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Heroes

Bruce Krasting's picture




 

Heroes

Courtesy of Bruce Krasting

I know a man. Call him Eddie. He’s African American, going on about 63. When he was a boy he had no real home or much education, so when he was eighteen he took the only option available to him. He joined the military. That was 1967.

He must have been a hell of a soldier. He ended up in the Army’s 1st Cavalry Division. (One of the toughest outfits around.)

In February of 1968 he fought in the battle of Hue during the Tet offensive. He was in non-stop firefights for three weeks. He said half his platoon were killed or wounded. He told me about the time he held onto a fellow soldier, while he bled to death from a sniper round through the throat.

After the Tet Offensive his tour was up, but for some stupid reason (probably a few thousand dollars) he did a second tour. In April of 1968 he went back “up country” with the 1st Cav. This time he fought in the A Shau Valley. (This was referred to at the “Valley of Death". The fighting was as bad as any combat in history). He once talked of the time that he spent a night in a bomb crater with two dead comrades while the Viet Cong were shooting AK47s with green tracers over his head. He also talked about killing his enemy in hand-to-hand combat. His buddies did the same. For some reason, Eddie walked away from it.

But he was a broken man. He has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He has never been able to function properly. He is afraid of everything. On the Fourth of July he has to be sedated. He’s terrified by the noise of the fireworks.

The Army never questioned that he was damaged goods, and that it was his time in battle that was responsible. They gave him antidepressants; after a while he got a half disability pension. Life was just a struggle. Eight years ago I banged on a bunch of doors and helped him get a full disability pension. He’s okay these days, sort of.

I bring up Eddie’s story in connection with a new report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

The wars we fight today are no different than those of 1968, or any other war. Almost one in four (21%) of our soldiers are coming home with PTSD.

The CBO attempts to come up with a price on this. By its calculation, it costs an average of $10,000 per year for each soldier with PTSD. Given that 2.3mm troops have cycled through our wars the past ten years we can expect a bill for at least $5 billion a year for just those with PTSD. For how long? The CBO reports that 80+% of those with PTSD were still in need of treatment after four years. For Eddie, it’s been forty plus years now.

Of course the CBO numbers don’t measure the real cost. What is the cost of a busted life? You can’t put a number on it.

We have some very big debts to pay to the soldiers that have come home recently. (Don’t blame them for wars – they just fight them.) I’m concerned that we will renege on those promises. I think the CBO is too, that’s probably why it wrote the report.

I’m writing about this because the CBO report reminded me of Eddie. And that got me to thinking how fucking stupid these wars have been.

Note: PTSD is just a fraction of the total costs of taking care of our Vets.

 

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Sun, 02/12/2012 - 19:39 | 2151810 Tompooz
Tompooz's picture

Everybody has his own hero's.

My hero is the soldier who dares to say NO, SIR!

Sat, 02/11/2012 - 04:40 | 2148866 John_Coltrane
John_Coltrane's picture

Fantastic article Bruce.  I wonder how the rates of PTSD compare between wars?  Certainly, WWI & II vets went through tramatic experiences at least a severe as Vietnam, but perhaps it wasn't even recognized in that period?

Wed, 02/15/2012 - 13:26 | 2162426 hbjork1
hbjork1's picture

It wasn't recognized in WWII (at least in the public sphere).  I knew two in my personal teen age works experience.  One, back from Europe, could not abide loud sounds in the workplace.  he would become catanotic. 

The second had had the priviliage of several "hot" landings in the Pacific.  He would NOT discuss any aspect of his military experience. That was gone, buried.  He would talk about his two small children or his palacial 2,000 sq. ft. house but there was no way to get him to even comment on the war.  

Sat, 02/11/2012 - 04:03 | 2148847 JOYFUL
JOYFUL's picture

As much as I enjoy Bruce's straightahead financial pieces, I find these personal vignettes which he inserts from time to time even more instructive...for the view they give into the mind of the true domestic terrorist.

