Capt. Shannon Meehan (Ret.)
December 16th, 2011
04:00 AM ET

For these veterans, Iraq is a never-ending war

EDITOR'S NOTE: Barbara Starr's conversation with Iraq war veterans, "Home from Iraq," can be seen throughout the day on CNN this Saturday, December 17.

Watch the discussion about whether the war is over for these vets here, another conversation about the invisible wounds they suffer here, and a third piece about how they feel disconnected from Americans here.

By Barbara Starr

When we walked into the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Virginia, an elderly African American veteran of World War II came up to me and said "I take my hat off to these young folks today."

At the age of 87, his war now fading from perhaps too much of the American conscience, his worry was not about himself, but about his young brothers in arms. Veterans of today's war are young enough to be his great grandchildren. On a cold rainy day, tapping his cane, he came out in the bad weather. He wanted to meet the Iraq veterans we had assembled.

The Shakespeare "band of brothers" quote is tossed around all too frequently these days, but over the next two hours at that VFW hall, I would once again see that unbroken bond that exists among those who have gone to war for this country, whether it was 1941 or 2001.

At this VFW post, five veterans of Iraq joined me to talk about the war just as the curtain is coming down after nearly nine years of conflict. All have suffered greatly from post traumatic stress. Not surprisingly, while they are deeply conflicted about the war, all five express concern about fellow veterans and why today's vets are still not getting all the help they need with health care and jobs. The veterans I spoke with make it clear that for them the war in Iraq is not over.

"No its not over. We can't just leave the game on the court. We are struggling with things like epidemic levels of unemployment, suicide rate and because of that we have real casualties here just as we did in Iraq," says Ian Smith, who served in Iraq on tours in 2005 and 2007.

John Kamin served two tours in Iraq between 2007 and 2010. He says he, and all veterans, must continue to "carry the burden" of the war. If they do not, "we are doing a disservice to those who stayed over there who gave all."

All of the veterans talk about a sense of a disconnect from the American public about the war in Iraq. Shannon Meehan, who was in Iraq from 2006 to 2007, says that struggle has continued years after returning from the front lines when he deals with Americans trying to categorize him.

"You're either the best go-getter type worker there is or you are the broken down veteran that is a day away from suicide with PTSD and all kinds of problems. It just seems like you come back and you are supposed to fit into one of these two extremes. It's a caricature, you must fit one of these or the other," says Meehan.

"For myself, I am lost in the gray that is between those two," he says. "For me that leaves you feeling very isolated separated from society."

For female veterans of Iraq it can be even worse.

"I think that sense of isolation can be enhanced for female veterans because we are even more invisible, " says Kayla Williams, linguist with an intelligence unit of the Army during the initial invasion. "Because female veterans don't fit that stereotype of what a veteran looks like, who a veteran is, they can blend into the background even more."

But what is so remarkable, even through the years of physical and emotional pain, is the sense these veterans say they have of serving something larger, and more significant than themselves.

"I was so proud of the people I served with," says John. "At the end of the day it wasn't about the country, it was not about foreign policy, it wasn't even so much about winning any type of war as much as it was about doing what we could do for our particular area of operations and making sure we all got back."

But what also strikes so deep is a continuing sense of responsibility to the Iraqi people. Even from veteran's like Luis Carlos Montalván, who deployed in 2003 and 2005 and now struggles with pain and post traumatic stress on a daily basis. Ask him if the war is over and he says absolutely not, not for veterans, and not for Iraqis.

"The war is very much on going and its ongoing for the Iraqi people who are not really being spoken about."

And as we concluded our chat with the young Iraq veterans, the elderly World War II veteran was still quietly watching us. Still wanting to thank these young men and women.

soundoff (216 Responses)
  1. Private Nacktbilder

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    April 11, 2012 at 12:34 am | Reply
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    April 4, 2012 at 9:41 am | Reply
  3. Cyril

    Come on guys, don’t we all knew war means more weapons sales and weapons developments. If we don’t go to war than how do mighty weapons cooperate will make money?
    Check our history we always under threat from somebody. “Always”
    And as being soldier, you just takes orders.

    December 18, 2011 at 8:45 am | Reply
  4. MaryAnnC

    I went to the first Gulf War when all of this started. I never got over it and eventually left the military after an incident in 2003.

    It took me over 6 years of therapy, medical doctors at the VA including psychiatry and medication even till this day to get my Veterans Affairs benefits.

    They have a habit of taking forever, loosing documents, denying evidence that any court of law would uphold.
    They have their own form of math where 30% for destroyed lungs and 30% for a neck injury = 40% when it comes to compensation.

    I have known a man get denied for a blown ear drum on active duty even after he had medical evidence and a hearing aid given by military doctors.

    I had one claim sent to Washington where it was denied but if I want to appeal it I have to pay them $50.00!

    I went to the VA hospital for a double hernia where I was in pain, could not go to the bathroom and my intestines bulging out my side. I received an appointment 2 weeks later which I went to see a doctor to make me an appointment!
    You get that? I made an appointment to make an appointment to be seen!
    I'm not making this stuff up.

    There are days I don't even want to get out of bed, I don't leave the house for weeks on end, my marriage was destroyed and I alienate my kids. So the next time you start complaining about how the Veterans have too much or why they may get preferential treatment you remember I and others are like this because we sacrificed so you can shop at Walmart and have a nice quiet life after not doing anything but run your mouth and whine.

    December 18, 2011 at 8:21 am | Reply
  5. miguel

    Never ending war...tell that to the millions of people whose lives you helped destroy to secure spoils for a genocidal empire. The world is so tired of you, two-bit heroes. Each of you divas cost a million a year to keep safe and well fed while hundreds of thousands of civilians died under your twichy, scared fingers. Were some of you playing heavy metal as you mowed down iraquis?

    December 18, 2011 at 7:44 am | Reply
    • buffalo

      Miguel: Please walk up to an Iraq/ Afghanistan veteran and tell him this to his face. I know, as a Viet-Nam veteran, I was always anxious to hear cr*p like this from from some little twit, too scared to "walk the line" but brave enough to hide behind the internet and spout drivel like this

      December 18, 2011 at 7:56 am | Reply
      • nds

        buffalo, while miguel's words could have been better, your way of dealing with him was to
        threaten him. what he says is true, for you to be a warrior how many civilians had to die.
        iraq or vietnam whats the difference, if in the guise of 'freedom' or 'WMD's' you march into
        a country and kill a family, you are wrong. not the family that simply happended to be born there.

        December 18, 2011 at 8:21 am |
    • zaya

      Don't blame these people, unlike the bad government that sent them over there they suffered because of this war, and, hopefully, showed honour and dignity whilst serving. I don't support the Iraq war at all, but the US veterans and their families are often just as much victims as the Iraqis. If you're angry why not blame the people who started, prolonged and left unfinished this orgy of suffering and bloodshed- the US government, the CIA, and the other people who've profited over the years. The blame mainly lies with them.

      December 18, 2011 at 8:30 am | Reply
  6. WJK

    Welcome back guys... maybe you are not getting hugs and kisses from pretty women in the streets, but we respect you for what you have done. Hard to do much when the economy is like it is. I can tell you this, I have never seen support for our troops higher. I have done a lot to help wounded warriors, and will continue to do so. The need will increase as more of you are home. Hang in there, there will be a good day coming for you.

    December 18, 2011 at 6:40 am | Reply
  7. American Citizen

    CNN – you all really are starting to piss me off.
    Not all of the soldiers are back.
    Stop lying for this criminal president that shouldn't be sitting in office today because he broke the law when he ignored Congressional authority to engage military warfare in Libya.
    Nothing you can do or say will ever mitigate that even with your alleged "legal analysts" that no nothing about the law – they know about organized crime.

    December 18, 2011 at 5:38 am | Reply
    • Female Vetran

      For you below, you really have no clue what you talking about.

      December 18, 2011 at 6:01 am | Reply
  8. fearmonger

    Just as long as they don't act like douchebags they'll be fine.

    December 18, 2011 at 5:21 am | Reply
  9. Breckenfeld

    Like the sheer absurdity of any war, the conflict in Iraq was illegal and shameful in every aspect from the beginning. The case made for the invasion was based on sheer lies by a barefaced liar named George W. Bush and the unfortunate gullibility of the American people was further enhanced by the complacency of the mainstream media. The war achieved simply nothing. On the contrary, it has destroyed completely what American credibility there was left in the region. It has generated more enemies for America which it will not be able to fight because this foolish misadventure has unfortunately marked the beginning of the American decline. Thousands of innocent and unnecessary deaths occurred during the “shock and awe” attacks during the war. The war in Iraq was a crime against humanity. George W. Bush is a war criminal and as such should be tried by the International Criminal Court.
    But life must move on and we must turn a new page. Let’s all pray the lessons of this foolishness have been learned and may those mistakes be never repeated again, nowhere.
    And we should be eternally grateful to the men and women who served especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice for America. May all rest in peace!

