Dr. Phil, arguably one of the most popular talk show hosts on the planet, decided to feature this issue on his show this week. And while he could have taken a reasonable approach, he went straight for the gut instead. Titling the show “From Heroes To Monsters”, he painted a picture of vets with PTSD as ticking time bombs of violence, describing them as damaged goods who “destroy families” and “dismantle marriages”. One of Dr. Phil’s guests, Matt, is a former Marine who struggles with PTSD. He speaks about how, while deployed to Afghanistan, he repeatedly stabbed an enemy combatant in the face, even after he was dead, to get his anger out. He also claims he saw “lots” of innocent people killed, including women and children. (His last name isn’t given, so it’s impossible to verify his claims of killing women and children while deployed to Afghanistan.) After Matt, Dr. Phil featured Mark and Heather. Mark is another veteran with PTSD who admits he has violent rages, says his life has been destroyed, and is afraid of what he will do to his family. Heather’s husband, Duane, had PTSD. He beat her and set her on fire. The common thread between all of these stories: violence. Did Dr. Phil ever stop to point out that most veterans with PTSD don’t end up setting their wives on fire or stabbing people repeatedly in the face? Of course not.
Right after Vietnam, an entire army of poseurs, fakers, and professional victim pimps began a process of smearing and mal-defining an entire generation of men that served their country with distinction and honor; the Vietnam Generation. The whole “We are creating monsters” theme of the article brought me back to a book that every military professional should read as part of their professional education; Stolen Valor: How the Vietnam Generation Was Robbed of its Heroes and its History, by B.G. Burkett and Glenna Whitley;