Veterans Affairs PTSD, Suicide Cover-up ‘Morally Indefensible’

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veteran suicide cover-up

Have you ever wondered what the Department of Veterans Affairs may have in common with the tobacco industry?

Me either until I read an op-ed in the Washington Times yesterday that called VA’s cover-up of PTSD and suicide data a practice that is “morally indefensible.”

And the answer to the question? A cover-up of known hazards.

Where the tobacco industry was guilty of a longtime denial of the nexus between the smoking and disease, VA is likewise guilty of not informing veterans and the public of the risk of service and longtime disability from post-traumatic stress disorder.

For soldiers and veterans, the government is fighting hard to conceal the risk of suicide or related self-destructive behavior linked to combat in grisly conflicts in multiple countries.

Stripping out the rhetoric, statistics speak a story not disclosed to any recruit before signing up:

  • According to estimates of the National Alliance to End Veteran Suicide and the Department of Veterans Affairs, 7,400-8,000 veterans are committing suicide annually.
  • Their risk is said by the VA to be 21 percent higher than among the civilian population.
  • VA estimates put the annual threat of PTSD among veterans at between 10 percent and 20 percent according to the war.

After you separate from the military, you are statistically more likely to commit suicide than other Americans. How is that for a reality check?

What recruiters also leave out are stories like that of Sam Siatta while serving in the Marines in Afghanistan. As cited in the Washington Times article:

Soon after he was deployed, Mr. Siatta was shaken by the sight of a child in a wheelbarrow with a bullet that had penetrated above his left eyebrow and severed the back of his head. The young Marine told the NYT Magazine reporter, “During all of our work-up, shooting targets, throwing grenades, doing all that, you never once saw kids mangled.”

Siatta participated in many combat-related attacks in the following weeks, and he wrote about the accounts in his diary:

“I go to sleep every night knowing I have the blood of so many on my hands and no amount of soap could ever wash these stains away.”

After 100-days in Afghanistan, Siatta wrote numerous similar entries:

“Sitting on post and not in firefights is really starting to f*** with me. Its making me rethink all the [decisions] I’ve made here and making me question if they were the right ones to begin with. The men I’ve killed well 15-year-old boys with Guns is more like it but did I deserve to kill them did they deserve to die.

“I mean I’m 20 years old I know damn well the risks of [joining] the Marine Corps in time of war. But did these young boys, Boys that I’ve killed know what the f*** there were [doing] or even fighting for, these are questions I ask myself.”

READ: Sam Siatta Interview In New York Times

Siatta’s return to civilian life resulted in the same pattern of self-destructive habits all too familiar to veterans. He began drinking heavily and even got caught attempting a home invasion.

Siatta is the soldier’s “Everyman” for this century’s wars and all too similar to the veterans of the Vietnam War who experienced a host of tribulations as veterans.

No one can is able to avoid traumas and nightmares following involvement in any wars that turn children into orphans.

As a result, according to author Bruce Fein, recruiters who lure men and women into the military should be required to use recruiting posters with hazards just like cigarette packs:

Every recruiting poster or presentation featuring Uncle Sam’s “I Want You For U.S. Army” or otherwise should thus be required to include a prominent warning: “Participation in wars not in self-defense will implicate you in the killings of women, children, and youths and heighten your risk of suicide or self-destructive behaviors.”

I’ve been saying this for years. Without reasonable disclosure of known hazards, how can any young 18-year-old enlistee?

And if there were such a requirement, what would all the disclosures include?

Source: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/jan/3/americas-veterans-affairs-cover-morally-indefensib/

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Ex va
Ex va
Mr. Krause, your story rings true and it sickens and breaks Veterans and their families hearts. Some of the ones coming out are so traumatized from war they don’t sleep, can’t eat, terrified out of their minds. They are not mentally stable, but treated on an outpatient basis in the va system. Wait times is negligence for someone in crisis. The do not have a chance of surviving their injuries and mental traumas unless properly treated. A warning label could be a good idea, i do not know if it would matter to some of the ones who feel so… Read more »
Linda Harrelson
Linda Harrelson
Ben…Thanks so much for the opportunities you have made available through common sense education you share. Something I’ve not understood,I was medical,also voluntarily manned a suicide hotline,during Vietnam.Today,if I had the need to contact someone for help,the disconnect in the structure to procure help is asinine. I.e. call in for help to tell me to hang up and call another number,then some do say contact an extension ,by the time someone with a loaded weapon has to get jerked around,most times either a ringing signal with zero response or a recording telling you due to heavy calling ,please hang up… Read more »
Brett Nutter
Brett Nutter

