Almost in the Army

I have a long story if you have some time to read it.   Back in 1999, my best friend and I had this grand scheme that since we had nothing better to do we were going to join the army.  So, we both took the ASVAB at slightly different times but since we were living in the same county, we both had the same recruiters and office we were going out of.  This was a long time ago, so my memory is a little foggy.  I remember this young recruiter and myself driving to La Crosse, WI and his cell phone ringing every so often.  He explained that his wife had mental health issues, which had her calling him almost every hour.   I met some of the other recruiters, there was this one I’ll never forget.  They called him Fudd and for good reason; he walked, talked, and acted like Elmer Fudd.  I looked around the office and thought it would be cool since the people were so mellow.  Bear in mind, I grew up in the 90′s.  Movies like Tank Girl, In the Army Now, among a dozen others I’m probably forgetting portrayed that tanks, guns, blowing shit up as being cool.  At our school, which was in a small town, had recruiters at it all the time.  I think they knew because people are in smaller towns and less opportunities, that their situation may even get them to enlist for the benefits and getting away.

So, my best friend takes the ASVAB and gets a score slightly higher than mine.   She was going to be in intelligence.  I was told I could have been a journalist, if the position had been open for a female (I was kind of irked) due to a near-perfect English language score.  But, they wouldn’t give me too many details about what I would be doing.  Since my best friend had taken the test first, she was first up.  She signed all her papers, packed her stuff, and went to Basic.

My mother and I, before she started drinking again, discussed my joining the army at length and when I see her I’ll owe her a “thank you” for this.  She said she didn’t think it was a good idea.  I had been diagnosed with clinical depression and PTSD.   She said I was too sensitive to violence and my disdain for authority would immediately get me in trouble.   I don’t know what would or could have happened but that now brings me again to the subject of Bradley Manning.

What I’m basically trying to say is, the Army doesn’t have an exceptional screening process when it comes to weeding out people that may be unfit.  If I could just about be in the Army, who else could be? I know it was a long time ago, but things couldn’t have changed all that much.  The various stories that have come out since the war began are the basis for my assertion (like killing rampages against civilians, systemic mistreatment of prisoners).

By the way, Happy belated May Day all.  Did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month?  Rep. Napolitano has more to tell you:

(BTW I started writing this in May)

Like she said, substance abuse and spousal abuse have been a problem.  We owe it to our men and women who serve in the military to drop stigmas and petty nonsense to prevent problems.  Prevention is far better than a cure and we could prevent tragedies like this one:

http://news.yahoo.com/us-soldier-kills-16-afghans-deepening-crisis-164242200.html

And there have been many other controversies that have embarrassed the United States far, far more than Bradley Manning could have managed on his own.  And if you think war is a good thing, take a look at these numbers:

http://antiwar.com/casualties/

And there are many, many videos just like this one on youtube that makes America look bad without Bradley Manning’s help:

Does this make us look like kind, compassionate, helpful people?  Is this what YOU voted for?

Listen to the guy about one minute in.  You think war doesn’t cause mental problems?  The floor is yours, argue any points that you have.  I’m sure we’re all eager to hear it.

Here’s another documentary I recently found:

Basically, to sum up my point (you’re probably now wondering if I’ll ever get to it) is that not only does the Armed Forces have a problem in screening people before they enlist, they have a problem now of how they are going to deal with all these people that will undoubtedly have PTSD.  Some people internalize their pain and don’t ask for help until it’s too late.  What we’ve asked our young men and women to do is to be robots, to not feel.  That’s an extremely unreasonable expectation.  This is a part of the reason I support Bradley Manning.  I encourage others to share their opinion, whether they agree or disagree.  There needs to be more discourse about this subject.

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