    December 18, 2011 at 5:20 am | Reply
  10. Cyclopath

    The United States should not have waged war in Iraq. It was a foolish waste of humanity and of finances that could have been put to much better use in America and/or in aiding other nations.
    But, based on history, I’m afraid that the American government will continue to wage war around the world in its assertiveness to democratize “uncivilized” or “oppressed” peoples whether they need and/or like it or not. In doing so, the United States remains the Big Brother of the world.
    Still, thousands of young Americans are still willing to enlist in the military service, thanks to attractive salaries and benefits that they will receive. Well, that is their choice as free Americans, but their families should not complain if those same young people return from abroad in a coffin.

    December 18, 2011 at 4:52 am | Reply
    • The reason behind the war.

      After 9/11 there was a report that AQ with support of Iraq was going to explode a nuclear device in Manhattan, the FBI, and other forced searched every house and didn't find anything. Since SH had proved to be an mass murderer, gas attacks on Kurds, Iraqi's development of a nuclear WMD, it was decided to take SH out. Iraq, just like the rest of the ME was/is an artificial state, created by the west in 1918 after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. It will brake up along ethnic lines, just like the rest of these artificial countries now that the " strong " dictators have been removed.

      December 18, 2011 at 5:05 am | Reply
      • nds

        I remember that the UN weapons inspectors repeatedly said that they had not found
        any WMD's and yet the Bush regime continued it's relentless march to to war.

        My own tacit support for the war came after after a man I admired and respected very
        much, General Colin Powell presented the case for war after first appearing to appose it.
        Sadly I think he was also misled. And his support misled a lot of people.

        This war was for oil, and influence. Nothing else. Hundreds of thousands
        of iraqi lives and thousands of US lives have been lost for no real reason.

        As a result of this war I think a lot of ardent supporters of the US have become a
        lot more skeptical. President Obama has restored some of that lost credibility, but
        I doubt very much the US will ever enjoy the same level of trust that existed before
        this war.

        December 18, 2011 at 9:14 am |
  11. reddfrog

    I remember the hatred towards the French when they refused to join the Iraqi war. Surrender monkeys. Freedom fries – remember that? In hindsight – the American public is so easily fooled. Some patriotic images on CNN. Some politicians doing the jingoistic song and dance routine. Then off to war we go.

    Years later – Dead or maimed American youths – the best and the brightest slaughtered. Dead Iraqi civilians. Shattered families. Children growing up without a parent, a brother or a sister. Trillion dollars in debt. Economy in shambles. Moral high ground lost and universally hated.

    But Halliburton and company made billions. That is what our young men ultimately died for. And Cheney is now wanting to go after Iran (who cares about casualties right? Money is more important than American soldiers, after all their job is to die, these expendable peasants). Maybe someone should just kidnap Dick and send him to Iran.

    December 18, 2011 at 4:36 am | Reply
  12. luke

    I personally think that the war in IRAQ (the second one) was based on lies and a giant waste of time, human lifes and economic ressources. Is IRAQ today a more democratic country =NO, Is IRAQ today a safer place=NO, Are the current IRAQUI's leaders less dangerous than Saddam=NO. IRAQ is a devastated country (more than 400.000 victims) and nobody will trust anymore US after the "weapon of mass distruction" lies. So everybody lost the war and thanks to Obama this madness is ending.

    December 18, 2011 at 4:00 am | Reply
    • reddfrog

      Saddam was never a threat to the USA. And he was against al-Qaeda turning his country into a terrorist hub precisely because he is afraid of being targeted. But we invaded anyway. Why? Someone wants to make a lot of money. And we, the citizens of a supposedly advanced country, went along with it like fools.

      December 18, 2011 at 4:40 am | Reply
  13. TMGSOregon

    So tragic – another generation of young men who've thrown their lives away and for a misguided, senseless and ill begotten war. It always amazes me when I read that they did it for our country. What did this do for our country other than run up an impossible debt that will cause much pain and suffering for the next generation (to pay back), destroy whatever good will we may have had with the rest of the world, and trash desperately needed programs at home (such as education of our youth, medical care for all, maintenance of our infrastructure) that we can't afford because our treasury has been squandered by the military-industrial complex.

    I eel deep compassion for the damaged soldiers and Iraqi citizens. I just don't understand what the soldiers thought they were doing for the U.S. Iraq didn't do anything to us and was not a threat to us. All the war did was loot our treasury to that we are now that much poorer for it (in every sense of the word). It will take many generations for our entire country to recover from the damage of the Iraq war – if we ever do recover from it.

    If only people would study history and learn from it. . .

    December 18, 2011 at 3:58 am | Reply
    • Lauren

      It's not American servicemen/women who should be blamed for doing anything destructive to their country – clearly, that lies solely at the feet of the then commander-in-chief and his cohorts who were too gung-ho, misguided and/or misled its citizens. It's patently unfair to add to the already heavy psychological, emotional and physical burden borne by the troops by retroactively blaming them for a decision that they had no hand in making or for it's aftermath. If anything, citizens who did not serve should band together to lessen their burden – as "jerrycc" said earlier, they should lack for nothing. With the added benefit that the country would perhaps be united like it was during WWII when everyone pitched in towards the war effort. A unity that is sorely needed now.

      The troops were led to believe they were protecting American interests – many did so out of a deep sense of patriotism and now it's time for their country to protect them.

      December 18, 2011 at 5:17 am | Reply
  14. brown

    Shut the eff up! Stop complaining!

    It is you who keep re-electing your corrupt corporate and special interest controlled Congress. Get your a zzez ready
    for your next task, it's almost showtime for Iran.

    December 18, 2011 at 2:57 am | Reply
    • lionofnarnia

      American comments only. K thx.

      December 18, 2011 at 3:34 am | Reply
  15. Uglytrue

    Respect to the Vets, Disgrace to the country.

    December 18, 2011 at 2:22 am | Reply
  16. RetiredLE

    Nothing new here. War leaves it's mark. Period.

    December 18, 2011 at 2:03 am | Reply
  17. insidejob666

    Thank U 4 UR service even though the policy was very misguided and eggregious. Go home and enjoy your well deserved reunions.

    December 18, 2011 at 1:18 am | Reply
    • TImothy

      That is like thanking the Nazi Concentration Camp guards. "Good jobs boys and girls. How many (Muslims/Jews) did you get to throw into the furnace?" Thanking a war criminal, or those participating in an illegal war, everyone on active duty is there by choice, and have signed up, or resigned up, since the disguise of 9/11 has been used to advance the cause of American tyranny. WE ARE THE BIGGEST TERRORIST NATION in the world today. And our bully antics are inviiting another 9/11,

      AND, 9/11 was a huge success against the United States. For the amount of time, money, training and personnel that bin Laden used to launch four aerial bombs against the United States – our economy is in ruins for spending billions of dollars a month in a war effort with no clear exit strategy.

      At that rate, if a 9/11 is launched every 10 to 15 years, the United States will be totallly economically destroyed.

      Fifty years from now historians will look at 9/11 with unbiased eyes – it was an excellent use of resources, and achieved huges results – it ruined the American economy.

      The Presidents (Obama and Bush) have achieved bringing the "respect" to the American forces almost (ALMOST) back to the VIetnam baby-killer days.

      We are using probably, on average, 3000 men to target each ONE "terrorist" on the battlefield. And the latest report released shows our "boys" are terrible shots, like in Vietnam, it takes thousands of rounds of ammunitions to kill just one "enemy" on the battlefield. (Excluding the cowardly Predator pillots who drop bombs on schools, daycare, weddings and market places – all the safety of the US desert.

      December 18, 2011 at 10:20 am | Reply
  18. ProgressiveMike

    You can lay all these broken lives, all this misery and tragedy, both American AND Iraqi, DIRECTLY at the feet of George W. Bush, the most completely, spectacularly unfit, misbegotten US President in the history of the nation. I hope he has nightmares about this every night for the rest of his wretched life. Surely he has no concept of this, though... he's trying to decide where he wants to ride his bike tomorrow.

    December 18, 2011 at 1:09 am | Reply
  19. jerrycc

    We should support our vets especially the wounded ones. They should lack for nothing!

    December 18, 2011 at 12:00 am | Reply
  20. almxx

    It looks to me like paying for wars will never end for American citizens if we don't wise up. The war machinery business is extremely profitable with greed beyond belief.

    December 17, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Reply
  21. Travis

    I don't care about a bunch of guys who volunteered to go occupy a country that never attacked us and kill every man, woman or child who resists. If ordered to do so, they would probably do the same thing to American citizens. I have no sympathy.

    December 17, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Reply

      Yes, you just continue living at your parent's house and play Call of Duty all day. Kiss my as*, Punk!