Though it might seem that I'm aiming for a M$B parody in saying that, I am in fact dead serious; this is a guy who clearly places himself inside of a community, as a concerned 'stakeholder' whose choice to be proactive in coming to the assistance of others bespeaks his unease with the State's abrogation of ALL rights and duties of the citizen.

Those who are slowly getting their heads around the implications of SOPA\PIPA\NDAA and a host of other overt or covert efforts to erase the concept of personal liberty in Amerika need to understand that these are merely the opening shots in the final phase of the battle the Wall Street bolsheviks wage against the west.

For the cabbalist operatives like Napalitano who now hold the reins of power, the sole role of the citizen is to remain in watchful and fearful viligance for signs of anti-social behavior such as Mr K demonstrates: the State is the sole determinant of who is worthy of aid, and who is deserving of punishment.  "Banging on doors" in search of 'justice' for another party is a decidely insane act of belligerence in this context, because, in the very near future, such acts of charity will be seen as usurpation of the State's perogative - no less proscribed than holding gold or personal weapons. Mr. K's unease will soon enough be labelled a disease, to be treated by eradication in keeping with the germ theory of governance which the klepto-korpro-kartel in kontrol has imported from their pharma-agro-munitions monocultural empires.

Of course, outside of the inversion of truth and lies that is the current unreal reality of prison zone Femarika, the act of kindness towards another would be nothing more than an individuals' expression of awareness that membership in a community requires an investment of concern for the wellbeing of all it's members.  That is, in essence, a tangible investment in one's own self interest!

Outside the doublespeak of hegelian reasoning, self and other conmingle in a way that gives lie to the false dichotomies of libertarian versus socialist, free enterprise versus command economy, personal versus social sphere, east vs. west, us vs. them. These little vingettes bring that long buried truth back into focus, and allow us for a moment to remember what it was like before we were divided into warring camps of created identities unable to discern our common interests and those who work against them.

Zero Hedge: authentic voice of the resistance.

Sat, 02/11/2012 - 09:42 | 2148989 Bruce Krasting
Bruce Krasting's picture

Me? Domestic terrorist? Nah!

I know many arms of government read me. I get notes from them. I'm certain the CIA is monitoring somem of this as I have readers out of the country, many from weird place like Iran and N. Korea.

I think "they" are watching all the media. I would assume that Zero Hedge is high on that list.

Me? I'm happy to be on any of these lists. Fuck em....

Wed, 02/15/2012 - 13:53 | 2162554 hbjork1
hbjork1's picture

Bruce,

Personally, I look for your "handle" whenever I log on and appreciate your comment on all topics. 

And, I have to note that watching others takes time and effort.  And what meaningful info is available most of th time?  The watchers will soon be buried in trivia most of the time. And the process of watching "The Lives of Others" may redirect the activities of the watchers. 

God Speed !

Sat, 02/11/2012 - 09:15 | 2148965 Orly
Orly's picture

Very nice.

 

As an article mentioned the other day here on the authentic voice of the resistance: dissent is not only the right of citizen, it is the duty.

Fear not.  Go forward into the right.  The universe will see that the greater good prevails.

:D

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 23:01 | 2148538 woozi
woozi's picture

Bruce - Thanks for sharing your writings with us.  I have been following your articles for a while now and appreciate your sharing.

I have read a lot of the posts on this site and only took serious offense to one.  My hat is off to the guys from the 1st Air Cav - they were the pioneers of helicopter assaults and were damn good at what they did. I was trying to remember how much the extension bonus was, for some reason < $600 keeps coming to mind (rank of Sargeant).  If anyone else remembers - please post it.  The point being that many guys weren't extending just for the money.  Many extended because the thought of coming home wasn't all warm and fuzzy, everyone had their own reason.  Some have forgotten that returning was no picnic unless of course being called a "baby killer" or having a protester get in your face doesn't offend you.

