Why is Command Central offering free machines? Why does the GAB not respond? Will the Department of Justice respond in time to help protect our June 5th recall elections?
Sadly, No.

el cid returns's picture
el cid returns 9 years 32 weeks ago

It you can't afford the vet; then don't have the war!! T/Y.

johnbest's picture
johnbest 9 years 32 weeks ago

After our experience in Ohio, all voting machines should be banned. The DOJ must confiscate these machines and check them out. I'll bet they are all "fixed", Why else would that Koch sucker walker win twice, once in the recall election and now in the last election. We should also question why asshole scott won. The people of Florida hate his f'ing guts if comments on Facebook are true. If they find that fraud was committed then we must act and arrest the governors, attorney general and whoever else was involved in the fraud. If fraud was involved, we need to cancel the last election and disbar all republicans from Congress and hold another election.

Tom, I know what you mean about the treatment of veterans. Asshole hannity today was fawning over veterans saying they must be given jobs, He went on and on about this. There seems to be a disconnect here somewhere. hannity kisses the ass of the right wing hypocrites whining and lying daily about President Obama and laughing that we "lost" the election. I am so sick of his bullshit that I could chew nails an spit horseshoes. He must be corraled and removed from OUR airwaves along with his host Faux Not News. What the hell is wrong with the FCC. Are they left over from the cheney administration? They must act to prevent him from calling our president stupid every damn second word out of his vile mouth. Let's get him off the air. Savage is just as bad. He is also a vile POS like hannity.

N Z Sarah's picture
N Z Sarah 9 years 32 weeks ago

Well said Thom. Wake up Americans YOUR GOVERNMENT DOES NOT CARE FOR YOU! And sadly where yours leads others follow so pity New Zealand and the rest of the world.

johnbest's picture
johnbest 9 years 32 weeks ago

I am a veteran of the Cold War Era and got out of the Army just before the war in Vietnam. After Nixon lost the war Vietnam veterans were treated like crap when they came back. I remember the "Hell no I won't go" demonstrations. Veterans returning from Vietnam really took a lot of heat which was really unfair.

When I got out in 1962 I was given a fast track to a Federal Job at a higher starting grade than the average engineer. In 1969 I used my GI Loan and my GI Bill to go back for a master's degree in Engineering. When I retired from the Federal Government I was able to count my three years in the Army against my years adding 3 years to my Federal Retirement.

I have often wondered if veterans are still treated as I was or did Saint Raygun screw the pooch like he did all Federal workers when he was unfortunately "elected" president despite his Iran/Contra treason. I know that Saint Raygun cut the hell out of our U.S. Forest Service budget as he did other agencies.

Fanchon88's picture
Fanchon88 9 years 32 weeks ago

Veteran seems to be almost a dirty word, rather like "resident" in my senior HUD housing. Yesterday I had "recertification" at my HUD housing. Today I had to go back to the Manager's office to finish an application for help with utility bills. I took along a picture to show. I felt like the bitch didn't really get it: FIFTY YEARS AGO yesterday I was commissioned in the USAF! And my picture shows a 22-year-old, 126-pound blond dolly in mess dress and high heels. I had played the piano at our formal dining-in and John Glenn, our guest speaker, had to sit still and listen! The officer trainee MC was drinking for courage and made an improper comment about me! As a result, he served his time as an enlisted man. I was harassed to tears by gay NCO's and eventually I blasted open an international vice ring in Europe. This I did in self-defense because the gay men were sabotaging my work. Both military and civilian people from several countries were involved in drugs, prostitution, etc. etc. So I ended up doing a lot more than sign orders. Across my desk came not only SECRET and TOP SECRET documents, but many marked OBSCENE. I had needed to get away from hometown family micro-management. I gave some good years to my country. At age 41 I finally got to be a white bride, the third wife of a Vietnam vet. Our pillow talk included renditions of what the little "fuck you" lizard said, descriptions of horrific torture, men cut down in the jungle having suffered unspeakably. I was the first to listen to these stories. How many stupid women would have said, "Eu -- that's negative! Don't tell me!" I loved and I listened. He got better. We had some fun. . . . We were all young and strong and gorgeous once. We gave that away. Now too many people are watching the boob tube and all concerned with physical perfection and their own crappy little lives. How I wish ordinary citizens could better support their town Vet Centers, even invite a couple of homeless vets home for Thanksgiving. I can hear these damned upscale housewives saying, "Eu, they might have lice!" I realize old homeless vets are hard to help. But, dammit, God is watching! Okay, enuf! Happy Veteran's Day, everybody!

johnbest's picture
johnbest 9 years 32 weeks ago

Fanchon88 - I was a kid during WWII in San Francisco. My parents always invited active duty soldiers and sailors to Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. They were very appreciative being far away from home and facing a scary future in combat.

