A confluence of topics dealing with mental health, substance abuse, health, public health, Social Work, education, politics, the humanities, and spirituality at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels. In short, this blog is devoted to the improvment of the quality of life of human beings in the universe.
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.
Today, on Yahoo News, the headline reads, "Bush thanks troops for the 'ultimate sacrifice'". I wonder what that "ultimate sacrifice" is for in Viet Nam and Iraq?
I can hear Bush say, "Freedom". I can hear the applause. Can anyone tell me how Viet Nam, and Iraq threatened the "Freedom" of any American?
1984 has arrived where "newspeak" is used regularly by the Commander In Chief and the hypnotized masses applaud willingly at the appropriate applause lines. These are not free people. These are brainwashed people who know not what the truth is.
The military/industrial/corporate complex has bought our politicians and are making billions, if not trillions of dollars off this war. This is not a situation that the average citizen should be applauding for, and certainly not a situation that our soldiers should be dying for, unless they have a mercenary bent in which case you get what you've got coming.
I find it hard to applaud. World War II vets yes. Persian Gulf vets, maybe, but the rest were immoral wars fought for less than honorable causes, and the soldiers who died did so because they got caught up in a political meat grinder, being led to kill by less than honorable leaders. For those who objected to the immoral behavior and orders, there was ridicule, arrest, court martial and punishment. Doesn't sound like freedom to me. It sounds like coercion, punishment, and huge injustice perpetrated upon those designated as "enemies" and then on its own citizens and soldiers.
People of conscience pay a huge price for any freedom they choose to utilize. The government will prosecute you, limit your freedoms, punish you, and crush any freedom right out of you.
Memorial Day is a day for us as Americans to cherish our freedom and resist a coercive and dysfunctional government that only cares about money and power for the plutocracy. When citizen soldiers die on its behalf it goes on a mock charade of honoring those that have done its bidding and in George W. Bush's case, he has even made up a big deal about giving up golf. It is pathetic. And if you didn't know better, it would make you crazy.
Cenk Uygur on the Yount Turks talks about George giving up golf. Video lasts about 2:53 minutes.
This is an essay I have wanted to write for some time, but have never felt confident that I had the words to accurately express my thoughts and feelings. I have looked for other authors who could state the ideas more clearly and succinctly than I can, but having found none, I have decided to take the risk and try to express the idea myself.
On this memorial day, I have a great deal of difficulty honoring and paying tribute to people who have engaged in immoral, unethical, and perhaps even criminal behavior. I am talking about soldiers who willingly and readily engaged in the killing in the immoral wars in Viet Nam and Iraq. Participating in the immoral wars of empire is not an honorable or moral activity. The defense that the soldier is “only doing their job”, and “just following orders” is the same as the German soldiers who transported the Jewish people and manned the crematoriums during the Holocaust. This defense was judged to be inadequate in the Nuremberg trials after World War II and it is not adequate for our soldiers immoral activity in a war of imperial conquest now.
There are courageous and heroic people who objected to the criminal activity and said “Hell no, I won’t go!”, and who rejected further service. I call these soldiers, “Soldiers of conscience” because they have reflected on the activities they were being ordered to participate in and judged them immoral and objectionable and at great personal sacrifice said so and refused to participate. They're people of conscience I admire, honor, and respect and yet the majority of Americans seem embarrassed by them because they force us as a nation to examine our nation’s policies and activities and we are conflicted and ashamed. It is another example of the classic case of the little boy saying to his mother, “The king has no clothes on!” and she tells her son to “Hush up!” because she fears the reprisal and retribution for his honesty.
As a therapist, I hypothesize that a great deal of what gets diagnosed as PTSD is a case of overwhelmingly guilty consciences at what was done, or what was seen done, and what was participated in, and yet there is no socially acceptable mechanism for individual soldiers and us, as a nation, to confess our sins, acknowledge our guilt, ask for forgiveness, and repent. This spiritually cleansing strategy has been labeled by the current Republicans and conservative pundits as “cut and run”. And yet it is much more psychological and spiritually healthy to call a spade a spade, take the bull by the horns, determine the nature and degree of harm done, and attempt to rectify and repair the harm.
Our current political climate and culture is too imbued with hubris to admit mistakes, take responsibility for immoral and illegal behavior, admit wrongs done, and apologize and make amends. So the iconic images and ideas of Abu Ghraib and Guantanomo, of extraordinary rendition, of deceit in justifying a pursuit to war, makes us as a nation hide our shame by sporting yellow “support the troops” magnetic ribbons on our cars and pretend that memorial day is a day to celebrate the heroic sacrifices of the activities of soldiers who have engaged in immoral, illegal, and unethical acts in our name.
We do no service to ourselves and to them when we lie and deceive ourselves and others about the horror we have inflicted on Iraq, Viet Nam, and other people’s around the world.
As Nuremberg trials concluded, at the end of the day, the individual conscience is supreme and to excuse one’s moral choices saying “ I was serving my country” or “I was following the orders of the Commander in Chief” is no defense.
When we look at the indicators of mental health among our soldiers: the rates of PTSD and other psychiatric problems, the suicide rates, the dysfunction among military families, I have to ask myself on Memorial Day, who is kidding who? If this activity is so grand and noble why the terrible psychic sequelae?
