Friday, September 19, 2014

Suicide rate among veterans climbs again.

by Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

As the billionaires in Hollywood get $300 million in tax breaks to encourage them to shoot their crappy films in California, the US taxpayer is being asked to pony up more cash to fight the former friends of the CIA in ISIS.  As often happens, people that the CIA uses to advance the interests of US corporations have an agenda of their own when they are no longer useful to the Pentagon folks.

Politicians like Biden, Obama, Kerry have all expressed their horror at their former allies beheading of two US journalists. They are so outraged they will spend more of our money and will most likely call on the US workers to yet again go fight for “freedom”.

The predatory wars US capitalism is waging around the world, the hundreds of bases it is building attempting to surround China and contain both that nation and Russia, is costing us dearly, not simply in monetary terms but also through cuts in domestic spending, education, services, jobs and other public services.  These wars are not popular despite all the fear mongering and lies about the motives for the wars, that they are about defending our freedom. “Our” freedom doesn’t mean US workers and the middle class. “Our” in this sense means the folks that gather at Jackson Hole Wyoming or Doha and such places. It means the likes of the young kid that runs Facebook, or warren Buffet. These people don’t fit in the category “Ours” when it comes to the working class.

The burden of fighting these battles falls on a small section of American families.  Some of the young people who they send to these places have been two or three times.  This has a tragic effect on these families.  So far two and a half million Americans have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to the VA, about 20%of them come home with PST. As with all countries, the phony patriotism and flag waving and bull about freedom is somewhat absent when those damaged physically and psychologically by these ventures, those who do the actual fighting, return home. I remember one young veteran who run afoul of the law when he returned from Iraq saying that the that the first time he was approached by an institution of the state was when he got in trouble for domestic abuse.  He described what he had to do or witnessed in Iraq and then said he’s supposed to come home and head down the mall with the wife and kids as if nothing had changed.

Improved body armor has meant that soldiers that would normally have been killed survive but with terrible injuries. I wrote some time ago of the massive increase in multiple amputations due to soldiers being blown in half after stepping on explosive devices. I was reading that in Harris County Texas, 400 veterans are locked up every month.  What a disgrace.  The suicide rate among veterans is also up over the last year, 15% for the army and 28% for the Marines.

Where’s the outrage from these politicians of Wall Street about this?   Nearly 1,900 Veterans Committed Suicide In Just 2014 Alone  . This is a social catastrophe and we should not simply consider the suicides but what this means to families and relatives and friends.  These wars are not like Hollywood portrays wars, they're real. Stillone, Schwarzenegger and John Wayne, people like that are a disgrace; propagandists for the corporations, they are like the pied piper of Hamelin as they get rich encouraging young people to violence and then, like Schwarzenegger, throwing them in jail and preaching how bad it is when they commit it. They portray the act of killing a human being as some macho event but for a normal human being to kill another it is an extremely traumatic and psychological harmful affair.

The politicians of the 1% care not about beheadings, their profession is violence and they ensure their kin are out of harms way. One of the biggest psychological conflicts I reckon is that it becomes clear to anyone with a brain that while all humans defend themselves when in a situation that forces it upon us, when a combatant realizes that they are not fighting to defend our freedoms and the lie is exposed this makes a huge difference in how we perceive things. The collapse of morale in the US army played a major role in the defeat of US imperialism in Vietnam.

The only freedom capital and its representatives in the political sphere care about is the freedom of capital to go anywhere any time free of obstacles like regulation, unions and the like.  Freedom to exploit labor power and extract surplus value through the labor process that’s the only freedom that matters to them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well said.