      December 17, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Reply
      • jerrycc

        tell him Buffalo!

        December 18, 2011 at 12:02 am |
    • exarmygi

      We are all entitle to our opinion, but it never surprises me to hear it more from people who has never done anything for our country. It is so easy for some to second guess or question our men/women in uniform, when they are sitting at home eating twinkies and watching the freaking kardashians. Worrying about when is the new episode of jersey shore showing, when there are Americans out there fighting a war. The gap in what is reality is so wide, its pathetic.

      December 18, 2011 at 12:49 am | Reply
      • L05ER

        it is pathetic...

        that you think you've done so much and that others have done nothing... how about giving you the opportunity to feel like your life wasn't a waste. you've got a sense of pride and accomplishment for "doing something" for the country? great, thank the rest of us that paid for your training and every single thing you got from the army. don't act like we are second class citizens... if anything, you, our servants are the second class citizens.

        December 18, 2011 at 5:11 am |
    • Civics101

      The oath that every single service member takes – officer and enlisted – specifies that their first and top priority is to the Constitution of the United States of America. They are instructed specifically and bound by oath to disobey unconstitutional orders.

      December 18, 2011 at 1:02 am | Reply
  22. Andrew

    Got news for you, for some IRAQIS, the war never HAS ended and never will. Starting with .75 million children's deaths from sanctions and ending with this new civil war. The U.S. has done the people of Iraq, and my kid's iraqi teacher, and her dead father, a great disservice. Signing up doesn't absolve you, either.

    December 17, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Reply
  23. Aries

    We got sucked into Viet Nam by government lies and deceit. And afterward, when the "mistake" was fully realized, many vowed that it would never happen again - that they would never allow the government to lie to them again. Yet, we did. The best thing this new group of young vets can do is to never let the government lie to us again - and, this time, don't fail.

    December 17, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Reply
  24. Tom Joad

    Honorable service men and women sent over to Iraq in a trumped up war by dishonorable politicians. The cowards that prosecuted this war under false pretenses should be held accountable. Another Vietnam. The definition of insanity is to keep making the same mistakes over and over.

    December 17, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Reply
  25. OldAsDirt

    Nobody's the same after being at war. Many aren't the same after living in the regimentation required by the military. Both should be an anticipated sacrifice, which is a good reason everyone entitled to vote on a declaration of war or "declare" one should have military service as a prerequisite to their vote/decision.

    December 17, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Reply
  26. Laurie

    This was a tragedy on all levels. Witnessing my nephew suffering from PTSD after 3 tours in Iraq...never have we sent so many back so many times...the outcomes were predictable. We may not have suffered the casualties of death like in Vietnam but a visit to Bethesda and other military hospitals will show the numbers who have lost limbs and the mental suffering will be dealt with for a long time. Remember that the homeless today reflect many Vietnam vets and the Iraq homeless are sure to multiply in the next few years. Take the darn "Support our Troops" bumper stickers off your cars and do something for returning vets! Don't look the other way at the homeless vets, step up and help. Volunteer at a VA hospital.

    December 17, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Reply
    • BRBSanDiego

      Modern medicine and technology has created a whole new group of badly wounded veterans who survived only by techniques, training, and equipment that was not available in Vietnam. If you got shot in that war you pretty much could depend on dying. Those same soldiers are now given treatment never heard of when I was in the military. It saves lives but at what emotional and financial cost.

      December 17, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Reply
  27. jo

    I would think BUSH, CHENEY and RUMSFELD would be at a veteran hospital everyday...saying "I'm sorry and what can I do for you, now that I've ruined your life'....NO, they are on television (Cheney) writing books and giving speeches...they should at least be dragging around a 'ball and chain' or wear the scarlet letters... CRIMINAL!!

    December 17, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Reply
    • bwj robb

      One would have to possess the ability to think in order to follow your logic. Don't forget, we're talking about the government here.

      December 17, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Reply
  28. harleybike

    This was an uneccesary war. Many of our politicians are so war mongers, so eager to go to war, as long as they don't have to send their own children or their grandchildren. They are now heaping the same rhetoric against Iran.

    We need to elect politicians who will not be quick to draw the gun without a real good reason. Ron Paul voted against the war on Iraq. He was accused of being crazy, nuts, an absolute pacifist and isolationist. 4,486 troops died. 32,226 wounded (20% seriously injured). We did not find any WMD. What a waste of lives.

    Now Ron Paul is cautioning against how we are handling Iran. And the mainstream politcal pundits are again at it...scoughing at him. They are saying again that he is crazy, nuts, and this time even dangerous. Can I say "Here we go again?"

    Given Ron's track record vs. the mainstream pundits, I would trust what Ron has to say first.

    December 17, 2011 at 7:26 pm | Reply
  29. Patriotic poon destroyer and man on the silver mtn w/ a golden gunn

    First of all, ur living in imaginationland. What did u think u being desensitized 4 in boot camp? Did u think u were going 2 frollick thru the gumdrop forest paved wit chocolate coverd streets with candy cane lamposts and little keebler elves hanging in the trees? NO! U were being trained 2 kill. That being said- think about what u just said about the people ur fighting 4. Ok the kids that came from broken homes that were given an oppurtunity 2 fight and die 4 scumbags that dont care about them? The gov't keeps ppl broke so they can entice them with rewards. The other option, sadly enuff is bein a criminal and going 2 jail, which benefits them as well. So now ur over there, ur wife is bangin jody, ur daughter is on the internet showing her boobs 2 everybody, ur son is in the garage gettin high on prescription drugs, which by the way have become an epidemic over the past 10 yrs, while ur over there protecting Merck pharmaceuticals cash crop. Which is the main ingredient in addictive meds. Not 2 mention all the corrupt politicians pillaging every town in the country. Yes. Ur rite. These are the ppl worth dying 4. My town will never be under siege by a foreign country. Thats rediculous. The only ppl dumb enuff 2 attack americans on american soil are americans. And 2 the moms on here complaining about their kids aint the same- good job, u have failed as a parent. U should kill urself u fat, lazy, self serving american p.o.s

    December 17, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Reply
  30. teri

    My 27 yr old son served two tours in Iraq with the USMC; 2005 and again in 2009. The experiences changed him, as his wife can attest. How much? It may take years to know..

    December 17, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Reply
  31. E-5

    I'm a vet from Viet Nam and my heart goes out to all the fellows returning. Of course all the troops will never ever leave Iraq, the BIG money wants it that way. Ever feel like you've been bought off against your will????

    December 17, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Reply
  32. The Kingi

    What a waste of money and life. As US citizens we all carry the shame of this dark chapter of our history. I feel no sense of appreciation for the "sacrifice" of any of these troops. Only, sorrow for the families of those who have been lost, US and Iraq. After Vietnam, I thought we'd never get suckered into another unwinnable, unnecessary war. I was wrong.

    December 17, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Reply
  33. ALL uh

    Cheney belongs in the Hague, Rumsfeld too, Bush is a mental deficient and should not be prosecuted

    December 17, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Reply
  34. ALL uh

    Thank Cheney, he is much more evil than Hitler, at least Hitler had a belief, Cheney did it for Haliburton and money, true evil.

    December 17, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Reply
  35. steve

    As a Nam vet who spent a year in the jungle on search and destroy missions, I understand what our vets are going thru.
    The big difference between then and now is that our Nam vets were shunned and looked down upon by our so called patriotic americans. 45 years later mentally I am a mess. I pray for our returning vets to have better treatment and understanding than thosein my era did.

    December 17, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Reply
    • ALL uh

      nice try troll

      December 17, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Reply
      • cincpac306

        You need to read up on your history. The Iraq war lot us around 4500 brave Americans. My generation lost 55.000, yes 55.000 in Vietnam. I remember being ashamed to tell people I was a vet because we were reviled and spit upon. Foe those who have seen combat the war is never over.

        December 17, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
  36. jimnolan

    All I know is the goofy, happy go lucky kid that was my son came back from his tour in Paktika province in Afghanistan a changed young man. He still has nightmares and is now a very quiet, hard to motivate individual. He doesn't like to talk about what he saw and what he did, but seeing what it did to him, I think I can say it was hard, very hard on him.

    December 17, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Reply
  37. bluemax77

    The big lie – waist of time, money, lives...!!

    December 17, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Reply
  38. Gremlin

    I find the battantering on this blog interesting, some understand the struggles of returning veterans, and some obviously don't or don't want to. Either way, everyone is entitled to opinion's. For those that don't understand, I will put it in as plain english as I can. When a vet return's home, we return to a place where we "should" be happy, happy to be with family and friends, some make the transition quickly, others it takes years, other's never "make it back" completely. Here's the deal, we come back having to "turn off" the combat person, and restart the civilian person. At times, that is extremely difficult, the combat persona can resurface so quickly it's kinda scary. My spouse calls it the combat radar. Some will never "really" understand this concept and keep taking shots at vets about "problems". So be it, those of us that understand, lean on each other and hope to help each other thru rough times.

