U.S. Army: 0 — Internet: 1 by David Swanson

The Intensity of PTSD

Image by Truthout.org via Flickr

by David Swanson
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Let’s Try Democracy
May 26, 2019

The U.S. Army tweeted a harmless rah-rah tweet and got hit with a burst of reality never encountered on corporate-controlled media. Score one for the internet.

The Army asked: “How has serving impacted you?”

Here’s a tiny sample of the responses:

Replying to @USArmy
I lost my virginity by being raped in front of my peers at 19. Got married to a nice guy who was part of my unit. He was in the invasion of Iraq. Came home a changed man who beat the shit out of me. He’s convinced y’all are stalking him and he’s homeless so great job there!

Replying to @USArmy
My sweet friend David can’t answer you. He committed suicide a few years ago after a couple tours of Afghanistan.

Daniel GBO@danny_m94
Replying to @USArmy
The strain of my deployment was too much for my wife to bear. She committed suicide in our home when I had just one month left. When my mental state deteriorated, I was sent to counseling so my COC could check off a box and say “they did everything they could”. (1/2)
I turned to alcohol and other vices. I begged to be sent to any other unit in a different state, just needing a change of scenery. Instead, I was demoted and discharged. Dumped like a bag of trash when I had at one time shown great promise as a leader and soldier. (2/2)

Replying to @USArmy
My wife walked in the garage and found me hanging from an extension cord. What’s worse she had to lift me up, cut the cord and resuscitate me all while screaming for help. My black ass is 6ft 245 pounds and she is 5’2 130 pounds. But hey at least I got to shoot some cool shit.

Replying to @USArmy
a friend’s father, 20 years after Vietnam, was still managing massive ptsd, and would have nightmares so big that he’d wake us up convinced we were under attack. he called us by names of his former unit soldiers and would cry when we told him about it.

Replying to @USArmy
My grandfather served in Vietnam. When I was 6, he shot himself in the head because of his depression and PTSD. I never got to learn who he was because of you.

My mom served at ft. McClellan and is still suffering from being poisoned to this day.

Jeffrey Scott@Jscott916
Replying to @USArmy
I am a Navy vet, I was a happy person before I served, now I am broke apart, can’t even work a full 30 days due to anxiety and depression, I have Fibromyalgia and nobody understands because I am a guy. I am in constant pain everyday. And I think about killing myself daily……..

gay rat wedding minister@skydovva
Replying to @USArmy
My grandparents were used as pawns serving the US army in aiding them on the Ho Chi Minh trail. They served in The Secret War, and when the US lost the Vietnam war the Hmong were left to die in genocide. To this day Hmong veterans are not recognized by the US army.
More than half of my people were wiped out through genocide. Only about a third of what once was the Hmong population are scattered in diaspora around the world. Many in the US who deal with PTSD through alcoholism, abuse, and addiction to opium.
And the children are left to pick up the pieces and navigate a delicate past, present, and future for the years to come while inheriting intergenerational trauma.

gay disaster dad@J_Calcut28
Replying to @USArmy
My step-dad served as a sniper and still has ptsd from it. From a young age I learned not to touch him if he’s sleeping because he might lash out and hit me. When we go to restaurants we have to sit so that he can see the door, He still won’t talk about it

good boy@goodboy11112222
Replying to @USArmy
I have a friend whose father was a military doctor in Iraq. He has since retired to the UK now on antidepressants n screams at night, says he sees mutilated bodies of Iraqi children in his nightmares. Despite being a Moslem he drinks a bottle a night to keep the demons at bay.

Chel Bell@BellseaChel
Replying to @USArmy
My dad has PTSD and is now suffering through chemo cuz of the shit he was exposed to in the gulf war. The VA is making it impossible for him to get benefits even though 1/3 of the vets from that war have weird health issues; too many for it to be a coincidence.

Julian Rachele@julrachele
Replying to @USArmy
My brother came back from Iraq a broken alcoholic who has disowned us as a family and has retroactively blamed my poor mother for the horrible things that have happened to him. Every Mother’s day all she wishes for is for him to reach out again. Haven’t heard from him in years.

Replying to @USArmy
i watched my coworker work a 12 hour shift through panic attacks due to ptsd on the fourth of july (fireworks) bc he couldn’t afford to give his shift up due to the VA cutting his benefits and not helping to pay for his insulin (have you seen insulin prices lately?)

