By Joachim Hagopian
Global Research, January 24, 2015
Like pretty much all ailments and illnesses in the United States, returning soldiers from the warfronts suffering from acute cases of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are currently being treated, or more like snowed under, with powerful, mind-altering psychiatric drugs. Because it is unnatural for the vulnerable human psyche to witness the insanity of war, watching your buddies or yourself get blown up by IED’s (Improvised Explosive Devices), instantly your life can forever be changed into a permanent living nightmare. Just by surviving the trauma after observing your brothers-in-arms (increasingly sisters-in arms with next year’s official US policy change deploying women into combat) or even witnessing any humans die in war will often plague combat veterans the rest of their lives as survivor’s guilt. Also as human tools of the US Empire killing machine, American soldiers in combat have systematically participated in war crime atrocities killing thousands and even millions of innocent civilians over the many decades of constant US war. Those soldiers who have not been desensitized and numbed to the extent that they cannot block out their survivor’s guilt nor their residual guilt from killing others in immoral wars or possibly committing war crimes themselves, virtually always end up scarred for life, burdened with the shame and remorse for what they perceive as their own never forgotten much less forgiven past sins.
My own father, a decorated Navy war hero on US submarines during World War II and Korea, was tortured by his post-war “sins” that he carried for over 70 years all the way to his grave. His particular war sins were the result of being forced at gunpoint by US naval command to comply with America’s racist war policy to kill every Asian man, woman and child in Pacific waters during World War II, even innocent non-Japanese civilian families peacefully eking out a modest living in their small fishing boats. At one point when my machine gunner father couldn’t bear committing any more of his racist nation’s sins, after defiantly throwing his .50 caliber bullet belt to the deck and retreating down below deck to his bunk, his submarine captain charged after him with his revolver drawn ready to murder my father until several of my father’s shipmates talked the raging Medal of Honor winning skipper out of it. For the next seven decades my father agonized over the haunting images of gunning down little children and their mothers laying lifeless in their slowly sinking boats, turning the Pacific blue red with white man’s inhumanity toward yellow race people. But this is what the last “justified,” red, white and blue American war did to my father’s fragile human psyche. Rather than placing the blame squarely on United States war policy in the Pacific theater, he always blamed himself for murdering those innocent families whose only crime was being born with slanted eyes. His PTSD symptoms persisted the next 70 years, countless times suddenly jarred awake in the middle of the night in cold sweat moaning in agony over his nightmares of those haunting, indelible images from so many years before. Then on weekends he would regularly put on his treasured “Victory At Sea” records, and the lilting music like a trance would morosely place him right back into reliving his war trauma, wrestling with his inner demons hundreds of times over while drowning himself in alcohol, futilely self-medicating numbness amidst his lingering, unshakable pain. This is what war does. From any end of the gun, war is always wrong.
Especially in recent years with the present war of terror raging as permanent official US foreign policy, military jargon has conveniently invented self-deceptive ways of distancing and separating individual and collective guilt by renaming murdered victims “collateral damage” as if inanimate objects that every seasoned soldier accepts as part of the human cost of war. Demonizing the enemy as some form of subhuman lowlife is another distorted, twisted way to avoid individual and national culpability and the so called trappings of guilt and shame. If the enemy is objectified and debased into pure evil, then one can be anointed a war hero, feeling good and even proud for removing such scum off the face of the earth. These are the insidious methods of mental madness adjustments that the national warring state indoctrinates, manipulates and infuses into its military warriors to become callous, unthinking, unfeeling killing machines. To become the best at waging war as a member of the USA’s most elite fighting force, a soldier typically trains to become a coveted Navy Seal, a Delta Force Commando or a member of the Special Forces. These men are some of the most skilled killers/murderers/assassins on the planet. The CIA and Joint Special Operations Forces busily fighting dirty little secret wars in more than 134 nations around the globe have honed and refined this killer instinct. Their deep brainwash allows them to live with themselves in the same way their Mafia hitmen counterparts can comfortably do what they do for a living without a tinge of guilt or remorse. “It’s just a job and somebody’s gotta do it.”
Yet no matter how much rationalization, historical revisioning, brainwashing or repression one utilizes to run away from the truth, if still human, the nagging guilt and shame that those still possessing a conscience must bear can easily become too agonizingly painful a burden. Hence, a subsequent pervasive pattern of self-sabotage, self-destruction and ultimate suicide all too frequently emerge as their only way out of this sad and tragic common fate. At the deeply wounded core level, their war experience has left them believing they simply do not deserve to ever be loved, happy or successful in life and too often they die young.
If not already, soldiers and veterans returning home from multiple combat tours quickly become addicted to prescribed major antipsychotic tranquilizers, anti-anxiety drugs, sleeping sedatives, painkillers, antidepressants, stimulants, and mood stabilizers that all carry horrific cumulative side effects. Just to get an idea of the enormity of the problem, military personnel are prescribed narcotic painkillers three times more often than the civilian population in America that consumes 80% of the world’s supply of highly addictive painkillers. One in three veterans polled in a survey say they are on ten different medications. A February New York Times article four years ago reported that one in three of the record 162 suicides by active duty soldiers in 2009 were taking psychotropic medication. And from 2006-2009 another 101 soldiers died from toxic mixing of prescribed drugs.
