Tag Archives: ptsd

The Life and Lonely Death of Iraqi Vet, Noah Pierce

Noah PierceBy Susan Lindauer
Covert Report Radio

In graphic, heart-breaking detail, Dale Pierce gives a father’s account of the Post traumatic Stress, war crimes, and urgent need for mental health care for Veterans,leading to the suicide of his 23 year old son, Noah, after 2 tours of duty in Iraq. Listen here.

September is Suicide Prevention Month for Veterans. The Covert Report supports all veterans and their families.

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Chemical Warfare

By Robert C. Koehler

To fight our insane wars, we’re wrecking our soldiers’ ability to live with themselves and function in society, then regulating what’s left of them with chemicals, which often make things immeasurably worse.

In the pursuit of order, could we possibly be creating more chaos, not simply externally — in the shattered countries we’re leaving in our wake — but internally, in the minds of those soldiers?

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The Bad Apple

By Robert C. Koehler

So it turns out that mass-murder suspect Robert Bales once used a bad word in a Facebook conversation.

This is one of the more bizarre details of his life that has come breathlessly to light in the media, along with his big smile, arrest record and disastrous financial dealings. The word was “hadji” (misspelled “hagi”), which is the racial slur of choice among U.S. troops to denigrate Iraqis; and stories where I have read about his use of it fixate on it judgmentally, as though to suggest it might explain something: the tiny flaw that reveals a propensity for massacring children.

Something had to be wrong with him, right?

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Death and Public Relations

By Robert C. Koehler

The killer was in his fourth deployment.  He walked from his base to one village, then another, leaving behind the lunacy and spiritual wreckage of American foreign policy.  Then he walked back to his base and calmly turned himself in.  [Image]

I’ve been staring at the words for hours now:

“This terrible incident does not change our steadfast dedication to protecting the Afghan people and to doing everything we can to build a strong and stable Afghanistan.” — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and their entire community.” — deputy American ambassador to Afghanistan, James B. Cunningham

The words are meant to soften this PR disaster, to muffle the cries of the survivors.

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Cancer of the Spirit: On the Bridge review

By Robert C. Koehler

Can we squeeze the glory out of the word “war”?  Can we talk about savage irrationality and lifelong inner hell instead?  Can we talk about the wreckage of two countries?

Can we talk about spiritual cancer?

In the extraordinary documentary On the Bridge — an unstinting look at the reality of war and the terror of PTSD, directed by Olivier Morel — each of the six Iraq vets who opens his or her heart in the course of the film has a moment of deep, almost unbearable silence at the end, staring into the camera and through the camera at the viewer . . . and at the nation they are committed to waking up. In that silence, those are the questions that begin to emerge.

On the Bridge bares the deep psychic wounds of America’s returning vets — “I liken (PTSD) to the comedic scene of opening a closet and stuff keeps falling out,” Jason Moon said at one point — but it does much more than that as well. It puts these wounds into context: We are the aggressor nation, not simply at the geopolitical level, invading and occupying Continue reading

The Dignity of Corpses

By Robert C. Koehler

Civilization hasn’t successfully drawn a moral border at the sanctity of human life itself, but because it needs to put some limit on human behavior, it has, apparently, taken a last stand at the dignity of corpses.

It’s OK to kill your enemy, but not to urinate on him, at least not after he’s dead.

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Used-up Heroes

In association with Suzanne Ross and Adam Erickson of the Raven Foundation, I am part of a blog radio show called “Playing for Keeps.” Here’s a link to our first show.

As you think about giving gifts with meaning this year, please consider my book, Courage Grows Strong at the Wound, which speaks with honesty and humor about the human condition. It’s especially appropriate for anyone who has suffered recent loss and is coping with the grieving process. Be aware also that the sale of the book supports this column and my ability to give a peace journalist’s perspective on current events. The book has been reduced in price through the end of the year. More info below this week’s column:

By Robert C. Koehler

At a sports bar in downtown Minneapolis called Sneaky Pete’s, “Young men fueled with alcohol begged Boogaard to punch them, so they could say they survived a shot from the Boogeyman.”

I’m thinking, wow, we power our society as much on adolescent energy as we do on fossil fuels. And the consequences are probably even more devastating. [Image]

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Panetta’s Gaffe

By Robert C. Koehler

Leon Panetta, on his first visit to Iraq as secretary of defense last weekend, reached for a Bush moment ten years too late.

“The reason you guys are here is because on 9/11 the United States got attacked,” he said to the assembled troops at Camp Victory in Baghdad, according to the Washington Post. “And 3,000 Americans — 3,000 not just Americans, 3,000 human beings, innocent human beings — got killed because of al-Qaida. And we’ve been fighting as a result of that.”

Yeah, oops, gaffe, Mr. Secretary, right? That Iraq-al-Qaida connection thingy isn’t in the spin anymore, and Panetta’s assistant had to mop up afterwards, making sure no one misinterpreted the boss’s remarks as reopening an old “debate” by reiterating a long-abandoned lie.

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Insanity Dawn

Please see information about purchasing my new book, Courage Grows Strong at the Wound, following this week’s column.

By Robert C. Koehler

As the Tomahawk missiles, our million dollar babies, rained down on Gadaffi’s army and who knows what else these past couple weeks, I couldn’t help but feel the clenched American fist protruding over global events again.

Yeah, we’re back, world. How tragic that bellicose Republicans, in their indiscriminate hatred of Obama, have had to excuse themselves from the celebration, but still, Libya ain’t Egypt, and America is in its groove again, unwavering in its commitment to freedom. No hedged bets, no sir, not this time, not when freedom’s prelude is bombs, invasion and war.

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Hell Comes Home

By Robert C. Koehler

There’s no armor, it turns out, for conscience.

So our men and women are coming home from the killing fields wounded in their heads, used up, greeted only by the military’s own meat grinder of inadequate health care and intolerance for “weakness.”

“Frankly, in my more than 25 years of clinical practice, I’ve never seen such immense emotional suffering and psychological brokenness.” This is what whistleblower psychiatrist Kernan Manion wrote recently to President Obama about his experience counseling Marines at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, as reported by Salon.

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