Author Topic: Back From Iraq - and Suddenly on the Streets  (Read 142 times)

Ant

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Back From Iraq - and Suddenly on the Streets
« on: February 09, 2005, 08:55:15 AM »
More news for republicans to be proud about.  Now that soldiers are finally returning home from Iraq we are learning 1st hand, once again, that death is not the only consequence of war.  Much like the Vietnamese War, our soliders are returning home with severe mental inflictions, and shockingly some are ending up homesless, living off the streets, just a few weeks after returning home from Iraq.  Still, 150,000 U.S. troops remain in Iraq, and given the relatively small number of soldiers who have returned home, it is safe to say that we have only begun to learn of issues like these.  Some estimate that 20-30% of our troops will have severe mental problems to deal with upon returning home, and as we aready know, beyond the 1,500 deaths, over 10,000 U.S. troops have returned home with life-altering physical injuries. 

Back From Iraq and Suddenly on the Streets

NEW YORK - Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts are now showing up in the nation's homeless shelters.

While the numbers are still small, they're steadily rising, and raising alarms in both the homeless and veterans' communities. The concern is that these returning veterans - some of whom can't find jobs after leaving the military, others of whom are still struggling psychologically with the war - may be just the beginning of an influx of new veterans in need. Currently, there are 150,000 troops in Iraq and 16,000 in Afghanistan. More than 130,000 have already served and returned home.

So far, dozens of them, like Herold Noel, a married father of three, have found themselves sleeping on the streets, on friends' couches, or in their cars within weeks of returning home. Two years ago, Black Veterans for Social Justice (BVSJ) in the borough of Brooklyn, saw only a handful of recent returnees. Now the group is aiding more than 100 Iraq veterans, 30 of whom are homeless.

"It's horrible to put your life on the line and then come back home to nothing, that's what I came home to: nothing. I didn't know where to go or where to turn," says Mr. Noel. "I thought I was alone, but I found out there are a whole lot of other soldiers in the same situation. Now I want people to know what's really going on."

After the Vietnam War, tens of thousands of veterans came home to a hostile culture that offered little gratitude and inadequate services, particularly to deal with the stresses of war. As a result, tens of thousands of Vietnam veterans still struggle with homelessness and drug addiction.

Veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are coming home to a very different America. While the Iraq war remains controversial, there is almost unanimous support for the soldiers overseas. And in the years since Vietnam, more than 250 nonprofit veterans' service organizations have sprouted up, many of them created by people like Peter Cameron, a Vietnam veteran who is determined that what happened to his fellow soldiers will not happen again.

But he and dozens of other veterans' service providers are concerned by the increasing numbers of new veterans ending up on streets and in shelters.

Part of the reason for these new veterans' struggles is that housing costs have skyrocketed at the same time real wages have remained relatively stable, often putting rental prices out of reach. And for many, there is a gap of months, sometimes years, between when military benefits end and veterans benefits begin.

"We are very much committed to helping veterans coming back from this war," says Mr. Cameron, executive director of Vietnam Veterans of California. "But the [Department of Veterans Affairs] already has needs it can't meet and there's a lot of fear out there that programs are going to be cut even further."
Beyond the yellow ribbons

Both the Veterans Administration and private veterans service organizations are already stretched, providing services for veterans of previous conflicts. For instance, while an estimated 500,000 veterans were homeless at some time during 2004, the VA had the resources to tend to only 100,000 of them.

"You can have all of the yellow ribbons on cars that say 'Support Our Troops' that you want, but it's when they take off the uniform and transition back to civilian life that they need support the most," says Linda Boone, executive director of The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.

After the Vietnam conflict, it was nine to 12 years before veterans began showing up at homeless shelters in large numbers. In part, that's because the trauma they experienced during combat took time to surface, according to one Vietnam veteran who's now a service provider. Doctors refer to the phenomenon as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

A recent study published by the New England Journal of Medicine found that 15 to 17 percent of Iraq vets meet "the screening criteria for major depression, generalized anxiety, or PTSD." Of those, only 23 to 40 percent are seeking help - in part because so many others fear the stigma of having a mental disorder.

Many veterans' service providers say they're surprised to see so many Iraq veterans needing help so soon.

"This kind of inner city, urban guerrilla warfare that these veterans are facing probably accelerates mental-health problems," says Yogin Ricardo Singh, director of the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program at BVSJ. "And then there's the soldier's mentality: Asking for help is like saying, 'I've failed a mission.' It's very hard for them to do."

Beyond PTSD and high housing costs, many veterans also face an income void, as they search for new jobs or wait for their veterans benefits to kick in.

