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 The Day After, dos soldados americanos, no Iraque

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MensagemAssunto: Suicídio entre veteranos de guerra é já «epidemia»   Qui Nov 15, 2007 3:52 am

Citação :
O suicídio entre os veteranos de guerra norte-americanos adquiriu níveis de «epidemia» com 120 mortes por semana, revela uma investigação realizada pela cadeia de televisão CBS.
A investigação da CBS realizada durante cinco meses, em 45 dos 50 estados norte-americanos, revelou que pelo menos 6.256 veteranos de guerra norte-americanos se suicidaram em 2005.

«Isto pressupõe 120 suicídios por semana em apenas um ano», referiu a CBS quando revelou os resultados da sua investigação.

Segundo a CBS, a investigação determinou que em 2005 existia o dobro das possibilidades de um veterano de guerra se suicidar em comparação com os norte-americanos em geral.

Nesse ano, enquanto a taxa de suicídios entre a população em geral foi de 8,9 por cada cem mil, entre os antigos militares foi de entre 18,7 a 20,8 por cada cem mil.

A CBS destacou que o maior número de suicídios registou-se entre os ex-militares com idades compreendidas entre os 20 e os 24 anos que participaram em missões na guerra contra o terrorismo.

A sua taxa de suicídio foi de entre duas a quatro vezes superior à dos civis com a mesma idade, segundo a CBS.

«São devastadores. Estes números indicam, claramente, [que existe] uma epidemia de problemas de saúde mental» entre os veteranos de guerra, afirmou à CBS Paul Sullivan, um activista dos direitos humanos.

A hipótese de uma «epidemia» de suicídios entre os ex-militares foi, contudo, descartada por Ira Katz, da Divisão de Saúde Mental do Departamento de Assuntos dos Veteranos.

Ira Katz admitiu, porém, que se trata de «um problema importante».

A investigação foi realizada pelo jornalista Armen Keteyan, que entrevistou familiares de soldados que sobreviveram à guerra no Iraque «para morrer lutando contra um inimigo que não podiam vencer».

A legisladora Patty Murray, membro do Comité dos Assuntos dos Veteranos no Senado, sublinhou que o número de suicídios entre os ex-militares demonstra que se falhou com «as pessoas que serviram» o país.

«Se estes números não despertarem este país, nada mais o fará», acrescentou.

Os Estados Unidos têm 25 milhões de veteranos de guerra, dos quais 1,6 milhões combateram no Afeganistão e no Iraque, segundo a CBS.

O departamento dos antigos combatentes gasta três milhões de dólares por ano em serviços especializados de saúde mental, ainda de acordo com a CBS.

Diário Digital / Lusa

15-11-2007 0:58:00
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MensagemAssunto: Re: The Day After, dos soldados americanos, no Iraque   Qui Nov 15, 2007 4:46 am

Os americanos têm que pensar seriamente se vale a pena tratar assim a sua juventude.
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MensagemAssunto: Re: The Day After, dos soldados americanos, no Iraque   Qui Nov 15, 2007 11:11 am

PORTUGAL tem 4 000 000 de pessoas com algum tipo de desturbio mental e nunca foram ao IRAQUE!! Wink
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ypsi



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MensagemAssunto: Re: The Day After, dos soldados americanos, no Iraque   Qui Nov 15, 2007 11:16 am

RONALDO ALMEIDA escreveu:
PORTUGAL tem 4 000 000 de pessoas com algum tipo de desturbio mental e nunca foram ao IRAQUE!! Wink


Ó RONALDO , e parte deles sofrem de stress pós-traumático, trazido da guerra em África.

Em muitos países, há esta realidade que reporta a notícia publicada pelo Amigo Ricardo.

Era bom, era ... que fosse só nos EUA, que há disto ...

Mas infelizmente, tb temos cá disto .... e noutros países, tb há a a realidade dos veteranos de guerra.


E de quem foi a responsabilidade da Guerra Colonial Portugal-África, Ronaldo ?


Pois .... Sad
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MensagemAssunto: Re: The Day After, dos soldados americanos, no Iraque   Qui Nov 15, 2007 11:21 am

Minha , nao foi!!! Por ela, o meu pai trouxe-nos para os USA!!!
Mas a GUERRA COLONIAL, matou 5% DO QUE A trizte DESCOLONIZACAO A BALDA DE soares/cunhal, TROUXE AOS POVOS DE AFRICA!!! 1 000 000 DE MORTOS, 4 000 000 DE REFUGIADOS, ENTRAGA DOS pAISES AOS pcp,s locais e CORRUPCAO generalizada e fome e miseria a milhoes!!! Wink
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MensagemAssunto: Re: The Day After, dos soldados americanos, no Iraque   Sex Nov 16, 2007 12:34 pm

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MensagemAssunto: Re: The Day After, dos soldados americanos, no Iraque   Sex Nov 16, 2007 12:36 pm

TANTA PREOCUPACAO com os nossos VETERANOS. Estou "EMOCIONADO"
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ypsi



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MensagemAssunto: Re: The Day After, dos soldados americanos, no Iraque   Sex Nov 16, 2007 12:48 pm

AMERICANO escreveu:
TANTA PREOCUPACAO com os nossos VETERANOS. Estou "EMOCIONADO"

Mais "emocionado" estaria o RON, se um dos pais entrevistados fosse justamente o RON.

