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Kowalski

A Soldier's Last Words

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Posted (edited)

This needs to go viral....

Daniel Somers was a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was part of Task Force Lightning, an intelligence unit. In 2004-2005, he was mainly assigned to a Tactical Human-Intelligence Team (THT) in Baghdad, Iraq, where he ran more than 400 combat missions as a machine gunner in the turret of a Humvee, interviewed countless Iraqis ranging from concerned citizens to community leaders and and government officials, and interrogated dozens of insurgents and terrorist suspects. In 2006-2007, Daniel worked with Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) through his former unit in Mosul where he ran the Northern Iraq Intelligence Center. His official role was as a senior analyst for the Levant (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, and part of Turkey). Daniel suffered greatly from PTSD and had been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and several other war-related conditions. On June 10, 2013, Daniel wrote the following letter to his family before taking his life. Daniel was 30 years old. His wife and family have given permission to publish it.

Taken from: http://gawker.com/i-...-last-534538357

What gets me is this part....

] Is it any wonder then that the latest figures show 22 veterans killing themselves each day? That is more veterans than children killed at Sandy Hook, every single day. Where are the huge policy initiatives? Why isn’t the president standing with those[/b] families at the state of the union? Perhaps because we were not killed by a single lunatic, but rather by his own system of dehumanization, neglect, and indifference.

:no:

The simple truth is this: During my first deployment, I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe. War crimes, crimes against humanity. Though I did not participate willingly, and made what I thought was my best effort to stop these events, there are some things that a person simply can not come back from. I take some pride in that, actually, as to move on in life after being part of such a thing would be the mark of a sociopath in my mind. These things go far beyond what most are even aware of.

So sad.....How do our government officials sleep a night?

Edited by Still Waters
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They can sleep at night because they have no problem getting their little pill and their kids aren't the ones in the middle of this mess.

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Such a shame. Dubya let loose the dogs of war, and B'rack is keeping them running... :innocent:

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Such a shame. Dubya let loose the dogs of war, and B'rack is keeping them running... :innocent:

Why are so many of our soldiers committing suicide, though? I mean, the rate is alarming....

Study: Suicide rates among army soldiers are up 80 percent

From: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-57394452-10391704/study-suicide-rates-among-army-soldiers-up-80-percent/

U.S. Military's Suicide Rate Surpassed Combat Deaths In 2012

Link: http://www.wbur.org/npr/169364733/u-s-militarys-suicide-rate-surpassed-combat-deaths-in-2012

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You want to know the real truth?

Nobody comes back from war "ok", we all come back damaged. Physically or Psychologicially.

On top of our damages at war, we are then greeted at home with a program just about ready for us to make a mistake so that they can deny us any benefits.

Myself, as well as many Iraqi Freedom, Viet-cong, etc etc.. veterans are utterly abandoned and denied benefits. Seems like everyone in this country has seen a homeless veteran, but they're not important. What's important is that politicians make long speeches and look real fancy for the cameras.

So yeah, after having sworn their life to that flag, to that constitution, and being betrayed... Many do decide that they want no part in such the vile and abyssal nation, but they can't just leave.. So they terminate the oath they swore on their lives.

More simply worded:

"I'd rather be a free man in my grave

Than living as a puppet or a slave"

~Jimmy Cliff

"The law will never make a man free; it is men who have got to make the law free."

~Henry David Thoreau

"You only have power over people so long as you don't take everything away from them. But when you've robbed a man of everything, he's no longer in your power - he's free again."

~Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

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It's just so sad, and it makes me sick....How do these politicians look at themselves in the mirror? :no:

To force me to do these things and then participate in the ensuing coverup is more than any government has the right to demand. Then, the same government has turned around and abandoned me. They offer no help, and actively block the pursuit of gaining outside help via their corrupt agents at the DEA. Any blame rests with them.

