9 September 2008

The Butter-Cutter On PTSD & Ancient Greek Plays

I said to The Butter-Cutter, “Did you know that your last 'Camel Toes' story caused some who read it to say it was 'over the top'?”

“How many of them that bitched were Marines in my pay grade?”

“Well . . . none,” I answered.

“HELLO! Next question, please!”

I stood there silently for a moment and then decided to just do as he asked, “Did you hear that the Corps held something called, the 'Marine Corps Combat Operational Stress Control Conference' last month?” (1)

“Why?” he answered.

“Well PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is adversely affecting Marines as well as members of the other Services. In fact, a study by the RAND Corporation released earlier this year found that 19 percent of the approximately 1.6 million U.S. military personnel who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from symptoms of PTSD,” I explained. (2)

“Whoa! Whoa there! Now, I ain't the longest servin' mother f***er in this here Corps, but I sure as shit didn't graduate from Boot Camp this morning. Yer sayin', er, that Study's sayin' that, más o menos, 304,000 vets are sufferin' from PTSD? Maaan, there ain't that many trigger-pullers in the USMC 'n' U.S. Army combined!” The Butter-Cutter exclaimed. “Are ya tellin' me they're countin' them 'battle stressed remote-control warriors' in California, Nevada, 'n' Texas we talked about a few weeks ago? The ones sittin' on their asses in state-side air-conditioned trailers flyin' UAVs launched outta Afghanistan?”

“Well, I don't know the exact Study criteria for selecting those counted in the 1.6 million, but I guess it is possible that those 'state-side' USAF personnel are included since they are involved in the conflict,” I answered reluctantly. “However, there are a lot of non-trigger puller vets who were in-country and subject to the danger of bodily harm; such as, truck drivers who had to run the gauntlet of IEDs on the roads in Iraq. You are aware, that something like half of our casualties were a result of IEDs?” I then ended assertively.

“Yeah! Yeah! I'm aware o' them IEDs; but, I still don't think that adds-up ta 304,000 nut-cases.”   

“These are not 'nut-cases.' These are veterans of today's wars who are suffering from symptoms of PTSD that their respective Services want to help psychologically. That was the purpose of the Marine Conference I mentioned a moment ago; an event attended by over 250 Marines, sailors and healthcare professionals. One feature of that Conference was the reading from two ancient Greek plays by Sophocles-'Ajax' and 'Philoctetes.' These two plays are about the physical and psychological wounds suffered by warriors.“ I explained.

“Yer sayin' the Corps had this confab on PTSD 'n' read Marine war veterans Greek war stories . . . ANCIENT Greek war stories? Why?” he asked with obvious irritation.

“Well, the Corps is dedicated to finding new ways to help Marine combat veterans recover from the symptoms of PTSD. It feels that the reading of these plays could be therapeutic for these Marines. For example: One Marine Sergeant Major reportedly said of Ajax, 'The kinds of moral and ethical decisions he was facing are just the same as what Marines are going through now.' “

“Ya mean ta tell me that the Corps ain't got any combat proven: (1) Marines who can stand up in front o' their fellow Marines ta tell their 21st century experiences in war; (2) brother warriors who've been there 'n' done that with the very Marines in the audience; and, (3) fellow Marines who've survived the same ordeals them Marines are sufferin' through 'n' are LIVING examples o' that fact? The Corps don't got WINNERS like that? BULL SHIT! I know it does! Instead, some mother f***in Spear-Chucker made the decision ta put a bunch o' maggot non-warrior actors in front o' Marine warriors ta hold up as a warrior model a fictional dead Greek LOSER named Ajax!”

“Now! Now!” I said to The Butter-Cutter. “Ajax wasn't a loser, he  . . .”

“BULL SHIT!” he shouted in cutting me off. “We read about this Ajax dude in High School. In this play yer talkin' about, his head's all f***ed up over his combat experience 'n', ta solve his head problems, he commits suicide by fallin' on a sword.”

“Hold on!” I shouted interrupting him. “If you are going to suggest that Marines are going to copy Ajax, you have the story wrong . . .”

“I don't got it wrong. YOU got it wrong!” he broke in again. “REAL Marine PTSD nut-cases are gonna grab any straw in reach marked 'help.' By readin' them this story, some o' them are gonna say, 'If my Marine Corps and "healthcare professional" leaders tell me that the story of Ajax will help me, they MUST mean that I should FOLLOW HIM!' "      


Semper Careful Of What I say To Those In My Charge,

Anthony F. Milavic

Major USMC (Ret.)