Last point - many of us that served in Vietnam had parents, uncles etc. that served in WWII.  The entire country supported WWII and considered those that served to be patriots, they were welcomed home with parades.  Many of us were serving just as our elders had done.  The country supported the Vietnam war for the first 2-3 years.  The 1968 TET Offensive was the real turning point when the purpose of the war was questioned. I don't think any of us imagined that people would hate us when we returned, that had never happened to troops coming back from WWII or Korea.

Of all of the things I have seen over the years this seemed most fitting:

"Not Everyone Who Lost His Life In Vietnam Died There, Not Everyone Who Came Home From Vietnam Ever Left There".

I believe anyone that has survived the ugly shit that happens in war can replace "Vietnam" with where they served and know the exact meaning of the statement.

Thank you for sharing Eddie's story.

 

 

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 23:11 | 2148555 newengland
newengland's picture

woozi,

There is a very sad parallel: the experience of Vietnam vets, and those returning from the ME, the longest period of continuous warfare for U.S. Armed Forces abroad.

The country behaves as if there is no war...except when it suits some to cry crocodile tears, and wave the flag over whichever politician they hope to get elected.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 22:36 | 2148495 newengland
newengland's picture

Bruce,

Sensitively said, and realism.

Bless you.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 22:29 | 2148481 alexwest
alexwest's picture

why is he hero?

what is so heroic to kill people (sometimes innocent ) in foreign countries?
its heroic only if you fight against enemy on your own soil.. IMHO

I think hero who DIDN'T GO TO VIETNAM WHO HAD BALLS TO SAY USA GOVERNMENT 'NO'..

as far as Eddie -BLACK GUY concerned, you Americans are biggest hypocrites in the entire world. you even cant tell truth to yourself.
Eddie is/was uneducated male, very poor and didn't chance in the USA from day of birth because of segregation back then in USA

THAT'S THE TRUTH

alx

ps
'No Vietnamese Ever Called Me A Nigger' Cassius Clay ..that's heroism

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 22:40 | 2148503 newengland
newengland's picture

alex, jerk.

You have the internet to spout your silly words because of the Armed Forces who defend the world you live in against those who would make you a slave. See Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot, the current Chinese Politburo, the Middle East despots, the Islamists, the Zionists.

Fool.

Cassius Clay and others fought for what they thought was right in their own way, just as the military do.

Those Americans are family, bound by common values.

Who the hell are you to question heroes?

People like you talk big, and do little.

Fool.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 22:35 | 2148491 Reese Bobby
Reese Bobby's picture

You sound like an expert on heroism.  And most other things.

Which of your heroic acts from the home base at your parents' house are you most proud of?

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 22:50 | 2148518 nmewn
nmewn's picture

He wouldn't know what a hero was if one of them pulled his sorry ass out of his parent's burning home.

As a matter of fact, he'd probably curse and spit on him for saving his own parents first, before finding him sobbing and cowering in the basement.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 22:42 | 2148505 newengland
newengland's picture

Reese,

Quite. It's obvious that this 'Alex' person is a snivelling big mouth, protected by better men and women.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 22:49 | 2148516 Reese Bobby
Reese Bobby's picture

Yes.  But I was young and stupid once and have made moderate progress over time, I hope.

This kid hopefully has a long life to figure out some critically important things.

Let's wish him well while we make fun of him!  I would guess he has been badly under-hazed!

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 22:51 | 2148520 newengland
newengland's picture

Reese,

This 'Alex' thing will cry like a baby if his wish ever comes true, and his Dear Leader government surrenders him and everyone to the globalist central bank cartel, contrary to the will of the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence under which all Armed Forces serve...although the Wall St/Washington filth use and abuse all for their own filthy profit; traitors.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 22:23 | 2148473 Reese Bobby
Reese Bobby's picture

I like your posts.  You seem like a good guy.  And you are almost there; there being the realization that TPTB don't give a shit about our vets any more than they give a shit about the citizenry.

A lot of people at ZH believe this to be true.  It is the ultimate truth they have trouble accepting: we live in Enemy occupied territory, and the Enemy is Satan.

