A Liberal Marines Progressive Perspective

Marines are defenders of the republic and the Constitution. That is our oath, that is our purpose, that is our calling. Many are Democrats. This is the journal of one such Marine. This leatherneck's progressive perspective is as follows...

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Location: Southwest, United States

U.S. Marine,0300 MOS,eight years in,honorably discharged,college-educated. To all the damned trolls, you better believe there are liberal Marines. Read "War Is A Racket" by 2-time Medal of Honor recipient Maj.Gen.S.D.Butler, plus Lewis B. Puller, Jr.'s "Fortunate Son" and maybe then you'll understand. Semper Fi!

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Thursday, March 31, 2005

General to Marines: No Such Thing as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Posted by Hello
Greetings to all aboard the blog. The picture above is an artist's rendition of a Marine that has seen plenty of action (too much action in fact) on the Pacific island of Peleliu during World War II, one of the bloodiest battles of the Pacific campaign (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Peleliu) The painting's title is 'Two-Thousand Yard Stare'. The artist of this powerful image is Captain Tom Lea, an Army officer and veteran of World War II. In fact, Captain Lea knew a thing or two about combat in the Pacific Theater of Operations in that he was actually "on deck" at Peleliu during the time of the battle (http://www.milhist.net/global/2000yard.html) as a war correspondent and artist for 'Life' magazine. The term "two-thousand yard stare" signifies the the psychic manifestations and traumas that are created as a by-product of unbridled violence (i.e., warfare/combat) played out day after day and/or over an extended period of time. The painting is powerful and moving because it goes into the soul of the tortured warrior, tortured as a result of serving in combat (and in a combat area) for a prolonged period of time. In World War I the condition was called "shell-shock", in World War II and Korea it was called "battle fatigue" or "war neurosis". Then, in Vietnam, the modern term of "post-traumatic stress disorder" was created. My point is this: the phenomenon of post-traumatic stress disorder as a culmination of the breakdown of the human psyche as a result of prolonged, intense (or, a combination of the two) external and internal pressures vis a vis the stress and carnage produced by combat actvities is UNDERSTOOD to be a given. In other words, PTSD (as a real psychic syndrome) is no longer up for debate within the medical community. In fact, if one was to suggest that PTSD was not real, they would not be taken seriously and would probably be laughed out of house and home. Yet, there is a bone-headed leatherneck general out there that is actually suggesting that PTSD is NOT a factor in the human equation in terms of human combat and human coping capability. I caught wind of this by way of the 'Draft Zinni' for U.S. Senator blog (http://draftzinni.blogspot.com/), an excelllent blog dedicated to get a Marine general, Gen. Anthony Zinni (a Marine general that ACTUALLY has some sense) into the political arena. Anyway, this kind of stuff (and the sheer ignorance of it) burns me up; here we are in the 21st century and we actually have to spend time talking about the efficacy of PTSD in relation to veterans (combat veterans, no less) as to whether or not PTSD really exists...this just chaps my hide! The Marine officer that made the bone-headed comments to the 'Marine Corps Times' concerning PTSD and its "non-existence" is Brigadier General Joseph Dunford USMC, who is the assistant commander of 1st Marine Division. Brigadier General Dunford, quite simply, dismisses wholesale the study in the 'New England Journal of Medicine' (a weekly, medical journal that is considered the world's leading medical periodical, http://content.nejm.org/) that has found "...17 percent of Iraq combat veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder". The article link is as follows, (http://www.marinetimes.com/story.php?f=1-292925-750444.php). You see, this is the kind of dead-headed intellect that is going to hurt more people then it helps and perhaps even get some people killed. While reading the general's official Marine Corps biography (http://www.marines.mil/genbios2.nsf/Act_Brig_Gen_Bio, go to Brig. Gen. Dunford), I found the following:

"Brigadier General Dunford was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1955. He was commissioned in June 1977 after graduation from St. Michael’s College. He was subsequently assigned to the 1st Marine Division where he served as a Platoon and Company Commander in 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines and Company Commander in 1st Battalion, 9th Marines..."


"...Brigadier General Dunford is a graduate of the U. S. Army Ranger School, Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School, and the U. S. Army War College. He holds a M.A. in Government from Georgetown University and a M.A. in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Ok, that's outstanding....extremely motivating. His accomplishments are unquestionably impressive, to say the very least. However, I see nothing in his bio that suggests that he is a medical doctor or a medical professional in any way. In short, Brigadier General Dunford (with all due respect, sir) should stick to the tactical and strategic analysis and the warfighting and leave the medical understandings and analysis to the medical professionals. The general's comments are insensitive, ignorant and a slap-in-the-face to ALL veterans; especially to those veterans that have laid down NOT ONLY THEIR LIVES, but also to those that have LAID DOWN THEIR MINDS in the naval services (or any service for that matter) of the United States. Not only is it a disservice to those that have served for Constitution and country, but his jaw-dropping ignorance simply borders on recklessness; but, in any event, his lack of knowledge coupled with his high leadership position make for a situation that is (most definitely) dangerous. Dangerous in that his belief/attitude will "trickle-down" (so to speak) to all ranks below him, just as the SecDef's lax attitude towards torture "trickled-down" to Abu Ghraib personnel...and we all know how beautifully that turned out (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Ghraib_prisoner_abuse). To be sure, the Marine Corps is an extremely macho organization, just ask any "W.M." (or, "Woman Marine"...that's what they're called). Macho and machismo have always been a part of the Corps' motif and macho/machismo have their place in a warfighting organization; just as long as it doesn't facilitate gender discrimination and that women who want to participate and are CAPABLE of participating are allowed to be just as "macho" as the next guy (and believe me, there are women in the military that CAN pull the load just as well as men...learned that lesson at OCS). But, sometimes that macho crap warps reality. The bottom line is this: regardless of what the good general may think, he is acutally undermining the recoveries and potential recoveries of Lord knows how many Marines (and all veterans for that matter) that are suffering untold heartache and pain (through no fault of their own) as a result of their service in the 'Global War on Terrorism'. My open message to Brigadier General Dunford is this: with all due respect sir, secure that nonsense...you simply don't know what you are talking about. This is just another glaring indicator of how desperately our country needs real leadership, intelligent leadership (not bone-headed braggadocio). Intelligent leadership that either understands human realities/human nuances or, (at least) is willing to pull together teams of bright people that DO understand these nuances; teams of bright folks that not only want real answers and want to reach for real solutions, but will rigorously work their intellects to get those solutions. We need bright leaders that are not afraid to address the realities of these issues instead of leaders that stick their collective heads in the sand a la denial. See, denial is like a spreading malignancy...it does nothing but destroy the host in the end unless it is aggressively confronted and checked. The sort of ignorance that Brigadier General Dunford displayed and espoused for all the world to see in his statements to the 'Marine Corps Times' must be resisted by any means necessary fore that attitude does more harm than good. PTSD does exist, if you don't believe me, go visit your local VA...do your own research. Semper Fidelis


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