The Silent War Within the Brains of U.S. Soldiers | The Costs Of War | The Duty Of The Military In A Militarized Empire

The Silent War Within The Brains Of U.S. Soldiers

Activist Post

While many “patriotic” Americans feel good about cheering on their soldiers to enter any and every battlefield that politicians and elites convince them is necessary, there already have been signs that the stress of such long-term battle is taking a horrible mental toll.

There is an equally troubling discussion by the military about how best to cover up the consequences of the trauma endured. We have read about the testing of neuroscience applications that can erase traumatic memories with just the pop of a pill. However, it is the more common pharmaceutical prescription drugs that are increasingly widespread.  As discussed in the video below, there are now 110,000 troops on amphetamines, antidepressants, and sedatives among other prescribed medications, which is leading to higher rates of suicide, and poor judgement resulting in the deaths of friends and foes alike.

Most soldiers and their families wouldn’t imagine that the sanctioned scrambling of brains by psychoactive drugs would be part of the risk.  But, then again, the U.S. government has a history of experimentation and neglect of soldiers and their families even as they head back to civilian life.

As America descends into full-blown Martial Law, many of these drug-addled brains are landing in America, thereby creating a scenario that is all but guaranteed to become violently obvious even to those who have chosen to ignore this mounting problem.

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The Costs of War

Ron Paul

This month Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki announced the addition of some 1,900 mental health nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers to its existing workforce of 20,590 mental health staff in attempt to get a handle on the epidemic of suicides among combat veterans. Unfortunately, when presidents misuse our military on an unprecedented scale – and Congress lets them get away with it – the resulting stress causes military suicides to increase dramatically, both among active duty and retired service members. In fact, military deaths from suicide far outnumber combat deaths. According to an article in the Air Force Times this month, suicides among airmen are up 40 percent over last year.

Considering the multiple deployments service members are forced to endure as the war in Afghanistan stretches into its second decade, these figures are sadly unsurprising.

Ironically, the same VA Secretary Eric Shinseki was forced to retire from the Army by President Bush for daring to suggest that an invasion and occupation of Iraq would not be the cakewalk that neoconservatives promised. Then Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, who is not a military veteran, claimed that General Shinseki was “wildly off the mark” for suggesting that several hundred thousand soldiers would be required to secure post-invasion Iraq. Now we see who was right on the costs of war.

In addition to the hidden human costs of our seemingly endless wars are the economic costs. In 2008, Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz wrote “The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict.” Stiglitz illustrates that taking into account the total costs of the war, including replacing military equipment and caring for thousands of wounded veterans for the rest of their lives, the Iraq war will cost us orders of magnitude greater than the 50 billion dollars promised by the White House before the invasion. Add all the costs of Afghanistan into the mix, wrote Stiglitz, and the bill tops $7 trillion.

Is it any wonder why our infrastructure at home crumbles, healthcare is more expensive and harder to come by, and unemployment together with inflation continue their steady rise? Imagine the productive power of that seven trillion dollars in our private sector. What could it have done were it in private hands; what may have been discovered, what diseases might have been cured, what might have been built, how many productive jobs created?

With the bills coming due for our decade of reckless military action, the cuts rarely come from the well-connected military industrial complex with their lobbyists and powerful political allies. In President Obama’s 2013 budget, troop strength is to be cut significantly while enormously expensive and largely superfluous weapons systems emerge essentially unscathed. As defense analyst Winslow Wheeler wrote this month, costs of the “next generation” fighter, the F-35, will increase by another $289 million. This despite the fact that the fighter is badly designed and already outdated, a “virtual flying piano” writes Wheeler.

The military contractors building monstrosities like the F-35 are politically connected and thus protected. Unfortunately, returning military veterans are less so. In the same 2013 budget, the White House proposes to increase medical and pharmaceutical costs paid by veterans while reducing their cost of living increases. And how many years of increasingly alarming mental illness and suicide statistics has it taken for the modest increase in resources to be made available?

Those who predicted the real costs of our decade of global military conquest were ridiculed, scoffed at, and fired. History has now shown us that much of what they warned was correct. America is clearly less secure after a decade of unnecessary wars. It is more vulnerable and closer to economic collapse. Its military is nearly broken from years of abuse. Will we come back to our senses?

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The Duty of the Military in a Militarized Empire

SARTRE, Contributor

Activist Post

Those who serve in the military are in a difficult position. The oath taken by enlistees states, “I, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

The internal conflict between supporting and defending the Constitution and obeying orders is at the heart of the dilemma of honor and duty. Those who accept that the Presidential chain of command is by nature constitutional, lack a proper understanding of history and professes an even greater ignorance of current affairs.

Ever since Congress abrogated their lawful war power authority to declare war, the military-industrial complex has embarked on a path of global empire. The consequences of such un-American internationalist imperialism have turned the country into a hollow shell of a once great nation. NeoCons and their liberal cousin counterparts champion perpetual interventionism and continuous overseas deployment, and deny this stark reality.