Beyond that, there are the host of physical illnesses that have struck me down again and again, for which they also offer no help. There might be some progress by now if they had not spent nearly twenty years denying the illness that I and so many others were exposed to. Further complicating matters is the repeated and severe brain injuries to which I was subjected, which they also seem to be expending no effort into understanding. What is known is that each of these should have been cause enough for immediate medical attention, which was not rendered.

Lastly, the DEA enters the picture again as they have now managed to create such a culture of fear in the medical community that doctors are too scared to even take the necessary steps to control the symptoms. All under the guise of a completely manufactured “overprescribing epidemic,” which stands in stark relief to all of the legitimate research, which shows the opposite to be true. Perhaps, with the right medication at the right doses, I could have bought a couple of decent years, but even that is too much to ask from a regime built upon the idea that suffering is noble and relief is just for the weak.

Wow. How true is that? The rich and powerful elite, can get all the drugs they want, but ordinary people, who really need them, can't get them....

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My son came back from Iraq apparently "intact," but won't discuss his experiences there (not unusual). His step-brother didn't deploy, but killed himself after training for the US Navy SEALS, leaving no note or other explanation. My uncle, who died of cancer at age 85, was a veteran of Anzio and the Italian Campaign in WW II, but never talked about it until the last 6 months of his life. I'll never forget his demeanor in remembering. The multiple traumas of separation from family at a young age, live-fire training, grueling physical demands and deprivations---multiplied if one has seen combat and/or been exposed to imminent physical danger---all conspire to erode one's sense of safety, dignity and personal integrity. xFelix (post above) is a living witness; it has become a cliché to say, "Thank you for your service," but I am thankful---more so because you are living and thriving, and not ground down by what you lived through.

In a previous job I established a support group for returning Iraq-Afghanistan vets (actually, any vets), jointly run by a Korean War vet, a 'Nam vet and me. It never got off the ground (this was 2006) because there was (and is) such a stigma surrounding seeking help; this was before the exploding PTSD and TBI stats were well-known. All the while the suicide rate was climbing. The federal government has done little to make mental health services, disability support or vocational rehabilitation more accessible. If anything, the government is an impediment to the well-being of the bodies, minds and souls it has thrust into the maw of war. That is a crime.

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Why are so many of our soldiers committing suicide, though? I mean, the rate is alarming....

Study: Suicide rates among army soldiers are up 80 percent

From: http://www.cbsnews.c...-up-80-percent/

U.S. Military's Suicide Rate Surpassed Combat Deaths In 2012

Link: http://www.wbur.org/...-deaths-in-2012

It's been that way for quite a few years now.

As Felix mentioned, war is hell, and the experience effects every individual a little bit differently. My theory is that this GWOT is such a fraud, and so immoral, that all the troops know they are engaged in wrong doing. Some can delude themselves better than others, but for those who cannot kid themselves, shame and depression drive the suicide rate.

It would be interesting to know how the suicide rates were in the conduct of legally declared and somewhat moral wars, such as WWII.

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Posted (edited)

It's been that way for quite a few years now.

As Felix mentioned, war is hell, and the experience effects every individual a little bit differently. My theory is that this GWOT is such a fraud, and so immoral, that all the troops know they are engaged in wrong doing. Some can delude themselves better than others, but for those who cannot kid themselves, shame and depression drive the suicide rate.

It would be interesting to know how the suicide rates were in the conduct of legally declared and somewhat moral wars, such as WWII.

According to this piece, WWII vets are committing suicide at much higher rates than younger veterans.

https://www.baycitiz...mong-wwii-vets/

Here's a piece that makes the ascertain that suicide rates among young veterans aren't really any different than the rates among the general population.

http://archive.redst..._among_veterans

I think it's important to remember that while every war has produced psychological casualties and they certainly deserve the best treatment and care money can buy free of charge from a grateful nation, that there are millions of veterans of the GWOT that have reentered civilian life with little to no trauma and are leading productive lives.

Edited by Rafterman
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I know a few guys who have come back from Iraq and are totally fine, on the otherhand Ive met some guys who really really aint. (This is UK military)

Two examples at either end of the spectrum.

