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What are some solutions for dealing with US veterans after Iraq and Afghanistan?

Veterans face a number of challenges when they return to society here in America. Post Traumatic Syndrome, depression, anxiety, unemployment, domestic abuse, child abuse and I am sure there others.

It is our obligation to find solutions and resources to give our troops the best chance in coping with society again. It is said that the average soldier has done 3-4 combat tours where the combat was in such close quarters that they said that they could smell them.

This is a challenge that the US government, citizens and businesses needs to address. This can become a societal crisis if gone untreated.

Thanks and God bless,

Reggie Hobbs
Just Cause and Desert Storm Veteran

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    Oct 31 2012: I am a retired Viet Nam Vet. When I grew up the movies showed Audie Murphy fighting off the enemy and there was blood, guts, and death all around. When I enlisted the possibilities of "goin to war" were real. What happens in war was also known.

    So here is my thought. Recruiters draw a pretty picture that you can be a computer tech and when your tour is up we will help pay your way through college. So you go home and play Call to Combat and there is no blood, no screams, you play in a nice soft chair in airconditioning and a cold drink. You got killed eight times today and maybe you will do better tomarrow. The recruiter comes by and talks to you again and you really want to go to college but cannot afford it so his pitch is directed to your future and how the military can help you achieve it. You enlist and go to boot, school, and are assigned to a unit. The call comes to deploy ... it has all been fun and games up to now and they even gave you money to do it. .... reality sets in and your not ready for it. I want to go home and not play any more ... can I still have my benefits you promised me?

    There are solutions in place for vets that are having problems real or precieved.

    People that have never been in the military also have problems such as drugs, sexual abuse, witnessing a murder, in car wrecks, you name it ....

    So a good shift leader, manager, leader, should be aware of all of his personnel. People mature and when a soldier comes home he may seem different that the kid who you sent off a few months ago. That is not always bad so do not read in to it something that does not exist. If problems arise suggest that he see a VA doctor for a eval.

    There ar plenty of societal crises in need of attention.
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    Oct 29 2012: I think there are resources to handle the challenges faced by US veterans; the real issue is the political will. The possible effects of years in the thick of bombs, gunshots, blood and guts would have been considered even before soldiers are deployed so that they will be well catered for after their service.
    This questions the sincerity of the government as far as the welfare of soldiers are concerned; and one would wonder if anything is learned from the Vietnam and Gulf war experiences.
  • Oct 29 2012: Enlistees are young for obvious reasons. Mature analytical skills are not needed. Maybe we need the draft for fairness and to get the chicken hawks to think before they want to kick another country around. Oh yes, I am a peacetime vet. I did my three years of active duty 10 fingers 10 toes two arms two legs two eyes and one head. Okay , I don't want to tell the guys who had unpleasant experiences what to do or anything else. I am all here and had some interesting travels. God bless the guys who were messes up by the many deployments in these recent wars. Remember History tells us how Waters and the men who wanted their bunuses were chased out of Washingrton after the Great War. Don't expect better treatment from the new conservatives.
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    Oct 27 2012: Germany just recently changed its army from general conscription to voluntary service and since then one can find a lot of promotional videos of our armed forces.

    Surprisingly, all one can see are impressive tanks, jet-fighter, submarines and navy-ships and all of it just looks like a big fun adventure framed in dramatic sun-sets and in wide open and beautiful landscapes...

    If this is our message to our young generation, without showing a single wounded, crippled and dead body within those commercials, we, as a society, are showing nothing but disrespect to our very own citizen and to ourselves.

    National dignity and pride in a healthy manner just looks different to me!
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    Oct 27 2012: Since war is no modern invention and Post-traumatic stress disorder an inevitable consequence of it, didn't you consider this within your decision to become a soldier?

    As much as I know about the US military, it is a voluntary service and no general conscription, so what further obligation than paying you for your military service should there be for the US government and/or society?

    The question then be if a soldiers salary is high enough also to cover the expenses of an unavoidable aftermath yet this also would need to put a price tag on the so called 'highest sacrifice', the case of death, which I assume, which I hope, not to be indefinable for a human life.

    I am no pacifist, but I also do not agree with the way moderns societies are fighting their modern wars.