Ou seja, se um dos Jovens suicidados após missão no Iraque, fosse justamente seu filho.

Demasiado triste .... esta realidade. Sad Sad Sad
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MensagemAssunto: Re: The Day After, dos soldados americanos, no Iraque   Sex Nov 16, 2007 1:08 pm

Estas lagrimas de crocodilo sao so para BATER no BUSH, NADA MAIS!!! Nao ha qualquer outro motivo para esta preocupacao!!!
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MensagemAssunto: Re: The Day After, dos soldados americanos, no Iraque   Sab Nov 17, 2007 3:45 am

RONALDO ALMEIDA escreveu:
Estas lagrimas de crocodilo sao so para BATER no BUSH, NADA MAIS!!! Nao ha qualquer outro motivo para esta preocupacao!!!

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Vitor mango

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MensagemAssunto: Re: The Day After, dos soldados americanos, no Iraque   Sab Nov 17, 2007 5:58 am

RONALDO ALMEIDA escreveu:
Estas lagrimas de crocodilo sao so para BATER no BUSH, NADA MAIS!!! Nao ha qualquer outro motivo para esta preocupacao!!!

Caro amigo
O problema de suicidio é muito mais complexo
Tem a ver com Fluidos que navegam dentro de nós e que por causas desconhecidas nos afectam
O caso mais grave que conheci foi o PINTO que devia dinheiro a toda a gente
Um dia eu perguntei
Xou Pinto a dever tanto $$$$$$$$ consegue dormir bem ?
OH XOU Mango liondamente ...mas os gajos a quem eu devo de certezA Teem insonias
====================
meses depois o Pinto mandou um tiro nos miolos e mensagens para a esposa pagar as contas todas Sad Sad Sad Sad Sad Sad
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MensagemAssunto: Re: The Day After, dos soldados americanos, no Iraque   Sab Nov 17, 2007 7:57 am

Vitor mango escreveu:
RONALDO ALMEIDA escreveu:
Estas lagrimas de crocodilo sao so para BATER no BUSH, NADA MAIS!!! Nao ha qualquer outro motivo para esta preocupacao!!!

Caro amigo
O problema de suicidio é muito mais complexo
Tem a ver com Fluidos que navegam dentro de nós e que por causas desconhecidas nos afectam
O caso mais grave que conheci foi o PINTO que devia dinheiro a toda a gente
Um dia eu perguntei
Xou Pinto a dever tanto $$$$$$$$ consegue dormir bem ?
OH XOU Mango liondamente ...mas os gajos a quem eu devo de certezA Teem insonias
====================
meses depois o Pinto mandou um tiro nos miolos e mensagens para a esposa pagar as contas todas Sad Sad Sad Sad Sad Sad

Mango, o ricardo teve na guerra (tropa), nunca foi em missão (guerra ou paz), mas fez muitos amigos que foram Exclamation
À chegada vêem cansados (traumas), todos falam de uma coisa impressionante, o cheiro da morte (putrefacção cadavérico (por acaso já cheirei, e não gostei)), mutilados e perigos e ... bué mais cenas.

Mostram-me fotos e filmes, que... nem vos passa pela cabeça, nem (muito provavelmente) vão por a vista em cima.

Isto para dizer, que, o burro ( o que eu postei) não entende nem nunca vai entender o que eu estou para aqui a escrever Suspect

P.S. = vejam isto, e explorem o blog.
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ypsi



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MensagemAssunto: Re: The Day After, dos soldados americanos, no Iraque   Sab Nov 17, 2007 9:06 am

De facto concordo com o Ricardo, só mesmo quem viveu e participou em cenários de guerra pode perceber esta problemática do suicídio de veteranos, independentemente do país, a que pertencem tais veteranos.

As imagens que ficam gravadas nos "bytes" dos combatentes deixam fortes sequelas, a nível psicológico e emocional.
Não esquecendo as "lavagens de cérebro" a que são sujeitos para combater o "inimigo".

Há dias, vi na TV, o caso de um jovem americano, hoje paraplégico, e que combateu no Iraque, que me impressionou.

Não só pelo seu comportamento, perante a câmera, mas tb pela esforço que fazem seus pais, para o recuperar, daquele estado de verdadeira alucinação em que ainda hoje vive.

A reportagem termina com o pedido deste ex-soldado, para falar para câmera, e diz ele:

- A guerra é boa ! Nós somos bons !

Impressionante ! A lavagem de cérebro que ele levou, que ainda hoje perdura na sua mente. Sabe-se lá até quando.
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MensagemAssunto: Re: The Day After, dos soldados americanos, no Iraque   Sab Nov 17, 2007 9:30 am

CONCORDO com a GUERRA. Nos somos os que ainda teem "aquilo roxo"!!
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MensagemAssunto: Re: The Day After, dos soldados americanos, no Iraque   Dom Nov 18, 2007 5:00 am

Am I to blame for his private war ?