    December 17, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Reply
    • Eric

      Well put! Finally someone with a little reason, until you expeirence what us vets go through, until you know what it is like, you have no idea what it is like to try to turn that off when you spend 7- 14 months always on the edge of breaking and always wondering if each step is gonna be your last! until you do that until you have been in my shoes dont tell me the probs. arent real.

      December 17, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Reply
      • jimbo

        All the Iraq/Afghanistan vets "volunteered" to serve, for their own personal reasons. I think the word "volunteer" is a misnomer because once you enlisted, you became a salaried employee. A volunteer sacrifices his time without compensation as per Red Cross/food bank/charity volunteer.

        December 17, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
      • Gwendolyn

        Lots of these "volunteers" were forced into joining because of poor socioeconomic situations. Little oportunity out side of Macdonalds, and giant loans to pay for college are two factors I can think of. We are busy spending the future of our children on these damnable wars. It will come back to bite us.

        December 17, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
    • robroy

      hey Gremlin,in one way i feel sorry for these troops coming home in such a mental mess,but that's where my sympathy stops. these young men and women didn't have a gun put to their head. the drafts been gone for 40 years last time i checked!!! until i saw George Bush's and Dick Cheney's and most of Congress's kids leading the charge across the Iraqi desert my attitude would be to PISS OFF !!!!!! for Christ sakes did you folks honestly think this was gonna be a walk in the park,but then again you folks were brainwashed by the biggest bullshitter to come out of Texas,and now those young men and women and paying the price[i know whose head would be on a stick if one of my kids was forced to go and fight to defend one of your biggest moronic leaders in your countries history].

      December 17, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Reply
      • Retired E-7

        robroy, you are an Un-emphathizing idiot!

        December 17, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
  39. Patriotic poon destroyer

    So barbara ran into some random black guy at a vfw who was wearing a ww2 hat? Theyre at every vfw in the country. Ya know, the guy that would hav been just a tad 2 young 2 be in ww2 but he wears the hat and looks 4 attention in that manner even tho hes never seen 2 minutes of combat? Yeah barb, theyre everywhere. Real veterans dont hang out in vfw's. They either hav families to tend 2 or theyre out spending their gov't check on hookers n' blow. And no I dont feel sorry 4 them. They chose 2 take a job that theyre paid well 2 do. They were not drafted. They fight 2 protect the assets and interests of a corporation. It has nothing 2 do with freedom. And dont tell me ur fighting so I can blog on the internet about stuff. Enough with ur racist american propaganda

    December 17, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Reply
    • Eric

      poon destroyer you need to think about what you say, i am a veteran and i struggle every day with what happened when i was overseas, ive never once spent my govt check on blow or a hooker, ive spent it on my daughter, and on my education. Yes we chose to do that job, that doesnt mean that we got what we deserved i saw alot of good guys killed, kids who without the military would have been in prison, or dead. since they had the military and the discipline it teaches you, they actually had a future they chose to join to remove themsleves from a bad home and a bad situation, and ended up giving their lives for this country without comlaining. They didnt know you or any of these other people who talk negatively about the Marines or the armed forces but they went anyways, they could have not volunteered and we could have gone with another draft, maybe your kids, or your brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews, or god forbid YOU could have got called on to serve but instead they chose to go. SO ALL OF YOU CAN SHUT YOUR MOUTHS AND HAVE A LITTLE RESPECT FOR THE FALLEN AND THE SUFFERING.

      December 17, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Reply
      • XVET

        Eic you simply cannot fix stoopid so don't even try, what is really pathetic is there are a lot of these types that snigger and hide but deep inside they have no courage or honesty. I do my best to make the public aware of the sadism displayed by the VA pain centers but people like the above don't want to hear it and many just don't care since they are not in pain. It is an evil thing when a small arrogant group of people like to inflict pain of vets but that is in fact the case. I guess if that wasn't the case there wouldn't be so many attorney ads for vets would there?

        December 17, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
      • anne

        dear eric:

        thank you for all you have been through. my heart goes out to all you men and women who have put so much on the line for the rest of us. please don't buy into the hate and arrogance of poon destroyer.

        December 17, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
    • BradGa

      @ Patriotic Poon Destroyer, Wow! You are a presumptuous fool! Maybe you should incorporate a "30 Second Rule" to allow you time to think again about your comment before you press the submit button in the future.

      December 17, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Reply
    • Retired E-7

      Pooney-another idiot with no understanding.

      December 17, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Reply
    • Ranger Barnes

      What you fail to realize is that we've never fought a war like this before, so soldiers signing up expected to fight in wars with battle lines and a clear victory. They anticipated fighting in situations like Desert Storm or quick invasions like Panama, not multiple tours of combat spread over nine years. Add to that decisions like "stop-loss" and extended tours, and soldiers realized they are essentially trapped in repeated tours into the inferno. Granted, WWII soldiers were in it for the long-haul, but the average combat soldier in WWII was only actually engaged in combat for 46 days. Give our service members and Iraq/Afghanistan combat veterans the respect they've earned and damn well deserve!

      December 17, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Reply
  40. Robert D. Stolorow, PhD

    Navy psychiatrist Dr. Russell Carr's work on the therapeutic approach to combat-related trauma is enormously relevant to the problems so vividly described in this article. Here is a link to a blog reporting on Dr. Carr's work:

    December 17, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Reply
    • Tod

      I have an idea, why not stop the warmongers and then we would not need these therapies. We really need to learn how to deal with the Psychology of the warmongers and the unethical people of this world. Solve that one with therapies first and then there would be no need to treat PTSD. Treat the real problem and not the result of the problem. You have the problem, the leaders, now treat the disorder. The leaders are responsible for this, not the people doing the fighting for the leaders.

      I have a PhD too, does that make me all knowing too?....I think not, but their are those with egos so big because they have a PhD, they cannot see the forest through the trees.

      December 17, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Reply
      • Robert D. Stolorow, PhD

        "The psychology of the warmongers" is indeed enormously important. Here's a link to a blog in which I wrote a little on that subject:

        December 17, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  41. Tod

    I believe there is more than enough blood on the hands of leaders of the world than there should be on anyone else. The leaders of the world are the ones responsible for war and it is the leaders that should pay with their own lives for their actions of sending so many into war for what? Freedom? Business? The excuses these leaders make are unforgivable. Why don't we simply take out the leaders of the countries when there is a dispute, this would eliminate wars I believe. Start at the top for a change and solve the problem much quicker.

    If they want to fight so damn bad, then they should have to fight in a ring or on a field of battle themselves, now that would be the most logical way of solving your problems. You leaders are "Chicken" and weak. You need to send in someone else to take care of the problems when in fact you could solve them much quicker one on one in a fighting arena. THERE NEEDS TO BE ACCOUNTABILITY FOR THE LIVES THAT HAVE BEEN DESTROYED BY THE LEADERS OF ALL COUNTRIES. Stop hiding behind the soldiers, it is time to take care of your own problems you weak pathetic leaders who like war.

    Let's televise our leaders in battle, something I am sure would get really good ratings, isn't that what you want, good ratings? But it is just business, right? Death and murder are just business, accept it, right?.....Pathetic thinking for an advanced civilization.

    December 17, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Reply
    • Mywiki


      You are so correct in what you wrote. If the leaders what wars, let THEM fight the wars. As a military veteran of the Vietnam war, I was duped into believing that communism would take over the world if it wasn't stopped in Southeast Asia. I was young, and ignorant.

      A decade later, with 58,000 young men dead, what is Vietnam now? A communist country that the United States trades with. How sick is that? Iraq and Afghanistan will be no different.

      War is the folly of failed foreign policy. Those in Washington that beat the drums of military conflict and spread fear and hyperbole about threats to our national sovereignty are perverse sociopaths. These monsters have no conscious or morality and must be removed from political office.

      The presidential election in 2012 will see a continuation of war policy unless the only candidate who opposes war is elected. That man is Congressman Ron Paul. Donate to Dr. Paul's campaign and vote for him for President of the United States in 2012. He is the only hope for the Republic and the American people.

      December 17, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Reply
  42. nam cavalry

    such a sad war that should never have happened in the first place....such a tragedy to have been fooled by the wmd scenario that cheney and the gang laid out to the american very sad.....i am a combat veteran from the vietnam war and a retired major.....let us not forget the one pow that we are leaving behind sgt altale, missing since 2007 and then dont forget sgt bowe bergdahl languishing in a pakistan prison someplace

    December 17, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Reply
  43. Gwendolyn

    It is a worn out statement that those leaders who want war should be at the head of the charge. But even when they were, it did not stop war. In modern times, those who started the Vietnam war should be rotting in jail or hanging from a noose. Now, it is George Bush who was the Shaitun of Iraq and he will wiggle out of his punishment for lying to the congress 26 times. How can he have gotten away with it?