My Army hospital has no answering machine for the Behavioral Health line, so if no one answers, the line just cuts off. No message telling you who to contact in an emergency. During a bad episode, my wife called the Emergency Room, and the soldier on the other end of the line had no idea what to do. They are supposed to have an on-call psychologist, but he had no idea that was the next step in the process. I complained about how irresponsible it is, and three months later, nothing about the situation has changed.`

Disgruntled Veteran
Disgruntled Veteran
Great, Hard-Hitting article, Ben. Thank you for continuing to fight for us! @Ex VA – – – I agree with your post completely. I should have known better than to read this article immediately prior to bedtime. I have been dealing with my demons since 1994, and received precious – – – nay, DAMN LITTLE help from those at the VA here in Honolulu who are charged with “Caring for him who has born the battle”. I think that beginning with the very term “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” they have stacked the deck against those combat veterans who come home… Read more »
91Veteran
91Veteran

Yours and Ex VA commented on self-medicating, overeating or other reactive behaviors to stress.

Unfortunately, any of those issues are usually latched onto by the VA for treatment rather than the cause of it.

Its easier to blame the veteran for the behavior rather than what causes it.

james

DITO !

namnibor
namnibor

Easy one: They both blow a lot of smoke up the public’s asses.

Notice, no news YET on mainstream media or otherwise about recent Veteran Suicides? Smokescreens paid for and pumped out the VA Public Affairs asses at the tunes of million$ paid by VA Public Affairs. Imagine if the VA spent that “Public Affairs” $$$$ on Veteran Suicide Prevention?

VA Public Affairs should be renamed as VA Pubic Affairs. Lots of Dicks and Asses working there. Rant Out. In a slight *mood*.

namnibor
namnibor

“[Have you ever wondered what the Department of Veterans Affairs may have in common with the tobacco industry?]”
Easy one: They both blow a lot of smoke up the public’s asses.

Notice, no news YET on mainstream media or otherwise about recent Veteran Suicides? Smokescreens paid for and pumped out the VA Public Affairs asses at the tunes of million$ paid by VA Public Affairs. Imagine if the VA spent that “Public Affairs” $$$$ on Veteran Suicide Prevention?

VA Public Affairs should be renamed as VA Pubic Affairs. Lots of Dicks and Asses

Paula Minger
Paula Minger

They also never spread of the age. Vietnam vets have highest risk of suicide

Bill
Bill
A big problem is that some Dr’s in the VA deny a proper diagnosis of PTSD. Even though I had a civilian shrink give a proper diagnosis of PTSD I had VA shrink diagnos me as bi polor denying me of proper treatment. I have learned this is not uncommon. Over the years I have suffered greatly my poor family was a 24/7 suicide watch, put of with my temper, isolation etc etc. Not only do those in the va under report they intentionally change a diagnosis from PTSD to some other diagnosis so the government is not liable. This… Read more »
namnibor
namnibor
The new thing even in the private medical Psych field is to change a diagnosis of PTSD to “Adjustment Disorder”. I had to taunt one of my own Dr.’s that I only had for 6 months because he had trained at the VA and was awaiting to be hired by the the VA when I saw him in the ever rotating out Psych Dr.’s at the major university medical center I utilize, and if I had not checked my medical record I would not have any idea he had done that so when I called him on it he even… Read more »
Disgruntled Veteran
Disgruntled Veteran
What SucVA McDipshit did while in Hawaii to “end Veteran Homelessness” was to conduct a highly personal survey of some very valuable, large, open-space, green real-estate carrying a 9 Iron for protection. Most Veterans (including many of the local VSO’s) were unaware that he was here until after he left. Our homeless population continues to grow each year. No one really knows just what the percentage of homeless veterans are, but veterans make up a significant portion of the population here. As to the suicide epidemic among veterans, I am not sure SucVA McDipshit is truly aware of how serious… Read more »
91Veteran
91Veteran

This seemed to be happening quite a bit around 2005-2007 timeframe.