Drug toxicity causes brain damage, nerve damage, liver damage and frequently enough organ failure. Compounding this epidemic amongst our service men and women, too many are also simultaneously self-medicating with highly addictive alcohol and illegal drugs. As a result, the combination of these harmful dangerous drugs are causing increasing accidental overdoses as well as planned suicides and mounting homicides. Last year’s Fort Hood shooting comes readily to mind. On the average, a veteran is killing him or herself every single hour of every single day. In 2012 more died at their own hands than fighting the war in Afghanistan. During the first eight years of the war of terror the US has been waging globally since 9/11, the suicide rate amongst Army personnel spiked more than 150%at the same time that Big Pharma prescriptions rose 76%. Another key finding is that 85% of military suicide victims were never in combat. This alarming fact strongly suggests that what’s driving so many to kill themselves has more to do with the harmful drugs being prescribed them than the effects of the actual wars going on.
Another appalling discovery in recent years is the fact that US military personnel have been placed in harm’s way not only by constant US war and dangerous drugs, but also by being used as human guinea pigs for controversial deadly vaccines as well. The US military has a long history of conveniently using its soldiers as human subjects as well as veterans at VA hospitals without gaining their consent in the most cruel and sadistic experiments at the infamous Edgewood lab from 1955 to 1975. Many vaccines in recent years including Gulf War soldiers have been contaminated with the anthrax vaccine and other harmful cocktail combinations of immunizations forced on themagainst their will.
Victimized active duty personnel as well as veterans ever since the Vietnam War, which have come to include the veterans of the Gulf War, the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War, all have been increasingly prescribed Big Pharma drugs to smother and straightjacket their PTSD symptoms. Rather than invest in their true care through long term intensive programs providing quality individual and group therapy along with extremely limited and prudent use of prescribed psychoactive drugs, along with extensive job training and employment support services, the quick and easy answer has been to simply snow vets under with a pharmacopeia of harmful drugs that send them into comatose states of oblivion. As an example of “limited and prudent” use of medication for PTSD treatment, in response to an article I wrote last year on this subject, renowned psychologist Dr. Ralph Metzner cited the promising results that MDMA (called Ecstasy on the street) is generating for trauma patients. His call for more research testing seems worth the follow-up over the conventional medications that are clearly not working.
The Big Pharma poisoning through heavy toxins and adverse side effects have been the quick fix to treating today’s active duty service members. According to the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, a watchdog organization investigating and exposing psychiatric human rights violations, “today the willingness to empathize with the warrior and listen to his experiences has been replaced by a psychiatric pop-a-pill ‘quick-fix’ mentality.” It’s simply more expedient and far less costly to over-sedate our soldiers and veterans into a drug fog, creating a national policy of obliterating them as victims that customarily gets swept under the safety-net rug, sent away from the military and VA psychiatrists to sooner die off in an “out of sight, out of mind” nationalized policy of complete lack of healthcare.
The heavy consequence of dragging out multiple wars – the longest in US history – for over a decade in the ongoing, US created “forever war on terror” has resulted in the federal government, the military and the Veterans Administration to all be criminally ill-equipped to adequately and humanely respond to the overwhelming numbers of mentally and emotionally damaged Americans our government has systematically used and abused. Last year’s VA scandal grabbed headlines when it was exposed that vets around the country have been placed on invisible waiting lists that turn into death lists before the patient ever gets seen by the doctor. This horror show along with an average waiting period backlog of over a year to process initial veteran’s disability claims and another two and a half years for denied claim appeals are causing thousands of suffering soldiers straight from the battlefields to go untreated for far too long. These extremely disturbing realities reflect the thoroughly corrupt and broken system of VA healthcare for our military who sacrificed everything for their country.
On top of all these problems, every war America fights kills countless more victims from poison chemicals that are part of the lethal US military weaponry and hardware used. Human victims of America’s wars are mostly innocent civilians who are maimed and killed in addition to targeted enemy troops. But within a few years from every war more US casualties never stop showing up dead from exposure to some highly toxic chemical, starting with the Vietnam veterans’ exposure to Monsanto-made napalm known as Agent Orange. Four million Vietnamese were exposed to Agent Orange and the Vietnamese government contends that 3 million have suffered illnesses from it. For decades the VA lied, denying any and all responsibility before finally admitting liability.