32 stadiums to visit@Jj216pp
Replying to @USArmy
My son has horrible night terrors now. He woke up choking his wife because he thought she was attacking him. They divorced shortly after that. He has a TBI. He has compression fractures in his back that are due to having the wrong body armor for the conditions. The VA is a joke

My husband, at 24, now has permanent brain damage and had to be medically separated because a US Army doctor refused to give him an EEG after his incident. Even though we begged for it.

Replying to @USArmy
My next door neighbor enlisted in the Marines after high school and served in Iraq. He insisted he had been exposed to chemicals that resulted in permanent disability yet couldn’t get any treatment from the VA, PTSD, addiction and alcoholism. He died from alcohol last year at 43.

There are thousands more just like these. I tweeted:

David Swanson@davidcnswanson
Replying to @USArmy
When this is what the people you claim all the wars are to “support” have to say, I’m betting you’re not going to start a thread for people from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Libya to explain to you how grateful they are for being bombed.

Perhaps this information from DoNotEnlist.com will be appropriate:

Here’s a one-minute self-assessment on your suitability for a military career:

Would you enjoy risking your life for what U.S. military commanders often describe as counter-productive missions or pointless “muddling along“?

Do you appreciate being yelled at and senselessly abused?

While your friends might be getting regular jobs and enjoying the good life, maybe getting married and having kiddies, you’ll be living in a barracks with sergeants yelling at you, busting your gut in strenuous training. Sound good?

How do you feel about dramatically increased risk of sexual assault?

How do you feel about dramatically increased risk of suicide?

Soldiers must expect to carry 120 pounds for long distances and up hills, so back injuries are plentiful, along with the life-limiting dangers of combat training, inlcuding from the testing of weaponry and chemicals. Sound appealing?

Does the idea of physical injury or death in some country far away where the citizens who are unhappy with your presence shoot at you or blow off your legs with a roadside bomb encourage you to enlist?

Do you long for traumatic brain injury or PTSD or moral guilt, or all three?

Expect to see the world? You’re more likely to see a tent on the dirt in some place too dangerous to explore because the people do not want you there.

How will you feel if you start out believing you’re serving some noble cause and realize half-way through that you’re just making a few greedy people rich?

We hope that this short self-assessment has been helpful to you in making an important life choice.

Think about Section 9-b of the Enlistment/Reenlistment Contract before you sign it:

“Laws and regulations that govern military personnel may change without notice to me. Such changes may affect my status, pay, allowances, benefits, and responsibilities as a member of the Armed Forces REGARDLESS of the provisions of this enlistment/reenlistment document.”

In other words, it’s a one-way contract. They can change it. You cannot.

David Swanson on Jun 18, 2010

This is a parody and not a real U.S. Army ad. You can tell by the honesty.

Picture of billboard

PDF. Billboard Campaign.


Think hard before you enlist in any military for any country.

Consider the myths that we’re taught about war and peace, and how false they are.

Consider the many reasons why we must eliminate war in order to survive.

Read this: I Never Expected To Become A Conscientious Objector

Consider alternative and more effective ways of creating safety.

A Global Security System: An Alternative to War(AGSS) relies on three broad strategies for humanity to end war: 1) demilitarizing security, 2) managing conflicts without violence, and 3) creating a culture of peace. These are the interrelated components of our system: the frameworks, processes, tools and institutions necessary for dismantling the war machine and replacing it with a peace system that will provide a more assured common security. More info.

What the U.S. Army claims doesn’t match reality:

The Army says these things are false, but they are facts.

“Post 9-11 Veterans…than average civilians of a similar age”

“…are more likely to suffer from mental health issues – FALSE”
FACT: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been identified in 12% to 20% of noninjured veterans and in 32% of combat casualties. Eight percent of the US general population experience PTSD symptoms

“… commit suicide at higher rates – FALSE”
FACT: A recent analysis found a suicide rate among veterans of about 30 per 100,000 population per year, compared with the civilian rate of 14 per 100,000.

“…have higher rates of substance abuse – FALSE”
FACT: Individuals deployed to recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have shown significantly higher rates of SUD diagnoses than civilian populations; in 2013, 44 percent of those returning from deployment had challenges with the transition, including the onset of problematic substance use behavior

“…are more likely to be unemployed – FALSE”
FACT: While the national unemployment rate is 5 percent, the unemployment rate for Gulf War-era II veterans who reported serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, or both, had an unemployment rate of 8.4 percent— 68 percent higher than the national rate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Why not join the Army? Here’s why not.

