Saturday, April 21, 2012

Welcome home, Soldiers!

By Bee Sting
April 21, 2012 - Saturday

File:Iraq, Saddam Hussein (222).jpg
The U.S. troops in Iraq returned home after years of fighting Islamic terrorism in a war no longer called "A War on Terror" - a war that began on 9/11, followed by U.S. troops landing first, in Afghanistan, and later, to the country of Iraq.  To refresh our memories, from Wikipedia:
In March 2003, a coalition of countries led by the U.S. and U.K. invaded Iraq to depose Saddam, after U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair accused him of possessing weapons of mass destruction and having ties to al-Qaeda. Saddam's Ba'ath party was disbanded and the nation made a transition to a democratic system. Following his capture on 13 December 2003, the trial of Saddam took place under the Iraqi interim government. On 5 November 2006, Saddam was convicted of charges related to the 1982 killing of 148 Iraqi Shi'ites and was sentenced to death by hangingHis execution was carried out on 30 December 2006. ... continue reading

"Mission Accomplished" has a hollow ring to it and some would say the "mission" that began in 2003 may take 10, 20, or more years (if ever) before Iraq begins to symbolize a true democracy.  History and Americans will debate until the cows come home if it had been a wise decision to invade Iraq and I'll leave that up to the historians.

The issue I want to discuss is the fact that our troops have been fighting wars on all fronts: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, (and now, add Libya, Yemen, and South Africa) and this administration could not even allow a "Welcome Home" parade when our troops were pulled out of Iraq last December.  Our men and women have had multiple tours in distant, far away places; many lost their friends and many more have suffered loss of limbs, while all have sacrificed their lives in serving our country.  And, America was denied an opportunity to say "Thank you!  Welcome home!"  Hasn't the Vietnam War taught us anything about thanking our troops for their service?  War Memorials are good for future generations, but how about those living today - is it too much to show our appreciation for a war lasting longer than WWII, Vietnam, and probably longer than all wars combined and sadly, this War on Terror is not over yet!  
In an article printed in 2007, the health of our soldiers returning from war in Iraq is mentioned on Medscape Education:
November 15, 2007More soldiers returning from the war in Iraq show signs of mental health problems such as depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 6 months after their tour of duty vs immediately after coming home, according to a new study appearing in the November 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study is an analysis of the first 88,235 soldiers from the same deployment (56,350 active and 31,885 National Guard and Reserve soldiers) to have completed 2 separate screenings: the Post-Deployment Health Assessment (PDHA) immediately on their return from the war and the Post-Deployment Health Re-Assessment (PDHRA) at a median of 6 months later. continue reading ...
 Have things gotten better since that November, 2007 medical report about our soldiers?  The answer is "No" - worse!  See the report posted on Danger Room, by Katie Drummond, entitled - Darpa to Troubled Soldiers: Meet Your New Simulated Therapist (see video below:  
 DANGER ROOM - By Katie Drummond:
The Pentagon hasn’t made much progress in solving the PTSD crisis plaguing this generation of soldiers. Now it’s adding new staff members to the therapy teams tasked with spotting the signs of emotional pain and providing therapy to the beleaguered. Only this isn’t a typical hiring boost. The new therapists, Danger Room has learned, will be computer-generated “virtual humans” programmed to appear empathetic.
It’s the latest in a long series of efforts to assuage soaring rates of depression, anxiety and PTSD that afflict today’s troops. Military brass have become increasingly willing to try just about anything, from yoga and reiki to memory-adjustment pills, that holds an iota of promise. They’ve even funded computerized therapy before: In 2010, for example, the military launched an effort to create an online health portal that’d include video chats with therapists.
But this project, funded by Darpa, the Pentagon’s far-out research arm, is way more ambitious. Darpa’s research teams are hoping to combine 3-D rendered simulated therapists — think Sims characters mixed with ELIZA — with sensitive analysis software that can actually detect psychological symptoms “by analyzing facial expressions, body gestures and speech,” Dr. Albert Rizzo, the lead researcher behind the project, tells Danger Room. ... continue reading
 Wow!  A computer program that generates "empathy" to our military soldiers!  

Look, I'm all for modern technology and science, but personally, I think this program is as "empathetic" as a pet rock.  It's greeting is as warm as a bucket of ice water dumped over me.   The program may be good to diagnosis someone with depression (and computers are only as accurate as the one operating it), but it does nothing for the one sitting in front of it, watching what appears to be an SPC3 reality game, only this program is not an "action" game or one that would interest anyone for longer than 2 minutes.  If I were fighting off depression, the last thing I would want is someone telling me to go sit in front of a computer and listening to a "Sim" puppet.  And, has anyone thought about privacy?!  We're talking about typing personal information on a computer - and how many "leaks" have been distributed world-wide that should have been confidential?  Computers are NOT a safe place for bank accounts and/or medical information - period!

So, what have we learned today?  We've learned that our soldiers are arriving home to fight off another type of battle - not from bullets or bombs, but from years of fighting wars, they need medical treatment for both physical and emotional scars.  And, I'm just saying it would be nice if this administration would allow Americans the joy of greeting, meeting and welcoming home our soldiers.  

Our soldiers fought the Germans; North Koreans, Vietnamese, and today, we fight Islamic terrorism.  Get over the fear of offending those whom our troops were/are fighting  and allow us to welcome our soldiers home.

God bless our soldiers and God bless America!

I'm Already There (Message From Home)-Military Tribute