1. One guy was involved in a live fire incident within a few days of getting off the plane, he was 19. He was shot at, saw people shot, shot some people himself. He was happy to discuss it, in suprising detail and seem totally "ok" with it. He said he had a firm belief he was doing the right thing by being there, had rationalised his experiance, chose to go their and had no moral issues with shooting people who were shooting at him.

2. Another guy I know came back with sevre combat stress, night terrors etc, I saw him beat himself into unconciousness against a metal pole in public then tried to assault the paramedics who we called to take him to hospotal. He was shouting and raving they were trying to kill him and talking about the "bangs" and "screaming". He was damaged mentally, almost certainly as a result of his combat experiance. He could not talk about his experiance, loud noises made him jump etc

One old gurkha chap my grandad knew would cheerfully and proudly relate stories of slitting japanese throats in Burma.

Depends on how a person approached the events mentally, i think if they feel they are right to be thier, they rationalise it far better and dont suffer to such an extent.

Somtimes people just break though, i mean imagine being in ww1 and seeing 40 men, all of whom you know from the village back home getting chewed into a slew of meat, blood and bone fragments buy shellfire and machinegun fire.

My great grandad and his company were caught in the open by mustard gas with no masks when on transit from reserve on the western front, alot of men died agonising, loud deaths, slow deaths that often took days or weeks. My great grandad was 15 at the time. He survied but had sores and scars on his lungs for the rest of his life.

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Rafterman

Little to no APPARENT trauma.

I hope you're right, but on this topic, yours is rather a lonely voice. Depression and PTSD are very real and prevalent. Everybody reacts to it differently. Chris Kyles is dead for a reason.

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Posted (edited)

Rafterman

Little to no APPARENT trauma.

I hope you're right, but on this topic, yours is rather a lonely voice. Depression and PTSD are very real and prevalent. Everybody reacts to it differently. Chris Kyles is dead for a reason.

Perhaps, but in my experience, some of the folks pushing this notion of the broken veteran are doing so not so much out of sympathy for veterans, but because they are driving a certain political agenda. That was the case with Vietnam and that appears to be the case with the GWOT.

One just has to be mindful of that notion when they read this stuff.

Edited by Rafterman
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Perhaps, but in my experience, some of the folks pushing this notion of the broken veteran are doing so not so much out of sympathy for veterans, but because they are driving a certain political agenda. That was the case with Vietnam and that appears to be the case with the GWOT.

One just has to be mindful of that notion when they read this stuff.

Color me guilty as charged, and guilty as hell.

My political agenda is to restore some measure of sanity and dignity and honest to our political system as it pertains to bogus wars. Any politician of any party who speaks about that agenda and attempts to implement it gets all the support I can muster.

Yessir, guilty. :tu:

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Posted (edited)

According to this piece, WWII vets are committing suicide at much higher rates than younger veterans.

https://www.baycitiz...mong-wwii-vets/

Here's a piece that makes the ascertain that suicide rates among young veterans aren't really any different than the rates among the general population.

http://archive.redst..._among_veterans

I think it's important to remember that while every war has produced psychological casualties and they certainly deserve the best treatment and care money can buy free of charge from a grateful nation, that there are millions of veterans of the GWOT that have reentered civilian life with little to no trauma and are leading productive lives.

While I appreciate the respectful manner in which you posted your take, I have to disagree.

There might be millions who return to civilian life as usual, but there are some who are abandoned and thrown to the dogs. When we are out there fighting, we leave no man behind. I have laid down my life various times to bring back someone's fallen son, and I have the scars both physically and psychologically to say that I was there, voluntarily in that hell, so that nobody else's son had to be forced to go via draft. The entire military system is setup so that if you step on the wrong toes or make a mistake you are done, no benefits, no nothing. I am also one of them. I went from 101st Airbourne 187th INF., to finding whatever job is available to me while I go to school. We push forward in our lives however we can. Some of us find garbage jobs, some of us become homeless, and some of us off ourselves because we have nothing and we gave everything for this nation... What grateful nation are you talking about, I don't see one. Myself and many others are the men that have been left behind, even though we have never left anyone else's sons behind. Tell me, a veteran with scars on his chest, PTSD, various sleeping disorders, night terrors, paranoia, insomnia, no military benefits at all, and a family to support on a stupid job, why am I supposed to feel good that millions of others are taken care of?

