Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Fighting the smear ... one U at a time

A couple of weeks ago I had a chance to talk to a senior adminstrator at a large state University. Once she found out that I was retired military, we started to discuss the resources the University was putting towards returning vets - then the conversation turned.

It all started with, "I just got back from a conference on veteren issues. We discussed that the number one problem is PTSD and ...."

Ungh. Nice lady - but only new veterens by what she saw on TV and hears at conference. As we have discussed here
starting in '04 - the smear of this generation of vets is well on its way. They will try to marginalize us just like they did with the Vietnam Vets.

We talked for another 30 minutes as I backed her away from her bad information - even gave a plug to
Burkett's book to help her understand where this smear was coming from. She had no idea - and that is the problem. We then discussed the money aspects of it all and she kind of blinked when I asked her who the speakers were and if perpetuating the "PTSD Crisis" pays their bills. Consultants and all.

She isn't
the only one.
Combat veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars now have a place to go in Arizona to ease their transition from the battlefield to the classroom.

Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff opened a new service center last week for combat veterans and other military members who are returning or going to college for the first time. A grand opening is planned for Veterans Day in November.

Among the services at the Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success is counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder, tips on how to get established off-base, and information on reuniting families and dealing with
anger, injury, and depression.

Retired Army Lt. Col. Andrew Griffin, who coordinates services at the center, said student veterans tend to feel lost, anxious and insecure when they come to campus, which is a far less rigid place than their last military assignment.

"To them, the university is almost like a minefield in a way," he said. "
They really want to get across and they want to be successful, but they're really leery of taking that first step."
I'm sorry - that is not the average vet at college that I know of. As a matter of fact that last quote is spot on - it describes ALL students - and that is the point. Vets are older and more experienced and have a different background, but they are just like other students.

Their difference has everything to do with age and background .... and nothing to do with PTSD. Support vets - great. Replay the worst aspects of what happened to the Vietnam Era vets - no thanks.

Maybe it is the desire to find victims to support, I'm not sure. The PTSD theme though is cancer and it is used by all the wrong people to marginalize people who served. It smears all with a false image of what PTSD is - and it dilutes help from those who have no-kidding PTSD. Real PTSD, BTW, exists of course - but does not make one a victim - and not everyone who says they have it, do. As a matter of fact - most who have it won't tell you and don't want to talk about it to a bunch of university pogues.


r q said...

Spot on Sir.

AW1 Tim said...

Indeed. When I went back to college to finish my degree, I ran into this very same situation, and that was in the 90's.  ANYONE who was identified as a veteran was flagged as a potential threat to everyone else. Vietnam, drugs, PTSD, et al.  WE were identified as this creature ready to explode at any moment through movies like "Apocalypse Now" "Platoon", "Full Metal Jacket", etc.  Those were the sorts of vehicles used in the pre-internet days to define who we were so as to label and exploit us. It's no dofferent today, except that it's easier to spread the meme because of all the new media.

Baxk in the early 80's, there was a nut bag who went into a McDonalds in California and killed a large number of people. I was following the coverage on CNN. The Anchor pointedly asked the reporter onscene if the shooter "was a vietnam veteran" saying that people were "afraid of this sort of thing happening someday".   Once I picked myself up off the floor, I tracked down CNN"s number and gave them a call. Firm and pointed, but remarkably civil considering how I felt at that moment.

 Turns out the shooter wasn't even a veteran, but no one at CNN bothered to correct the Ancjor's previous comments.

   I could go on, but at this stage in my life, my solution to the problem is to shut down every single university and college in this nation and go through their teaching staffs one by one to weed out these imbeciles. Very Fascist of me, I know 8-) .

Peterk said...

and don't forget the 'homeless vet' meme. I'm starting to see that more and more, as well as seeing homeless folks at intersections holding up signs saying "homeless vet, ..." I'm sure their collection take is up

GIMP said...

Point taken, albeit with a grain of salt.  Not my college experience.  94 ECP grad spent 2 years on campus in and out of uniform every week with never a negative comment or experience.

Maybe they're out to get us, but it appears to me that what they want is to not do to the endless wars in the Middle East veterans what they did to the Vietnam veterans.

I've heard lots of people blame the right people for how Vietnam was conducted.  Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, and their staffs.  While the strategically, operationally, and tactically challenged elites lost the war, all the forces could do was fight, and I think there's a widespread realization about that being how things work in this country.

Being paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you, but it doesn't mean they are either.