But like I said, you seem like a good guy and I appreciate the humanity in your posts.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 22:12 | 2148448 AN0NYM0US
AN0NYM0US's picture

Bruce, did you serve?

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 23:21 | 2148573 Bruce Krasting
Bruce Krasting's picture

#291 in the draft. If my number was low, I would have gone. I have a number of friends from those times whose names are now on the Wall.

Why did I have a high number? I don't think a month has gone by that I didn't ask that question. Would I have been a good soldier? What is battle really like? Would I have walked out? Or not?

If you were there, you have answers. Me, I just have questions.

bk

 

 

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 22:36 | 2148493 GoldSilverDoc
GoldSilverDoc's picture

Stop with the did you "serve" bullshit.

 

Nobody "serves".  We haven't had a defensive war fought on territory claimed by the US Federal Government in more than 150 years. 

 

Currently, they are mercenaries for the State.  In the past, they were either mercenaries or slaves.

 

NOBODY has ever "served" anything, except the State.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 23:14 | 2148561 newengland
newengland's picture

GSD,

Clearly, you are an arriviste, profiting from old American families who served the Republic, then and now.

You may be cynical, and denounce the concept of service, as it seems that you and yours only serve yourselves, and exploit those who gift you your freedom to buy gold and silver.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 21:58 | 2148423 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

 When you get done posting, and start listening? Bruce makes some sense.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 22:26 | 2148477 Reese Bobby
Reese Bobby's picture

Right back at you Hemingway.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 22:18 | 2148443 vast-dom
vast-dom's picture

Bruce is the man. Funny how a tough as hell soldier who killed with his bare hands like a pro is now scared of everything. We live in a most fucked up society with the most fucked up people running the show.... Thx again Bruce.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 21:33 | 2148371 QuietCorday
QuietCorday's picture

You want an idea of how long PTSD can last?

My grandfather joined the Allies in 1943 at 18 years old after he had been released from a Soviet gulag. He was dropped over Arnheim. He was still having night terrors in his late-70s.

PTSD? I don't think it ends. Ever. And it can pass down the generations as living with someone with extreme PTSD can give you "secondary PTSD". Moreover, I suspect the impact of the trauma may pass down the generations in DNA allele changes, though the scientific research into this is fairly new.

I will be blunt. Human beings are not supposed to have the kinds of traumatic experiences that modern warfare creates ... that goes for combatants and civilians. Even the Romans had special "after-war" resorts for their soldiers because they understood the psychological impact.

Governments and vested interests are using young men as pawns and fodder, and this is destroying lives and families. It needs to be stopped.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 21:51 | 2148403 hangemhigh77
hangemhigh77's picture

my son did 3 tours in Iraq, got the Bronze star w/ valor and purple heart...........so what.  You think he has night terror?  Has a recurring dream of one guys eyes he looked into as he killed him with his bare hands.  And they give him medals for this shit.  He HATES the Army.  So do I.

Sat, 02/11/2012 - 00:09 | 2148683 Reese Bobby
Reese Bobby's picture

"Mere Christianity" by C.L. Lewis might give your son peace.  God Bless.

Sat, 02/11/2012 - 00:17 | 2148698 BigDuke6
BigDuke6's picture

RB has a heart... i'm stunned.

And all good posts above.

We not in the military are lucky not to have been pressganged into it.

Most of my ancestors have... going back a thousand years.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 21:08 | 2148310 Florida Joe
Florida Joe's picture

Bruce

Good write. I have relatives from the military who served in Iraq, and personal friends who served. PTSD is real and it will hurts one's heart to see it firsthand. Thus, a real reason that war should be declared and only in times of imminent defense. Now I know why Ron paul garners such support from the military.

Florida Joe

 

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 20:55 | 2148264 Archon7
Archon7's picture

D@mn, even after over 40 years, the best way to get hippies to crawl out from under their rocks is to say something respectful about Vietnam vets.  What is it with you leftist freaks, anyway?  You can't listen politely while someone says something respectful or honorable about vets?