When Mr. Noel was discharged in December of 2003, he and his family had been living in base housing in Georgia. Since they were no longer eligible to live there, they began the search for a new home. But Noel had trouble landing a job and the family moved to New York, hoping for help from a family member. Eventually, they split up: Noel's wife and infant child moved in with his sister-in-law, and his twins were sent to relatives in Florida. Noel slept in his car, on the streets, and on friend's couches.

Last spring he was diagnosed with PTSD, and though he's currently in treatment, his disability claim is still being processed. Unable to keep a job so far, he's had no steady income, although an anonymous donor provided money for him to take an apartment last week. He expects his family to join him soon.
'Nobody understood ... the way I was'

Nicole Goodwin is another vet diagnosed with PTSD who has yet to receive disability benefits. Unable to stay with her mother, she soon found herself walking the streets of New York, with a backpack full of her belongings and her 1-year-old daughter held close.

"When I first got back I just wanted to jump into a job and forget about Iraq, but the culture shock from the military to the civilian world hit me," she says. "I was depressed for months. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't eat. The worst thing wasn't the war, it was coming back, because nobody understood why I was the way I was."

Ms. Goodwin was determined not to sleep on the streets, and so eventually went into the New York City shelter system where, after being shuffled from shelter to shelter, she was told she was ineligible for help. But media attention changed that, and she was able to obtain a rent voucher. With others' generosity, she also found a job. She's now attending college and working with other veterans who are determined to go to Washington with their stories.

"When soldiers get back, they should still be considered military until they can get on their feet," she says. "It's a month-to-month process, trying to actually function again. It's not easy, it takes time."

http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0208/p02s01-ussc.html
 

Thirteen

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Re: Back From Iraq - and Suddenly on the Streets
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2005, 10:02:38 AM »
so it's the republican's fault that these guys signed up as infantry.. a job that has to deal with warfare and has no value outside of the military? i know one reason they can't get a job... because people trained to kill foreign soldiers doesn't translate well into a civilian job.

there's always the GI Bill which pays $1400 a month... there's unemplyment that lasts a year and supplies $400 a month which you can collet along with the gi bill....then there's also part time jobs to work your way through college for extra change when the gi bill runs up... there's also the chance to re enlist if they can't cut it on the outside world

nice try to put the blame on this one, but people should have thought about the future when signing up for the military

 

Ant

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Re: Back From Iraq - and Suddenly on the Streets
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2005, 11:54:52 AM »
so it's the republican's fault that these guys signed up as infantry.. a job that has to deal with warfare and has no value outside of the military? i know one reason they can't get a job... because people trained to kill foreign soldiers doesn't translate well into a civilian job.

there's always the GI Bill which pays $1400 a month... there's unemplyment that lasts a year and supplies $400 a month which you can collet along with the gi bill....then there's also part time jobs to work your way through college for extra change when the gi bill runs up... there's also the chance to re enlist if they can't cut it on the outside world

nice try to put the blame on this one, but people should have thought about the future when signing up for the military



Its hard to get a job when you are traumatized by a war and struggling with depression and other mental issues.  But forget the people who are homeless, what about the thousands of soldiers who are struggling with mental illness because of a poorly executed war with limited justification?  What about the thousands of families (mothers, parents, women, and children), who did not sign up for this war, who  have to struggle with the depression resulting from the loss of a loved one or have to see their loved one come home with a missing arm or leg?  If you read the article it touched on a number of these issues.

I'm not blaming republicans.  I'm pointing out the consequences of a republican sponsored war.  Republicans want credit for the consequences of their actions.  They want to brag about elections in Iraq and how they couln't have happened without GWB.  Well without GWB we also couldnt have had people being tortured in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanmo.  Without GWB and foolish bigotted republicans like yourself, we couldn't have 1,5000 dead americans, and over 10,000 seriously wounded soldiers.  Without republican ignorance we couldn't have over 100,000 iraqi civilians that were either injured or killed.  Without GWB we couldn't have spent over $250 billion dollars in taxpayer money in a war without justification.  Without GWB we couldn't have an attorney general who believes it is acceptable to treat detainees in ways that are "cruel, inhuman, or degrading."  You are obviously poorly educated, and often arguing out of your ass.  But if you want to put the blame on the individual for having to deal with mental trauma because they fought and killed for a war without justification, then by all means go ahead and do so and confirm once again that you and your kind are ignornant, bigotted, and foolishly self-centered.


