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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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Jarhead General Says Marines Impervious to the Relentless Stress of Killing/Combat and (as a result) Can't Suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderPosted by Picasa
Greetings to all aboard the blog. First, I want to acknowledge the passing of Vice-Admiral James Stockdale at the age of 81, who exited the stage yesterday as reported by the press (http://www.10news.com/news/4687960/detail.html). Admiral Stockdale is probably most recently known as Ross Perot's running mate during the 1992 Presidential race as well as his somewhat befuddled performance during the 1992 Vice-Presidential debate held at the Theater for the Arts on the campus of Georgia Tech and moderated by Hal Bruno of ABC News, a debate which also included Al Gore and Dan Quayle (http://www.debates.org/pages/trans92d.html). Yet, Admiral Stockdale was more than his unimpressive 1992 Vice-Presidential performance...much, much more. Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Stockdale) describes Admiral Stockdale as follows:

James Bond Stockdale (23 December 1923 – 5 July 2005) was one of the most highly decorated officers in the history of the United States Navy. He was the highest ranking naval officer held as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. Stockdale led the U.S. air squadron during the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident. He was awarded 26 personal combat decorations, including the Medal of Honor and four Silver Stars. Stockdale is also remembered as a Vice Presidential candidate in the 1992 election on Ross Perot's independent ticket.

Admiral Stockdale was the highest ranking officer/POW during the Vietnam War and endured years of torture and abuse at the hands of his North Vietnamese captors during his long captivity in NVA prison camps, an experience he shared with fellow naval aviator and now Senator John McCain (R-AZ, http://mccain.senate.gov/). In fact, Admiral Stockdale rushed to his warrior-brother's defense during the 2000 Republican Presidential primaries when brutally malicious and vulgar accusations and disparaging remarks were made concerning Senator McCain's overall health status by the Bush Jr. campaign (most especially in South Carolina, http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/08/31/148237). Admiral Stockdale stood up for his friend ("friend" really isn't the word for it, their relationship was so much more than that) and wrote a beautifully moving article which was run in the 'New York Times' titled 'John McCain in the Crucible' (http://www.farfromglory.com/admstockdale.htm). Outside of his illustrious and honorable service in the armed forces, this was probably his finest hour...what character, what integrity. There is no question that we owe much, as a collective American community and as a nation, to individuals and true patriots like Admiral James Stockdale who gave so much and asked for so little in return. Thank you Admiral Stockdale and sir, may you only know fair winds and following seas. The second thing I want to report is that I have been accepted to graduate school! Just got the letter yesterday and I'm extremely excited about it. Wow, graduate school...can't believe it, but I was accepted! Now, on with the topic of the day: stupid-ass comments from a Marine general officer. I touched on this subject a few months ago, but think it's appropriate to touch on it again. 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 resulting from prolonged and 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 rational 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 who is actually suggesting 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 excellent blog dedicated to get a Marine general, Gen. Anthony Zinni (a Marine general who 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 who made the jackassed comments to the 'Marine Corps Times' concerning PTSD and its "non-existence" (as far as he is concerned) 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, pseudo-intellectual thought process 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, all of that is outstanding....extremely motivating. His accomplishments are unquestionably impressive, to say the very least. However, I see nothing in his bio that suggests he is a medical doctor or a medical professional in any way, shape or form. In short, Brigadier General Dunford (with all due respect, sir) should stick to the tactical and strategic analysis/warfighting and leave the medical understandings and physiological, psychological and psychiatric 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 who laid down NOT ONLY THEIR LIVES, but also to those who 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 who 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 assuredly) 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, i.e., making sure women who want to participate and are CAPABLE of participating in the combat arms/non-combat arms are allowed to be just as "macho" as the next guy (and believe me, there are women in the military who not only CAN pull the load just as well as men, but there are also women who can pull the load BETTER than quite a few men...I've seen it folks, time and time again...learned that lesson for the first time at OCS...more on this subject in a future posting). But, sometimes that macho crap warps reality. The bottom line is this: regardless of what the good General may think, he is actually undermining the recoveries and potential recoveries of Lord knows how many Marines (and all veterans, for that matter) who 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: again, 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 and 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 who DO understand these nuances; teams of bright folks who 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 who are not afraid to address the realities of these issues instead of leaders who 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 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 kind of attitude and mindset does more harm than good. PTSD does exist, if you don't believe me, go visit your local VA...do your own research and see for yourselves. Semper Fidelis


Blogger merlallen said...

I really admired Admiral Stockdale and am saddened at his passing. The man was a real hero.

10:54 PM  
Blogger merlallen said...

And also, keep up the good work.

10:54 PM  
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