12% of United States troops in Iraq and 17% of troops in Afghanistan are on anti-depressants

On June 5, 2008, Time Magazine ran a story entitled, "America's Medicated Army". Here is a snippet from the article:

The medicines are intended not only to help troops keep their cool but also to enable the already strapped Army to preserve its most precious resource: soldiers on the front lines. Data contained in the Army's fifth Mental Health Advisory Team report indicate that, according to an anonymous survey of U.S. troops taken last fall, about 12% of combat troops in Iraq and 17% of those in Afghanistan are taking prescription antidepressants or sleeping pills to help them cope. Escalating violence in Afghanistan and the more isolated mission have driven troops to rely more on medication there than in Iraq, military officials say.

It seems that fighting pre-emptive and immoral wars is not good for one's mental health. I wonder when we as a nation will realize the error of our ways and demand that our government do something about it?

I don't know of any other occupation that has this high a rate of mental illness. Would you want your loved one to enter such a career?

Prozac: The Military's Secret Weapon, MSNBC with Joe Scarborough. Video lasts 3:25

This is article #4 on militarism.

1/4 - 1/3 of females in the United States military are raped by their fellow soldiers

I was reading at article recently which said that 1/3 of female soldiers in the United States military report being raped. I thought, "How can that be? That can't be right," and so I did a little research and it not only is right, but 1/3 may be low. Here is a snippet from an article in the Los Angeles Times from March 31, 2008. Here is a snippet:

The stories are shocking in their simplicity and brutality: A female military recruit is pinned down at knifepoint and raped repeatedly in her own barracks. Her attackers hid their faces but she identified them by their uniforms; they were her fellow soldiers. During a routine gynecological exam, a female soldier is attacked and raped by her military physician. Yet another young soldier, still adapting to life in a war zone, is raped by her commanding officer. Afraid for her standing in her unit, she feels she has nowhere to turn.

These are true stories, and, sadly, not isolated incidents. Women serving in the U.S. military are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire in Iraq.

The scope of the problem was brought into acute focus for me during a visit to the West Los Angeles VA Healthcare Center, where I met with female veterans and their doctors. My jaw dropped when the doctors told me that 41% of female veterans seen at the clinic say they were victims of sexual assault while in the military, and 29% report being raped during their military service. They spoke of their continued terror, feelings of helplessness and the downward spirals many of their lives have since taken.

Numbers reported by the Department of Defense show a sickening pattern. In 2006, 2,947 sexual assaults were reported -- 73% more than in 2004. The DOD's newest report, released this month, indicates that 2,688 reports were made in 2007, but a recent shift from calendar-year reporting to fiscal-year reporting makes comparisons with data from previous years much more difficult.
To read the whole LA Times article click here.
 
My wife and I had 9 children: 3 sons and 6 daughters. We have 12 grandchildren: 8 granddaughters and 4 grandsons. I would be opposed to their being in a situation where they were that likely to be raped. Using the 1/3 rape rate that would mean that 2 of my daughters and almost 3 of my granddaughters would be raped if they were in military service. It is a terrifying thought which leaves me with the conclusion that the greatest threat of terrorist attack to my loved ones would be in the United States military, not for Al Queda or whoever it is we are supposed to be afraid of.

NOW on PBS covers rape story.

Video lasts 3:45 CNN - Recruiter rape - Video lasts 6:20

This is article #3 in a series on militarism.

Counter recruiting of Army of None

I work with adolescents as part of my general practice and in the last couple of months I have had 3 or 4 young people say that they are thinking about joining the military. As a therapist I am ethically bound not to let my personal values interfere with my client's right to self determination, but I want to tell them about the high rates of PTSD, substance abuse, rape, and suicide among the military.

The military trains people to kill often civilian populations which goes against our human instinct to preserve life. The United States government has been involved in my lifetime in immoral wars that the Popes and other religious leaders have declared immoral. The moral and ethical conflicts which participating in the military places young people in can be soul damaging.

I wish young people were better informed. I wish they were not so naive and innocent. I wish they were not so gullible and susceptible to recruiting propaganda. In my professional role it is not appropriate for me to do counter recruiting, but in my private life I share my thought and values where appropriate.

Is it mentally healthy for 17, 18, 19 year old kids to sign up for the military to be trained to kill? I have my doubts. That's why so many of our soldiers are on anti-depressants and wind up with life long psychiatric disabilities. I watched my generation go through this and now a whole new generation in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

This article is the first in a series of articles I will  be posting on this blog categorized as "militarism".

Army of None, Counter Recruitment, Olympia Washington. Video lasts 4:29


Big lie exposed - No such thing as free markets

I woke up this morning to the headline on Yahoo news that the U.S. government is going to take over two of the largest mortgage companies in the United States. So much for free markets.