The young marine lit a cigarette and let it dangle. White smoke wafted around his helmet. His face was smeared with war paint. Blood trickled from his right ear and the bridge of his nose. Momentarily deafened by cannon blasts, he didn't know the shooting had stopped. He stared at the sunrise. His expression caught my eye. To me, it said terrified, exhausted and glad just to be alive. I recognised that look because that's how I felt too. I raised my camera and snapped a few shots.

With the click of a shutter, Marine Lance Corporal James Blake Miller, a country boy from Kentucky, became an emblem of the war in Iraq. The image would change two lives - his and mine.
I was embedded with Charlie Company of the 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, as it entered Falluja, an insurgent stronghold in Iraq's Sunni Triangle, on 8 November 2004. We encountered heavy fire almost immediately. We were pinned down all night at a traffic circle, where a six-inch kerb offered the only protection. I hunkered down in the gutter that endless night, praying for daylight, trying hard to make myself small. A cold rain came down. I cursed the Marines' illumination flares that wafted slowly earthward, making us wait an eternity for darkness to return.

At dawn, the gunfire and explosions subsided. A white phosphorus artillery round burst overhead, showering blazing-hot tendrils. We came across three insurgents lying in the street, two of them dead, their blood mixing with rain. The third, a wiry Arab youth, tried to mouth a few words. All I could think was: 'Buddy, you're already dead.'

We rounded a corner and again came under heavy fire, forcing us to scramble for cover. I ran behind a Marine as we crossed the street, the bullets ricocheting at our feet. Gunfire poured down and it seemed incredible that no one was hit. A pair of tanks rumbled down the road to shield us. The Marines kicked open the door of a house and we all piled in.

Miller and other Marines took positions on the rooftop; I set up my satellite phone to transmit photos. But as I worked downstairs in the kitchen, a deep rumble almost blew the room apart. Two cannon rounds had slammed into a nearby house. Miller, the platoon's radioman, had called in the tanks, pinpointed the targets and shouted: 'Fire!'

I ran to the roof and saw smouldering ruins across a large vacant lot. Beneath a heap of bricks, men lay dead or dying. I sat down and collected my wits. Miller propped himself against a wall and lit his cigarette. I transmitted the picture that night. Power in Falluja had been cut in advance of the assault, forcing me to be judicious with my batteries. I considered not even sending Miller's picture, thinking my editors would prefer images of fierce combat. The photo of Miller was the last of 11 that I sent that day.

On the second day of the battle, I called my wife by satellite phone to tell her that I was OK. She told me my photo had ended up on the front page of more than 150 newspapers. Dan Rather had gushed over it on the evening news. Friends and family had called her to say they had seen the photo - my photo.

Soon, my editors called and asked me to find the 'Marlboro Marine' for a follow-up story. Who was this brave young hero? Women wanted to marry him. Mothers wanted to know whether he was their son. I didn't even know his name. Shellshocked and exhausted, I had simply identified Miller as 'a Marine' and clicked 'send'.

I found Miller four days later in an auditorium in the city's civic centre. Miller's unit was taking a break, eating military rations. Clean-shaven and without war paint, Miller, 20, looked much younger than the battle-stressed warrior in the picture - young enough to be my son. He was co-operative, but embarrassed about the photo's impact back home.

Once our story identified him, the national fascination grew stronger. People shipped care packages, making sure Miller had more than enough smokes. President Bush sent cigars, candy and memorabilia from the White House. Then Major General Richard F Natonski, head of the 1st Marine Division, made a special trip to see the Marlboro Marine. To talk to Miller, Natonski had to weave between earthen berms, run through bombed-out buildings and make a mad sprint across a street to avoid sniper fire before diving into a shattered store front. 'Miller, get your ass up here,' a first sergeant barked on the radio.

(continua)


Última edição por em Dom Nov 18, 2007 5:10 am, editado 1 vez(es)
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MensagemAssunto: Re: The Day After, dos soldados americanos, no Iraque   Dom Nov 18, 2007 5:05 am

Miller had no idea what was going on as he ran through the rubble. He snapped to attention when he saw the general. Natonski shook Miller's hand. Americans had 'connected' with his photo, the general said, and nobody wanted to see him wounded or dead. 'We can have you home tomorrow,' he said.

Miller hesitated, then shook his head. He did not want to leave his buddies behind. 'It just wasn't right,' he told me later. 'Your father raised one hell of a young man,' the general said, looking Miller in the eye. They said goodbye and Natonski scrambled back to the command post.

For his loyalty, Miller was rewarded with horror. The assault on Falluja raged on, leaving nearly 100 Americans dead and 450 wounded. The bodies of some 1,200 insurgents littered the streets. As the fighting dragged on, the story fell off the front page. I joined the exodus of journalists going home or moving to the next story. More than a year and a half would pass before I saw Miller again.

Back home, I tried to put Falluja behind me. Yet not a day went by that I didn't think about Miller and Iraq. National Public Radio interviewed me. I became a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Bloggers riffed on the photo's meaning. Requests for prints kept coming.