Maybe they are out to get us, but I don't think so this time.  Many are tired of these wars; who could blame them?  I think they put the blame right where it should rest - on the shoulders of the current and previous presidents.

Fortunately our enemies are such bad actors that there is no way to empathize with them and their cause.  Plenty argue about the wars, but there's not much argument that the fewer of them there are, the better place the world is.  Having a truly recognizably evil enemy helps, so does the fact that the enemy attacked us on our soil.

Eventually we're going to have to end these wars and satisfy ourselves with terminating these people outside the bounds of warfare or law, but that's another post.  Having a really bad enemy, the nation putting the responsibility for the war where it belongs - on the president, and the widespread recognition that the nation mistreated Vietnam veterans is good for our troops.  Even if misguided I believe people are trying to help now to make up for past wrongs.

Pollyanna maybe, but I hope you're wrong on this CDR Salamander, because it speaks so poorly of our nation's people if you're right that I'd prefer not to believe it unless I have to.

YNSN said...

So, she was open to the the fact that PTSD isn't an issue for every vet? 

Combat Wombat said...

Even Doonesbury's been pushing the s**T recently. But what do you expect from the fellow traveller controlled media?

UltimaRatioRegis said...

"Even" Donnesbury? 

Trudeau is a far-left socialist-communist who holds military service in very low regard, and portrays (albeit humorously) veterans as victims who, if given the choice again, would not serve.

'Twas ever thus.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

<span>"Even" Doonesbury?   
Trudeau is a far-left socialist-communist who holds military service in very low regard, and portrays (albeit humorously) veterans as victims who, if given the choice again, would not serve.  
'Twas ever thus.</span>

Andrewdb said...

YNSN - And sadly this is considered progress.

Andrewdb said...

In the category of "Stolen Valor" see this item in the North County Times (the newspaper just outside the gates of Pendelton) -

Great pic of the SGT "il flagrante" as a MG, but I agree, letting him do his community service at the VA isn't right.

Riverrunner said...

Was listening to NPR about a year ago and a college prof called in to say she was worried because she had a Vet in one of her classes.
She was worried that he might have PTSD/anger issues and would hurt someone. I know I know - what the he11 did I expect listening to NPR.

Actus rhesus said...

Homeland security has already labeled me a potential extremist. Why should I expect better from sally social worker?

DM05 said...

Younger brother was USN and used his 4 years of shipboard experience to surf tremendous gov't resources while enjoying substantial alcohol/drugs and not working. Still. When his neighbor told me about his combat/PTSD that was now a legend and how sad he was for him, I started laughing...He was an electrician on a carrier in peacetime!! Not to say there can't be some tough experiences, but...We're all paying for the SOB with tax $$. You say it, people believe it.

Apparently I pre-date AW1 on the college campus set - early 80's and all. We were so off the radar as Vets still had to fight with VA and campus rep for the check, and the Vet's Club was a place to chill with others 1X monthly. Likely they have a PTSD support group now and lots of helpful caretakers.

AW1 Tim said...

  I went back to college after I left active duty. Wanted to use up my GI Bill berfore I lost it. I had taken some CLEP tests and other courses on active duty so combined with my pre-Navy college I only had a year to do. My first college stint was 73-76. Big eye-opener, especially for an ROTC Cadet.


AW1 Tim said...

Interestingly enough, I met him at the April MilBlog Conference. Although I agree with you regarding his politics, he does donate a large chunk of change to wounded veterans projects, and does a LOT of under the table support for veterans.  I was rather surpised at his level of support, but his claims are backed up by quite a number of folks I respect, including Soldier's Amgels.


Butch said...

Sorry, but if a person has spent a year where unpleasant dirtbags were thrying to shoot or blow them up, a college campus is pretty weak beer.

cdrsalamander said...

She seemed shocked - and when I told her that I was in AFG in '09, she backed her chair up a bit.  No kidding.  Nice lady, but what a tell.

And no - my breath didn't stink...

Combat Wombat said...

Just happend to trip over his cartoon in the Washington (com)Post the morning of the posting. Don't normally look @ the rag or the cartoon- got over it in highschool, a long time ago.. :-E

Bubba Bob said...

Plus, the focus on PTSD ignores the real issue; closed head injury.  Just like the NFL we will be seeing after effects of concussions many years after the troops come home.  

Quartermaster said...

I went to college in the fall of '74. All us former Military types, there were even a couple on faculty at the time, tended to congregate and entertain ourselves and such. We laughed at the fakes and had fun exposing them, and ridiculed faculty and staff that tried to smear us. We were a strong bunch, and the faculty knew it and left us alone.