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 20:47 | 2148235 Spaceman Spiff
Spaceman Spiff's picture

Might be time to drop the 'Post' from PTSD.   Considering some of the fucked up news stories that have come out of war zones and battle and then exploited in the press to bash the military, perhaps the traumatic stress produces some anti-social/disgusting behaviors during war.   Peeing on soldiers, etc.    Might provide some cover to our boys before the predatory media goes on a two week binge against them.   

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 20:31 | 2148197 spinone
spinone's picture

Amen Brother

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 20:19 | 2148165 Coldfire
Coldfire's picture

Most indefensible is that Eddie's life was ruined for a lie.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 22:17 | 2148463 Silver Dreamer
Silver Dreamer's picture

Sadly, most wars are.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 20:18 | 2148151 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

 Hero's are laying off the yield curve!

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 20:12 | 2148145 Tommy Gunner
Tommy Gunner's picture

Ya my heart bleeds for all these murderers returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan.  Poor boys, I guess pissing on dead bodies is very stressful.

http://hongkong.asiaxpat.com/forums/controversy/threads/145038/video:-ma...

 

Torturing, beating and humiliating prisoners must also be very traumatic ya?

http://antiwar.com/news/?articleid=2444

 

Poor poor soldier boys, he's so stressed out.  Poor poor you (as violins play in the background)

 

 

 

 

 

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 23:16 | 2148563 DraginDickHedge
DraginDickHedge's picture

Tommy, Tommy, Tommy...you sick, sick [redacted, but rhymes with duck].  I've lived a long life and have never experienced wishing I could slowly and painfully eliminate another human...until I read your post.  Please let me know where I may find you...please.  Another first...I am off to make a very "special" "Tommy" doll.  I've never believed in the validity of such curses, but why not try?  I hope you feel the pain I intend to inflict over the next decade or until your painful demise. 

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 22:59 | 2148532 lizzy36
lizzy36's picture

You are new around here.

If you can't show some respect for this forum best to keep quiet. That is not a suggestion.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 22:42 | 2148504 Reese Bobby
Reese Bobby's picture

You kids help explain PTSD.  A vulnerable veteran just might think your drivel means anything.  But you will learn better over time and I forgive you without pride, I hope. 

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 22:38 | 2148497 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Nice attempt at a diversion, you fucking dickhead.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 21:35 | 2148375 Implicit simplicit
Implicit simplicit's picture

No compassion. Your soul has has been marked.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 21:31 | 2148360 I am more equal...
I am more equal than others's picture

First, ass wipe, soldiers don't chose the war - politicians create the circumstances and send them.  Second, using the taliban as a urinal cake is fine with me since they kill their own with bombs.  I think they need some psych-op telling the taliban that we bury their dead in pig piss and blood.  Third, the only stress you've felt is your mother's strap-on pounding you up the poop chute.  If you don't like our alive guys pissing on dead taliban urinal cakes - don't send them to some shit-hole where they got endure stuff you can't imagine - wearing body armor in 100 degree heat - pulling 18-hour guard duty and then getting a 20 oz bottle of water to shower, shave and wash your hair never knowing when a motor round may come your way  - oh, all this is happening before your 21st birthday.  Fuck you u piece of shit.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 23:36 | 2148615 Seer
Seer's picture

"soldiers don't chose the war"

I was only following orders...

Listen, it's like this, EVERYONE who VOLUNTEERS KNOWS that this is a possibility.  Been there done that!

Yeah, there are lots who are suckered into the notion that volunteering is their only way, but there are also lots that do so in hopes of getting medals and being the hero.  And, sadly, there are many who do it in order to get training that can then, if they make if back from any war, be used at home: number of gang bangers in the military shot up when the empire was digging in the barrel for more cannon fodder for it's latest round of UNCONSTITUTIONAL wars.

Violence begests violence.  Nation states are the biggest purveyors of violence.  Really, anyone signing up that doesn't get this doesn't get dimissed with the notion that they're helpless to control their situation.  It's like the drunk who drives and kills someone; clearly we don't let such people off the hook because their deadly act wasn't really something that they had much control over once they were drunk.

