Daily Archives: May 4, 2007

Unethical behavior on the battlefield increasing

Sign on San Diego | May 3, 2007

The Global War on Terror is a complete fraud, based on the lie of 9/11 which was an inside job. And the war on Iraq, this immoral occupation that has totally destroyed the country, is a lie within a lie. This war of lies is twisting and perverting the minds of not only US troops, but of Americans as a whole and others, who are taught to accept torture, brutality and general human degeneracy as something good.

PTSD is not only the result of war stress, but it is the result of living inside a false reality and compromising your morals and ethics to “adapt” to it. The longer you live inside of a lie, the greater is your disconnection from reality, from goodness, ethics, compassion, love and truth, the more is your mind turned to destructiveness almost to the point of losing your very soul. It is impossible to either support or participate in such a lie and maintain a moral and ethical foundation. You can have a semblance of it and there is a broad spectrum of ethical to unethical and even criminal behavior in the military, but just being on the ground over there begins to eat away at that foundation no matter what you do. Like the sand in the air, in your bed and in your clothes, you begin to eat, sleep and breath the evil every day until it becomes a part of your very existence.

These troops, who would not rat on a brother, regardless of his crimes, who think torture is good, who actually enjoy beating and killing innocent people (including children) for the hell of it are becoming more and more the norm. And I believe this too is a form of social engineering, to create an army of thugs who will then come back to the US to be our National Guard, cops and prison guards ruling over us with an iron fist. As in Iraq, where they do not differentiate between combatants and “innocent civilians”, they will treat Americans the same way, guilty until proven innocent, and the Patriot Act encourages them to do this. Of course, the daily barrage of police brutality will only get worse as time goes on for this very reason. But that is how a police state operates.

Mental health clinics won’t help much, nor prozac, because these are mostly moral and spiritual issues that each soldier is going to have to grapple with inside himself and overcome through meditation, prayer, self-examination and family support. But many of them will just go on believing all the lies and remain morally defiled and mentally deranged for the rest of their lives. The only “cure” for this illness is to realize it was all a lie designed to set up a New World Order and to bring all the troops home as soon as possible to prevent more of them from falling into this trap of evil and wickedness.

Ron Paul is the only Republican candidate who was 100% against this whole war from the very beginning and he stood alone on this issue during the May 3rd debate because only he has the courage to stand alone and be independent. He will withdraw all our troops from practically every base outside the United States and he will do this immediately upon taking his oath of office because ONLY Ron Paul will actually defend our sovereignty and our borders. And he is the only candidate who will mean it sincerely from the depth of his soul when he says,

“I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

He is the only candidate with a firm moral foundation and has enough guts to stand up to corruption and restore constitutional government. Only he will restore our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

All the rest of them are disgusting morally compromised liars kissing up to the establishment and sending the country straight to hell.

If you really want to do something about all the evil that is tearing our country apart, then put all your support behind Ron Paul.

PW

Battlefield ethics

Results are from anonymous surveys and focus groups involving 1,320 soldiers and 447 Marines conducted from August to October in Iraq.

The interviewers tabulated the percentage of “yes” responses to statements starting with, “I would report a unit member for”:

ARMY | MARINES

Injuring or killing an innocent noncombatant:
   55% | 40%

Stealing from a noncombatant:
   50% | 33%

Mistreating a noncombatant:
   46% | 32%

Not following general orders:
   46% | 35%

Violating rules of engagement:
   47% | 34%

Unnecessarily destroying private property:
   43% | 30%

Source: Army Mental Health Advisory Team

Only 40 percent of Marines would report a member of their unit for killing or wounding an innocent civilian, according to the military’s first report on the ethics of U.S. troops in Iraq.

One-third of the Marines surveyed would turn in someone for stealing, and 30 percent would report a unit member for unnecessarily destroying property.

The figures for the Army were roughly 15 percent higher in those three categories, but even those were described by the report’s authors as in clear need of improvement.