Those in the military being booted out with a “failure to adjust”, or “personality disorder” diagnosis by some commander.

Which makes you wonder…where did the commander get his/her PhD in psychology or any other medical specialty to make such a conclusion, and, how can a soldier make it through Basic, AIT and a combat tour and suddenly someone decided they are failing to adjust?

james gallegos
You make a very good point, but this has been going on for a very long time. Besides the VA hiding veterans military records. If for not people like Ben and other Lawyers that give two cents about veterans rights, we have no one to help. You cant ask the VA for help, their the ones doing veterans wrong and if you do tell them you want help, you can be labeled as a possible threat to the VA and therefore grounds to be reported as being disruptive. Hell, the VA can go after anyone who makes a comment about… Read more »
Lem
Lem
Not news to me. Been on it since 1988. Global brain damage and damage to the left frontal/temporal lobe and/or the right mid parietal lobe causes anosognosia. Even subtle anosognosia that is demonstrated by a few suck downs of ETOH can bring on the idea that a demon is sabotaging everything you try to do–absolutely certain your doing things perfectly only to discover it didn’t turn out right. Eventually the solution seems to be to get rid of the body housing the demon. The military used the 10-1 ratio of support personnel to front line combat personnel to cover up… Read more »
Crazy elf
Crazy elf

I remember those “122 rockets, (RPG’s)” used by the enemy. Never knew where they would land!

namnibor
namnibor
@Lem- Have to disagree with your last statement. Brain Damage is NOT the only obstacle to PTSD recovery by a long shot. I took several Abnormal Psych college level courses in my major and it was ultimately an attempt to understand my own journey with severe anxiety and PTSD. Even without an IED or any explosion around, witnessing something, going through something over and over, stains the brain, so to speak. An equal to brain damage recovery is trying to cope with recurring images in brain like the terrible pop-up windows of early internet days, but replace those with incessant… Read more »
Lem
Lem
Have you ever been tested for brain damage? So then is it congenital when not otherwise organic? Why do some with exact same experience get over it and others do not? Yes, we were first (since WWI) diagnosed with adjustment disorder. And they still try to find an in-compensable diagnosis. I don’t care if someone’s TBI or brain disease or congenital deficit occurred before entry. If they got through boot camp and made it to a combat zone it is compensable as service aggravation. My uncles, fought in Africa, Sicily and Europe the others in the Pacific. All initially suffered… Read more »
namnibor
namnibor
Yes, for something entirely different, neurological scans that along with other private healthcare confirmation tests to show poly peripheral neuropathy, not related one bit to my severe anxiety and PTSD. For instance, repetitive psyops interrogations over course of many years, pushing a Vet to attempt to commit suicide while in-service, and while hospitalized, instead of one iota of Psych Care, was interrogated repeatedly there as well….THAT, is one in the same as an IED or mortar shell going off repetitively because it was intended to do same….if one is strong, as this Vet was, resisted and endured all that without… Read more »
Lem
Lem
I have the brain of a 20 year old on U S MRIs. The VA neurobehavioral testing shows otherwise. A right occipital lobe lesion and a possible left temporal lobe and frontal lobe lesion. Japanese MRIs (much better software resolution than any I’ve seen in the U S.) confirms 4 lesions in my brain from trauma and possibly secondary strokes. My wife’s MRI in Japan shows 20+ multi-infarcts. No such showing in the U S MRIs. Probably occurred in 2011 quadruple bypass or flacking of hardening of arteries. Are you willing to stake your care on what you’ve been tested… Read more »
James Gallegos

My mri also shows the same thing almost word for word. Even a VA neurologists state I have a Traumatic brain injury.

But the regional office says I have no proof.?

Hell. I can’t even get them to admit I was shot in the head. Even when their own rating doctor placed into the official file. Confirming it.

Lem
Lem

I wonder if it is because the companies that make MRI equipment and software also make smart bombs. And smart bombs being more profitable, take out MRI radiographic upgrade depiction because veterans would be able to prove the TBI damage visually instead of an opinion from data taken in neurobehavioral testing thus putting veterans compensation in competition for budget dollars that might otherwise go to more profitable (for the company) smart bombs.