In January 2006, I was on assignment along the US-Mexico border when my wife called. 'Your boy is on TV. He has post-traumatic stress disorder,' she said. 'They kicked him out of the Marines.'

I'd spoken with Miller by phone twice, but the conversations had been short and superficial. I knew PTSD was a complex diagnosis. So I dug up his number. I offered simple words: life is sweet. We survived. Everything else is gravy.

As the third anniversary of the US-led invasion approached, my editors wanted another follow-up story. So in spring 2006, I drove to Miller's hometown of Jonancy, Kentucky, in the hollows of Appalachia. Mobile homes and battered cars dot the rugged ranges. Marijuana is a major cash crop. Addiction to methamphetamine and prescription drugs is rampant. Kids marry young and boys go to work mining the black seams of coal. Miller showed me around. At an abandoned mine, he picked up a chunk of coal. 'Around here, this is what it's all about,' he said. 'Nothing else. It was this or the Marines.'

Often brooding and sullen, Miller joked about being '21 going on 70', the result, he said, of humping heavy armour and gear on a 6ft, 11½st frame. Before he was allowed to leave Iraq, he attended a mandatory 'warrior transitioning' session about PTSD and adjusting to home life. Each Marine received a questionnaire. Were they having trouble sleeping? Did they have thoughts of suicide? Everybody knew the drill. Answer yes and be evaluated further. Say no and go home. Miller said he didn't want to miss his flight. He answered no to every question.

He returned to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. His high-school sweetheart, Jessica Holbrooks, joined him there and they were married in a civil ceremony. But he began to have nightmares and hallucinations. He imagined shadowy figures outside the windows. Faces of the dead haunted his sleep. Once, while cleaning a shotgun, he blacked out. He regained consciousness when Jessica screamed his name and realised he was pointing the gun at her. He reported the problems to superiors, who promised to get him help.

(continua)


Última edição por em Dom Nov 18, 2007 5:11 am, editado 1 vez(es)
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MensagemAssunto: Re: The Day After, dos soldados americanos, no Iraque   Dom Nov 18, 2007 5:07 am

Then came a single violent episode which put an end to his days as a Marine. It happened in the Gulf of Mexico in September 2005. His unit had been sent to New Orleans to assist with hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Now a second giant storm, Hurricane Rita, was moving in, and the Marines were ordered to seek safety out at sea. In the claustrophobic innards of a navy ship, someone whistled. The sound reminded Miller of a rocket-propelled grenade. He attacked the sailor who had whistled. He was medically discharged with a 'personality disorder' on 10 November 2005, one year after his picture made worldwide news.

Back home in Kentucky, the Millers settled into a sparsely furnished, second-storey apartment. Four small windows afforded little light. The TV was always on. Miller bought a motorcycle and went for long rides. He and Jessica drank all night and slept all day. He started collecting a monthly disability benefit of about $2,500. The couple spent hours watching movies on DVD, Coronas and bourbon cocktails in hand. Friends and family gave them space.

Miller had hoped to pursue a career in law enforcement, but the PTSD and discharge killed that dream. No one would trust him with a weapon. But at least he didn't have to go back to Iraq. He started to realise he wasn't the only one traumatised by war. 'There's a word for it around here,' Jessica said. 'It's called "vets".' She talked of Miller's grandfather, changed by the Korean War and dead at 35. Her Uncle Hargis, a Vietnam veteran, had it too. He experienced mood swings for years.

Sometimes, Miller's stories about Iraq unnerved his wife. He sensed it and talked less. Nobody really understands, he said, unless they've been there.

On 3 June 2006, the Millers renewed their vows at a hilltop clubhouse in a lavish ceremony paid for by donors from across the country. His father and two younger brothers, supposed to be groomsmen, didn't show up. His estranged mother wasn't invited. Instead of a honeymoon, the couple travelled to Washington, DC, at the invitation of the National Mental Health Association, which wanted to honour Miller for his courage in going public about PTSD. They also wanted him to visit lawmakers to share his experience.

As a boy, Miller confided, he had embraced religion, even going so far as to become an ordained minister by mail order. He felt the passion for preaching. That's how he found his new mission: to tell people what it was like to come home from war with a broken mind.

Three days after their wedding, I tagged along as the young couple flew to the nation's capital. Easily distracted by the offer of free drinks for an all-American hero, Miller stayed out until 3am. He was hungover during his meeting with House members a few hours later and smoked and cursed while recounting his combat experiences. The politicians listened politely and thanked Miller for his service. One congressman sent an aide to tell Miller he was too busy to meet him. No one promised to take up his cause.

After Miller picked up his award, he took a tour past the White House and Lincoln Memorial, but his mind was elsewhere. 'Let's get drunk,' he said.

(continua)


Última edição por em Dom Nov 18, 2007 5:11 am, editado 1 vez(es)
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MensagemAssunto: Re: The Day After, dos soldados americanos, no Iraque   Dom Nov 18, 2007 5:07 am

I returned to Los Angeles the next morning, thinking I would catch up with Miller in a couple of months. A week later, Jessica called. After they had got home, Miller's mood had become volatile. He was OK one minute and in a deep funk the next, she told me. Then he'd disappeared. She hadn't seen him for days. Could I come to Kentucky and help?

