Thursday, November 22, 2007

Soldiers at home

Here's a very sobering story from Men's Health about the care or lack of care soldiers receive when they get back to the U.S.

The story follows three men from the same Marine company in Iraq. It tells their story of their combat experiences. They all fought in Fallujah. It then recounts how well they've been doing at home. You can sum up the article by saying one of the guys is lost, one is probably going to be ok and one is doing "fine". I'm not entirely sure I you can define fine after reading what these guys have been through.

Paul Rieckhoff is agitated. I've just recounted Lambert's story, and as a U.S. Army veteran and founder of the nonprofit Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), Rieckhoff has heard and seen it all before.

"Stories like that just piss me off," says Rieckhoff, a former first lieutenant who led an infantry platoon on more than 1,000 combat patrols in Baghdad. "The reality is that mental-health issues are probably one of the greatest threats facing Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. But our country is not ready to care for them. Contrary to what our president keeps telling us, we're not a country at war. Less than 1 percent of this country is at war. Our military is at war. Our military families are at war. Everyone else is shopping or watching American Idol."

I think the above paragraph really sums up one of the many problems with this "war" or I guess I should say these "wars" if you remember to include Afghanistan. To me this is the one problem, the way soldiers either in Iraq and Afghanistan or here at home are treated, that pisses me off more than anything.

This article gives a good look at the lack of care for our soldiers. It's nice to run around and say we support our troops and put little decals on our cars saying the same. But when it comes right down to it that's just lip service. The article concludes this way:

George Orwell said, "We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm."

Fred Lambert, Chris Sipe, and Ricky Mayer are such men. So what do we owe them in return?

And on this Thanksgiving, I think that is a very important question to think about as we sit down and have dinner.

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