    I hate him for the sacrifice of the best Americans on the battlefield in a country that hated them. He will one day burn in the fires of hell.

    December 17, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Reply
  44. wharf0rat

    This war is never ending for taxpayers too. We will be paying off this senseless trillion dollar war for another generation.

    December 17, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Reply
    • XVET

      True enough but the thing that gets my goat is the $7.7 T that was paid to banks for fun and profit that you and I have to pay back! We lost our country when the supreme court gave it over offically to corporations last year. What a twisted demented country we now live in, for me it is very depression but what drives me nutz are people that want to stand up against this abuse and watch them as they get clobbered by the media, we are becoming China...

      December 17, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Reply
  45. MJSourh

    It was my impression many of those who cace out of service with problems likely had them when they went in. Their experiences only brought them to the surface or exacerbated them.

    December 17, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Reply
    • Kevin O.

      I have an idea for you. Go enlist. Go serve in a few wars and leave your family and friends behind. Go and do this willingly. Then when you get back, after you've done this, take a look at America again.

      You'll more than likely have a complete DIFFERENT view of your current statement and more than likely will need some psychological help.

      If you do all this and don't think you need help, then you're a prime example of the statement you just made.

      December 17, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Reply
    • Eric

      i went into the service just fine, and i came out with some issues, where should i start: seeing numerous friends killed in horrific ways, having people die in your hands while you try to save them, people stepping on bombs or getting shot, missing legs, arms, you name it. Going into villages or towns and seeing kids, women and innocent men hanging and dead not at the hands of the americans, but at the hands of the taliban or AL Quada. And then there is the fact of taking another humans life, Yes people can say u had to or i had no option and that is abso. correct but the fact of the matter is, they breathed their last breaths because of what i had to do. SO you can say and think what you want you have the right, but I will tell you right now, you are an idot.

      December 17, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Reply
    • XVET

      So what's your point? Do you think you'd be better off without the military and those on active duty or vets? Yet who will you come whinning for help from if you find your happy little home, life style and town under seige? People like us but you go ahead and knock us all for putting our life's and bodies at risk but maybe, one day when you need us we won't be there and then what will you do? I went to war but after seeing how grateful the public and the VA was to me I told my kids to never enlist and they didn't although my son-in-law did. People like you deserve not our service or protection.

      December 17, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Reply
    • xpxpxp

      They very well could have. The military checks you in every way to make sure you are physically fit, but does no psychological examinations.

      December 17, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Reply
    • anne

      @MJSOUTH. you've got to be kidding with that statement. exacerbated?! try being in combat in a country where you don't know who your enemy is or what your next footstep will bring or when you can get a decent nights sleep or if you'll see your wife or husband and kids again. and then when you think you're finally done, you have to go back again for another tour. try being scared or on high alert 24/7. see what that does to you. how many normal, happy spirited people have come back numb and changed? too many. there problems weren't exacerbated, they were created. numbskull.

      December 17, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Reply
  46. Cassandra Chu

    ... why doesn't the Army offer up some good psychiatrists to help out? is the Army-Politician too complex to see what needs to be done? How about a helping hand from those with the insight? would you want to live with Complex PTSD?

    December 17, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Reply
  47. musings

    You know, the 87 year old vet might indeed be the age of a great grandfather of some the Iraq War vets, but isn't that part of the problem? Poverty and early marriages – then a foolish following of the war drums which also bring money and a semblance of security to those without the benefit of much education and who parents were also immature when they were born. Figure it out: He has a child at 20. Grandchild at 40. Great grandchild at 60. That kid is grown when he is 80 and goes off to war. Why he could even be a great- great grandfather. The difference with his war was that it was a world war and everyone was involved. This Iraq War? A war of choice and if there is a world war sparked by it, that's how you deal with unemployment and poverty: you put all your chips into it and see what happens.

    December 17, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Reply
    • glenn robert

      WWII: A vet came home with his head screwed up and they never heard of PTSD. So he ends up in the gutter at 6th. and Main in LA with his best friend aa bottle of cheap wine. Korea: I came home with my head a mess and drank big time for 5 years when I should have been going to college. 55 years later I can cry. I needed help when I got home. The suicide rate for Iraq and Afganistan vets is 16 a day!!! They need help NOW. We must see they get it!

      December 17, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Reply
  48. Sempfi22

    Yes I agree with some of you that there are Vets that do take advantage of the system when there is nothing that is really wrong with them. I'm a female Marine Vet who served 8yrs and just recently got medically discharged. I was deployed to Iraq in 2005. though I may not have left Iraq with PTSD like so many grunts because I never saw blood shed, but I was diagnosed with anxiety due to the hands of the medical people who took care of me. My career was cut short because of them. People look at me and can't believe that I served in the military because I don't look the part. They also look at me and think nothing is wrong with me physically and mentally. I have had a hard time adjusting to the civilian way of life, because I miss the comradery and serving my country and protecting my fellow Americans and those around the world who need protection, but I put up a front because I don't want people knowing how I feel on the inside. I feel torn and broken, not only physically but mentally. so I just ask you to be there to support every vet of every war and just be there and be their friend instead of arguing with each other over who is right or wrong.

    December 17, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Reply
  49. Isabel

    Why do we continue to celebrate this fraud called war?
    Soldiers come back and are called heroes, why? They come back mentally
    messed up from the war, something inside them tells them what they are doing is wrong.
    Maybe calling them heroes helps ease the pain somewhat. 4500 American soldiers dead, and
    hundreds of thousands of Iraqi's dead. Where is the glory in war, really?

    December 17, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Reply
    • Jerry Senzee

      The whole thing is a lie and a travesty.

      December 17, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Reply
    • glenn robert

      I got a Silver Star in Korea (1953) and no I am not a hero. Those who volunteered or were sent did not invent war they were defending their country. You make a point, the war in Iraq was totally illegal and was started by American civilians. (??) We have a fine military and will NOT be invaded.

      December 17, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Reply
    • yourmom

      if you werent over there you probably dont know a thing.

      December 17, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Reply
  50. vet

    seems to me there was a war in viernam too...

    December 17, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Reply
    • glenn robert

      Yes there was a war in Vietnam and the troops were blamed. (?) As a Korean vet I know you were mistreated. Viet.. suicides over 100,000 we were learning about PTSD.

      December 17, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Reply
  51. robroy

    wanna make a safe world? give every country in the world a six pack of nukes,that way people would think twice about stepping on other people's toe' the saying goes"if you got the big bomb your safe,it's when you don't have one hold on to your nuts !!!!!!!!!

    December 17, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Reply
    • TImothy

      That is exactly why Iran NEEDs NUKES now, otherwise The United States (the military industrial complex) will invent a reason to invade Iran to take over it's oil fields. AND if we think Afghanistan has kicked our butts, try invading a country with people who have fundamentalist Muslim, suicide bomber, and over zealous miitary. Only a nuclear weapon will keep us out of Iran.

      December 17, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Reply
      • Gwendolyn

        Sadly, I agree that Iran should have nukes. I think it would give the West pause about invading every country that has oil.

        December 17, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  52. Donald

    I thought you would like this.

    Between a Barack and a Hard Place.

    Al Gore in Global Horsesh#t.
    Episode 1 –
    Episode 2 –
    Episode 3 –


    December 17, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Reply
    • glenn robert

      You are badly misinformed about global warming. Gore is right. You should leanr to read!

      December 17, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Reply
      • Cumulonimbus

        I'm a professor of atmospheric science. Gore getting into this issue only made it more politically charged and polarized. I agree that human induced climate change is a real problem–the basic physics are simple (even if we don't understand important details such as how water vapor and cloudiness will evolve in response to increased temperatures with increasing CO2). That fact does not mean that the issue has not been hijacked by politicos on the left. That just makes the right trust it less. Some of the claims the left makes about climate change might turn out to be wrong. Since the issue has become so politically charged, if some claims are proven wrong, we are in real danger of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Those who want to do something about climate change should try to do so without making larger claims than the problem merits, and they should not reference politicians like Gore who are NOT scientists. If we are to fix this problem, we need to learn to do it above politics and work together for everyone's benefit.

        December 17, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  53. Art

    Nick, What unit were you with and where did you serve?

    December 17, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Reply
  54. jorge waahinsen

    I wish the returning soldiers a happy holiday. Since they have left it is not couth to say anything else.

    December 17, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Reply
  55. jorge waahinsen

    We need to tear down the slums and build hospitals in their to take care of these men after they come home.Bail them out the next time ,not GM.

