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November 9, 2009

Fort Drum: The Sound of No Hands Clapping


If the disease is the war, and a culture of trauma, anger and violence at Fort Hood, applying meditation and stress management techniques sends the message to the soldier that the distress lies within the individual mind — when, in fact, the problem is the political, cultural and programmatic insanity imposed on the person from the outside, by the system.

This program is not “mental strength for life,” it’s mental distraction for soldiering and killing — it’s for being one with the will, not with the soul.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images. caption: U.S. Army Sergeant Brian Cheeseman works in the Spiritual Fitness Center where people can go to get help dealing with the anguish from the shooting rampage that U.S. Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan went on at the Soldier Readiness Center on November 9, 2009 in Killeen, Texas. Hasan, an army psychiatrist, killed 13 people and wounded 30 in a shooting at the military base on November 5, 2009.

  • DennisQ

    The Army’s recruitment campaigns have emphasized the importance of the individual – “Be All You Can Be,” “An Army of One,” and “Army Strong.” Basically that’s false, because the Army, by its nature, is a group venture. The slogan pictured, “Mental Strength for Life,” continues the denial of the social and indeed political essence of the Army.
    Representing the Army as an individual experience isn’t a paradox, it’s a lie. When you join the Army you set your individual identity aside. The lowest rank in the Army is that of private, the very word indicating the low value the Army puts on personal privacy.
    When soldiers return to civilian life they are once again back where individualism is all that matters. They are encouraged to deny everything they’ve seen, felt and experienced. If it continues to bother them, it’s a sign of weakness and personal failure.
    We send young people overseas and put them in horrendously compromising moral situations; then we abandon them to their own devices on their return. I think this is waging war on the cheap – our society denies its own responsibility, and fobs the whole thing off on people too young to comprehend the dirty trick that’s being played on them.
    We tell these young people, Do this for your country. And then when they are damaged we say, You’re on your own. That’s the moral cowardice of contemporary America.

  • jtfromBC

    Top Military Recruitment Lies

  • jtfromBC

    From childen killing to soldiers killing
    Lt. Col. Dave Grossman
    I spent almost a quarter of a century as an Army infantry officer, a paratrooper, a Ranger, and a West Point Psychology Professor, learning and studying how we enable people to kill.
    ..Most soldiers have to be trained to kill. During World War II, we discovered that only 15-20 percent of the individual riflemen would fire at an exposed enemy soldier
    That’s the reality of the battlefield. Only a small percentage of soldiers are willing and able to kill.
    When the military became aware of this, they systematically went about the process of “fixing” this “problem.” And fix it they did. By Vietnam the firing rate rose to over 90 percent (Grossman, 1999a).
    The training methods the military uses are brutalization, classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and role modeling.
    In the military your role model is your drill sergeant. He personifies violence, aggression, and *discipline*
    and therefore justification that the military is a healthy functioning killing machine ? ? ?

  • Gasho

    I think we are in an era where the major power institutions have come to their zenith. They are so big and we take them for granted. They rule us and we don’t question it. But now we are seeing that all of them are flawed and fundamentally unsound.
    The military, with it’s zillion dollar budget and unlimited power is awash with PTSD and broken soldiers.
    The government, and our brilliant Constitutional system can be hijacked and run amok – starting wars of choice, blatantly breaking laws without accountability, corrupting the election system and the justice department, etc., etc.
    Wall Street and the Mega Corporations screwing up royally and begging for bailouts, then returning the next day to the billion dollar bonuses and lobbying against regulation.
    These institutions are at the core of our nation’s identity. Seeing cracks in all of them at once is scary. But it also opens the possibility of awareness, growth and a new chapter (how’s that for optimism in the face of evidence?) Will we finally realize that war sucks and it’s futile, anyway? Will we see that disregarding our Constitutional system rots our political body and takes us in a bad direction? Will we finally realize that having such an unbalanced distribution of wealth doesn’t lead to the optimal outcome for the nation.

  • Jeany

    The will is an emergency mechanism, distinct from discipline. It’s a short-term fix. I think much our soldiering population comes from less disciplined, less confident, less hopeful, less advantaged families, in which the expectation of negative outcomes cannot be willed away. They’re a reflection of the whole of this country, and it’s a pity we can’t respond appropriately to what they’re showing us.

  • donna

    I couldn’t be part of an organization that told me where I had to go, where I had to live, what to do all day and what time to get up in the morning, when to sleep, eat, etc. One that took me away from my family, my kids, my home, and everything that was important to me individually. My mental health is based on doing what is right for me, as an individual.I don’t mind doing what needs to be done for an organization, but it still has to be on my terms, for the most part.
    I keep wondering how many more people the military has to break before they realize their entire system is fucked up, and the kind of people it produces are not necessarily going to be an asset to society when they get out. The ones they break, they ought to be responsible for.

  • MonsieurGonzo

    Since 2007, more than 70,000 service members have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury — more than 20,000 of them this year. The notion of ‘a wheeled armored constabulary force’ as a prescription for a close combat situation is nonsense. ref: Afghan insurgents make wreckage of U.S. armored vehicles. Soldiers spoke out of what they said was a heightened concern about their vehicles’ vulnerability to ambushes, especially on mountain roads where there’s no room for the vehicles to turn around. The hideously expensive ($1+ million USD per vehicle), grossly overweight (7 to 24 tons, depending on the model), modern American armored truck: prone to rolling over because of its high center of gravity; unable to operate off-road, yet susceptible to electrocution of its occupants as a result of hitting power lines; incapable of either fording muddy streams, or traversing most bridges; impossible to air-lift by C-130 aircraft, requiring C-17’s (at $750,000. per lift) or specialized sealift and overland carriers; consuming obscene quantities of fuel, even while not moving ~ to sustain all its electronic and life support systems in the middle of a hostile desert…
    …unsure of where it’s going, yet unable to turn around; by design destined to be used over and over again until expended; unable, ever to come home again, whole. I can think of no better metaphor for “our strategy” during this War, than the illusion that a Mine Resistant, Ambush Protected vehicle suitable for the purpose of military occupation, exists.

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