Happy Veterans Day everyone. When I was young it was still called Armistice Day.

Roy Bath's picture
Roy Bath 9 years 32 weeks ago

Thank you very much for posting this!

Alembic1's picture
Alembic1 9 years 32 weeks ago

Great article Thom and well stated.

I am a Gulf War vet and I don't like it when people say, "thank you". I don't feel I did anything that I should be thanked for. I volunteered and let's just say, I don't believe my participation in the Gulf War helped anyone except maybe as moral support to my peers. I do appreciate the sentiment when someone says, "thank you" but, I much prefer "I'm sorry" or even "I recognize your service". "Thank you" kind of bothers me personally.

richinfolsom 9 years 31 weeks ago

I was touched by a caller on today's show, an Iraq war veteran who passionately shared about being actitively involved in the anti-war movement. Twenty-two veterans commit sluice each day. Thom highlighted the comment noting one suicide each hour.

Today was the 100th anniversary of the breakout of WWI with the introduction of mechanized armies, aerial warfare on civilian populations; submarine attacks on passenger ships; and unthinkable chemical and biological warfare. "The war to end all wars," at least that is what was said. Two million soldiers dead.

A mere twety years later, World War II with 60 million dead as mankind ventured into the realm of psychotic, mass murder. Progress lead to the nuclear age, a "cold war" and pushing the hairpin trigger towards mutually assured destruction.

Perhaps WWII was a fight against "evil" proliferated by the Nazis and the Japanese in Manchuria. Perhaps the evil forces are but an extension of similar corporate, socio-political forces often disguised behind religious doctrines.

I find myself often saying, "Thank you for serving," though my heart wants to apologize for not providing adequate tools, amble number of troops, and insulting their commitment knowing Halliburton pays 4 times as well delivering supplies made in China. Mostly, I want to apologize the American dream for which they defended has largely evaporated over the last ten to twenty years.


DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 9 years 31 weeks ago

For those who are able, enlisting is at least a chance of gaining the way out of poverty. When they return to civilian life, not all succeed. We chew them up and spit them out. America is intolerant of the poor. Once you're poor, all of your past contributions, whether to the military or to life, become irrelevant."No excuses," as Bill Clinton said.

Elioflight's picture
Elioflight 9 years 31 weeks ago

Yes, JohnBest: as another Ohioan talking about voting "irregularities" in Ohio. Do you remember when Diebold's CEO on mike said he would guarentee a victory for Bush? And the independent group that came in later and found--I cannot remember the number now--of violations. But nothing has ever been done. We bitch about the elections in other countries, but ours stink, too.

As a Democrat, I am usually harrassed at the polls in my largely rethuglican county; I keep going and keep voting--it's my right--it's the right all my family fought for in the American Revolution and later the Women's movement and later the Civil Rights Movement. And the restrictions on who may vote is just crazy.

America stinks with the poop of the wealthy and powerful--and without US they would have NO WEALTH and POWER.

DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 9 years 31 weeks ago

Hard to know how to respond to this. Why would gay men sabotage your work? The idea of a group of gay soldiers harrassing you is just puzzling. By being a "white bride," you mean a virgin? The complaint about people watching too much TV is pretty outdated. It is no surprise that people don't want to hear stories about human atrocities, whether in war or civilian life. Focusing on the horrors that fellow citizens commit can make it impossible to function. If you think people are obsessed with physical perfection, you might be confusing advertising with real life. As for inviting a few vets home for dinner -- how many people feel safe with inviting strangers into their homes? As for "upscale housewives"... are there any? With all of this said, the same complaints have been made by veterans for at least the past 50 years. Who doesn't know this? Enlisting is simply a gamble, a shot at a better life via the education and skills training available to those who enlist. Everyone who enlists knows that if they don't succeed, they will become the classic homeless Vietnam vet -- chewed up and spit out. We have no tolerance of those who don't succeed.

DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 9 years 31 weeks ago

Just curious -- When you went in for recertification (for HUD), why did you take along a 50 yr old photo? What point were you trying to make? Presumably, when you applied for subsidized housing, you provided information about your military service, etc.