    December 17, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Reply
  56. yourmom

    10 years from now there wiil be an article about Iraq, probably something regarding trade or business, and you whiny liberals will still be complaining about how we werent supposed to be there, george bush, blah blah blah. shut up all ready.

    December 17, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Reply
    • Nick

      And 10 years from now soldiers will continue to complain that an MRE fell on their foot in a combat zone and they are 100% disabled from PTSD.

      December 17, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Reply
      • lynray

        How right you are. We know somebody who gets $300/month because he hurt his back 50 yrs ago lifting some radios off an Army truck (ripping off?). Would like to blow the whistle on this guy, but nobody cares at the waste in the VA.

        December 17, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
      • Nick

        I see it everyday at the VA. Soldiers who served in Iraq & Afghan getting high disability claims and turning around to take a civilian assignment in a combat zone for $100,000. Yep, poor guys are suffering from PTSD, but are able to make it through these conditions once again to collect a second paycheck overseas. Frauds.

        December 17, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • yourmom

      so lets get this straight nick. youve seen all sorts of stuff at the VA, you know someone that died in the WTC, you served 6 years active duty but have no clue what "the 1%" means, oh and you happen to have all sorts of stock in haliburton and will retire by the time youre 38. I think youre the fraud.

      December 17, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Reply
      • nosepicker


        December 17, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  57. jorge waahinsen

    I am glad our soldiers are coming out of that hell hole even if the slick one made a deal ,under cover, to do it. No one is going to be dumb enough to believe that this was not a negociated deal and had nothing to do with our soldiers well being as to who had jurisdiction over them.When the strongest military in the world caves to something like this see it as it is,a political deal ,to get Obama elected again.

    December 17, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Reply
  58. Gunny

    you inbred morons are entertaining, i will give you that..

    December 17, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Reply
  59. lineman

    Military people have realized since the start of wars about 8,000 years ago that the actual act of fighting and killing changes a person forever. When a soldier was mustering out of he Roman army he had to spend a year or so in encampment to change back to a civilian mentality. War is just as brutal now and no matter how much you think you comprehend it the reality is 10 times worse. A lot of factors are involved in post tramatic stress including a persons individual makeup, what the day to day combat was, how many people you killed and who they were, how many you saw die and how they died, etc. The nature of the war is a big part. WWII was a war to save the world from the Nazis so the killing was necessary and justified so there was much less pts. The reasons for Vietnam and Iraq were never really stated in a way that made sense so the American soldiers were inflicting horrible brutalities for no good reason other than following orders. A reason for war that seems plausable to a civilian back in the States means nothing when your life is on the line unless it is absolutly true. These are the conditions that lead to pts. To dismiss it and say a person is not tough enough is to completly missunderstand every aspect of war.

    December 17, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Reply
    • mnwm

      You make good points until you get here;
      The reasons for Vietnam and Iraq were never really stated in a way that made sense so the American soldiers were inflicting horrible brutalities for no good reason
      The reasons were to defend people against Communist aggression and Islamic jihadists and their proponents.
      These were, and are good reasons.
      Soldiers, know what they are doing.

      December 17, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Reply
  60. jorge waahinsen

    You have to remember many many were shoved into a war from the routine of reserve training into a hell hole with not enough training.We could never fight a war like WW1 or 2 now because of the necessity of being politically correct in everything you do.Should have surrounded the place with D9 cats and shoved all the mess up in one pile and by the time the Iraqis got it sorted out the fight would have been out of them.There would have not ,and and should not have been any places left to ambush our soldiers.iI still think leaders of countries should go to war first and then come down the line.Would not last half as long.Politically correct would disappear.

    December 17, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Reply
  61. Thomas

    For me the war will never be over until the last American Soldier returns home. As a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran, my war never stops, just changes zip codes or APO's. Each and everytime I hear of a soldier being killed in the war, I break down and cry and then ask why?

    December 17, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Reply
    • Unknown

      yeah people dying in general is a sad story.. went to a few fallen warrior ceremony while I was deployed watching metal coffins side by side as they get loaded on a plane hits hard and chances are you would walk away with tears in your eyes.

      December 17, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Reply
    • Isabel

      If enough people asked "why" maybe there would be no more wars.

      December 17, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Reply
      • 0311

        their will always be war, it is just a state within nature, a horrible state.

        December 17, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  62. khiJOL

    It's the same for a lot Vietnam vet also, me included.

    December 17, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Reply
  63. jorge waahinsen

    Just think ,if we had not had a volunteer military there would have been a war here.

    December 17, 2011 at 11:57 am | Reply
  64. wyobob

    At least the iraq vets were welcomed back as heros, not like the vietnam vets.

    December 17, 2011 at 11:56 am | Reply
  65. The Dude

    Sympathy? None here.

    This is what happens when you enlist to fight in an immoral war that has nothing to do with our national security.

    Let the corporations take care of them, thats whose dirty work they are doing.

    December 17, 2011 at 11:56 am | Reply
  66. Nick

    Funny how most wrote books to capitalize on their experience. Frauds.

    December 17, 2011 at 11:55 am | Reply
    • nosepicker

      They also do it to tell a's called history.

      December 17, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Reply
      • Nick

        It's called capitalizism... funny how they were able to write a book with all those terrible memories haunting them... Cha ching!!

        December 17, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
  67. ma & pa

    John at 8:02am ...good soapbox. We are changed by the battles of all kinds we struggle through to protect those and what we value. And when we get home it's so different like unreal, unfinished. Ongoing appreciation and unconditional love might help. All of you talking here tell pieces of truth. And who-all is out of sight, unnamed, instigating division between friends? The NDAA is a really frightening reflex in response to a mostly unnoticed deadly enemy among us. May it wither from unuse. To everyone, Thank You. Our flag is still there.

    December 17, 2011 at 11:48 am | Reply
  68. Nick

    You volunteered to join the military knowing the risks. Shut the hell up. Fireman, cops and others do the same everyday and you don't hear them crying poor me...

    December 17, 2011 at 11:44 am | Reply
    • Joel

      Nick, your ignorance is astounding. It must be nice to have the freedom to spout your ignorance from behind a keyboard while these people die for you to have that right. Maybe if you put down the cheetos and hot pockets, got off the World of Warcraft, and made something out of your fat loser self, you'd see life more clearly. You are worthless, they should have strapped you to a tank as extra armor, maybe you'd actually be useful then.

      December 17, 2011 at 11:51 am | Reply
      • Nick

        Joel – You ignorant tool. I served 6 years active duty. Wounded twice, but unlike most of these self-serving clowns, don't cry about it looking for pats on the back.

        December 17, 2011 at 11:57 am |
      • MaryM

        Nick, you do know they have access to your email address and IP Address and can find you if they want to

        December 17, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • craig

      Idiots just like you are the reason why Americans have waning pride in themselves and our nation. When 9/11 occured, what did you do to help? You did nothing. You are nothing. Take your anger out on your own fat self.

      December 17, 2011 at 11:56 am | Reply
      • Nick

        Patrick – Another clueless tool. I lost an uncle and friend in the Twin Towers. Now go ask your mom to change your diaper.

        December 17, 2011 at 11:59 am |
      • Isabel

        Pride comes before a fall.

        December 17, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • tim

      I bet you say the same things to your wife and kids if you have any. I get the feeling anyone associated with you too long would feel like commiting suicide. Your not a person anyone would seek help from.

      December 17, 2011 at 11:58 am | Reply
      • Nick

        I won't cuddle them, you're right. That's the problem with America... everyone wants their FEELINGS attended to...

        December 17, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • nosepicker

      Your a hypocrite, Nick. I did a tour in Iraq and I am fine with what I saw....but other in my unit are not so lucky. War effects everyone in a different way. My 67 year old dad cannot talk about Vietnam to this day but he is not complaining. Hope some major, tramautic event happens to you so you can see first hand how it feels...troll

      December 17, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Reply
      • Nick

        God Bless your Dad. My dad was also a Nam vet.

        December 17, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • yourmom

      nick you need to get hit by a bus.

      December 17, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Reply
      • Nick

        I wouldn't go crying like these libtard soldiers...

        December 17, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • TImothy

      But cops and firemen aren't ordered to kill innocent people and call it in as OPPs, collateral damage. Nuremberg set the pace, soldiers are responsible for killing non-combatants. We have already been caught having "death squads" out there, small units who enjoy killing, and then throw down an AK-47. Especially when a war is fueled by body count, war crimes exists – and it starts with Bush and now Obama, the Def Sec, then all the stars, we are no better then when the Nazis invented an excuse to invade Poland. We wanted this war, we invented a reason. any soldier firing a weapon is a war criminal. There are NO HEROS, just murderers.

      December 17, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Reply
  69. MaryM

    When will mankind and womenkind evolve to the point where war is a thing of the past.

    December 17, 2011 at 11:39 am | Reply
    • Joshua

      As long as there is human pride, and limited resources ... never.