James Gallegos
Thank you So much for you comment. I think you nailed it. So many people think they know everything about how the mind work’s. We are all different and as you put it cookie cutter treatment does not work for everyone. If they are still doing lobotomies or electric shock. That has to be stopped and stopped now. They use to do that at the Fort Lyon VAMC and I got to see what that Did to some veterans that were inpatients. I was raised right outside the VA and could see how the veterans acted. Some very strange and… Read more »
Lem
Lem
Crazy elf
Crazy elf
We all know the “Mental Health Facilities” at VHA’s are under par, incompetent and down right deceiving in their evaluations in evaluating veterans on PTSD. These ‘clowns’ will write anything in a vets “progress report” to keep him or her from receiving the rightful compensation they deserve! I believe the VHA’s nationwide should be shut down. Allow veterans outside care. That’s all I have to say about this issue. Here’s some (4) articles out from “military.com” yesterday and today. 1) “WWP Faces Tough Choices as it Rebuilds Following Controversy” 1 Jan. 2017 Stars and Stripes | by Dianna Cahn They… Read more »
namnibor
namnibor
Right. 1000 of those Vets still have to pay back enlistment bonuses, so the VA Math would be at 22 Veteran Suicides A Day X 45 Days = roughly 1000 Veteran Suicides. (potential). I viewed a news piece on some of those Veterans that already have had their homes foreclosed, breaking-up families in financial stress…and none of this would even have happened if honesty and clear-worded enlistment recruiters/ reenlistment enticers, if the POTUS, then-Bush to continue with Obama, did not want to activate the Draft…instead, those enlistment/reenlistment bonuses were done to keep sending the same non-human test subjects to a… Read more »
Cantigny
Cantigny
@crazy elf: >>WWP Faces Tough Choices as it Rebuilds Following Controversy i quit donating to them and VSOs some time ago. donate now when i can to local veteran causes like homelessness. for the most part i know where my $$$ going now. >>Hundreds of California Guardsmen Must Still Repay Back Bonuses” so utterly crazy. i thought awhile back some congressman was pushing something through to stop this madness, guess not? then again, most of these congress people are too busy mouthing off about helping other nations and ignoring their home-grown American citizens. >>I believe he’s having trouble with finding… Read more »
Fred Rendon Jr
Ben I returned from Vietnam in may of 1967, by April of 68 I was asking to see a pyhyschatrist about the way I felt. depressed, guilty( did not know why) problems sleeping, paranoid, and feeling as though I was going to loose control of my mind. After a short conversation he said my problems did not stem from Vietnam but from my parents separation while I was in Vietnam. In 1995 I was service connected for PTSD rating 10%. 1981 I was at the Dallas VA hospital I asked for health care for my hearing, I was loosing my… Read more »
Jo3n

Ben, this story really brought out a lot of emotional thinking. Seems like every day, your articles bring my awareness up. I’ve been through what many on this site have, with the VA. Up till ten years ago, we’ll just say I roamed…since Vietnam. I have been to many VA’s. Each time, new VA, new diagnosis. I lost everything at least a few times. Tried the Veterans suicide hotline, never got through. A week later, I received a call.. The VA.. they only asked me if I was the one who contacted them. Tough theme Ben.

Bill
Bill

Very tough theme brings out alot of tough memories, you and I seemed to of travled the same path through life. I drank alit wirk even more to bury the guilt the shame the erratic behavoir at every turn I was turned way.

I wish you peace and health.

james gallegos
Yes, Ben has done a very good job and I for one are proud of him. I know some people come on here and even with evidence, they will not believe it. I don’t understand why they think all the veterans that tell their story is a lie. we all can not be wrong and if those people would do a little research they would find story after story about how the VA has failed our Veterans. Ig the would look at you tube and actually watch the Committee on Veterans Affairs they too can see how the VA, will… Read more »
james gallegos
The VA’s job seems to be try in every way possible to make the Veterans past, childhood the culprit of veterans problems. Yes they question you hard on how your child hood was and anyone that tells them they had a rough childhood, gives the VA an out not to approve your disability. Unseen Trauma how do you prove it, you tell the VA what you seen. Like a Kid being shot in the head, this bothers my son, who seen it happen. Some are deployed to a Conflict where they send in troops and the Conflict lasts a few… Read more »
Ovez Japanwalla
Ovez Japanwalla

No cookie- cutter diagnosis leading to Dx. of Personality Disorder.
Seems Differential Diagnosis is unheard of in VA mental- health provider community.