Why me? I thought. I could feel the line between journalist and subject blurring. Was I covering the story or becoming part of it? I travelled all night to get to Pikeville, Kentucky, and found myself with Jessica, making the rounds of all the places Miller might have gone. I wanted to be somewhere else. Finally, the next morning, Jessica saw him driving in the opposite direction. She did a U-turn and caught up with him down the road. He got out of his truck. A woman sat in the passenger seat.

'Who is that, Blake?' Jessica demanded. 'Who is she?' He said her name was Sherry. They had just met and he was helping her move. Jessica didn't believe him. I thought: didn't I attend this young couple's fairytale wedding just 10 days ago? Now here they were, in a gas station parking lot, creating a spectacle.

Jessica grilled Miller. He seemed sober and sullen. Then he dropped a bomb. He didn't want her any more and had filed for divorce. 'You guys might want to go home and talk,' I suggested.

At home, the tortured dialogue escalated. Jessica pleaded with Blake to stop and think. They could quit drinking, she said. They'd get help for him and as a couple. Maybe they could move away - anything to work it out. Miller slumped on the couch. I sensed his unease and feared he would become violent, so I stayed even though I felt intrusive. But he remained strangely calm, albeit brooding.

(continua)


Última edição por em Dom Nov 18, 2007 5:12 am, editado 1 vez(es)
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MensagemAssunto: Re: The Day After, dos soldados americanos, no Iraque   Dom Nov 18, 2007 5:08 am

I returned the next morning. He called his attorney and put the phone on speaker. If uncontested, the lawyer said, the divorce would become final in 60 days. Jessica went to the fire escape to gather herself. Miller remained unmoved, chain-smoking. The local newspaper had been calling him about rumours that he was getting divorced. He wrote a statement. He asked for compassion and respect for their privacy.

The next day, I found Miller in a back bedroom at his uncle's house. He told me that he had come close to killing himself the night before. He had thought about driving his motorcycle off the edge of a mountain road. He showed me the newspaper. His divorce was the lead story. I felt torn. I didn't want to get involved. I desperately wanted to close the book on Iraq. But if I hadn't taken Miller's picture, this very personal drama wouldn't be front-page news. I felt responsible.

Sometimes, when things get hard to witness, I use my camera as a shield. It creates a space for me to work and distance to keep my feelings in check. But Miller had no use for a photojournalist. He needed a helping hand.

I flashed back to the chaos of combat in Falluja. In the tight spaces, we were scared mindless. Everybody dragged deeply on cigarettes. Above the din, I heard what everybody was thinking: this is the end. I've never felt so alone. I snapped back to the present and before I knew it, the words spilled out.

'I have to ask you something, Blake,' I said. 'If I'd gone down in Falluja, would you have carried me out?' 'Damn straight,' he said, without hesitation. 'OK then,' I said. 'I think you're wounded pretty badly. I want to help you.' He looked at me for a moment. 'All right,' he said.

A veterans' treatment programme in West Haven, Connecticut, arguably the best in the nation, offered hope. Moe Armstrong, a pioneer in vet-to-vet counselling, had heard of Miller's troubles and sent him feelers about coming for a visit. Despite my reservations about getting too involved, I coaxed Miller into my car and we headed north.

I questioned myself. Was this the right thing to do? For Miller, yes. But for me? What awaited us at the end of this journey? I caught Miller's eyes in the rear-view mirror, droopy and lifeless. A long road led from his home in the Appalachian coal country to New England.

During the long drive to Connecticut, Miller and I discovered we had a lot in common, despite our 25-year age difference. We both had religious upbringings. We both went to public schools and ran with reckless crowds. Like Miller, I'd faced obstacles growing up. Despite my good grades, my high school counsellor saw only a Filipino immigrant and lumped me in with the underachievers. Instead of college catalogues, she offered me army recruitment brochures. It would be better than 'setting chokers', she said, referring to the equipment used to harvest clear-cut timber off mountainsides. It's dangerous work, like mining coal in Kentucky.

As dusk descended, Miller and I drove on, discussing movies, music, motorcycles and cars. We talked about Iraq. Miller recalled intense training as the Marines prepared to enter Falluja. There was bluster, bravado. Some of the men talked about notching 'kills'. On the eve of battle, they became subdued as they wrote last goodbyes. Their letters basically said: if you get this, I am dead. Miller was haunted by the brutality of the fight.

I remembered that, but my mind had also stored a consoling image, one of transcendent serenity. I told Miller about it as we drove north. The morning sun was streaming gloriously through the broken windows of the shattered Khulafah Rashid mosque in Falluja, where Marines had taken refuge during the battle. The light splashed over deep red prayer rugs where Marines sprawled in fitful sleep, their packs serving as pillows. Rubble littered the floor and dust floated up through shafts of light. I recalled leaning against a pillar in the vast space, breathing the tranquillity. Miller talked about killing the enemy.