PS-I'm actually one the the least damaged ones that are left behind.. Try talking to vietnam vets....

Edited by xFelix
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I recall a true account of a US soldier in Iraq during one of those bad battles.

He was on a modified Humvee, I think, and during an offensive raid shot his fully-auto 50-caliber top-mounted machine gun at an armed resistance fighter that was very close or next to the Humvee.

Anyway, he said that his gunfire literally cut the person in half from the chest all the way across.

He later said that he can not forget that, and has frequent vivid nightmares.

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PS-I'm actually one the the least damaged ones that are left behind.. Try talking to vietnam vets....

Most of my mom and dad's uncles served in Vietnam...

Many of them did not come back "okay".

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Posted (edited)

While I appreciate the respectful manner in which you posted your take, I have to disagree.

There might be millions who return to civilian life as usual, but there are some who are abandoned and thrown to the dogs. When we are out there fighting, we leave no man behind. I have laid down my life various times to bring back someone's fallen son, and I have the scars both physically and psychologically to say that I was there, voluntarily in that hell, so that nobody else's son had to be forced to go via draft. The entire military system is setup so that if you step on the wrong toes or make a mistake you are done, no benefits, no nothing. I am also one of them. I went from 101st Airbourne 187th INF., to finding whatever job is available to me while I go to school. We push forward in our lives however we can. Some of us find garbage jobs, some of us become homeless, and some of us off ourselves because we have nothing and we gave everything for this nation... What grateful nation are you talking about, I don't see one. Myself and many others are the men that have been left behind, even though we have never left anyone else's sons behind. Tell me, a veteran with scars on his chest, PTSD, various sleeping disorders, night terrors, paranoia, insomnia, no military benefits at all, and a family to support on a stupid job, why am I supposed to feel good that millions of others are taken care of?

PS-I'm actually one the the least damaged ones that are left behind.. Try talking to vietnam vets....

It may seem trivial, but the sentence in your post that gets to me is, "What grateful nation are you talking about, I don't see one." I am a non-military person from a military family (father and uncles in WW II; cousin in Viet Nam; son returned from Iraq). One aspect of our USA that has offended me is what I call "the militarization of popular culture." Just look at the movies these past few years. Why would my son, or you, xFelix, want to go to a movie that reenacts the horrors of Iraq or Afghanistan? But it's more than this: Babies and toddlers dressed in combat fatigues (we condemned it when the Nazis did it and Hezbollah does it); women's camisoles in camo; Bush screaming for 8 years that "if yer not wi' me, yer wi' da terrists!" and people parroting him to denounce someone else's view as "unpatriotic;" the general way in which a perpetual war footing has seeped into everyday life (you can get almost any consumer item in camo). For xFelix, or others, to feel alienated from this uncritical, jingoistic culture says a lot. The simplest thing it says, to me, is that America's support for the deployed and/or returned military serviceperson is a mile wide and a centimeter deep. The armchair generals who've never served wave the flag while the ones who fought under/for that flag come home to dismal, aw-get-over-it-it's-not-that-bad-the __fill-in-the-blank___ -war-veterans-had-it-just-as-bad bad attitudes,

So it's worse than I thought. Not only is American culture nominally and superficially "militarized," as a matter of style, fashion, panache or wanna-be false bravado ("See my camouflage stilettos?! Got 'em at Wal Mart ™,") but it averts its eyes to the actual men and women who really did suffer for us. Sure, we still produce a great funeral--patriot riders, dress uniforms and all--but what about the living?

Edited by szentgyorgy
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Posted (edited)

I haven't even scratched the surface. My previous post isn't even the tip, of the tip, of the iceberg.