Elioflight's picture
Elioflight 9 years 31 weeks ago

My only and most precious son (brother, cousin, nephew) is an Iraq War vet--an Ohio National Guard citizen soldier (where Georgie Bush, himself, hid from service in Vietnam)--soldiers meant to serve on United States soil--soldiers who did not receive but little COMBAT training just before they were shipped out--who spent an entire year in Iraq in 2005 doing the hurt-locker thing and guarding the Abu Grieb prison facility (not the prisoners); many of his buddies, who stayed in, were sent back many more times.

My son came back with PTSD. Very little has been done to assist him with this problem. It seems to help him when he gets together with other vets--he finds understanding about the "constant alertness" problem from his uncle, a Korean War vet. We never ask him about that time--he tells us when he's ready. I worry about him daily. He's seen things you never expect your children to see. Their brains have been changed for good, studies show. We have to do better preparing them to come back to safety and family and community.

History will show the farce of the Iraq invasion and the stupidity of George Worst-Ever Bush and his company of draft dodgers/chickenhawks and send-others-to-do-their-dirty-work war profiteers. They should be so ashamed...and so very grateful, but apparently, they are not.

DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 9 years 31 weeks ago

We have the politics and policies chosen, every step of the way, by the middle class. Not much we can say say about that. How odd that you would be harrassed when you simply fo to vote. How do people even know who you're voting for? In my experience, people just get into line, waiting their turn, and any chatting is about anything but politics. My own family didn't reach the US until the early 20th Century; does that make us less American than your family?

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 31 weeks ago

sandlewould ~ We don't have electronic voting machines here in California. We did away with that nonsense. Now we only have paper ballots. No BIG mistakes here. You should all stand up and demand paper ballots--if you can. Of course if an election was flipped in California, it would be painfully obvious. Probably why the right wing isn't that interested in rigging the election here. Too much work. I wish you all the best of luck out there. I know you are fighting an uphill battle. Keep up the good work and never give up!

Johnnie Dorman's picture
Johnnie Dorman 9 years 31 weeks ago

The very reason the Rethugs lost here in California is because they can't get away with rigging the voting system. I don't believe that Mitch McConnell and those other two clowns in Wisconsin and Florida really won. They only win by cheating, keeping people from voting and filling up American hayseeds with plenty of lying propaganda. Somehow, someway, we need to declare war against these criminals.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 9 years 31 weeks ago

The prevailing Republican attitude toward veterans was expressed well by Henry Kissinger when he said, "Soldiers are stupid animals to be used."

Yesterday a caller wanted to blame the veterans for U.S. foreign policy or consider them complicit. That is a very facile assertion. I'd recommend he become familiar with Vietnam Veterans Against the War and Iraq Veteran's Against the War. Many vets entered the military believing they were doing the world good in their youth and impressionability - or for whatever reason - and found out later how wrong they were. Hindsight is 20/20 and it's easy to quarterback on Monday morning. Honor the warrior not the war.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 9 years 31 weeks ago

Hey ChicagoMatt, I posted a reply to your comment of several days ago on that blog topic page. Gotta go now, might not be around for several more days.

geochand's picture
geochand 9 years 31 weeks ago

Thom wrote- we also need to say "sorry" for Bush and Cheney exposing American troops in Iraq to chemical weapons, and then lying about it and not giving them the proper medical treatment.

So, were there or where there not chemical weapons in Iraq? You say on a regular basis that there were no chemical weapons, now you say that troops weren't given proper medical treatment......huh?

I understand that your average dunderhead- demonocrat wouldn't catch your double-speak, they just generally agree with whatever your type say....."Yeah, I'm with you...rah, rah....what did you say?"

geochand's picture
geochand 9 years 31 weeks ago

Thom - just saw the pic of you trying your brother's .40 cal.

Not sure what state that's in, but here in NY you'd be arrested and your brother would lose his pistol permit......thanks to your brethren....Comrade Cuomo

Just wondering how you feel about his SAFE Act.......