Of course, the government took over Bear Sterns a couple of months ago trying to prop up the investment companies.

The Republican nonsense about free markets is peddled to the working class and poor but the upper middle class and rich know that there is no such thing as free markets. Markets are manipulated by the rich, monied class and they are in bed with the government officials to line their pockets. When their schemes don't work, the government steps in to bail them out. This is another example of capitalism out of control. Here is a snippet from the Yahoo web site:

By ALAN ZIBEL, AP Business Writer 45 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - The government is expected to take over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as soon as this weekend in a monumental move designed to protect the mortgage market from the failure of the two companies, which together hold or guarantee half of the nation's mortgage debt, a person briefed on the matter said Friday night.

Some of the details of the intervention, which could cost taxpayers billions, were not yet available, but are expected to include the departure of Fannie Mae CEO Daniel Mudd and Freddie Mac CEO Richard Syron, according to the source, who asked not to be named because the plan was yet to be announced.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and James Lockhart, the companies' chief regulator, met Friday afternoon with the top executives from the mortgage companies and informed them of the government's plan to put the troubled companies into a conservatorship.


Army recruiters use unethical and illegal recruiting tactics on naive young people

Army recruitment How desperate are Army recruiters to fill the ranks to fight in the immoral and illegal war in Iraq? Desperate enough to use unethical and illegal tactics to intimidate naive young people into signing up.

Army recruiters prey upon young people and threaten them with arrest and jail if they don't sign up. Amy Goodman on Democracy Now interviews parties involved in this latest scandal. This show aired on August 6, 2008

If you have young people or work with young people, this is an important show which provides information about unethical recruiting tactics by the military.

You can listen by going to the Democracy Now web site by clicking on the link below.

Democracy Now! | August 06, 2008.


It's not against the law to falsify the news - Capitalism out of control

FOX News told reporter: "We'll tell you what the news is. The news is what we say it is."

Reporters Steve Wilson and Jane Akre were first asked by FOX News and later bribed, to downplay a story they had on a cancer-causing growth hormone called Posilac which is growth hormone for dairy cows which is absorbed by humans through milk. The reporters decided to blow the whistle on FOX News and filed a law suit. After the ordeal was over, it was discovered in the appeals court that it's actually not against the law to falsify the "News."

Video takes 10 minutes and is well worth watching.

 

 



Sean Hannity gets it wrong prompting killings in Knoxville

Sean hannity On July 29, 2008 Candace Chellew-Hodge wrote and open letter to Sean Hannity on Religious Dispatches.

“If the Left succeeds in gaining and retaining more power, the well-being of future generations will be at greater peril. I fear (our children) will inherit a nation that is less free and less secure than the nation we inherited from the last generation. It is therefore our job to stop them. Not just debate them, but defeat them.” — Sean Hannity

Dear Sean:

I found these words on page 11 of your book Let Freedom Ring. This book, and similar ones from your conservative colleagues Bill O’Reilly and Michael Savage, was found in the home of a man who read those words, internalized those words, and then loaded his shotgun. He took 76 rounds of ammunition with him to a place of worship—a place where he knew he could do his job to stop and defeat some liberals. At the Unitarian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, Jim Adkisson, a fan of yours, killed two people, wounded five others, and left an entire congregation and country shaken by his actions. Actions prompted, as he testified in his own written notes, by the ideas contained in your words.


Quote of the day

"1953 - At the behest of the British government, US President Dwight D. Eisenhower approves a covert operation to overthrow Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddeq, Iran's democratically elected leader. Mosaddeq had been a driving force behind the nationalization of British oil holdings in Iran. With the help of British and American funds, along with direct CIA assistance, his government was replaced by the dictatorship of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlav, whose rule would last until the Islamic revolution of 1979."

Adbusters magazine, #79


Capitalism out of control

I have started reading Naomi Klein's book, The Shock Doctrine, and it is one of those epiphany experiences where the light bulb goes on and I think to myself, "Holy Shit, that explains it."

Shock doctrine is a very exciting book for me because Klein brings a lot of events together with government policies which finally make sense for me. My initial impression is that the title of the book could also have been, "Capitalism out of control: How greed destroyed America and wreaked havoc in the rest of the world."

In the name of capitalism, the U.S. govenment has been increasingly privatizing previous government functions by outsourcing these services to private companies making political supporters rich on the public's dollar. It is a neat scheme to keep the politicians in power giving the public's money away to their cronies crowing about less government while they rob the public coffers and turn power over to the corporations to run the country.

It is time that Americans became aware of the new paradigm since they are ones paying for it and suffering under it.

I will be writing more about this topic in coming weeks and will tag these posts "Capitalism out of control".