VA Chief Likens PTSD to "High School Football Injury"

I recently traveled to Madison, WI, to interview Rachel and Josh, two young Iraq War veterans about the health issues they've dealt with, due to poor accountability for both the private contractors who are supposed to be supporting our troops, and for the mental health needs of returning soldiers.

When I interviewed Josh about his difficulties seeking help for his PTSD, he recounted the whole horrific process with a smile on his face and a self-effacing laugh. It took me a while to realize that Josh laughed about his troubles because the seriousness of the situation was overpowering. Unfortunately, even the VA is starting to turn its back on the gravity of this problem, even as it escalates to frightening proportions.

Stay tuned to the Progressive Future website, as we will be launching these videos in the near future.

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I Was Too Busy Running for President -Updated-

In last night's debate Hillary mentioned that Obama was Chair of the subcommittee that has oversight over NATO. And that while Chair of that Subcommittee Senator Obama held not a single substantial meeting. Not one. When confronted with this Obama's excuse was that he had only been Chair since 2007 and he has been busy running for President since then. Hmmm... we have soldiers dying in Afghanistan and Senator Obama is too busy running for President to hold a single meeting? Did I miss something? Surely I need a hearing aid. He didn't just state that the reason he hasn't held a single meeting of oversight was because he was too busy out raising money and running for President.

Say it ain't so O!

While searching through the web I have read some of Obama's supporters come to his defense with the typical bait and switch.
"Well Hillary hasn't done anything while she has been running for President." Oh really? What about The Dignified Treatment of Wounded Warriors Act?
Just what has Carl Levin said about Hillary's legislative accomplishments?

Noting Senator Clinton's leadership, Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today noted that Senator Clinton has introduced more legislation to address the problems facing wounded servicemembers than any other Senator.
And somehow Hillary managed to do this in 2007 when Obama was too busy running for President to spend any time holding oversight meetings of NATO while our young women and men were being killed in Afghanistan. Too busy!

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Obama, Hagel, and Harkin Address GI Suicides

The following is excerpted from a diary on the Think On These Things blog:

As news reports reveal growing numbers of suicide among soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, U.S. Senators Tom Harkin, Chuck Hagel, and Barack Obama on January 31, introduced major legislation aimed at preventing suicide among active duty members of the military. The Senators' bill, the Armed Forces Suicide Prevention Act, would direct the Department of Defense (DoD) to create a comprehensive suicide prevention program including annual training for soldiers, improved instruction for field medics and post deployment assistance. The legislation authorizes six million dollars for implementation of the programs. A companion measure will be introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Leonard Boswell (D-IA).

Today's Washington Post reported that Army statistics show that 121 soldiers committee suicide last year - a 20 percent increase from 2006. This is the highest rate of Army suicides recorded since the Army started collecting this data in 1980. The Post also reported that last year about 2,100 soldiers "injured themselves or attempted suicide, compared with about 350 in 2002."

"These startling statistics should serve as a wakeup call that suicide among soldiers and veterans is more than a problem, it is an epidemic," said Senator Harkin. "Thankfully, our push to provide America's veterans with a suicide prevention program was heard last year, when the President signed the Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act into law. But there is more work ahead - especially in serving our active duty military personnel. We can and must act quickly to save our soldiers who are so bravely fighting for our country."

"Since the beginning of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan there has been a significant increase in suicides among active-duty soldiers. This is a reality our country must face as we are engaged in two conflicts. This legislation will enhance and strengthen the Defense Department's suicide prevention programs for all active-duty military personnel. It is critical for our service members to be provided with the necessary mental health services they deserve. There can be no higher priority for America than our soldiers and their families," said Senator Hagel.

"Our nation's heroes deserve our greatest support and commitment, and we must immediately address the tragic increase in suicide rates among our active-duty service members," said Senator Obama. "The men and women who serve our country should expect nothing less than world class medical care, treatment, rehabilitation, and counseling services. Suicide can be prevented, and we must do everything we can to help those who are suffering. This bill will help ensure there are comprehensive suicide prevention programs throughout the military, and I commend Senator Harkin's leadership on this needed legislation."

For more details on the bill, please go to: 2008/02/07/obama-hagel-and-durbin-tackle -suicides-among-active-duty-soldiers/

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(Adwatch) NC-11: Charles Taylor's "I Heart Veterans" Ad - A Violation of VFW Bylaws?

To follow up on an earlier post about Charles Taylor's recent "friend to the Veterans" campaign ad - on Saturday night (10/7/06) a commenter @ BlueNC pointed something out that I found very interesting. Click on the pic below for the full-sized version:

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(Adwatch) NC-11: Charles Taylor Wants You to Think He Loves Vets

I'm not entirely sure where to start with this campaign ad that Charles Taylor is running in NC-11. Click here for a Google Video link (and if someone could let us know what we're doing wrong when we attempt to post embedded video and only get HTML code, we'll be forever grateful!!!) - watch it and come back below the jump...

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