Like napalm, depleted uranium (DU) is also considered a weapon of mass destruction killing countless more people in the Middle East and Central Asia. In the Gulf War and current Iraq and Afghanistan Wars the US has been responsible for dumping thousands of tons of depleted uranium killing thousands of US veterans and far more Iraqis and Afghanis. And with much more DU used in the much longer recent wars, out of the little more than half million soldiers who fought during the 1990-91 Gulf War, by 2000 11,000 were already dead and another 325,000 on permanent medical disability. The Gulf War syndrome caused by uranium that produces deadly cancerous growths and tumors will even take a much larger number of the million US soldiers along with the 28 million Iraqis exposed to DU in this century’s wars. Based on just the first Gulf War, the UK Atomic Energy Authority estimates the number of deaths resulting from DU poisoning could be as many as a half million. The death toll from the recent decade long wars of course will even be much higher.
As if all these unjustly horrendous hardships are not enough crosses to humanly bear compliments of US Empire aggression, in recent years the US government is perpetrating an ultimate betrayal of our returning veterans. After fighting their government’s wars, returning soldiers have been increasingly targeted and labeled as potential enemy of the state by their own fascist government. Homeland Security documents have disclosed that due to their vast combat experience veterans are deemed a serious threat of executing violence against the US government. So after surviving a war your government sends you to fight against its designated enemy, you then come home and end up on the feds’ shit list as your own government’s to-be-disposed-of enemy. That’s the most egregious assault imaginable that your treasonous own government could possibly do to our veterans. But that is exactly what traitors in our current United States government are up to.
The highly destructive US Empire-NATO forces are now operating to further intentionally destabilize and polarize the world into a West versus East confrontation, heating up hotspots around the world and threatening to start World War III. US-West induced false flags are happening regularly now, the latest in France. With a series of false flags with the 9/11 tragedy and most recently now in France, the citizens of the US and Europe are continuing to be conditioned and brainwashed to fear the US-NATO invented scapegoat enemy Islamic extremists.
The US federal government’s priority to misuse its patriotic young citizenry as cannon fodder for its perpetual global war of terror, sending Americans to be sacrificed in a blood for oil endgame, has overburdened and virtually destroyed a once vital and vibrant middle class in America. The onetime quasi-democratic republic of America has viciously been morphed by a handful of neocon globalists into a plutocratic oligarchy where the rich get richer at the expense of the poor only getting poorer at a never before seen rate. As of next year the top 1% will have more wealththan the rest of us 99% in the entire world. Tyranny in America has never been so near absolute. The Orwellian nightmare is alive and well, and the New World Order already is diabolically controlling the planet.
US Empire led global militarization has increasingly brought war home against the American people as a declared domestic enemy of the now totalitarian state. The same raw deal our veterans have gotten from their US government, the rest of us citizens are also receiving. The militarized police are currently armed and weaponized for war at home. As judge, jury and executioner, our own president has talked openly and matter-of-factly of murdering Americans on US soil. Since the inside 9/11 coup de tat, gone are our Constitutional rights to protect us from the evil that the US government has become. With killer drones and an army of heavily armed police forces now authorized to be accompanied by active duty US military forces, the Posse Comitatus law in effect since the post-Civil War era that always prohibited military personnel from involvement in domestic civil matters was repealed by Obama’s National Defense Authorization Act of 2012. Despite a lower Court of Appeals ruling in favor of journalist Chris Hedges et al representing the civil interests and rights of American citizens, the same US Supreme Court that permitted Bush’s voter fraud to steal the 2000 election, then put our government up for sale to the highest bidders with unlimited and anonymous campaign donations, also last April overturned the lower court NDAA decision.
The military can now break into our homes without a warrant, arrest us without a reason, throw us in prison indefinitely without a trial, deny us access to due process without legal representation and sever all contact with family forevermore, all on trumped up charges they don’t even have to reveal if someone in the military security surveillance prison complex happens to not like you. Since 9/11 we have lost our Constitutional rights, our freedom and civil liberties. As political activists opposing the government’s tyranny already on watch lists, as soon as the next false flag goes down, or the US petrodollar and US dollar as standard international currency collapse, so will our economy with devastating ripple effects felt around the world. When this preeminent event finally occurs with more experts predicting it will befall America this year or next at the latest, the oligarch’s puppet Obama will have his way in declaring martial law in the US and then we know the FEMA roundups will immediately follow. That’s all it will take. Every one of us Americans are now fair game. All those Halliburton refurbished, privatized empty prisons will not remain empty much longer. To be a citizen of the United States today means you are right now standing in the crosshairs ready to be deemed an enemy sympathizer and locked away in a concentration camp. We appear now to be teetering on the precipice of an unprecedented human genocide the earth has never known, demonically designed to reduce the world population from seven billion to just half billion. Those still in denial too busy living in their delusional insulated bubble of a world, too busy playing violent video games to notice, or fearfully sticking their heads in the sand desperately praying a miracle will stop the madness, you need to wake up. We need to take action now if we wish to save the human species from extinction. It’s up to us to step up as unified citizens of the world to make the difference between life and death.
Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former US Army officer. He has written a manuscript based on his unique military experience entitled “Don’t Let The Bastards Getcha Down.” It examines and focuses on US international relations, leadership and national security issues. After the military, Joachim earned a masters degree in Clinical Psychology and worked as a licensed therapist in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He now concentrates on his writing.