Some in Congress, never- served, started the rumor all service members enlist whilst having a Personality Disorder.
VA Personality Disorder, non SC

Compensable because genetic.
Veterans need to educate Congress.

Dennis
Dennis
The VA is staffed and supervised by beaurocrats, not healers. The beaurocrats job is to create paperwork that demonstrates the need for more funding, as well paperwork that demonstrates the VA is doing a better job than any other organization. CYA stands for “cover your ass” and VA employees use paperwork to CYA. The VA operates without a soul. The VA generates numbers. Numbers that show they need funding, and numbers that show a high degree of proficiency. They get numbers in return called paychecks and bonuses. VA also generates suicide numbers. Their indifference to human life and suffering is… Read more »
namnibor
namnibor

Amen to that, Dennis.

I would love for Benjamin to FOIA the VA for very specific numbers on the VA’s Disruptive Behavior Committee. I am betting those numbers are these days kept locally and not VA wide somewhere but I could easily be wrong. Would be interesting to see what the 2013–present tally is on this under McDonald’s Glass Menagerie called the VA.

Ex va
Ex va

@namnibor, they are kept locally. The dbc’s did not meet regularly at the va medical center i worked because they could not get all the members to attend. If you get a copy of the medical center memorandum from the va medical center you receive care it would tell you when meetings take place and who are the members. If one could get committee meeting minutes it may show patterns of unethical conduct.

Disgruntled Veteran
Disgruntled Veteran

@ Dennis – – – Sir, Request permission to incorprate your entire commentary in a posting to my Facebook page, crediting/referencing you as the author of course.

I would like all of my friends/family to see that. It is a brilliant and quick education for all on VA Modus Operandi.

Crazy elf
Crazy elf
“BREAKING: Obama Sends Special Forces To Russia’s Border” posted; Jan. 4, 2017 “The Alex Jones Show” ‘Margaret Hill reporting’ This has broke through major news outlets today. Talk about causing chaos within the United States. There’s absolutely NO verification Russia hacked anyone. ‘Assange’, of Wikileaks, verified this last night! That being said, and for sake of argument. Let’s look at what transpired. If the DNC and/or our voting precincts were hacked, why isn’t anyone talking about what they did which was illegal? Why isn’t anyone talking about how Wasserman Shultzs, Podesta and others helped defeat Sanders, by using lies and… Read more »
asknod
Combat, like camaraderie, when all your BFFs are joining up, is a pretty intoxicating cocktail. I decided to skip my appointment with Hartwick College and signed up because I figured Vietnam would be over before I graduated. After a year in-country, I signed up for another. If Capt. Charles was going to kill my friends, I was going to fly back over tomorrow and kill him right back. I would have signed up for a third year but they decided I was warped. Combat changes how your mind works. Suddenly, vengeance is no longer just the within the Lord’s provenance.… Read more »
91Veteran
91Veteran

A very timely article Ben.

I bet 15 different soldiers could see that kid in a wheel barrow and there would be 15 different reactions.

I also think some could see that kid 15 different times and not react, but seeing something slightly different cause a stress reaction.

Crazy elf
Crazy elf

“BREAKING NEWS Julian Assange EXPOSING Hillary Clinton!!!!!!!”

Jan. 4, 2017. (10:40 minutes long)
From: “Fox News EXCLUSIVE”
“The Assange Interview with Sean Hannity!”