“People are going to be surprised and disturbed by this, and then they are going to understand that this is war,” said John Pike, director of the military think tank GlobalSecurity.org.

The San Diego Union-Tribune obtained a copy of the 30-page report from an anonymous source and asked Pike to comment on it. The Pentagon had not authorized the release of the document, which was prepared by the Army’s Mental Health Advisory Team and sent to the commandant of the Marine Corps on April 18. The military is using the report to prioritize training and other needs.

“Troops are sent to fight for their country, but when they get to the battlefield, they are fighting for their buddies,” Pike said. “I suspect that combat in Iraq is more stressful than is understood. This list of behaviors shows classic symptoms of combat stress.”

The report indeed showed that longer deployments and multiple tours of duty were increasing troops’ rates of marital and mental-health problems, including post traumatic stress disorder. An even bigger factor was each service member’s exposure to combat: More fighting typically led to a greater likelihood of mental difficulties.

Strong leadership by enlisted officers, such as sergeants and staff sergeants, greatly reduced a unit’s psychological strain – and vice versa, the report’s authors concluded. They recommended more aggressive and consistent training in ethics and leadership skills for these officers, as well as chaplains and mental-health professionals working in war zones.

The document was based on focus groups and surveys of 1,320 soldiers and 447 Marines from August to October. The service members’ responses were kept anonymous because the interviewers wanted to get the most honest answers possible.

Combat veterans said the report accurately portrays troop behavior in Iraq, which they depicted as a frustrating and soul-sapping place where the enemy seems to lurk everywhere.

“When you deal with a loss in a unit, you have to fight the anger and feeling of inhumanity you feel toward the people,” said Patrick Alvarez of Chula Vista, a staff sergeant in the California National Guard. His unit lost a soldier during a convoy attack about three years ago in Baghdad.

“When something like that happens, you start to lose the desire to do what is right,” said Alvarez, who received the Bronze Star for valor. “I know of it first-hand. I was looking at 10-year-olds and under the right circumstances, I would have wasted those kids in a heartbeat.”

Then he added: “An innocent civilian? I don’t think I ever met one over there.”

Some military personnel said a unit’s sense of loyalty and camaraderie can overpower the obligation to report wrongdoing, especially when its members have banded together to survive in combat.

“You are protecting their lives and they are protecting your life,” said Rey Uy, a retired Marine staff sergeant who lives in Chula Vista.

Urban combat can cause intense frustration, he said.

“You don’t know who your enemy is. You don’t know if it is the 10-year-old with the cell phone or the old man sitting on the corner watching you,” said Uy, who served with the 3rd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton. “You can’t find them, yet every day you have a Humvee blown up and people hurt or killed. And then back at base camp you are getting rocketed and mortared.”

The more brutal the war and the longer that troops are exposed to it, the more difficult it is for them to follow the military’s rules of engagement, said Jean Bethke Elshtain, a professor of social and political ethics at the University of Chicago.

But not all service branches react the same way to combat stress, said Kateri Carmola, who teaches political science and war ethics at Middlebury College in Vermont.

The Army has emphasized battlefield ethics training since the Vietnam War, she said, while the Navy and Marine Corps have concentrated on internal ethics since the early 1990s.

What Carmola, Elshtain, Pike and the combat veterans all agreed on was that strong, competent leadership can address nearly every ethical problem in the war zone.

A firm hand will keep troops in line while reducing stress levels, Alvarez and Uy said. The ethics report showed that units with enlisted officers who were highly rated had less than half the rates of post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression compared with those that had poorly rated leaders.

“One time, we captured two insurgents with rocket-propelled grenades and improvised explosive devices. . . . A few weeks earlier, we had taken a loss from an IED,” Alvarez said. “So we have these guys and we are law. We know that if we turn them in, there is a good chance they’ll be out of jail in a few weeks. Do you kill them? No, because it is wrong. Leadership calls right from wrong. Leadership was the answer. Leadership is the answer.”