WorldBeyondWar.org on Feb 18, 2019

David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson’s books include Curing Exceptionalism: What’s wrong with how we think about the United States? What can we do about it? (2018) and War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Swanson was awarded the 2018 Peace Prize by the U.S. Peace Memorial Foundation. Support David’s work.

from the archives:

Memorial Day Myths by David Swanson

Will Griffin: Comedy for the Antiwar Movement

Testimony for the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service + Draft Registration Will Be Either Ended or Imposed on Women by David Swanson

Truth in Recruiting

Chris Hedges: A Socialist Soldier’s Tale of Resisting the American Empire

Abby Martin: Used and Betrayed: 100 Years of US Troops as Lab Rats

A Veteran Remembers by Howard Zinn + How the U.S. Poisoned its Veterans

How to Counter Military Recruitment by Pat Elder

Don’t Enlist, But Don’t Just Take My Word For It by Lo (repost)

Don’t Enlist, But Don’t Just Take My Word For It by Lo

Smoked! A soldier’s life and death: The story of John Needham

The Intensity of PTSD

Image by Truthout.org via Flickr

17 thoughts on “U.S. Army: 0 — Internet: 1 by David Swanson

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  10. Went out with someone who had served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam. In the early 70s there was no PTSD so he self-medicated first with marijuana and hash. The two were able to keep him functioning well enough so he could hold down a full-time job in advertising. However he had frequent nightmares and when there was a thunderstorm he would often call me and ramble incoherently about the “gooks outside” or that he could hear the “gooks coming”. I suspect the sound of thunder brought him back to the bombings and heavy gun fire he had heard in Vietnam. But the effectiveness of the weed and hash wore off and were not able to keep the terrors at bay. He committed suicide by overdosing on heroin.

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  14. The universal soldier really is to blame for living in ignorance and allowing these things to be done in his name! Even more than the soldiers is the dumbed down public that lets the horror of war continue. A powerful write David Swanson.

  15. I wrote this poem for my dad. He suffered horribly with PTSD. He served in Army, froze to death in Chosin Reservoir, for the Korean War, he was told back then:”the Commies were coming!”. They destroyed his life! when get got out 1953, he was never the same. Lost his soul, his personality, so many sleepless nights from night terrors from war!

    ODE to Unhappy Memorial Day & Veterans Day
    written by MEJ,
    This is for you dad!
    E.F.J. 2/2/32-2/7/16.
    Copyrighted. MEJ/EFJ.

    Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines.
    You promised my dad a career!
    Electrical, or Mechanical Engineer.
    Instead you sent him on a tank in 50* below zero
    in the frozen Chosin reservoir. Never called him a hero!
    You brainwashed him for your murderous wars!
    Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines.

    No arms, no legs, no limbs.
    Ninety days waiting lists.
    Soldiers bonuses have been taken away
    Drafting women here’s your equal pay
    Army Navy Air Force Marines.

    Agent Orange, depleted uranium, Anthrax vaccines…
    Gulf War Syndrome, you no longer have a home.
    PTSD, Nightmares, destroyed all your dreams.
    Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines.

    “Be all that you can be!”…
    “It’s not just a job! It’s an adventure they said!”…
    do they know the accurate count of how many dead!?
    Twenty-two SUICIDES reported every day.
    USA! USA! USA! Patriotism the real American way!
    Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines.

    Full Spectrum Dominance, NDAA, Patriot Act
    Collateral Damage from Empires Illegal Drone Attacks
    Bombing sovereign countries overseas in the middle east
    creating millions of starving homeless refugees
    Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines.

    “Fighting for our freedom is all a lie”
    The Pentagon doesn’t care if you die!
    they brainwash you under duress
    Upside down flag nation in distress.
    Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines.

    WW1, WW2, Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan
    Libya, Syria, Venezuela, Russia and Iran.
    Sign up now! Uncle Sam needs you for Nuclear World War III!
    Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines.

    Your sacrifice is for the Corporate Oligarchy
    your blood, sweat, misery all for Wall Street
    the V.A. will send all the generic toxins you’ll ever need!
    Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines.

    The worlds worse carbon polluters
    continues to poison our sacred earth.
    Countless crosses of the “Unknown Soldier”
    Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines.

    WWIII Humanity’s Nuclear Abyss
    Every life form will cease to exist
    This is what you get when you enlist!
    Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines.

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