Since the Tennessee Congressman and Senate Candidate is such a supporter of the Iraq war, I thought he would like to read the following blog, that's being circulated in the blogsphere. I got this from the Freeway Blogger over at Steve Gillard's.This just came from the Freeway Blogger.
Like most of you, I get a lot of mail that begins with "send this to everyone you know." For what it's worth, I wrote back to Doug encouraging him to consider condensing his message and using his right to free speech by public signposting. I should've just printed the letter.
I'm publishing it now because he just killed himself.
Spc Douglas Barber: PTSD- Every Soldier's Personal WAR!
By Doug Barber
In the last month I have been working with Jay Shaft, the editor of Coalition For Free Thought in media regarding my experiances in Iraq and since coming home from the war. We have only touched on some of the struggles of being a soldier, however we have not dug deeply into the personal war that Operation Iraqi Freedom has caused for returning soldiers.
Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush do not want to reveal to the American people that this war is a personal war. They want to run the war like a business, and thus they refuse to show the personal sacrifices the soldiers and their families have made for this country.
My thought today is to help you the reader understand what happens to a soldier when they come home and the sacrifice we continue to make. This may be lengthy, it may be short; but no matter how long it is, just close your eyes and imagine a flag drapped coffin.
Inside that coffin is the body of a man or woman who will never get to live their life to the fullest, yet they bore the total cost so that we could live free. Their soul is somewhere else and all we have is their memory which over time will be forgotten by other everts of greater importance. The families of these soldiers have a hole in their hearts that will never be replaced, even though they have pictures and happy memories.
Some families will refuse to believe they are gone, but still their sons and daughters are the heros of a country that sent them to war. This war on terror has become a personal war for so many, yet the Bush Administration does not want journalists or families to photograph the only thing that is left of our soldiers who have died. They do not want the people to remember that image of a flag draped coffin as the last memory this country will ever have of our fallen men and woman.
They say that America will raise their voices and demand a stop to the war, but my question is why should we not show the results of war? For us as a country, we send these soldiers to war and we see their faces while they are alive. I say let their memories live on in every photo, even when they do come home in a flag drapped coffin. Let their sacrifice be forever etched in the memory of America. We owe their families this at the very least.
All is not okay or right for those of us who return home alive and supposedly well. What looks like normalcy and readjustment is only an illusion to be revealed by time and torment. Some soldiers come home missing limbs and other parts of their bodies. Still others will live with permanent scars from horrific events that no one other than those who served will ever understand.
We come home from war trying to put our lives back togather but some cannot stand the memories and decide that death is better. They kill themselves because they are so haunted by seeing children killed and whole families wiped out.
They ask themselves how you put a price tag on someone elses life? The question goes unanswered as they become another casualty of the war. Heros become another statistic to America and they are another little article relegated to the back of a newspaper.
Still others come home to nothing, families have abandoned them: husbands and wives have left these soldiers, and so have parents as well. Post Tramatic Stress Disorder has become the norm amongst these soldiers because they don't know how to cope with returning to a society that will never understand what they have had to endure to liberate another country.
PTSD comes in many forms not understood by many: but yet if a soldier has it, America thinks the soldiers are crazy. PTSD comes in the form of depression, anger, regret, being confrontational, anxiety, chronic pain, compulsion, delusions, grief, guilt,dependance,loneliness, sleep disorders, suspiciousness/paranoia, low self-esteem and so many other things.
We are easily startled with a loud bang or noise and can be found ducking for cover when we get panicked. This is a result of artillery rounds going off in a combat zone, or an IED blowing up.
I myself have trouble coping with an everyday routine that deals with other people that often causes me to have a short fuse. A lot of soldiers lose multiple jobs just because they are trained to be killers and they have lived in an enviroment that is condusive to that. We are always on guard for our safety and that of our commrades. When you go to bed at night you wonder will you be sent home in a flag draped coffin because a motar round went off on your sleeping area.
Soldiers live in deplorable conditions where burning your own feces is the order of the day. Where going days on end with no shower and the uniform you wear gets so crusty it sometimes sticks to your body becomes a common occurence. We also deal with rationing water or even food for that matter. So when a soldier comes home to what they left they are unsure of what to do being in a civilized world again.
This is what PTSD comes in the shape of--soldiers can not often handle coming back to the same world they left behind. It is something that drives soldiers over the edge and causes them to withdraw from society. As Americans we turn our nose down at them wondering why they act the way they do. Who cares about them, why should we help them?
Talk show hosts like Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and so many others act like they know all about war; then they refuse to give any creadence to soldiers like me who have been to war and seen the brutality of war. These guys are nothing but WEAK SPINELESS COWARDS hiding behind microphones while soldiers come home and are losing everything they have.
I ask every American who reads this e-mail to stand up for the soldier who has given their everything for this country to stand up to these guys in the media; ask them why they don't pick up a weapon and follow in the steps of a soldier. Send this e-mail to as many people on your e-mail lists and ask them to do the same.