'To try to live with that... how do you justify it, regardless of what your causes are or what their causes are?' he said. 'To see somebody in your sights and to pull that trigger, it's almost like you're with them, seeing their life flash before their eyes as well as taking it. It's an insane connection that you make with that person at that point.'

We talked about the dissonance we felt. We existed in our postwar world, forever changed by the experience. Meanwhile, everyone around us seemed distracted by trivialities - the price of petrol, a sex scandal in Washington, a paparazzi photo of Britney Spears without panties. Fuelled by coffee and Marlboros, we crossed six state lines and covered 870 miles. At dawn, we arrived in West Haven. It was pouring rain. We checked into a motel pushed up against the freeway and Miller nodded off. A CNN report about the war glowed on TV. I couldn't sleep. A journalist wasn't supposed to get involved with his subjects. But I felt responsible for Miller. Over and over, I thought: it will be my fault if something bad happens to him.

'You know you're going to be OK, right?' Laurie Harkness, who runs Errera Community Care Centre for veterans, said when she met Miller the next day. 'Maybe you did some horrible things in Iraq. But war is terrible,' she said. 'You do what you have to in order to survive. And you survived. That's good news, right?'

Miller nodded. He agreed to join the programme. Veterans' benefits would cover the cost of treatment. Miller would pay $300 a month for room and board. Between the counselling and the peer support from Moe Armstrong's group, Vet to Vet, it seemed Miller would finally get the help he needed. But shortly after signing in, he insisted on returning to Kentucky to get his motorcycle. Harkness reluctantly issued a weekend pass. I crossed my fingers.

Worried that I was in over my head, I asked Armstrong to accompany us as we covered the same highways we had traversed just days before. I figured that if Armstrong was there to offer professional counselling, I could retreat into my role as journalist. Besides, my patience was wearing thin. Another 1,700 miles - for a motorcycle!

All the way back to Connecticut, I kept my eyes on the rearview mirror, constantly checking to make sure Miller hadn't pulled a U-turn. On the programme. On himself. On me.

Over the next month, I stayed by Miller's side as he began to reveal the things that weighed so heavily on his mind. At his request, I sat in on most of his therapy sessions. He said my presence put him at ease, but I never put down my camera, never stopped documenting the story. Miller told Harkness how empty and confused he had felt when combat ended. How he had placed the barrel of an M-16 assault rifle in his mouth on the outskirts of Falluja one day, taken a deep breath and reached for the trigger.

'What made me so special that I deserved to stay here and my buddies didn't?' Miller asked, speaking of friends who had died. 'At one point, I was almost mad at them. How could they leave me like that? We came together. We were supposed to leave together. I don't know how you can disconnect that feeling.'

He told us about an event that haunted him. From an observation post in Falluja, he had seen a head pop up amid the wreckage of several cars. It was a free-fire zone. He squinted into his rifle scope, saw dark curly hair and squeezed the trigger. Later, Marines advanced on the scene and found a dead boy, six or seven years old, his curly hair mottled by bits of brain and blood. There was more, he said, terrible things he couldn't divulge. Not now. Maybe never. 'To kill the snake, we had to cut off its head,' was all he would say.

On 10 July 2006, Miller turned 22. He seemed to be getting the help he needed. I had been away from my wife and three children for a month. It was time to go home to Los Angeles. The night before my departure, I joined Miller and some other vets for a birthday dinner. We broke it up about 10pm. I told Miller to call me day or night if he needed help. I encouraged him to hang tough.

'You stuck your neck out for me to keep mine here,' he said. 'And I feel with everything in me that you have saved my life. I thank you for that.'

Relief washed over me. It was like shedding a rucksack of rocks. I got into my car as he started up his motorcycle. A deep, loud rumble ripped the night. We travelled together for a time. He slowed and waved as I turned into my hotel. I watched him roar into the darkness.

Over the next several weeks, Harkness took a special interest in Miller's recovery. She told him that, in time, he might even enrol at Yale University through a special admissions process. Miller began to realise that guilt and fear were ruining him. It's what prompted the rush to marry Jessica, even though he knew deep down he wasn't ready. Now he understood that even Jessica couldn't make him feel safe or accepted. She couldn't make him stop scanning the darkness for the enemy beyond. It's what made him drink all night, finding sleep in the arms of exhaustion.

Still, he didn't say much in group therapy. He commonly skipped the daily meetings and instead spent hours on the phone with Jessica. He put off sessions of 'cognitive behavioural therapy', which would require him to discuss his troubling memories.

'It's all good,' he told me over the phone. He said he was gaining clarity. He borrowed a guitar and strummed all day. He expressed optimism. But soon Miller began talking about going home. Once again, I made the trip. I wanted to grab him by the shoulders and tell him not to blow an excellent opportunity to put his life back together. A chance to go to Yale? I would jump at that myself.

But Miller wasn't receptive. He had scuffled with some local motorcycle toughs and felt threatened. He missed the mountains. He wanted to go home. Period. Disappointing all who had tried to help him, he dropped out just two months into a programme that was supposed to last six months to a year.