      December 17, 2011 at 11:45 am | Reply
    • Joel

      In case you haven't noticed, evolution is a lie. We are devolving into selfish, greedy individuals who sit and complain rather than do anything about it. Go get a latte at starbucks and watch some netflix.. enjoy your ignorance.

      December 17, 2011 at 11:53 am | Reply
      • MaryM

        Joel, may you find peace in your life

        December 17, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  70. HM8432

    I joined the military 20 years ago with the intent to serve my country and to help protect the freedoms promised to us by the Constitution; I also wanted to 'give back' to a nation that had been so good to me. I served repeated tours in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other places. I saw the value of what we were doing in Afghanistan, but Iraq was very different...we were not safeguarding our freedoms there, we were getting revenge for the Bush family, and getting someone VERY rich. Yes, Sadaam Hussein was an evil man, but his removal upset the power balance in the Middle East. In short, his brutality made his neighbors behave! Personally, I felt like we were lied to about why we were even there, and am presently a Libertarian now; our nation needs to focus on itself, and our domestic problems, the Republicans and Democrats simply are not doing that.

    God bless all my fellow servicemembers who served over there; we are indeed America's sacrificial lamb's (we ARE less than 1% of the populace after all...truly America's finest).

    December 17, 2011 at 11:20 am | Reply
    • MaryM

      Thank you for your service HM

      December 17, 2011 at 11:32 am | Reply
    • BS

      Yeah, you really sacrificed for our freedom. Your arrogance is astounding.

      December 17, 2011 at 11:41 am | Reply
      • MaryM

        My you find peace in your life

        December 17, 2011 at 11:43 am |
      • MaryM

        May you

        December 17, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • Nick

      1%? What an ignorant moron. Because you served you are more special than anyone else? Grow up.

      December 17, 2011 at 11:47 am | Reply
      • Joel

        I respect him far more than I could ever respect someone as hateful as you, and I've never met either of you. Nick, in real life, if you met me or any of these army folks, you'd shut the f*** up right as soon as you received a right hook in the jaw. You are a pathetic little worm.

        December 17, 2011 at 11:54 am |
      • nosepicker

        Nick the troll, trolling again.

        December 17, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
      • MaryM

        Nick, you do know they have access to your email address

        December 17, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
      • yourmom

        nick you are obviously lying in the other post about how you served active duty. If you did serve you would know that 1% means that less than 1% of the united states population is serving in the Armed Forces. youre obviously ignorant and have no right posting about things you know nothing about.

        December 17, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
      • Stu

        go play in traffic nick...IDIOT!!!

        December 17, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
      • HM8432

        BS (how self-descriptive) and Nick:

        I have grown up; uncommon valor is increasingly uncommon, hence the 1% who serve. When was the last time you fought for a worthy cause or anything non-materialistic? Likely never. Now go back to playing X-Box in you mother's basement while us men do the dying for the unearned freedoms people like you squander daily. Try running toward the fight for once instead of running away from it!

        December 17, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
    • me

      Hat's off to you

      December 17, 2011 at 11:57 am | Reply
      • Nick

        JOEL – Are you going to hit me with your MAN PURSE? LOL LOL

        December 17, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
      • MaryM

        Nick, you do know they have access to your email address and IP address

        December 17, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
      • Nick

        MaryM – So?

        December 17, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  71. Chedar

    How will Iraq end when there is Iran that is meddling. Taking Saddam out is a malfeasance of the nth degree. It is geopolitcally incorrect. Iraq will be always under the influence of Iran. As long as the gullible american vote GOP, America will always spin into the pit.

    December 17, 2011 at 11:00 am | Reply
  72. mabear87

    The Bush/Cheyney war over nothing cost lives and trillions of dollars, which they now blame on Obama. The war was for nothing and cost precious lives and years off of our troops. When wiill the Republicans stop making up wars. Now they want to attack Iran. Stupid, Stupid, uneducated idiots.

    December 17, 2011 at 10:14 am | Reply
    • darkride1actual

      I am glad you have all the answers. And by the way i have a masters degree. Run along now -recess is over

      December 17, 2011 at 10:19 am | Reply
      • wyobob

        So you studied putting worms on hooks?

        December 17, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • David Lane

      As a Nam vet I can say the war is never over. Such a waste for nothing.

      December 17, 2011 at 10:53 am | Reply
  73. John Kaufman, Oceanside, CA

    All this reminds me of the movie,"The Hurt Locker". In the end of this picture the sargent, leaves his family to come back to Iraq as a IED bomb disposal expert becuse he finds no meaningful life as a civilian, no excitment, no purpose. The point being, after this conflict, many will sucome to tragic ends of their lives, for war has its price and America should have NEVER gotten inolved in this situation of Iraq. All it produced was better weapons, more experience for the military in fighting, graft money paid out to civilian contractors, and huge payments made to a very corrupt Iraq govt, and the rebuilding much of Iraq for a total cost well over a Trillion dollars, and this country in huge debt. Many of these soldiers will become welfare dependents to the State as unemployable, just like Vietnam. America you never learn so you will get the same lesson again and again.

    December 17, 2011 at 10:08 am | Reply
    • darkride1actual

      Thats a movie – this is real life

      December 17, 2011 at 10:18 am | Reply
  74. Wayward son

    Time to go home ....

    December 17, 2011 at 10:07 am | Reply
  75. Jimmer

    And people wonder why some of us want Ron Paul in charge...........because if he was president, none of these type articles would be necessary.....

    December 17, 2011 at 10:07 am | Reply
  76. N.

    I feel for veterans. They only did what the politicians told them to do.
    How many Senator's or Congressman's kid fought in these two wars? A handful among the millions who went there? There you have it. Those S.O.Bs in Washington will retire with very generous pensions and healthcare and other perks, even if they only served for one term. Do you think they worry about veterans and their families? Hah.

    December 17, 2011 at 9:56 am | Reply
    • Mike

      The percentage of military veterans in Congress has been declining for decades. Figures on how many have children who have served isn't well-documented but I'd guess it would be near zero by now. It is always easier to ask somebody you don't know to do something you've never done, hence the willingness these days to send our military in harms way. Every time I hear some old man (or daft lady) suggest we just dispatch our military to sort out another country's issues (last summer it was Libya, now Syria or perhaps Iran), I make a note to never vote for that person.

      December 17, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Reply
  77. John Drake

    You think that the war is over? Sorry, folks, it's just in the early stages. Not only will we have the biggest embassy in the world in Baghdad – at least the size of the Vatican complex in Rome – but at least 16,000 mercenaries on the ground to protect the oil fields, the dozen or so bases that we will retain for "consulting purposes (kind of like Newt Gingrich, ya think?) and to help with policing operations should the Iraqi troops/police fall down at the job. The troops that will be leaving Iraq will be recycled through Afghanistan and will, no doubt, be used as cannon fodder for the "New Adventures of the Next President" as they complete the circle of countries brought down by a combination of neo-con monies, fomenting domestic revolutions of color against leaders of countries who haven't bowed down to the almighty dollar as reserve currency for oil trading, and who politics aren't subservient enough to the banking cartels, the IMF, and plasticine Hillary's Department of State. Look for Syria, Iran, Pakistan, and maybe even Russia to be targeted. Russia is the real prize (along with Iran) as they have the greatest amount of natural resources that the energy companies are drooling over, and that didn't get privatized when Russia collapsed the last time. Beside, we all hate Putin, don't we? Afghanistan will go the way of Iraq, devolving into even more chaos as we try and capture all the trillions of mining, gas, oil, and minerals critical to our corporate owners. Forget the women (remember, it was all about bringing women's rights to the poor Afghan tribalists), the children (remember, it always about protecting the life of the unborn – the ones who are alive are expendable), and the men (totally worthless as they will probably become jihadists and want to kill us for our freedoms). Oh, and those freedoms we are so keen on protecting? Well, thanks to the NDAA (national defense authorization act), we just lost our right to Habeus Corpus, a trial by jury, right to see and hear the evidence against us, the right to a lawyer representing us – all thanks to our Constitutional Lawyer President Obama – who now has the sole right to declare us an enemy of the state and lock us away in a Guantanamo-like gulag somewhere in the US that is being built by Halliburton and KBR to incarcerate US citizens. Good job, Brownie/Hillary/Obama/Lugar/McCain and the rest of the fraudsters who are posing as our (sel)elected representatives. The way things are progressing, by the time we have the next few wars going to protect the other freedoms the terrorists want to take away, the only right that will be left will be the right to pick out the color of your prison outfit…made in China, thank you very much.

    December 17, 2011 at 9:56 am | Reply
    • John Kaufman, Oceanside, CA

      Great article, sadly I agree with much of what you have written, I for one do not vote anymore and now would love to leave the country and find a place that is of non interest to the USA.