Fanchon88's picture
Fanchon88 9 years 31 weeks ago

Wow! Some folks would rather pick apart what I said than try to understand! Any 16-year NCO needs only one more hitch and he can go home and retire age 38 on 50% of his active duty pay. I was Air Force. I met a lot of "good old boys" who had no use for women in the military. The gay ones really had no use! They told filthy jokes, they initiated phone calls just as I knocked and came in their office to "coordinate" some matter, and they removed correspondence from the distribution boxes so I would never receive replies to the letters I had sent out. They tried to set me up with an enlisted man at the movies. I had to walk home. I found out later he was prostituting himself to them! Well, DHBranski, you aren't even trying to understand! I well know how many of us enlisted in order to improve our lot, get away from a pretty hopeless home situation. long after my service, I participated in support groups and other activities designed to help veterans. We were all young, strong and handsome once! There is much love and caring expressed in these groups if nowhere else! Much can be done with proverty if a person has basic needs fulfilled and is clever.

What I did not say yesterday is that years after my military service was over, my government perceived an overpayment of a VA pension and began garnishing my disability checks. Over four years they took over $8,000! I pursued this case for ten years and finally got $7,490. When I asked for the rest of it, the Republican congressman's worker explained that was an administrative fee for going to the trouble of garnishing the checks! IT WAS THEIR MISTAKE IN THE FIRST PLACE AND I HAVE TO LET THEM KEEP AN ADMINISTRATIVE FEE?

So when people say THANKYOUFORYOURSERVICE, I remember how desperate I was to get out of bleeping Bakersfield. They don't want to hear that, so I don't tell them.

Fanchon88's picture
Fanchon88 9 years 31 weeks ago

I feel for you and your son. My husband had PTSD. Don't give up on your Vet Center and all possibility for help. You can hit a brick wall and 18 months later there will be some new program, some new tack the VA is taking to help such people. Time will heal, too, of course. And let me say my own VA medical vacility -- Reno, NV -- is bloody wonderful. It helps to know and try to understand the symptoms. We've all lost something simply by giving up a chunk of our youth. Your son gave up much more. God bless!

Fanchon88's picture
Fanchon88 9 years 31 weeks ago

Elioflight, I wrote a heartfelt reply to you. Somewhere down below. Take care!

sandlewould's picture
sandlewould 9 years 31 weeks ago


We have paper ballots. I always use them as do most, but then, the paper gets scanned by a computer and then tossed in the trash.

Gene Brady's picture
Gene Brady 9 years 31 weeks ago

I have had lots of veterans in my life, and like most people I have meet they are good honest people. The vast majority of service men and women never experiece combat. Tooth to tail ratio runs around 5%. As a nation, we should stop this automatic celebration of the worrior. If we were to stop, maybe are young often naive citizens would not enlist in large enough numbers to provide the nations leadership,( warmongers) with an all volunteer army. That would require a draft, and make us as a nation less inclined to go into an unnecessary war. Lets try to celebrate those of us that protest and avoid conflect. We all do are part and soldiers should not be treated as eliteist, with the benefits that all american should enjoy.

Alembic1's picture
Alembic1 9 years 31 weeks ago

There were chemical weapons in Iraq in 1990 and 1991 when I was there. I ran a US Marine Corps tech shop in Al Jubail the during the Gulf War. I was fully certified in NBC (Nuclear, Biological and Chemical) detection. In my tech shop we had chemical monitors and they showed positive for Cyclosarin gas on several occasions and we even had to don full HazMat gear (Mopp3). Many of my men were sickened by these chemicals including myself.

However; when Bush and Cheney started Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) in 2003, the stock piles, factories, precursers, and means of production had been destroyed. You can read about it on the CIA web site:

It's not really nuanced and isn't double speak. There are two different set of facts in two different time lines. Bush and Cheney did lie about it.

We were denied medical treatment and were blasted in the press. I came home and had internal bleeding and lost 4 teeth. I had diarahea 15 times a day for about 6 years afterwards. Some of my friends became permantly disabled and wheel chair bound after arriving home. I was with a group of Marines that were told we could testify in court about the chemical agents we observed. The address they gave us was a Cemetery in Staten Island.

Calling us names like "dundeheads" is not going to convince anyone that your point is correct. It is just spreading hate and it's un-American.

Sgt. Gregory Ciulla USMC

Alembic1's picture
Alembic1 9 years 31 weeks ago

There were chemical weapons in Iraq in 1990 and 1991 when I was there. I ran a US Marine Corps tech shop in Al Jubail the during the Gulf War. I was fully certified in NBC (Nuclear, Biological and Chemical) detection. In my tech shop we had chemical monitors and they showed positive for Cyclosarin gas on several occasions and we even had to don full HazMat gear (Mopp3). Many of my men were sickened by these chemicals including myself.