There needs to be a National awareness for every Veteran who has ever served in any war. Send e-mails to the Big Mouths on TV and ask them to have soldiers like me on their programs. I am asking you as Americans to BOYCOTT every TV show or host/journalist that refuses to tell the real truth.
THIS IS A PERSONAL CHALLENGE TO BILL,SEAN AND RUSH TO HAVE ME ON YOUR PROGRAM TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT. Other wise you are nothing but dirt under every soldiers boot!
Spc Douglas Barber
Since I read in the Memphis Flyer that Harold thinks progress is being made in Iraq, my attitude is that of Bill Maher's: IF YOU SUPPORT THIS WAR, GO FIGHT IT
And for those starry-eyed bloggers and worshipers like Chris Jackson and David Bander, you're welcome to come on my blog at any time and debate the issues; not defend this privaleged, bloviating jackass as the next best thing in the United States Senate, cause I'm not buying it. So you can drink your cans of STHU on this one. I had an older brother who served in Vietnam - I was a baby when he shipped out, but when he came back, I was about eight years old, and I can truthfully tell you that 'Nam messed up a lot of guys who were really children and saw war up close and personal. He got addicted to drugs, tried to be a pimp, and only because he landed in jail, where he kicked his habit, he cleaned up his act and became a Special Ed teacher when he got out.
You would think his life had a happy ending. It didn't. He was gunned down by thugs in his former life before he had a chance to fully realize his more promising one. But he would have never been set on the path of his old life, but for serving in Vietnam, fighting a war that we now know, should have never been fought.
Just like Iraq. Just like soldiers named Doug Barber. And the likes of you, or your buddies, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, wouldn't talk to this guy on the street, let alone allow him on their talk shows to tell the truth about the Iraq war. It would be an indictment of Bush's lies to the country, while invalidating yours, and their support of the war. While Doug Barber did the physical taking of his life, I submit that what he suffered during his service, the PTSD, and the willingness of the Bush Administration to cover up what hideousness they are sending our kids into, but are unwilling to go and do the dirty work themselves; that's what killed Doug Barber.
So Harold, when you pontificate as a war hawk, remember that you're really a chicken hawk
. You think going over to visit the troops and reporting to us what you did, which is really a damned public relations stunt to prop up your damned Senate campaign, is supporting
the troops? Or proclaiming progress while you write letters to Bush telling him to "Stay the Course" is going to win you that Senate seat? Start talking to some people who have buried their loved ones that came home in those body bags, or people who's children came home with limbs missing and their mental faculties shot to hell. Then, ask yourself if you can still stand up before people and tell them of your "love" for the President, and your support of this war. You've never known what a "Reality Check" is; dude, I'm giving you one; up close and PERSONAL.
I have a brother who's love I will never know; who will never reach his "baby-boomer" years because of chicken hawks like you who served in Congress back in the 60s sent him off to fight a war no one understood and then, we learn, no one should have fought. Just like your votes and support for the Iraq war, sends kids off to fight in another war that should have never been initiated; not to mention, takes money away from programs to help people in poverty. Do you have the guts to stand before Tennesseeans who have lost their children in this war, or live in dire poverty and tell them why you support fighting in Iraq?
Or, will you run off and hide, and try to act like Bush by making sure your critics are not allowed in the same room with you when you get up to bloviate and wax poetic on serious issues that essentially mean life or death?
I don't care that you think I'm a bitch. And I really don't care that you think because you're an African-American, other African-Americans like me should shut the hell up and not criticize your performance as a member of Congress. The CBC Monitor took care of that for me. Most of all, if you think I care that you believe what I've said here is less than Christian, I will wear that as a badge of honor, because I know what it is like to stand for your values, and to get beat up for not selling out your principles, morals or values. In case you forgot, true Christians are quite capable of getting angry when we see the lies, the greed, the corruption, the abuse of the public trust by the likes of you and others in Congress who think like you. A Christian isn't perfect; he/she is forgiven. While I work on expressing myself in a cordial manner, when I read about the stupid decisions you make and the asinine comments you give in the press, I see a red haze, and I react with righteous anger because I'm seeing an incompetent, arrogant horse's ass, born into privalege, never known what it is like to physically suffer, go hungry, go cold, not have enough clothing to wear; can't see a doctor when you're sick; parents who are often last hired, first fired - you've never known that life. So that's why you're so damned cavalier about placing others' lives on the line for pure, unadulterated BS.
Because you don't know what it is like to suffer and millions of us do it every day, often with a smile on our faces to keep from crying or shooting someone in frustration.
You think holding public office makes you a real man? Real men fight their battles and they stand for something, instead of falling for anything. I think we know what category you currently fall in, don't we? The day you look back on all of this and admit you were wrong, and the day you look me in the eye and admit you were a political jackass, but you want to change that and become a real human being, is the day I'll consider you a real man.