We left Connecticut in the middle of the night. I followed in my car as he rode his motorcycle for 18 hours through a sweltering summer day to be reunited with Jessica. It was August 2006. The couple hoped to get a fresh start in Princeton, West Virginia, which offered a veterans' centre, the mountains Miller loved and the privacy so lacking in his hometown. They thought maybe they could work things out. They shopped for used furniture and found an apartment that was light and airy, with a porch for barbecues.

But Armstrong, a Marine veteran of the Vietnam War, was worried. He had had high hopes that he could help Miller and that Miller could help him reach a younger generation of combat veterans.

'Blake Miller is a flipped-out, 22-year-old former Marine who was involved in a major battle,' Armstrong said. 'He's been through a lot, seen a lot. I can't endorse the quick fix. It's a common pattern that vets are in and out of therapy for years.'

Miller began seeing psychologist and retired Marine Ernie Barringer at the veterans' centre in Princeton. Miller knew I was disappointed in him for leaving the Connecticut programme. He and Jessica went out of their way to reassure me everything would be OK. They drove me to the secluded mountain top outside Pikeville to show me the spot where Miller had asked Jessica to be his girl, just days before he shipped out to Iraq. They laughed, embarrassed by the story. Miller sipped root beer and Jessica Nehi orange soda. Insects hummed in the dark. Under a splash of stars, the moon rose. A gentle breeze rippled the woods. One could almost imagine Falluja had never happened.

By mid-October 2006, Miller had again slipped into depression. Memories flooded back as the second anniversary of the Falluja battle approached. As the death toll mounted in Iraq, he worried about his buddies who had been redeployed to the Middle East. Marriage counselling proved hard; sessions often ended in stony silence. Vaguely familiar facial features reappeared in Miller's dreams: a mole, thick beards and curly black hair. Then body parts exploding.

Jessica became frustrated. They didn't talk. They stopped having sex. One night later that month, Miller called me, sounding depressed. I offered to come and see him. By the time I arrived, Jessica had moved out. They next met at a law office in Pikeville, They sat across a wide table and agreed to proceed with a divorce. So much for happy endings, I thought, recalling their wedding.

As Miller and I drove back to West Virginia, news crackled over the radio. The Democrats had routed the Republicans in the midterm congressional election. Public sentiment about Iraq had soured, and Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the architect of the war, was resigning.

Miller had mixed feelings. 'That's good news, I guess. But it should've happened a long time ago,' he said. 'Everybody that's dead now. I mean, what's the point?'

It was 9 November 2006, two years after I took the famous picture of Miller and a year after he left the Marines. In his empty apartment, Miller took his wedding picture from the wall and replaced it with a Meritorious Mast, a certificate detailing his valour in combat. He drank beer for comrades living and lost. He spoke the names of the dead: Brown, Gavriel, Holmes, Ziolkowski.

'I didn't cry then and I won't now,' Miller said. 'I just can't.'

Over the next 10 days, we awoke late and drove aimlessly in the countryside. He attended meetings at the vet centre. I took more pictures. Winter was upon the mountains. Miller blamed his melancholy on the season. Within weeks, Miller moved back to Kentucky and got an apprenticeship at a custom motorcycle shop, working up to 14 hours a day. The shop's owner presided over the local chapter of the Highwaymen, a Detroit-based motorcycle club under constant scrutiny by law enforcement. Miller acknowledged that the Highwaymen were into 'serious business', but said he joined the club for the camaraderie. The uniforms and codes of conduct reminded him of the Marines.

I worried about this new affiliation. After joining, Miller never went out without his 9mm semi-automatic pistol and he kept a shotgun in his truck. To me, his new friends seemed overly interested in his combat 'kills'. One biker, a Vietnam veteran also plagued by PTSD, promised me he'd get Miller to join the local chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. 'We'll connect veteran to veteran,' the biker told me, his breath tinged with moonshine.

Miller now sees Jessica a couple of times a month. They have not completed their divorce, but remain separated. 'I see him on his good days,' Jessica said, 'and everything is wonderful. We actually have conversations.' But then weeks pass without sight of him. 'He has to get stable,' she said. 'If he was better, we'd be together all the time.'

Miller lives in a refurbished trailer behind his father's house. Two TVs provide constant background chatter. The refrigerator is bare. A hound called Mudbone spends most days tied in the yard.

Miller is estranged from his mother. He talks with his father, Jimmy Miller, 43, about everything except Iraq. 'What am I going to say? Son, I know what you've been through? I know what you're going through now?' the father said. 'Well, the truth is I don't. Maybe it's just better that we leave it alone.'

(continua)


Última edição por em Dom Nov 18, 2007 5:10 am, editado 1 vez(es)
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MensagemAssunto: Re: The Day After, dos soldados americanos, no Iraque   Dom Nov 18, 2007 5:08 am

Miller's brother Todd, a 21-year-old diesel mechanic, doesn't pretend to understand. 'I'm glad I didn't join the Marines,' Todd said one day. 'I got a nice house, a wife and twin baby daughters and I drive a Durango that's used but damn near new. You're divorced, drive a beat-up pickup and live in a trailer.' On top of that, Todd told his brother, your head is screwed up.

