Friday, July 30, 2010

Army's High Suicide Rates Linked to Risky Behavior

"Denying military service to people with risky backgrounds for example would clearly have a serious effect on recruitment, especially for the army, which traditionally recruits from areas of social disadvantage."

Veterans advocate Kirt Love, a frequent presenter at the Institute of Medicine (IOM), notes that the IOM will "Label these people as genetically inferior rather than physically damaged by outside sources."

Indeed, there is a significant body of neurological research which focuses on the neurobiological changes found in subjects with PTSD such as decreased hippocampal volume, reduced activity in the prefrontal cortex, altered brainwave activity and increased activity in the amygdala. Dr. Brad Johnson of the U.S. Naval Academy states that "Various strands of medical research suggest that the intense bursts of brain activity during traumatic experiences may actually lay down new neural pathways in the brain — the prime culprits when it comes to the recurring symptoms of PTSD and the substantial difficulty finding a genuine cure."

The dictum that pervades the Gulf War/Iraq debate applies to the members of the military with PTSD; we broke it so we have to fix it. If the Federal government breaks a soldier in its use of that soldier to wage war on its behalf, then it is duty bound to pay to fix that soldier. That is the cost of doing business: An aggressive investigation of the neurobiology of PTSD and fully funding the VA demonstrates a genuine support for the troops.

It will certainly cut costs to blame the veteran for the psychological damage experienced in war through locating the source of that damage in morals, sin, and pre-existing pathology. But it is one thing to cut costs by using a cheaper grade of toilet tissue; it is entirely of another magnitude to cut costs by using disposable soldiers.

Blame the Veterans for PTSD and for Environmental Exposures
Remeber that GW vets who have post deployment illness, also have died by Suicide. Twenty year later we still suffer UDI (undiagnosed illness) and MUPS (Medically Unexplained Physical Symptoms ).


Monday, July 26, 2010

Open Government Plan Emphasizes VA’s Commitment to Transparency

Where is the openness? Where is the transparency?

What happened to (it been months) GWVI-TF recommends that VA Coordinate with DoD to leverage the Deployment Health Working Group (DHWG) as the principal mechanism for VA to receive data on environmental exposures of active duty military personnel । Strategies to improve future DoD/VA data sharing. There is No direct line phone numbers veterans can reach or write.

Paul Sullivan of Veterans for Common Sense (VCS) ( ) writes:

According to this gem of a press release, VA wants to have their cake and eat it, too.

On the one hand, and this is so cute, VA mentions Facebook and Twitter as part of open government.

On the other hand, VA becomes more clouded by denying our VCS FOIAs seeking information about the VA employees who "impeded" Gulf War scientific research, as reported by VA's OIG last years. We sent our FOIAs to VA last November. VA has not provided any documents. Next week, when we testify before Congress, VCS will blast VA for failing to honor FOIA and, more importantly, for blocking research, treatment, and benefits for our hundreds of thousands of ill Gulf War veterans.