Logic FAIL!

Sat, 02/11/2012 - 15:49 | 2149594 I am more equal...
I am more equal than others's picture

You are the definition of idiot.  You have no understanding of logic.  Yeah, a bunch of young guys get together and put on some uniforms, get some weapons, find a reason to go to war, and then make everyone back home pay for it.  You are disconnected with reality.  Why do you even read ZH, it makes no sense to a fucking idiot like you.

'Violence begests violence.' First learn how to spell - its begets.  Second, Rodney King called and he just wants to get along.  Pissing on the dead is a 'green' or environmentally friendly gesture.  If it is yellow let it mellow.  Just trying to mellow out the taliban. 

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 20:49 | 2148245 Archon7
Archon7's picture

F*ck off, @sshole, and take a bath. 

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 20:45 | 2148198 spinone
spinone's picture

Soldiers do two things.  Shoot people and blow stuff up.  Pissing on someone or beating them around are nothing compaired to shooting them or blowing them up.  Nothing.

War is hell.  Once you send in the military, dont fucking whine about the consequences.  Just don't send them in if its not worth everything.  Everthing.

Soldiers in combat have to be ready to kill in an instant, or they are dead.  Or their best fiend.  The way you do that is bury your humanity.  Ever kill someone?  I didn't think so.  Ever deal with a life or death split second decision?  I didn't think so.

You believe some myth about an honorable war?  Grow up.

On ZH for 5 weeks and you trash veterans and disrespect BK? Fuck you asshole

Sat, 02/11/2012 - 00:24 | 2148706 Seer
Seer's picture

At what point does the soldier get separated from the policy, a policy that is against the very laws that he/she is supposed to "defend?"

While I don't necessarily agree with the poster I do believe that this shows how ugly it all is.  For those who are hardcore peace activists all the war propaganda is easily as ugly, yet, because it's all permeated in our society we're all conditioned to not recognized how vulgar it is, and, not only an inability to recognize the vulgarity, but a propensity to welcome it (though not being able to discern that it's in fact pure vulgarism).

Anyone who thinks/believes that the soldier isn't getting support has their head in the sand.  Every holiday they are paraded for not being at home.  Every fucking time there's a deployment it's all over the local channels.  All the parades.  The constant stream of "we cannot cut [the rate of dizzying growth] in our 'defense' budget."  And every time there's a vote to increase the flow of money (or any attempts to lessen a forecast increase) it's shoved in our faces.  No, this shit is as wired into us as is the 'defense' industry into all our congressional districts (like a fucking virus).

I quit participating in veterans stuff because I no longer desired to support the hero worship that is but a tool to keep the creators of war in power and in their game.  At some point you've got to break the circle of violence.

That many believe they [military persons] are doing right by people I don't disagree, but in this day and age it is ever increasingly clear that the State really doesn't care about the military person.  As Kissinger once quipped: "“Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy."

Yes, rush to sign up today!  Go defend these bastards' policies.  We'll lavish you with parades, we'll tell everyone how you're worshiped (which is really only meant to direct the affection to the 'defense' contractors in the form of $$$), and then we'll kick you out on to the street.

Shay's rebellion.  Same as it ever was, same as it ever was.

Sat, 02/11/2012 - 09:47 | 2148995 spinone
spinone's picture

I agree mostly.  But don't conflate the military industrial complex or militant nationalism with soldiers.  They are human beings for whatever reason found themselves in a war.  In a volunteer military I believe they are deluded into believing there is nobility in war, or there is no better way for them to go to college, etc.

We should support soldiers by not sending them into harms way for the enrichment of corporations or pursuit of misguided political ends.

Once we send them into harms way, and they have to survive, don't get squeamish.

For this reason I believe in universal military conscription for 2 years after highschool graduation.  In addition, all military engagements must come after a congressional declaration of war.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 20:08 | 2148137 onlooker
onlooker's picture

 

Bruce---Thank you for the shared sensibility. Please keep up the good work.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!