james gallegos
Clear and unmistakable Error, In 2015 847,882 veterans awaiting to be Enrolled in the BENEFITS program, 238,657 veterans with pending applications DIED BEFORE the agency could GRANT them healthcare Benefits. Following a backlash in July 2015 over the DISCOVERY of the backlogs size. A whistleblower came forward and charged that the VA had “helped” create the problem” by giving veterans FALSE instructions on how to put together their applications. The whistleblower said VA Employees told Veterans “NOT TO INCLUDE THEIR DISCHARGE PAPERS” with their applications. Before sidelining “ALL” application’s that were “MISSING” discharge papers in an effort to “AVOID” blame… Read more »
Paula Minger
Paula Minger
I haven’t read the comments yet. But when I read the article this morning the first thought was that I remember seeing military propaganda films while we were waiting for the movie to start. My mom would pat my leg and whisper those are heros like your Daddy. Second memory is of being older and reading Johnny Got His Gun…I was never they same about war. I’m not sure if advising recruits is correct or not. What I know to be true is after they leave Service it should be a top priority for our solider to receive medical and… Read more »
James Gallegos
I believe all active military should be given notice of what to do if injured and or the VA put out a pamplet on how the VA determines how they do claims. What they should do and evidence needed to prove their case and be told to obtain a copy of all military record’s before leaving. Especially their medical record’s even those by a medic in the field. Advised that it’s ok to seek help at anytime while on active duty. This must be done by the officers in charge. The more information given the more educated they will be.… Read more »
Lem
Lem

That would be simply following laws and regulations that are on the books. Look nice intended for voter consumption while back door additional laws and regulations make them moot. What the right hand giveth the left hand taketh away. That is Congressional action under Section 4(d) of the 14TH Amendment.

Bill
Bill

This link is along the sames as this article except about AO

“https://www.change.org/p/u-s-house-of-representatives-give-the-vietnam-blue-water-navy-veterans-their-presumptive-rights/u/18953267?tk=yiqPsotJSCwE3xasssLZIXKtreQOodwUaCj6IyiKzSY&utm_source=petition_update&utm_medium=email”

Crazy elf
Crazy elf
In the coming months, McCain’s name will be popping up over many issues Congress will be involved in. In keeping with that, here’s something I saw in a magazine I received today. It’s called, “MILITARY ISSUE”! It’s where one can purchase military items. Right down to DVDs. On page 63 are a number of DVDs. One caught my eye. Titled, “3- Movie Bold & Brave Collection”. Three movies on one DVD. One is titled, “Faith of My Fathers”! It’s about John McCain, his “…service and capture are explored in the 2005 made-for-TV film”! I decided to explore more since there’s… Read more »
MSTsurvivor
MSTsurvivor

Ben, you talk about disclosures for potential military recruits. For potential female recruits, that should include the possibility of being raped by a fellow male service member in a combat zone. Or having to pair up just to go to the bathroom in order to be safe from your male counterparts. Or having to sleep with a knife while stationed in Iraq cause you cannot trust that your male counterparts will stay out of your tent and not assault you like the other verified sexual assaults in the battalion.

Jo3n

Things happen in service, and many service personnel will share experience and fears with recruits. I believe there are many Veterans, families of Veterans, and hopefully the American Citizens, whether or not, they have been in traumatic experiences, can share what they hear. The more the citizens hear, see, and with Facebook and Twitter, I pray the kids get the message. There is an after.

Jo3n

I would like to add, that the VA propaganda machine stops education and kills Veterans, while Senate and House play dead. This McCain thing has been rumored for a lot of years. Hard to believe a man could do that.

ANutterVet
ANutterVet
Benjamin Krause, JD , @Disgruntled Veteran , @Namnibor , @Dennis , @Crazy elf , @James Gallegos , and To All Who Would Like To Respond – So now that we know after, with all due respect to my Brothers, Sisters, family members, and friends of Veterans, what is the proactive strategy to bring the heat of correction to the VA? What is the next step for us to put pressure on the VA to make changes? I can’t be the only one who may be getting a little irritated, because no one with VA experience is suggesting the next step… Read more »
namnibor
namnibor
As Veterans knowing how the VA has a past record to present of acting-out maliciously and passive-aggressively when even questioned, let alone their fraud brought to light; we Veterans must take the high road and be aware of how we approach or even aggravate the VA because to be completely frank, a great majority of Vets not only loathe the VA but deep down indeed ‘fear’ the VA; whether that’s unrealistic, PTSD inherent, it’s still there and the VA has used tactics in reducing benefits or taking them completely away in such passive-aggressive tactics, Disruptive Behavior Committees, etc. What I… Read more »
Lem
Lem

I also smell change. I just hope it isn’t wishful thinking.

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