      December 17, 2011 at 10:14 am | Reply
      • darkride1actual

        You already are man – california lol

        December 17, 2011 at 10:29 am |
  78. iluvusa

    I know there are many things that need to be fixed when it comes to the treatment of veterans, I get sad when I see someone where I work that is a veteran. But I always make sure to tell them Thank You for what they did. Risking their life for my safety. I salute all of the men and women to were brave enough to fight!

    December 17, 2011 at 9:52 am | Reply
  79. RV1982

    Since when has war NOT haunted veterans? Anyone who supports and votes for war knows (or at least should know) that this is just ONE consequence of war. This is just a matter of fact. It is also a reason why politics should not be involved in conducting war...this includes placing ridiculous rules of engagement and other factors such as concern for so called "civilian" casualties that do nothing but prolong warfare. It is a nasty "rules" or such make it any more humane by prolonging it. Given the mindset of today, we would have never been able to use the force or tools to compel the surrender of Germany and Japan...but given the fact it was "total" war, the men who fought the battles and flew the missions were able to bring it to a conclusion in relatively short order. Bottom line...don't go to war unless you intend to go all out and fight a total war which ends a conflict as quickly as is the only way to make war "humane". I thank all who have sacrificed their time and lives to serve so that we all might live in freedom.

    December 17, 2011 at 9:51 am | Reply
    • darkride1actual

      There is something to be said for your comment. I would add that after 25 years in the military and 4 contract deployments I can tell you that todays troops are the best educated, best motivated, best trained, best equipped and best supported troops since the Spartans. How we use them in the future is the question for this generation.

      December 17, 2011 at 10:22 am | Reply
  80. rudy

    fuck all of you. they vote for us to go war instantly, but none of their kids serve in the infantry. fucking fakes, all about troops coming home and then they turn there backs when the parade is over.

    December 17, 2011 at 9:13 am | Reply
    • Ed Sr of Dallas Tx

      You're right Rudy........I spent 12 years in during Korea and Viet Nam and I saw how we were treated as heroes during the war and then when it was over I actually had people come to me while I was still in service and tell me that I was lazy and stayed in the military for job security. One day they buy you a drink in a bar and next day they call you a loafer. The American public and especially our so called political leaders are fickle and really don't care when it is over.

      December 17, 2011 at 9:31 am | Reply
    • POG

      Sad but True.

      December 17, 2011 at 11:52 am | Reply
  81. rudy

    john do not be sorry for being on your soapbox. you are weak. you made your whole comment go to waste, bitch.

    December 17, 2011 at 9:09 am | Reply
    • Miguel

      Get some help rudy. And while your at it, go fuck yourself you little shit

      December 17, 2011 at 10:10 am | Reply
  82. FedUpwithLA

    For some, it will never be over. It becomes part of your life – as a matter of fact, it is your life! I hope that these people can make a successful transition back into American society. Some will, others will need help. God bless them all, but they need our help as fellow Americans and human beings, too.

    December 17, 2011 at 9:06 am | Reply
  83. gary

    Cheney wanted cheap oil. He blundered. Bush was a puppet. USA got screwed, troops were wasted. We'll pay for decades.

    December 17, 2011 at 9:04 am | Reply
  84. me

    While the scum at Haliburton, Cheney and Bush all relax in their wealth they got from the war they created....

    December 17, 2011 at 8:37 am | Reply
    • darkride1actual

      Dont you ever get tired of that crap? the rest of us do

      December 17, 2011 at 10:27 am | Reply
      • Keith

        Why does he need to stop? It is the truth

        December 17, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • Nick

      My Haliburton stock is soaring... I'll be retired by the time I am 38. Thanks Mr. Bush & Mr. Cheney 🙂 🙂

      December 17, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Reply
      • MaryM

        Nick, you do know they have access to your email address

        December 17, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
      • ABDULLAH

        Hi Nick

        December 18, 2011 at 5:23 am |
  85. unowhoitsme

    Now we get to deal with all the war casualties at home...depression, suicide, unemployment, becoming physically handicapped, etc.

    December 17, 2011 at 8:33 am | Reply
  86. John

    I shared this on my FB page. America continues to stumble when it comes to reintegrate the American combat solder back INTO society. Two major world wars, Vietnam, the Iraqi conflicts, Afghanistan–we just don't do it! We have parades and car stickers and clapping, but don't folks see that a school teacher coming back from combat isn't a school teacher any more. We have boot camp and combat training to go TO war, but no boot camp and society training for coming back. If I had the means I'd make this my life's mission to implement. It's a crucial missing piece of the puzzle. My girlfriend was an OR tech in Iraq, and to this day continues to be traumatized by what she dealt with day after day. There are so many facets of PTSD that we just choose to ignore as actionable items. Quit talking and just DO. Every one of these returning soldiers deserves our time and attention. Sorry, off my soapbox...

    December 17, 2011 at 8:02 am | Reply
  87. Bill

    And for some of us Vietnam and Laos will never be over. There is a constant rerun of those damned places....

    December 17, 2011 at 7:56 am | Reply
    • Keith

      For the two million of us that were there it will never be over. American politictions are clueless warmongers.

      December 17, 2011 at 11:44 am | Reply
  88. Bill

    Luis Carlos Montalvan's book is excellent. Excellent.

    December 17, 2011 at 7:36 am | Reply
  89. errmmm

    We have 100,000 trops in afganistan, we sent 40% of 2.2 million pieces of equipment from Iraq over there/are still sending. There is a huge reserve force over there still, and Obama says welcome home. What an embarrassment to this country that man is.

    December 17, 2011 at 6:27 am | Reply
    • The Watcher

      An embarassment? Obama wasn't the liar that sent them there. Folks like you and the rest of the self righteous, self centered, arrogant repuglicans sent them there. Obama has made some effort to get us out of the quagmire you folks put us into. While we're at it, I suppose you blame the economy on the folks who took mortgages yet couldn't pay for them. Of course you do. Yeah, it's Obama. What a horrible mess you creeps have made of our once proud country.

      December 17, 2011 at 8:25 am | Reply
      • me

        You are right on all points. that war was for a few to get rich. the blood of all those that ded and suffered is on Cheney and Bush and the scum at Haliburton.

        December 17, 2011 at 8:39 am |
      • darkride1actual

        Yeah but then Bush didn't have a peace prize – thats about the only difference

        December 17, 2011 at 10:26 am |
  90. American Citizen

    The United States will have troops in Iraq through May, 2012. They are not all home yet. Stop listening to Congress and the president make false claims to you about Iraq. I'm the mother of a US soldier and am speaking the truth.

    December 17, 2011 at 5:05 am | Reply
    • Cruella

      The only thing scarier than what the government tells us is the people who believe it. My heart goes out to you. I hope your child is home soon.

      December 17, 2011 at 9:14 am | Reply
  91. West Texas Coyote

    The sacrifices that all combat veterans have made, make, and will continue to make are truly incomprehensible. It is sad, however; that for all the talk and posturing about taking care of our veterans, our congress is really more interesting in looking out for the big guys, because the big guy's (IE. Corporations-domestic and international) are really the ones in control, not our poor veterans! Veteran's sacrifices have been, are, and will continue to be very real, so they deserve very real support from our congress. We've taken care of the banks, real estate, auto, insurance, savings and loan, and other industries. Now, let's take care of people who have made it possible for all these people to enjoy their vast fortunes from these industries. And that's our US VETERANS!

    December 17, 2011 at 5:03 am | Reply
  92. West Texas Coyote

    The sacrifices that all combat veterans have made, make, and will continue to make are truly incomprehensible. It is sad, however; that for all the talk and posturing about taking care of our veterans, our congress is really more interesting in looking out for the big guys, because the big guy's (IE. Corporations-domestic and international) are really the ones in control, not our poor veterans! Veteran's sacrifices have been, are, and will continue to be very real, so they deserve very real support from our congress. We've taken care of the banks, real estate, auto, insurance, savings and loan, and other industries. Now, let's take care of people who have made it possible for all these people to enjoy their vast fortunes from in these industries. And that's our US VETERANS!

    December 17, 2011 at 5:01 am | Reply
    • John Kaufman, Oceanside, CA

      Wish that could happen, but our veterans are the sacraficial lambs, don't believe me look into our recent past war involvements. Many of the Iraq & Afghanistan veterans will surcome to tragic ends of their lives after leaving the service. I saw it happen in Vietnam and my father saw it happen in Korea.

      December 17, 2011 at 10:19 am | Reply
      • darkride1actual

        That tends to happen in wars in which veterans aren't supported by the public, and in actions in which rules of engagement force tragic consequences on them. i wish better for these kids.

        December 17, 2011 at 10:24 am |
  93. Patrick

    great story that needs to be heard by all of us. look forward to seeing it!

    December 16, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Reply
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