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
Originally posted May 26, 2019
May 29, 2022

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:

Karen@educatorsresist 5h
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!

KrissyK@krissyk262 58m
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 5h
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)

J-Fixx@Chromedominium 5h
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.

KnitWit@maraomaude 5h
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.

Skitter@ghostedarmy 4h
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.

Molin@Molindawolf 1h
My mom served at ft. McClellan and is still suffering from being poisoned to this day.

Jeffrey Scott@Jscott916 4h
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 12h
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 4h
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 3h
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 5h
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 1h
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.

b@BrileyKazy 1h
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 1h
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.

twitchy witchy girl@freeshavacadu 5h
Replying to @USArmy
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.

Lannabanana@AnnaSegur 16m
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 10h
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, including 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 Leaving World War II Behind (2020), 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. Support David’s work.

From the archives:

David Swanson and Charles Lenchner: Refusing Military “Service”

The U.S. Military Is Registering 15-Year-Olds for the Draft, by David Swanson

Tell the Truth: Veterans Day Is A National Day of Lying by David Swanson

MFTN: The War On Terror Is A Typo

Four Major Reasons Why Thanking People For Wars Is Not A Path To Saving Lives, by David Swanson

Chris Hedges: Realities of War

What Waging War Is Really Like, by David Swanson

Chris Hedges: The Truth About War Always Comes Out Too Late

Chris Hedges and Matthew Hoh: The High Rate of Suicide Among Veterans

Memorial Day Myths by David Swanson

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

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

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  6. American jingoism, aided and abetted by US oligarchs and other vested interests, has done more damage and caused more suffering than all of the ‘terrorist’ actions since cowboys roamed the prairies.

  7. But…but…I’ll get to be a super-hero and play in exciting bangbang video games! Full time! Be who I wanna be! It’s a whole new virtual world out there! I know because my teevee told me so!

    • It’s so sad that our youth are recruited under false assumptions of what real military life will be for them. Many choose to enlist because they have no other way to afford to go to college.

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