We have allowed ourselves as a nation to follow a delusional administration, and a dysfunctional congress into engaging in a pre-emptive, immoral, and illegal war. As Michael Moore pointed out on Larry King live over 100 million Americans, about 1/3 of the voting public knew the war was wrong. Millions more around the world knew the war was wrong. The United States essentially declared war alone with many more nations being unwilling than the touted few who were willing. The Pope and other major religious leaders around the world declared the war immoral. How can this be the occasion for honor and tribute? It will only make us crazier. It is better to call sin what it is – sin, and then go from there.
I honor the prophets, like the little boy who saw that the emperor had no clothes on, and thank them for their enlightened witnessing when those in power and the “moral majority” who support them have lost their way.
This Memorial Day should be a day of reflection and repentance. Let’s stop glorifying and honoring what is morally ugly. Let’s provide opportunities for truth and reconciliation instead of military jingoism and chauvanism. What many of our soldiers need is moral cleansing, along with our leaders, and then maybe it wouldn’t be necessary for them to kill themselves and go nuts.
Here is video with Darrell Anderson who is one veteran whom I admire and honor very much. The video lasts a little over 4 minutes and is worth every second.
Taxi To The Dark Side won the 2008 Oscar for best documentary. It is the story of Dilawar, the Afghani taxi driver, who was tortured and killed by U.S. soldiers. The film traces the history of the torture policy, illegal, and against the Geneva Conventions framed by Alberto Gonzales, Attorney General, John Yoo, Defense Department Attorney, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and George Bush.
It makes me ashamed to be an American. This current administration has committed terrrible sins and crimes against humanity in our name. As a nation we need to repent, ask for forgiveness, and make amends for our crimes and sins.
Every American should watch this film. It will help you understand why the terrorism threat has gotten worse not better in the last 8 years. I highly recommend it.
This video clip shows American soldiers killing a wounded Iraqi man. It lasts about 30 seconds.
Another video of American soldiers killing unarmed, wounded, Iraqis. No wonder PTSD and mental health problems are so high when soldiers return to "normal life." These soldiers are acting in our name. We should all be ashamed of ourselves.
American "Air Support" kills people indiscriminately.
US Army Specialist Darrell Anderson explains Army policy in Iraq: "Anderson describes the escalation of violence against unarmed civilians: "In April, they told us, "In a crowded area, if one person shoots at you, kill everybody." Anderson explains the rationale from the officers: "They [members of the crowd of people] are letting them [the person or persons firing at the U.S. military] attack you. They're no longer innocent if they're there at the time of the crime..."
In, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speech against war he rebukes his own government of the United States. Would that we Americans had learned his lessons. He, indeed, is a prophet, largely ignored, and killed forty years ago today on April 4, 1968. Often sentimentalized in politically correct ways while ignoring his deeper beliefs, values, and messages.
The video only lasts about 2 1/2 minutes. It sends chills up my spin to listen to him and watch this video.
The United States can use its power for good or for evil. With leaders like George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzalez, and Rice, and a stupid electorate, propagandized by the corporate media, is it any wonder that there is such grief in the world?
Our government fights wars of imperial conquest with a mercenary army both in uniform and under the guise of civilian contractors which suck people into behaviors which cause tremendous mental heatlh problems and suicides at epidemic rates. Why do the conquerors kill themselves? Because of the terrible evil that they see and participate in.
As Peter Gabriel sings, "I Grieve". It is all terribly tragic and sorrowful. And we have done it to ourselves and to our world. It is time to repent, and seek forgiveness. Until we do this, the evil will continue under the guise of doing good by bringing freedom and democracy by force when we have alienated the hearts and minds of the people we profess to serve. Of course, like all evil, it is a lie.
From March 13 through March 16, 2008 hundreds of U.S. veterans of the two wars were in Silver Springs, Maryland outside of Washington, D.C. to testify in the "Winter Soldiers" hearings about what they really did while they were serving their country in Iraq. The hearings were ignored by the Corporate media which is huge disservice to our troops and to us as Americans. It is crucial if our democracy is to continue, and Americans are to be truly free, for Americans to hear what our soldiers are doing in our name and how they feel about it. I will be putting a series of these testimonies on this blog. They are what I call soldiers of conscience.
As we listen, it is more understandable why our soldiers suffer mental health problems and have suffered more suicides than soldiers in previous wars. The Bush administration and people who have supported this immoral and illegal war need to repent their evil and sins against our brothers and sisters around the world and in our own country.
This first clip of Camilo Mejia lasts about 11 minutes.
Part two clip lasts about 11 minutes. Mike Totten testifies.
Part three clip lasts about 11 minutes and features Joyce and Kevin Lucey, mother and father of Jeff Lucey who killed himself aftercoming home from Iraq.
The Real News Network dares to broadcast what the corporate media won't. Americans are being propagandized about the Iraq War. Here is a 3 minute segment on the Iraq Veterans Against The War hearings which failed to be covered by the news networks. The testimonies are called The Winter Soldier stories. These are the soldiers of conscience.
The images are graphic and the truth is hard to look at. This is what is being done in our name by George W. Bush and his administration of neo-cons.