False flag operations used as incessant excuses to expand the permanent war machine, demean and ultimately will destroy the moral purpose of our country. Propaganda and disinformation used to spread the jingoism fever infects the body politic. Those who remember the disgusting treatment, upon the separation from service, of Viet Nam draftees welcome the positive homage of recent military personnel.

However, there is an attitude that challenges all the flag waving and medal awards. Gary D. Barnett presents a viewpoint that is not shared by most military brass. Mr. Barnett writes in Thank You for Your Service? No Thanks!

What service is actually being praised by those conditioned to say these empty words? Why are they thanking and praising nearly every soldier they see?

Is it because hatred of the U.S. is increasing, and new enemies are being created in the Middle East and all around the rest of the world?

Is it because thousands and thousands of innocent people are being killed now in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and many more are being threatened?

Is it because 20,000,000 to 30,000,000 foreigners, mostly innocent civilians, have died just since World War II due to U.S. interference and war?

Is it because indefinite detention without due process, torture, assassination, and rendition are now common and accepted practices?

Is it because suicide rates among American soldiers have increased 80% since the Iraq War began?

Is it because mental problems now send more military personnel to the hospital than any other cause?

Is it because destruction and separation of military families is rampant?

Is it because civil liberties have all but disappeared due to so-called terrorism legislation? (Terror legislation would be more accurate).

Is it because of the creation of the USA PATRIOT Act, Military Commissions Act, NDAA, TSA, and Department of Homeland Security (DHS)?

Is it because of the massive buildup of killer drones abroad and at home?

Is it because the huge deficit spending to support multiple aggressive wars is causing economic chaos?

Is it because of the surging number of double amputees of American soldiers?

Is it because of increasing energy costs due to the United States unwarranted presence in the Middle East region?

Is it because the domestic police have now become a brutal militarized force, bent on controlling the entire population?

This perspective fundamentally challenges the underlying foreign policy that structures military expenditures to project superpower force at the expense of actual domestic defense.As long as the National Security Council and the State Department pursues the policeman of the world policy, the military will be asked to implement unnecessary austerity that perpetuates the corrupt “world community” dominated by a financial tyranny. No wonder that the blowback against our real interests is the only sure response that comes from such foreign adventures.

Full Spectrum Dominance is no substitute for true national security.

The war on terror is an excuse to divert attention from the accelerated loss of rights and freedoms. Each step may seem insignificance and subtle, but the direction is always undeniable. Fear from any foreign threat seldom extends to the measures instituted by the domestic authority. Willingness to forget that legitimacy for your government is based upon your consent is epidemic. People are eager to demonstrate their devotion to the State, as they surrender their birthright as if it meant nothing.

The source of the scourge that underpins obeying unlawful orders stems from a false obedience. Criminal civilian commands are not legitimate authority. The unconstitutionality of the National Defense Authorization Act is clear. Brian J. Trautman, a military veteran writes on the NDAA,

This year’s legislation contains highly controversial provisions that empower the Armed Forces to engage in civilian law enforcement and to selectively suspend due process and habeas corpus, as well as other rights guaranteed by the 5th and 6th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, for terror suspects apprehended on U.S. soil. The final version of the bill passed the House on December 14, the Senate the following day (ironically, the 220th birthday of the Bill of Rights). It was signed into law by President Obama on New Year’s Eve. With his signature, for the first time since the Internal Security Act of 1950 and the dark days of the McCarthy era that followed, our government has codified the power of indefinite detention into law.

Nothing new about laws or executive orders that strip constitutional protections, so what can an honest American serving in the military services do in response to their duty? Stewart Rhodes, founder of OathKeepers talks about the NDAA and provides the answer in the video Organizing a Military Stand Down Against NDAA. PFC Bradley Manning comes to mind when an active service personnel reveals the sins and dictates of the foreign policy elites. Kim Zetter reports in Wired,

Manning is charged with 22 violations of military law for allegedly stealing records and transmitting defense information in violation of the Espionage Act, among other charges, which could get him up to life in prison if he’s convicted. In chat logs, Manning said he leaked the cables because he felt that the world needed to be aware of military activities that he believed were potentially illegal.

The Bradley Manning media coverage is an essential blackout of the extent that the foreign policy psychopaths who provide the orders for the military establishment is the cause of the anguish and death that responsible soldiers endure.

The officer corps ultimately bears the heaviest burden for enforcing illegal orders. The basic principle that honorable duty resides in the protection of the nation, should be accepted. However, the practical application falls dramatically short when the military substitute the office of the Presidency as the essence of the nation. Willingness to follow the commands of a dictator directly leads to the Gary D. Barnett assessment.

Where is the line that needs to be drawn that neutralizes the treason that routinely comes out of the corridors of power? The Pentagon is comprised of careerists that all too often are willing to sacrifice the safety of the American public for their own advancement. War games never take into account that the immediate enemies of our country hold office, administer imperial policies and work for the financial oligarchy.

The globalists are more than plutocrats; they are the ultimate and true enemy. The critical duty that military resides in a commitment to a genuine America First foreign policy. The Commander and Chief, no matter who occupies the Oval Office, is a mere selected puppet that is on a short leash.

The military needs to refuse unlawful orders by standing down, and standing up for a constitutional republic.

Original article archived here

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