« Last Edit: February 09, 2005, 11:56:54 AM by Ant »
 

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Re: Back From Iraq - and Suddenly on the Streets
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2005, 11:57:27 AM »
so it's the republican's fault that these guys signed up as infantry.. a job that has to deal with warfare and has no value outside of the military? i know one reason they can't get a job... because people trained to kill foreign soldiers doesn't translate well into a civilian job.

there's always the GI Bill which pays $1400 a month... there's unemplyment that lasts a year and supplies $400 a month which you can collet along with the gi bill....then there's also part time jobs to work your way through college for extra change when the gi bill runs up... there's also the chance to re enlist if they can't cut it on the outside world

nice try to put the blame on this one, but people should have thought about the future when signing up for the military


i agree
 

Woodrow

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Re: Back From Iraq - and Suddenly on the Streets
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2005, 12:03:47 PM »
I'm pointing out the consequences of a republican sponsored war. 
HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAH
 

*Jamal*

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Re: Back From Iraq - and Suddenly on the Streets
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2005, 03:04:23 PM »
I'm pointing out the consequences of a republican sponsored war.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAH


LOLLL
 

Thirteen

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Re: Back From Iraq - and Suddenly on the Streets
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2005, 04:50:37 PM »
so it's the republican's fault that these guys signed up as infantry.. a job that has to deal with warfare and has no value outside of the military? i know one reason they can't get a job... because people trained to kill foreign soldiers doesn't translate well into a civilian job.

there's always the GI Bill which pays $1400 a month... there's unemplyment that lasts a year and supplies $400 a month which you can collet along with the gi bill....then there's also part time jobs to work your way through college for extra change when the gi bill runs up... there's also the chance to re enlist if they can't cut it on the outside world

nice try to put the blame on this one, but people should have thought about the future when signing up for the military



Its hard to get a job when you are traumatized by a war and struggling with depression and other mental issues.  But forget the people who are homeless, what about the thousands of soldiers who are struggling with mental illness because of a poorly executed war with limited justification?  What about the thousands of families (mothers, parents, women, and children), who did not sign up for this war, who  have to struggle with the depression resulting from the loss of a loved one or have to see their loved one come home with a missing arm or leg?  If you read the article it touched on a number of these issues.

I'm not blaming republicans.  I'm pointing out the consequences of a republican sponsored war.  Republicans want credit for the consequences of their actions.  They want to brag about elections in Iraq and how they couln't have happened without GWB.  Well without GWB we also couldnt have had people being tortured in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanmo.  Without GWB and foolish bigotted republicans like yourself, we couldn't have 1,5000 dead americans, and over 10,000 seriously wounded soldiers.  Without republican ignorance we couldn't have over 100,000 iraqi civilians that were either injured or killed.  Without GWB we couldn't have spent over $250 billion dollars in taxpayer money in a war without justification.  Without GWB we couldn't have an attorney general who believes it is acceptable to treat detainees in ways that are "cruel, inhuman, or degrading."  You are obviously poorly educated, and often arguing out of your ass.  But if you want to put the blame on the individual for having to deal with mental trauma because they fought and killed for a war without justification, then by all means go ahead and do so and confirm once again that you and your kind are ignornant, bigotted, and foolishly self-centered.




aren't you the same person that insults GI's for their twisted outlook onlife after war?

dude you need to keep your stories straight...maybe if you didn't post every article up you'd be less contradictory to yourself

as for injured vets... the government finds them jobs... it's called the VA office... if they're too crazy, well you think a democrat has a good solution to that? no there isn't one...so stop pointing fingers when your side of the fence doesn't do shit either... last time i looked republicans don't make up 100% of the government
 

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Re: Back From Iraq - and Suddenly on the Streets
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2005, 05:54:32 PM »
Ant, you're really letting your fanaticism inhibit your ability to think rationally. Don't be another CWalker.  Republicans and Democrats are in the same boat here.
 

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Re: Back From Iraq - and Suddenly on the Streets
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2005, 05:59:35 PM »
lol I live in San Diego I ain't fucking with them  ;D
 

Ant

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Re: Back From Iraq - and Suddenly on the Streets
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2005, 07:13:19 PM »
Ant, you're really letting your fanaticism inhibit your ability to think rationally. Don't be another CWalker.  Republicans and Democrats are in the same boat here.

If that is the case, then explain something instead of just stating opinions.   Instead I think you occasionally disagree with me in an attempt to seem 'unbiased.'  Whatever, its your choice. 

Republicans and Democrats on not in the same boat on the issues I've addressed.  There are clearly defined differences between the republican party and the democratic party that put the the majority of the responsibility for the consequences of this war onto the shoulders of republicans. 