However; when Bush and Cheney started Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) in 2003, the stock piles, factories, precursers, and means of production had been destroyed. You can read about it on the CIA web site:

It's not really nuanced and isn't double speak. There are two different set of facts in two different time lines.

Bush and Cheney did lie about it. We were denied medical treatment and were blasted in the press. I came home and had internal bleeding and lost 4 teeth. I had diarahea 15 times a day for about 6 years afterwards. Some of my friends became permantly disabled and wheel chair bound after arriving home. I was with a group of Marines that were told we could testify in court about the chemical agents we observed. The address they gave us was a Cemetery in Staten Island.

Calling us names like "dunderheads" is not going to convince anyone that your point is correct. It is just spreading hate and it's un-American.

Sgt. Gregory Ciulla USMC

Elioflight's picture
Elioflight 9 years 31 weeks ago

Franchon88: Thanks for your well-wishes.

Progressive Republican's picture
Progressive Rep... 9 years 31 weeks ago

Not to mention that apologizing for using spent uranium ammo shoud be on that list.

gbrandolph's picture
gbrandolph 9 years 30 weeks ago


The other "sorry" to our vets is more a PLEA - a plea to the powers that be to stop drugging our G.I.s with dangerous psychotropics that are causing them to commit suicide. I will make further posts on this. You, as a former practitioner should be aware of this: in the 1980's psychiatry shifted its agenda away from personal counseling to the manufacture and dispensing of psychtropics, this is collusion with Big Pharma.

Suicides and homicides directly relating to the ingestion of psychiatric medication HAS SKYROCKETED OUT OF CONTROL! Pre 1980's we did not have these incidents - celebrities like Robin Williams on psych meds committing suicide. Others on medication like the kids at Columbine, the Fort Hood shooter, the psychotic in NYC on meds who beheaded his mother and then jumped in front of a train, etc, etc, etc. Yet the FDA and Congress DOES NOTHING!! I have written letters to my Congressman and Senators, as well as the President to enact a moratorium on these dangerous drugs. The following is the letter I sent to President Obama:

Dear Mr. President:

As a Vietnam War era veteran, I am very concerned about the current suicide rate amongst our G.I.s which, well documented in current news, eclipses battlefield casualties. More American servicemen have died committing suicide in Afghanistan and Iraq than have been killed in combat. In World War 2, the biggest military conflict in history, you would be hard pressed to find any American serviceman that committed suicide. So why should the percentage in TODAY'S wars be so outrageously high? Obviously those in command are very concerned but the ANSWER, which will open the door to lowering servicemen suicides, is overlooked. The answer becomes clear when you ask a simple question: what is the MAJOR difference between treatment then and now?

The answer is psychiatric diagnoses and treatment.

In WW2 there were NO psychiatric drugs. Soldiers suffering from the psychic ravages of war, such as shell shock, were COUNSELED on a one-on-basis, and when they regained their self-confidence they were returned to the front.

Today military psychiatrists and doctors treat the G.I's psychic ravages with PSYCHOTROPIC DRUGS. It IS the drugs that are causing the suicides, as they are doing so at an alarming rate amongst the civilian population.

So much work has been done by psychiatric reform advocacy groups like MindFreedom, CCHR, and others to show how psychiatric drugs are dangerous and ineffective. THAT is the cause and reason for the G.I's committing suicide

In the 1980's psychiatric treatment shifted from counseling to the manufacture, diagnosis and treatment with psychiatric medication. Psychotropics are now the number one selling pharmaceutical drugs worldwide. But the rise of suicides and homicides due to these drugs has SKY-ROCKETED. We didn't have these incidents of shocking murders and suicides - man goes into a Burger King, shoots 6 people and kills himself - pre 1980's. Now they occur every other week. The Ft Hood shootings is one example-the perpetrator was on psychiatric medication.

I am urging a MORATORIUM on the dispensing of these dangerous drugs to our troops and a return to the successful personal counseling that was effective in the earlier wars. Frankly they should be BANNED. The medical hierarchy will not like this and will fight against it but look, WHAT THEY'RE DOING IS NOT WORKING.

I guarantee you, there will be a substantial reduction in military suicides when medical personnel stop treating our military with psychiatric drugs and counsel them instead.



Randy Gomberg

894 NW Mignonette Ave

Gresham, OR, 97030


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