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Monday, April 03, 2006

An American Hero

Deputy Secretary Gordon H. Mansfield was on Hardball tonight, talking about Iraq veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. He seemed like a competent and decent guy, who really knew his stuff. So I looked up his official biography. Worth checking out: two tours in Vietnam, Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts, wounded in the Tet Offensive, 1968, executive director of the Paralyzed Veterans of America for something like eight years.

Not every Bush appointee is an unqualified political hack, apparently.


At 9:26 AM, Blogger Paul said...

For a great read combing classics and PTSD, I suggest Jonathan Shay's Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character (both in book, and now video). Shay argues that the depiction of Achilles' grief over the fallen Patroclus, his going berzerk, not eating, sleeping, showing no mercy to the enemy, abusing a corpse... are all consistent with PTSD. Shay also has dramatic testimony from Vietnam vets for their nostoi (home-comings). Once one understands PTSD, then it's not surprising to see even church choir boys and girls getting caught up in scandals such as Abu Gharib. While the army at least recognizes the trauma now, success in treatment is still limited -- it is not without reason that the Marines' commercial says, "You will be forever changed." The cost of caring for these scarred veterans will be astronomical, but not as astronomical as the cost to their own lives. Really a pity on a such a fool's errand.


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