1.  Yes, I know the democrats voted to authorize the use of force, but I also know that democrats only voted to give the president the ability to use force.  Republicans like to ignore this fact, or maybe they are simply to ignorant to realize that this is the case, but the truth is Democrats authorized the use of wa - they did not declare war.  Personally I think there should be widespeard agreement that to do otherwise would have been foolish regardless of the outcome.  Of course the senate should give the president the freedom to declare war if necessary... but that is where the burden shifts to the shoulders of the administration.  They did the fact checking, they made the final decision.  The Senate vote did not force Bush to go to war, it gave him the ability to.  The decision to go to war with Iraq was the choice of the Bush Whitehouse. 

2.  There is a significant difference between the democratic party and the republican party in regards to overall support for the war.  Republicans, and specifically GWB say, even knowing there are no WMD, no ties to al queda, and no imminent threat  we still would have attacked.  Democrats are humble enough to admit that when the facts change so should your opinions.  Additionally, while most every republican supported the iraq war, some in the democratic party refused to support it from the get go (ie. howard dean).  And in regards to the general population of progressives vs. conservatives.... a number of ordinary progressives opposed the war from the get go, while most republicans still support the war to this day.

3.  The execution of the war was the responsibility of the Bush Whitehouse.  It is foolish to suggest that the dems bear equal responsibility for the outcome of the iraqi war.  Bush and co. choose their strategy, and it failed miserably.  Every assumption they made turned out wrong.  Kerry was on record disagreeing with the Bush Strategy from as far back as 2002, when he said on the Senate Floor:

Kerry (Oct. 9, 2002) Let there be no doubt or confusion about where we stand on this. I will support a multilateral effort to disarm him (Saddam) by force, if we ever exhaust those other options, as the President has promised, but I will not support a unilateral U.S. war against Iraq unless that threat is imminent and the multilateral effort has not proven possible under any circumstances.

4.  Democrats had absolutely nothing to do with Abu Graib.  Almost every democrat voted agaisnt Alberto Gonzales.

This is not to say that democrats do not share some responsibility for the fuck ups, but to suggest each party is equally responsible for the fuck ups in iraq is foolish. 
« Last Edit: February 09, 2005, 07:38:32 PM by Ant »
 

Thirteen

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Re: Back From Iraq - and Suddenly on the Streets
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2005, 09:44:21 PM »
still pointing the blame else where... when will you ever grow up?

1. they authorized use of force....that's like telling your kids "it's wrong to smoke weed, but you're allowed to do it if you want to" they knew he wanted to attack and they gave him the go ahead

3. i don't think anything has failed yet in this conflict, sure it's hit some road bumps but nothing terrible has happened so far to the main plan

4. alberto gonzalez had nothing to do with abu gharib either... it was the acts of a few....in fact it was the acts of those poor soldiers that went crazy from the war and when they get out they won't be able to find a job
 

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Re: Back From Iraq - and Suddenly on the Streets
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2005, 10:02:02 PM »
Ant, you're really letting your fanaticism inhibit your ability to think rationally. Don't be another CWalker.  Republicans and Democrats are in the same boat here.

If that is the case, then explain something instead of just stating opinions.   Instead I think you occasionally disagree with me in an attempt to seem 'unbiased.'  Whatever, its your choice. 

...

This is not to say that democrats do not share some responsibility for the fuck ups, but to suggest each party is equally responsible for the fuck ups in iraq is foolish. 

1. No, I state my opinions because I feel like it. I don't give a shit what you or any other fruitcake on here thinks about my opinions. Unbiased? What the fuck does that have to do with bias? You act like I always come here rooting for Democrats and talk about how wonderful they are, and now I'm all of a sudden trying to take a more centric stance. However that's not the case... if you read my posts in the past, you will see that I've always said the same thing, and that is that U.S. foreign policy is fucked up. It's my opinion. If you want reasons why, I can list a shitload of them. When it comes to foreign policy, Democrats and Republicans are the same exact shit, from the way I see it. If you disagree, fine, that's your view. The only reason I'd vote Democrat is because I don't believe in education/healthcare cuts, while military spending is blown out of proportion. But like I said, when it comes to foreign policy, they're all the same in my eyes.

2. If you're talking specifically about Iraq, then what you could say is that "both parties are to be blamed, but the Republicans should get more of the blame", which could technically be correct, but how does that change anything? Does it matter if one is "more" at fault? That's if we're talking specifically about the current war in Iraq. However, when I made my comment, I was speaking in general terms about what the government does in other parts of the world. And for that you can't single out a party to blame it on.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2005, 10:48:50 PM by *Jamal* »