Among the report’s other findings:

The length of combat exposure is the main factor influencing a service member’s mental health.

Ten percent of respondents said they had mistreated an Iraqi. The number was an average of all responses for behaviors such as assaulting a noncombatant and unnecessarily damaging an Iraqi’s property.

Troops diagnosed with mental-health problems were much more likely to engage in unethical behavior on the battlefield than those with no psychological ills.

Only 42 percent of soldiers who screened positive for a mental-health problem went on to seek help from a chaplain, primary-care doctor or behavioral specialist. That’s because the Army’s mental-health treatment system is largely voluntary.

Nearly 66 percent of respondents personally knew a service member who was killed in combat in Iraq.

Besides seeking greater leadership and more psychological training for various military personnel, the Mental Health Advisory Team recommended that the Pentagon create a joint system for all service branches to monitor and report mental-health needs. It also encouraged commanders to establish a training program devoted solely to battlefield ethics for soldiers and Marines.

At the end of its list, the team suggested that the Pentagon extend the interval between deployments to 18 to 36 months so troops could mentally “reset.” In contrast, the Army recently lengthened its standard tour of duty to 15 months, with at least a year of rest between each deployment. The length of a standard Marine deployment is still seven months.

Yesterday, a spokesman at Marine Corps headquarters characterized the report as “one instructive item in a series.”

Lt. Col. Scott Fazekas said the Corps understands “it represents an honest and faithful attempt to capture what frontline Marines are experiencing and we will continue to examine the study and its recommendations closely.”

US Government Issues Face Mask Advice for Flu Pandemic

VOICE OF AMERICA | May 4, 2007

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U.S. government health officials have issued advice about wearing face masks if pandemic influenza strikes, although they warn that the masks are not the first line of defense. VOA’s David McAlary reports that in some cases, a face mask is worse than none at all.

U.S. health authorities say the guidelines are temporary while studies look into the impact of face masks and the best ways to use them during a flu pandemic. Among the questions being researched is how close do you have to be to an infected person before you are infected?

The U.S. government’s disease tracking agency, the Centers for Disease Control, says the studies may take months or years, so in the interim, it is giving its best advice in response to public questions. The agency’s director is Dr. Julie Gerberding. “We have been waiting to some extent to try to get the science that we like to have before we issue firm guidelines, but we recognize that people will make decisions for themselves based on their own common sense, so we wanted to get this information out,” he said.

The Centers for Disease Control says the new advice is based on the experience in health care facilities. It discusses two types of face protection — a simple cloth face mask and a respirator — and each is designed for a different purpose.

The face mask protects against droplets from coughs and sneezes, while a respirator has much finer filters that block about 95 percent of tiny virus particles.

During a pandemic, the mask is recommended for those who have the flu and might come within two meters of others, or for a healthy person who lives with someone with flu symptoms or who will be in a crowd where there might be infected people.

The more sophisticated respirator is designed for healthy people who are in close contact with others known to be infected.

But Gerberding warns against relying on face protection alone in a flu pandemic. “Masks are certainly something that can have a role in personal protection, but they are not the most important thing nor are they necessarily even essential to personal protection. It is important that we not forget the other steps — to avoid crowds during a pandemic, to stay home if you are sick, and to do everything you can to stay away from people who are ill with respiratory illness during that context,” he said.

Gerberding says respirators must fit tightly so unfiltered air does not seep through. They are not recommended for children or men with beards. She notes that a poorly fitting one is virtually no protection, and might give the wearer a false sense of security.

In addition, masks cause faces to sweat more, creating an urge to wipe that might bring flu germs to the face from the hands.

Gerberding points out that the U.S. government is stockpiling millions of masks and respirators for health workers to use during a major flu outbreak, but advises the public and businesses not to hoard them so there will not be shortages.