I sat down with The War Comes Home, Washington's Battle Against American Veterans. It is by Aaron Glantz.
I am paused on page 10. I see this book may need to be read a page at a time and it absolutely must be read.
On Saturday I was with two women, one of whom still works at the VA and the other who retired when Bush started this war in Iraq because she knew she couldn't go through it again. Both are therapists. Each new war also brings in vets from past wars who are again reminded of the horror.
Linda, my friend working as a therapist at the VA, spoke on Saturday about TBI, traumatic brain injury, which many, according to Aaron, call the "signature injury" of the Iraq War. "The most common injury soldiers in Iraq experience is brain damage from blasts from roadside bombs, otherwise known as improvised explosive devices, or IEDs." "A recent Army study found that 18 percent of troops who have been to Iraq likely suffered at least some brain damage from IED's. That means as many as 320,000 potential TBI patients."
In addition there are those with PTSD, those with lost limbs, those trying to adjust to life here, so foreign to what was experienced there. Who was damaged in this war? In any war, who is hurt? Every single one of us is hurt.
All of this was going on while we were being exploited at home. I learned yesterday of someone making $14,000 a year as a cherry picker who was approved to buy a $700,000 house. Where is the logic in this, or even the humanity? Imagine the hurt and disappointment for this person now. There was not only no oversight but clearly approval. The SEC looked at Madoff and found nothing wrong. Nothing wrong. How is this even possible?
I am still sobered by the story of John Robbins who did not invest directly with Madoff, who thought he was conservatively invested and yet has now lost 98% of his retirement.
And see how quickly I go off-subject here, how I can't stay with those who have been in Iraq and return, possibly damaged beyond repair.
Aaron writes of one man, Patrick Resta, who was a combat medic. Patrick says, "We could not treat Iraqi civilians unless they were about to die and we had done it." "When I would walk through these cities I had people bringing their children up to me who were ill and had to be treated, and we were threatened with being court-martialed if we took any medicine to treat these Iraqis in the city."
Imagine what that does to someone, to turn away from a child who needs help. Imagine. We are programmed for empathy, created to help. Imagine if instead of going in with bombs, we had gone in with medical and school supplies. Imagine. I will make it through this book and I will continue to wonder how Bush could dismiss those of us who protested as a "fringe group," and how we were not able to say more clearly, we are not fringe. We are the warp and the weft. We are the fabric. See now what was done in each of our names. See now the pain.