- Everyone drives around with "support our troops" bumper stickers, but so few actually donate to any of the many non profit organizations that are made to help the troops left behind by the VA, that in most cases they have to pick and choose who they can actually help. While I and many others have been utterly obliterated, we are seemingly at the bottom of the list, and the veterans who are missing limbs are the top. They get help from these organizations AND the VA, while we get nothing from noone.

- Law Enforcement runs these patriotic PR campaigns, but can give a crap less who you are and what you did. Perfect example was when I first came home. I was still wearing my ACU's when a cop pulled me over and approached my car with his gun drawn. He then proceeded to demand that I step out the vehicle, and once out he handcuffed me, slammed my head onto the hood, and started frisking me. When he finished frisking me, I asked why I was being treated as if I was a threat or a criminal. His reply was really smooth: "You are wearing a uniform, that uniform says that you are a trained killer and a threat to my safety". When he asked if he could search my car, I did reveal that I had my sidearm in the glove compartment oh shouldn't have done that... The proverbial SH** hit the fan. They brought down the local swat team to search my car, and they were'nt any less offensive. When they were done, and had realized that I was doing nothing wrong except driving to the store for a gallon of milk because I came home and there was no milk to eat some cereal... The first officer said and I quote "HOOAH" as he chuckled and drove away. If you don't know what HOOAH means to the army.. it is our calling card basically, it has so many different meanings, and all of them are a part of who we are.

- While still in service, I took many lives on command, and saved many more. I was a victim of war in a sense that I died in battle and was brought back at a later time in a hospital. My comrades never gave up on me, they kept doing my chest compressions all the way until I reached the hospital, where I was then properly hit with the electric paddles, which worked. During that time my mother was called and was notified that her only son had died in combat. Weeks later when I came home, she turned pale and shook like a leaf because nobody told her I had been revived.

- When you sign the life insurance policy, in case you weren't aware, you agree that the policy is only viable if your family pays in advance for the funeral arrangements. My family was too poor to pay for the light bill on time some months, how were they going to afford the $10,000 for funeral arrangements?

Now, and only now are we at the tip of the iceberg.

Edited by xFelix
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- Law Enforcement runs these patriotic PR campaigns, but can give a crap less who you are and what you did. Perfect example was when I first came home. I was still wearing my ACU's when a cop pulled me over and approached my car with his gun drawn. He then proceeded to demand that I step out the vehicle, and once out he handcuffed me, slammed my head onto the hood, and started frisking me. When he finished frisking me, I asked why I was being treated as if I was a threat or a criminal. His reply was really smooth: "You are wearing a uniform, that uniform says that you are a trained killer and a threat to my safety". When he asked if he could search my car, I did reveal that I had my sidearm in the glove compartment oh shouldn't have done that... The proverbial SH** hit the fan. They brought down the local swat team to search my car, and they were'nt any less offensive. When they were done, and had realized that I was doing nothing wrong except driving to the store for a gallon of milk because I came home and there was no milk to eat some cereal... The first officer said and I quote "HOOAH" as he chuckled and drove away. If you don't know what HOOAH means to the army.. it is our calling card basically, it has so many different meanings, and all of them are a part of who we are.

:o

Wow, what a bunch of p*****...

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Posted (edited)

nm

Edited by The world needs you

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Posted (edited)

:o

Wow, what a bunch of p*****...

Some cops have long been at the top of the list of cowardly pistol-packin' wanna-be's who would wilt at the prospect of a fair fight. It's another symptom of the militarization of US society that so many police officers brag like thugs (and act the part) while ironically using the war they ostensibly support as a rationale to mistreat the veteran.

Never forget the heavy-handed militancy with which Hoover suppressed the WW I veterans' Washington, DC tent city (think about the Occupy movement) by siccing his slavering lackeys MacArthur and Patton on the hapless, destitute and betrayed protesting veterans (The Bonus Marchers, 1932).

Any abuse of power deserves exposure and erasure.

Edited by szentgyorgy
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