I woke up this morning and wanted to hit something. In the 1960s and 70s, I would have smashed a hole in the nearest drywall.
This is what set me off: “In the past six weeks, you’ve had the Fort Hood attack, the D.C. Five and now the attempted attack on the plane in Detroit … and they all underscored the clear philosophical difference between the administration and us,” said Rep. Pete Hiekstra (R-Mich.), the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee.
The Republican spin machine is trying to score points blaming Obama for what almost happened last week on Northwest Flight 253.
Why did I get angry? Because I immediately flashed back to an incident in Vietnam.
We’d been out for hours on a night patrol slipping silently through the rice paddies that surrounded our hill, and we were returning as dawn arrived—tired but alert as we straggled along the dirt road that climbed into the hills where our Battalion CP was located.
A washed out blue sky was spreading from the east and it was still dark in the west. Then the ground trembled as if an earthquake were taking place. The sound of the explosion blew over us. We stopped and turned to see flames and a thick spire of black smoke rising into the sky from where the airstrip was located. One of the jobs the 1st Marine Division at Chu Lai had in 1966 was to protect that airstrip and the jet fighters that used it.
One Vietcong had slipped past an entire Marine division and made it to the airstrip where he managed to blow up a large portion of the stored jet fuel. That Vietcong didn’t just slip past one defensive line, but several.
I “hate” dirty politics—the same kind that started wars like Vietnam and Iraq so young men as I was then, in our patriotic zeal, would fly off to war believing we were serving a just cause when in the truth, we had been lied to.
It is almost impossible to stop an individual from doing something like what happened on that airplane a few days ago just as an entire Marine division couldn’t stop that Vietcong from infiltrating our lines.
There were 300 people on Northwest Flight 253. For sure, someone will suffer some PTSD symptoms and have trouble sleeping as they relieve the moment they thought they might die. Some may never fly again.
If you agree with Rep. Pete Hiekstra, then George W. Bush is responsible for what happened on September 11, 2001.
Instead of pointing fingers of blame looking for a “scapegoat”, Republicans and Democrats should be looking for ways to do a better job than the Homeland Security our current president inherited.
Discover more about PTSD?
Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.
His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.
And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.
To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”
I know the feeling. I been to Chu Lai. Not as a marine, but as an infantry platoon leader for the army. Not in the crazy 60s when all hell seemed to be breaking out, but in 1970 when things were a little calmer.
I also been to where you were when you wrote the above. I too want to smash a wall . . . or the politician’s face. Or the VA or the clerk at the store that didn’t give me enough respect when I went out of my way to be extra nice . . . and on and on it goes.
PTSD does not need news events to trigger our anger. That’s why I stopped reading newspapers and watching television news. For the most part, I don’t follow sports any more. Until my team gets close to the playoffs, and then I watch, and deal with the stress. Or should I say, my family deals with the aftermath of my volcanic eruptions the stress from viewing close games induces within me.
I meditate. It helps a lot. They taught me Mindfulness meditation at an inpatient clinic for PTSD run by a psychologist in a VA Hospital in Coatesville, PA.
Try it, I tell all my veteran friends. It just may help save a life.
Thanks. I have mediated before and it does help. At least now most of my outbursts are verbal and I don’t punch holes in walls anymore. I managed to get control of that long ago. But the anger simmers below the surface all the time just as you described.
When I read a newspaper, I skip most of the news items and read human interest features. I enjoy National Geographic and Smithsonian Magazine for that reason as they seldom get political and set me off.