The months go by. One disability check comes and then the next - about $2,500 a month. Miller sees Barringer, the psychologist, but only occasionally.

'Sometimes you just have to look at the culture of small-town eastern Kentucky,' Barringer said. 'Blake graduated from high school and had no future. So he joined the Marines, and now he's home and has a steady income. Things are good. But sometimes that's more of a negative than a positive,' he added. 'Look, every time you go out to that mailbox and get your disability check, it tells you you're sick.'

It took a while to get to know Miller. But I've come to appreciate his intelligence, generosity and dignity. He is a talented musician and skilled mechanic. I try to relate to him as a brother, even though I'm older than his father. He has helped me sort through the craziness of Falluja. I can't stop the war, but Miller has given me a chance to make a difference - by helping him. And maybe myself. Often, I wonder if I've done enough. Can I let go now? Can I ever let go? The experts tell me I may be in it for the long haul.

Armstrong says Miller is 'playing out his symptoms on cue', adding: 'He's just keeping his head above water. He can't afford any downtime because it allows him to think.' Harkness holds out hope that Miller will eventually seek intensive therapy of the kind she offered. 'He won't come in for help because a part of him is very macho,' she said. 'He really comes across as the Marlboro Man. My fear is that at some point, it's all going to come crashing down.'

To me, she said: 'You are a constant object for Blake. You are the only person to follow him from the war zone to back home. You have a bond. He would be much lonelier and lost without you.'

Some experts estimate that 30 per cent of the troops who have seen combat in Iraq will suffer from PTSD. As that thought lingers in my head, I remind myself that the sweetest victory is survival. The rest of life is a glittering gift, tempered in the forge of Falluja.

Sometimes in the night, I hear a grenade launcher belching rounds. Or maybe it's just Miller gunning his Harley. He's roaring over Foggy Mountain, the wind blowing by, cleansing his thoughts. Blake, son, I know it sounds crazy, but my mind always takes me back to that distant rooftop in Falluja, where I snapped your picture. I think of that sunrise, bright and warm, and how lucky we were to see it.

Luis Sinco
Sunday November 18, 2007
The Observer


................ Life is unfair ! Sad Sad Sad



F I M
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Vitor mango

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MensagemAssunto: Re: The Day After, dos soldados americanos, no Iraque   Dom Nov 18, 2007 9:04 am

na parsevi putu
bounce bounce bounce
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Convidad
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MensagemAssunto: Re: The Day After, dos soldados americanos, no Iraque   Dom Nov 18, 2007 9:35 am

what is the point?
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Xô Esquerda

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MensagemAssunto: Sobe número de soldados retornados que cometem homicídios   Dom Jan 13, 2008 6:16 am

EUA

Sobe número de soldados retornados que cometem homicídios

O número de soldados norte-americanos regressados das guerras no Iraque e Afeganistão que cometeram homicídios ou estão acusados por esse crime subiu para 121 nos últimos seis anos, noticiou hoje o jornal

The New York Times


Segundo uma pesquisa elaborada pelo jornal, destes 121 homicídios apenas um foi cometido por uma mulher e cerca de um terço vitimou namoradas ou familiares dos veteranos de guerra.

Mais de um quarto das vítimas eram militares, acrescenta o The New York Times, que baseou a sua pesquisa em jornais locais, relatórios militares, da polícia e dos tribunais, entrevistas aos acusados, advogados e familiares, bem como familiares das vítimas.

Lusa/SOL




FODA-SE QUE O FILHA DA PUTA DO BUSH NUNCA MAIS SAI DO PODER
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MensagemAssunto: Re: The Day After, dos soldados americanos, no Iraque   Dom Jan 13, 2008 11:19 am

Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing . Como estes esquerdistas vivem OBCECADOS com o BUSH e os USA!!! Laughing Laughing Laughing hahahahah!!!! pORQUE SOMOS A muralha de aco, CONTRA AS TOLICES DELES!!
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MensagemAssunto: Re: The Day After, dos soldados americanos, no Iraque   Dom Jan 13, 2008 2:19 pm

Esquerda escreveu:
EUA

Sobe número de soldados retornados que cometem homicídios

O número de soldados norte-americanos regressados das guerras no Iraque e Afeganistão que cometeram homicídios ou estão acusados por esse crime subiu para 121 nos últimos seis anos, noticiou hoje o jornal

The New York Times


Segundo uma pesquisa elaborada pelo jornal, destes 121 homicídios apenas um foi cometido por uma mulher e cerca de um terço vitimou namoradas ou familiares dos veteranos de guerra.

Mais de um quarto das vítimas eram militares, acrescenta o The New York Times, que baseou a sua pesquisa em jornais locais, relatórios militares, da polícia e dos tribunais, entrevistas aos acusados, advogados e familiares, bem como familiares das vítimas.

Lusa/SOL




FODA-SE QUE O FILHA DA PUTA DO BUSH NUNCA MAIS SAI DO PODER

Que "EDUCACAO"a desta/e ESQUERDA???????????????
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