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And The Armies That Remained Suffer’d: Veterans, Moral Injury And Suicide

I was very pleased to see the New York Times editorial on November 1, 2019, Suicide Has Been Deadlier than Combat for the Military. As a combat veteran myself and someone who has struggled with suicidality since the Iraq war I am grateful for such public attention to the issue of veteran suicides, particularly as I know many who have been lost to it. However, the Times editorial board made a serious error when it stated “Military officials note that the suicide rates for service members and veterans are comparable to the general population after adjusting for the military’s demographics...

U.S. Army: 0 — Internet: 1

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.

Judge Rules Veterans With PTSD Can Move Forward With Lawsuit Over Discharge Classification

A federal judge in Connecticut ruled Thursday in favor of thousands of veterans seeking to sue the federal government alleging they were discharged due to infractions related to untreated mental illnesses and denied Veterans Affairs benefits as a result. The Associated Press reports that Senior U.S. District Judge Charles Haight Jr. ruled Thursday that the veterans, who were given less-than-honorable discharges after service in Iraq and Afghanistan, could move forward with a lawsuit against Navy Secretary Richard Spencer. The less-than-honorable discharges, the veterans allege, made it harder for veterans who were discharged to receive care for their mental illnesses developed as a result of their service in America's wars.

An Officer’s Path To Dissent

For a while there, I was a real star. High up in my class at West Point, tough combat deployments in two wars, a slew of glowing evaluations, even a teaching assignment back at the military academy. I inhabited a universe most only dream of: praised, patted and highly respected by everyone in my life system and viewed as a brave American soldier. It’s a safe, sensible spot. For most, that’s enough. Too bad it was all bunk. Absurdity incarnate. The truth is, I fought for next to nothing, for a country that, in recent conflicts, has made the world a deadlier, more chaotic place. Even back in 2011—or even 2006, for that matter—I was just smart and just sensitive enough to know that, to feel it viscerally. Still, the decision to publicly dissent is a tough one.

PTSD In Poor Neighborhoods Could Be Worse Than We Think

By Whet Moser for Chicago Magazine - Inger Burnett-Zeigler, a psychologist and professor at Northwestern’s medical school, went to a community-based health clinic on the South Side as part of a study to bring mental-health treatments grounded in mindfulness to the patients there: simple meditation and yoga, body visualizations, and talking about stress and how it manifests in the body. “It’s really getting people to understand the connection between mind and body, empowering people with the tools that they need in order to, as I describe, respond versus react to stressful situations,” Burnett-Zeigler says. It’s something a lot of people are trying right now in communities with lots of stressors...

Life As A Drone Operator: ‘Ever Step On Ants?’

By Ed Pilkington for The Guardian. When Michael Haas, a former senior airman with the US air force, looks back on the missions he flew over Afghanistan and other conflict zones in a six-year career operating military drones, one of the things he remembers most vividly is the colorful language airmen would use to describe their targets. A team of three would be sitting, he recalls, in a ground control station in Creech air force base outside Las Vegas, staring at computer screens on to which images would be beamed back from high-powered sensors on Predator drones thousands of miles away. The aim of the missions was to track, and when the conditions were deemed right, kill suspected insurgents. That’s not how they put it, though. They would talk about “cutting the grass before it grows out of control”, or “pulling the weeds before they overrun the lawn”.

War Veteran With PTSD Faces Life In Prison For Pot

By Barry Donegan for TruthInMedia. US Marine Corps combat veteran Kristoffer Lewandowski, who served in three tours of duty overseas including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, reportedly faces up to life in prison for pot charges connected to a June 2014 raid on his Geronimo, OK home that occurred after his wife and neighbors called police to get him help for a post-traumatic stress disorder flare-up. However, rather than providing mental health resources, police responding on the scene searched Lewandowski’s home for contraband and found six marijuana plants, weighing in at less than an ounce of plant matter in total, and charged him with, among other offenses, felony marijuana cultivation, which, under Oklahoma’s unusually-harsh marijuana laws, carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. Truth in Media obtained an exclusive interview with Kristoffer Lewandowski’s wife Whitney Lewandowski in an effort to get their family’s story on the record.

PTSD Among Ferguson Activists Long After Police Abuse

Johnetta Elzie rose to national prominence as a leading protester in Ferguson last summer. Her activism protesting the police shooting death of Michael Brown has been highlighted in national publications like the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post, but the police aggression and the intensity of protesting nonstop took a serious toll on her mental health. During the height of the protests, she was tear-gassed at least nine times, faced off against menacing police dogs, regularly confronted by aggressive law enforcement officers, and spent many nights running away from cops. A rubber bullet struck her left collarbone during one protest. “It was just crazy for me to see the police responding to us like we were almost at war. Only we weren’t armed,” Elzie, a native of St. Louis, told AlterNet.

Just Say Yes: Amber Lyon on Psychedelics

Amber Lyon, a 3 time Emmy Award winning journalist joins me to discuss her radical life and career shift; one she found through the life altering experience using and researching Ayahuasca and otherPsychedelics. Lyon states too many of us are carrying around bottled up trauma that manifests itself as anxiety, depression, unhappiness, anger, fear, corruption, greed, or violence. Psychedelic medicines are some of the most profound substances on earth for enabling one to process and purge trauma. Lyon says if we can each heal our wounds at the individual level, we will witness dramatic positive transformations as a whole.

How Psychedelic Drugs Can Cure Our Collective Insanity

Amber Lyon, 3-time Emmy award winning journalist, describes how her work as a journalist covering social justice issues lead to her suffering from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and how experience with Ayahuasca cured her of the disorder and led to a radical spiritual and career shift. “I’ve never taken the traditional route in my journalism,” says Lyon “I spent a decade on the street covering some of the worst humanity has to offer whether it be war, slavery, drug trafficking, and I realized after a certain amount of time that I was just covering the symptoms of the greater problem which is our collective madness. We need healing at the individual level before anything is going to change when it comes to all of the destruction that we are seeing in this world. (…) I’ve decided that for the rest of my career I am going to attack the core which is this collective Insanity and collective need for healing; whether that is physical healing or healing when it comes to mental health disorders.
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