(1) http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-combat15 2008aug15,0,6770815.story

(2) http://www.courant.com/news/health/hc-vetyoga0825.artaug25,0,2313464.story

Waddaya think?

(6 Thinks)

Chuck said:   September 9th, 2008 6:57 am

Good timing. Suicide rates are way up.

Al Loreth said:   September 9th, 2008 9:20 am

Seems many of the so-called PTSD stricken may have been a little f**ked up before they joined. A tougher boot camp would have weeded some out. Funny how career men didn't seem to suffer PTSD much, but treat those who need it. Like many, I've been in war. Funny thing though, I've never seen/met someone suffering from PTSD while I was in country.

ceb said:   September 9th, 2008 10:59 am

Maj - PTSD is real, and serious, for a FEW people. The problem, I think, is the over diagnois. For example - I threw a sales man out of my house- very verbal - nearly physical - since he was a jack ass and high pressure. I was angry! My wife tells this to her freind - a DR and the next thing I know the VA is trying to tell me I am PTSD and giving me medications - NO VISIT TO a Shrink - no "counseling" - I am sure I am now listed in that huge number. A former Marine that works for me is "PDST" - he went to marriage counseling because his wife cheated on him while deployed - yep - his angry over this got him the tag. I think that the PDST is used when ever we do not fit into the passive role - normal (for a Marine at any rate) anger and some social worker who would not be mad if you pissed on his shoe says Ah Ha - must be because he served in (Viet Nam, Iraq, Afghan, somewhere). Simply a normal Pissed-offed-at-horse-shit Marine (retired)

Owen Jones said:   September 9th, 2008 11:12 am

Three cheers! The real nut cases are the ones coming up with these crazy "treatments." I remember the Rand corp also came up with something called HUMREL that totally destroyed MC morale and the chain of command. We were forced to sit around in a group grope talking about penis size! This was supposed to improve race relations! When the problem was that blacks in the military ganged up on their own and told them not to seek advancement, don't stand out, don't work hard, don't go with the system, don't make white friends. 

Pvt. Smith said:   September 9th, 2008 11:15 am

All warriors, past and present, have much in common . Pick up a copy of Achilles in Vietnam if you can find it . 

Al Dutton said: September 20, 2008

You haven't been paying attention. SCREW THE TROOPS has ALWAYS been the

DoD way.  If you didn't get the MEMO: Any Veteran who is determined to have

PTSD, or who has attented Marriage or relationship counselling, or has been

determinied by some VA idiot to need help with their disability disbursements, 

will be considered an ENEMY OF THE STATE and a potentiaal TERRORIST.  

Their names will be put in a BATAFE WATCH LIST. Their firearms will be

confiscated, and they will be barred from purchasing so much as a

water pistol for the rest of their lives. In addition, they will be subject

to periodic searches by the FBI, NSA and BATAFE.

How do I know this? Four months prior to this injustice being passed into

law, the VA told me that is what was going to happen to me because I am a

disabled Combat Veteran suffering from sleep deprivation. It screws up my

short-term memory. I took steps to have ALL my bills automarically paid

from my checking account, so there would be no issues regarding my ability

to keep up with my responsibilities.

I had to fight with the VA for months, then I got a doctor to write them a

letter telling them that I am able to handle my own affairs.

At THIS POINT the VA Morons set me up with an appointment to see s VA

shrink.  He dertermined that I am saner than the people running the VA, and

I got back my human rights.

Unfortunately, anyone getting a disability for PTSD, or counselling for

drug or alcohol abuse is SCREWED, because they fall into the trap laid by 

the Nazis in charge of our once great nation. 

Be prepared to stand up and die to protect America from the Nazis in

charge. I am NOT going to a PRISON CAMP, and I'm

NOT dying alone. I will take as many of their Mercenaries with me as I can.

Fortunately, they haven't figured out how to take propane gas cylinders away from us...


Al Dutton

NOT RETIRED after 17.5 years of service.  I was a 30 year Marine.  Their loss.  Then again, looking at what's been going on, perhaps I'm better off having left when they cut me loose.

I'm not dead, just a wee bit wounded. Let me lay here awhile, and I'll get up and fight again.