‘With War and War’s Expression’

November 11, 2010

Veteran’s Day 2010 — A continuing, seemingly-never ending festival of sad.

(Illustration found here).

Adieu to a Soldier
— Walt Whitman

Adieu O soldier,
You of the rude campaigning, (which we shared,)
The rapid march, the life of the camp,
The hot contention of opposing fronts, the long manoeuvre,
Red battles with their slaughter, the stimulus, the strong terrific game,
Spell of all brave and manly hearts, the trains of time through you
and like of you all fill’d,
With war and war’s expression.

Adieu dear comrade,
Your mission is fulfill’d — but I, more warlike,
Myself and this contentious soul of mine,
Still on our own campaigning bound,
Through untried roads with ambushes opponents lined,
Through many a sharp defeat and many a crisis, often baffled,
Here marching, ever marching on, a war fight out–aye here,
To fiercer, weightier battles give expression.

Modern war is engulfed with official hypocrisy.
Since October 2001, 5,798 US troops have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan — with no sighted end in both places as President Obama has already backpedaled away from the 2011 Afghan withdrawal and troops will remain in Iraq beyond next year’s already-agreed-on draw-down.
And although the US DOD lists 32,900 troops wounded in Iraq, it’s been estimated the real figure is closer to 100,00 as the military lacks the mechanism to accurately track the wounded.
The war has brought nearly 320,000 reported cases of PTSD (20 percent of the entire US force) and many, many other related mental illness and the mainstream military establishment seem cold-hearted to its own people.
A glaring example: In 2006, Adele Kubein’s daughter, Makesha, a member of the Oregon National Guard, was blown out of her helicopter in Iraq — “Her leg was shattered and she was kept in combat two more months after that with a shattered leg,” Kubein told IPS. “She was eventually medically evacuated out, and she was held on a base in Colorado interminably. They were not going to release her because there was no plan in place for medical assistance for National Guard members. They were threatening to release her from the military without further medical care.”
From Nora Eisenberg via AlterNet and a post entitled ’10 Hard Truths About War for Veterans Day (and any other day)’ and numbers six and seven:

Over a half million Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are patients in the VA system.
Thousands more wait as much as a year for VA treatment for serious ailments including traumatic brain injury.
Forty-eight percent (243,685) are mental health patients and 28 percent (143,530) are being treated for PTSD. A recent internal VA memo revealed systematic gaming of the VA application process, whereby bureaucrats at facilities seek to improve access data by denying treatment.
Every day, five U.S. soldiers attempt suicide, a 500 percent increase since 2001.
Every day 18 U.S. veterans attempt suicide, more than four times the national average.
Of the 30,000 suicides each year in the U.S., 20 percent are committed by veterans, though veterans make up only 7.6 percent of the population.
Female veteran suicide is rising at a rate higher than male veteran suicides.

And, ‘So it goes.’

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