Tag Archives: Afghanistan

Food For Thought: Obama says decision soon for troops in Afghanistan

Cue music…it’s Food for Thought Friday!

The front page of Yahoo.com features this headline: Obama: Decision soon on troops for Afghanistan.

The article was quite vague about what Obama is decisding about Afghanistan, but about 3/4 down the article it became clearer:

On Afghanistan, Obama said he was not waiting for any new information. Rather, he said, he wants to be sure he strikes the right balance before committing more U.S. troops and billions of dollars to the 8-year-old conflict.

He didn’t say he is sending more troops, but he didn’t say he is withdrawing the ones currently in combat.

I remember over the summer Obama announced his Iraq withdrawl plan, then subsequently announced his plan to send thousands more troops into Afghanistan.

Obama isn’t sure what he’s doing in Afghanistan, and I want to know how that Iraq withdrawl plan is progressing.

Will this war ever come to an end? Will the United States government be clear on any decisions about out troops?

Just some food for thought.

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Stigmas…Veterans are not psychos

According to Wikipedia, a stigma is defined as:

In sociological theory, a stigma is an attribute, behavior, or reputation which is socially discrediting in a particular way: it causes an individual to be mentally classified by others in an undesirable, rejected stereotype rather than in an accepted, normal one.

Some stigmas I’ve heard being thrown around about veterans are:

They’re unstable because they suffer from PTSD.

They must have killed someone when they were overseas.

War makes them act like psychos once they’re back home.

And one I’ve had directly at me, personally:

Your boyfriend was in the Marine Corps overseas in Iraq? He must be a violent person.

Stigmas. Often unfounded assumptions made by the ignorant who know nothing more or less about the military than the violence shown on television and in movies.  Yes, my boyfriend was in the Marine Corps. Yes, he was trained for “one shot, one kill.” Yes, the Marine Corps caused a lot of destruction overseas. But all those things are what’s shown on the evening news. They never show the good these men and women do overseas.

My cousin was in the Air Force at the beginning of the War on Terrorism and was deployed to Afghanistan, but chose a detail standing in the middle of the desert guarding civilians while they rebuilt their villages. The news focuses on all the bombings, and the causality rate, which has increased far too much.

The news never talks about how my boyfriend and his unit repeatedly tried to save the life of a reporter and a cameraman by keeping them out of the “stack” (a group of Marines armed and preparing for entry by force) until the coast was clear because more times than not, they [Marines] never knew what type of lethal force was waiting for them behind the door they were about to bust down.

Mental health treatment for veterans is lacking in this country, and when a veteran is suffering from PTSD or another mental illness caused by the horrors of war and commits a violent crime, the news simply writes him/her off as “another psycho from the military.” It’s not fair.

It’s not fair to those who served and its not fair to those who will serve to know they’ll be treated with that stigma.

Anyone have experience with stigmas of being a war veteran or veteran of service? Share your stories with me below.

Twitterers to follow who follow veterans…(Part 1)

The world is getting smaller and smaller due to the increased use of social media and internet networking tools. Twitter is the latest and in my opinion, greatest of these tools. It allows one to share their thoughts to the entire world in 140 characters or less. People tweet about everything from their dinner, to traffic, to larger issues like healthcare reform and my personal favorite, veterans issues.

The Twittersphere is full of Twitterers tweeting useful tweets about veterans issues. Some of the ones I follow:

@VetsNetwork is “A Twitter network for veterans and for those who support veterans,” according to their Twitter biography. Found through a Twitter search of #veterans, they are one of the largest veterans-related Twitter users with 1,021 followers and 995 people they follow (as of posting time.) A majority of their Tweets link to news from the Veteran’s Administration website, but a few link to local news sources around the country reporting on veterans-related news. I am following them for use on my beat because they Tweet frequently and with quality information pertinent to veterans, and those supporting veterans.

@WeSoldierOn tackles one specific veterans-related issue, homelessness. They are a non-profit organization located in Massachusetts, and one of their tweets from July 14th stuck out to me for a future blogging topic. @WeSoldierOn provided the statistic on any given night, over 275,000 veterans are living under bridges. Homelessness is a large topic to conquer, and in the case of veterans, it’s sometimes the result of other problems (poor mental health care, and PTSD.)

@MilitaryAvenue is a Twitterer more focused at active-duty military and their families, but veterans issues are also of interest to those currently serving, and I follow this Twitterer for the active-duty view on veterans topics.

@militarypathway, like @WeSoldierOn, also combats a specific veterans-related issue, mental health. Military Pathways provides free mental health assessments to active and inactive-duty military personnel. I follow them because their feeling towards veterans conveyed in their Twitter bio is similar to the tagline of my blog, “Not all wounds happen on the battlefield.”

@VFPNational is not a veterans-issue Twitter user, but a organization of Veterans for Peace. Their recent Tweets have been  extremely opposed to the war in Afghanistan, and I chose to follow them on Twitter because it’s a different point of view of veterans post-service. VFP is taking an active hand in issues effecting future generations of veterans, and their Twitter page provides a plethora of information for all interested.