    By this, my only assumption for people who freely decide to join armed forces, think different than I do and know what they may face and expose themselves to, and that the conditions they do it for, they agreed upon. Otherwise, and in a free country like yours, no one would have any other reason to enrol.

    War has never been just a 'worst case scenario', and a soldier knows, that it can turn into his reality more likely than for a civilian. Especially at times were protecting ones very nation does not imply to do this on national soil.

    My best answer for your question for solutions for dealing with US veterans, is not to produce them in the first place!

    I assume there is not enough and no true information given to young people what war really means and because of it many decisions to join armed forces are therefore based on false impressions and heroic fantasies. Here I see the only obligation for government and society to be open and fair about it. In this, veterans are actually the only valid source for this information to hand further, but I assume there is little interest in listening to their voices...
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      Oct 29 2012: Re: "didn't you consider this within your decision to become a soldier?"

      Let's exercise some compassion and recognized that many of the soldiers that served in the current conflicts were National Guard Reservists, not people that signed on for a shooting war.
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        Oct 29 2012: I am not familiar what a 'National Guard' status means and what legal conditions are assigned to it. Yet I assume, better hope, that US contract laws are by its basic principles, similar to those in Germany.

        As the scope of an employment contract changes, a new contract, covering the changes, got to be issued and signed anew.

        So if there once was a difference in activities of the 'National Guard' and other 'armed forces' in terms of an involvement within a 'shooting war', I would consider it illegal to change those activities without naming them and to give a chance to resign from or to sign anew for them. I would be surprised if such a fraud took place in the US on such a sensitive issue.

        After the end of the cold war and the redefinition in the operating ranges of the German armed forces, the Bundeswehr, many professional soldiers of all ranks quit their service, as they reevaluated the change in risk to be sent into crisis areas. Because in cold war days it didn't really make a difference in Germany to be a soldier or civilian once another world war would have started.

        And even though I do not fully agree with those dismissals, I understand and accept them.

        But if the US sends troops into war which never signed for this sort of service, I would loose my last faith into the freedom of your country.
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    Gail .

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    Oct 27 2012: I was talking about this with my neighbor yesterday. We wondered what a demilitarizing boot camp would look like.

    The conversation was sparked by my having watched an interview with a medal of honor recipient. He said that he has been a hunter since he was a child, but now he's afraid when he doesn't have his machine gun. His hunting rifle isn't enough.

    When are we going to learn that war is not the answer?
    • Oct 27 2012: I agree wholeheartedly...War is not the answer. I got out of the Army in 2004 because I didn't like having to deploy for something the government thinks is a good cause.

      None of the causes that soldiers really believed in. But, when you are deployed you try and justify a good reason why you are there. That seems to make you feel better that you are fighting for a cause that means something.

      Don't get me wrong...God Bless America. Thanks for the ear and your interesting story.

      Reggie
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        Gail .

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        Oct 27 2012: I'm not so "God Bless America", but that's a different story.

        My neighbor and I were serious about the demilitarizing boot camp. (un-boot camp). I wondered if putting those nearing discharge in a non-religious but spiritual setting (if you want your religion, you can do so, but it should not be sponsored by the military in this time of untraining).

        Meditation has been shown to reduce activity in the amygdala part of the brain. (the fear/anxiety center). The constant barrage of cortisol (fear chemicals, also called the stress hormone) causes people to become addicted to it, and those who are addicted to fear make very poor decisions. Those decisions are generally based on short-term thinking and are generally irrational.

        While meditation is decreasing the cortisol that a warrior depends on for survival, it also increases activity in the frontal cortex. The frontal cortex is the executive center. It makes rational long-term decisions. Studies show that the frontal cortex actually thickens in the minds of active meditators. Studies also show an increase in IQ of up to 6 points.

        So my idea of the unboot camp would be a calm place with little outside stimuli. (Detox from cortisol) The discharging warrior would be encouraged to spend time looking inward and becoming self-aware, thus become a peace-maker in a very real way. Boot camps teach recruits how to stop thinking for themselves and be part of a team under a commander. Un-boot camps teach warriors how to think for themselves and how to discover the unique individual that they were born to be. It would end with the warrior forgiving SELF before going out into the world at large.

        So let's treat those returning vets to some spa treatment and give them a chance to respect (and hopefully love) themselves again.

        What do you think?