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Kovic writes: "Each year as the anniversary of my wounding in the war approached I would become extremely restless, experiencing terrible bouts of insomnia, depression, anxiety attacks and horrifying nightmares. I dreaded that day and what it represented, always fearing that the terrible trauma of my wounding might repeat itself all over again. It was a difficult day for me for decades and it remained that way until the anxieties and nightmares finally began to subside."

Vietnam Veteran and peace activist, Ron Kovic. (photo: BBC)
Vietnam Veteran and peace activist, Ron Kovic. (photo: BBC)

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+8 # indian weaver 2013-03-19 13:32
Even as I write this acknowledgement of what I understand to be dubya's and obama's war crimes, I am holding back tears. Tears of rage and disgust at what this nation has become with diabolical liars and cowards as politicians. This is not my country - or rather - this is The Peoples' country, but the government is not our government. The amerikan government has no relationship anymore to We the People. We don't want it and we don't need it. The planet wants our government to die asap so the planet, My Great Mother Earth, and The People can survive. With the Amerikan government, we're all doomed - all.
0 # Madmedic 2013-03-20 19:05
Indian Weaver,

My gosh. I just posted a very similar message over on the RSN article about Cheney's Haliburton profits. Much of the rest of the world sees our government as a mad dog that they would prefer be quietly "put down" for the good of the neighbohood (the rest of the world). Sad, but true. They may like individual Americans, but they despise our government.
-17 # MidwestTom 2013-03-19 13:51
In my opinion wounded veterans deserve our support no matter what happens. I would put them in front of food stamps and all welfare. The wounded veteran took each of our places. The unmarried walking baby factories and the products of their womb do not.
+16 # MidwestDick 2013-03-19 16:16
What a loathsome desecration of Ron's piece to bring up this mean-spirited scapegoating of the poor.
All the money spent on them together does not make up a tithe of our wasted efforts at "defense".
+8 # fredboy 2013-03-19 14:09
Unfortunately, both coalition wounded and the hundreds of thousands of civilian wounded (who may be getting little or no treatment) are deemed the "little people" and simply collateral damage. They are not among the privileged, the moneyed, or the designers of this carnage, so they will never be given significant standing.

But that's how it's always been. I recall my brother's return from Vietnam after constant jungle firefights (he lost count at 87), eternal malaria trimming him from 165 to 120 pounds, and the onset of horrible, hideous nightmares that have since then resulted in screaming fits in the wee hours. The VA at the time discarded PTSD as nonexistent. Ditto for the hideous internal growths resulting from his constant drenching in Agent Orange.

Remember this: The rich plan and summon wars and their pretenders, but the rich don't fight. Our nation is just a cash cow to them, nothing more.
+7 # fettenberg 2013-03-19 14:37
The US forces wreaked dreadful havoc upon the people of Japan, Vietnam, and Iraq. We dropped atomic weapons on non-combatant populations & more recently, had our soldiers use spent Uranium in the shell casings they discharged in many of Iraq's battle sites. This does numb the mind and the spirit to consider. It reminds me of the law of karma, which perhaps apples to Ron Kovic and other mashed-up veterans. Our genius at sowing the seeds of death and destruction abroad comes home to sprout in our own ravaged soldiers, who can't seem to be treated with any degree of charity or respect. Gives me the cold shivers when I think about this.
+3 # MidwestDick 2013-03-19 14:43
I never fail to be moved by this extraordinary work.
More Ron:
+5 # reiverpacific 2013-03-19 15:25
Wonder how this guy feels about Dick the ghoul Cheney's seven deferments from service in Vietnam as he "Had other priorities"?
We live in a death culture approaching that of Franco's Spain or Stroessner's Paraguay (formerly supported by the US).
If you want -and have the stomach- to hear more tales of this kind, go to a "Veterans for Peace" meeting. They are there for their returning, surviving walking wounded, crippled and mentally unbalanced comrades as support of a unique kind having been through the same corporate/gover nment greed-driven Hell.
They are all over the country and many welcome non-veterans to bear witness.
+2 # intheEPZ 2013-03-19 15:47
So, what can we do? Pressure our Congress Critters to repeal their Iraq War resolution which gave the blank check for interminable war on "terror" (whose terror?) and as far as I know, although it was based on lies, has never been repudiated. And revise the Bush/Cheney National Defense/Securit y Posture document (not the correct name)--written by Exxon and the PNAC boys, isn't that still the guiding policy? The military automatons just follow policy. Follow orders. We need to change their orders. We need a Department of Peace, and a President who will set a new direction, make reparations to those who have been damaged by the phony wars of the Bushies, and cut the goddamn Pentagon budget by 3/4s. And an education directive that teaches peace and conflict resolution in every public school, makes sure high school students read columns like Kovic's and the earlier one by Tomas Young, and get the truth about how the Repugs tried to drown our country in the bathtub of Oilwars while allowing the Banksters to run off with the National Treasury. We need a Hugo Chavez. Viva Hugo.
+4 # Nominae 2013-03-19 19:23
Tell it like it IS, Kovic, tell it like it IS. Tell the youngsters.

Young men NEVER have the faintest idea of what they are getting into when they go off to war. To combat. There is no way for the human mind TO grasp this horrendous reality until one is in the "thick of it".

Young men, like Kovic, a second tour Marine in Vietnam are forced into a whole NEW attitude about war and combat when finally they have had a "belly full".

And now, to add additional sadness to unspeakable horror, our young women want to be "up to their armpits" in *real* combat units also.

Let me just predict for ALL human beings ..... once you have seen combat, as Kovic indicates, ALL this "God, Mom, and Apple Pie", B.S., all this "Patriotism" B.S., all this "Fighting for Freedom" B.S. and the even more surrealistic "We have to destroy the Village in order to SAVE the Villlage" bullsh*t goes right out the window.

Good luck, Ladies...... and All The Best to you !
+2 # Nick Reynolds 2013-03-20 10:57
At least they're forgotten (which is bad; don't misunderstand). To be forgotten, you have to be known at some point. The Iraqis etc, never were known or considered in the first place. Like 2008 candidate Obama once said and maybe believed, "America has a deficit of empathy." That's why we're living in hell.
0 # DerProfessor 2013-03-22 08:21
Here's a wounded Marine's perspective on the John Wayne machismo ethos (from a William Manchester article in the New York Times Magazine, June 14, 1987):

“After my evacuation from Okinawa (in 1945), I had the enormous pleasure of seeing Wayne humiliated in person at Aiea Heights Naval Hospital in Hawaii. Only the most gravely wounded, the litter cases, were sent there. The hospital was packed, the halls lined with beds. Between Iwo Jima and Okinawa, the Marine Corps was being bled white.
“Each evening, Navy corpsmen would carry litters down to the hospital theater so the men could watch a movie. One night they had a surprise for us. Before the film the curtains parted and out stepped John Wayne, wearing a cowboy outfit – 10-gallon hat, bandanna, checkered shirt, two pistols, chaps, boots and spurs. He grinned his aw-shucks grin, passed a hand over his face and said, ‘Hi ya, guys!’ He was greeted by a stony silence. Then somebody booed. Suddenly everyone was booing.
“This man was a symbol of the fake machismo we had come to hate, and we weren’t going to listen to him. He tried and tried to make himself heard, but we drowned him out, and eventually he quit and left. If you liked ‘Sands of Iwo Jima,’ I suggest you be careful. Don’t tell it to the Marines.”

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