Did Sarah Palin really blame President Obama for her son’s PTSD?

I’m thinking that Sarah Palin, like Trump, has a serious case of runaway motor mouth without brakes, because she acts like the dumb blond stereotype, and she isn’t even a blond.

What am I talking about?

Well, “Sarah Palin’s freestyle performance earlier this week during her endorsement of Donald Trump for president drew plenty of attention. But what is drawing the ire of some vets are her comments appearing to blame President Barack Obama for her son’s PTSD, which led to his arrest for domestic violence on Jan. 18.” – Foreign Policy’s morning situation report.

Uh, Track Palin was an Army reservist who performed a tour of duty in Iraq in 2008, and Barack Obama wasn’t sworn in as president for his first term until January 20, 2009.

Besides being a loud mouth and a billionaire, who is the man Sarah endorsed for president? Donald Trump currently holds the title as the biggest liar ever according to fact check sites.

  1. FactCheck.org has crowned Trump the King of Whoppers.

FactCheck.org  said, “It’s been a banner year for political whoppers — and for one teller of tall tales in particular: Donald Trump.

“In the 12 years of FactCheck.org’s existence, we’ve never seen his match.

“He stands out not only for the sheer number of his factually false claims, but also for his brazen refusals to admit error when proven wrong.”

  1. Politifact.com awarded Trumps’ statement the “2015 Lie of the Year” for only being totally correct in his claims and statements 1% of the time.

I think it is time to link Sarah Palin to the definition of a dumb blonde: “a blond-haired woman perceived in a stereotypical way as being attractive but unintelligent,” and The Urban Dictionary says, a dumb blond is “A person who can’t really do anything right.”

To discover who is really responsible for Track Palin’s PTSD, Sarah Palin would have to answer who started the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — hint, it wasn’t President Obama?

Sarah Palin would also have to answer what incident took place in New York City that caused the deaths of several thousand noncombatants that led to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — hint, it wasn’t something President Obama did, because the war in Afghanistan started on October 7, 2001 and the Iraq War started on March 20, 2003. I wonder if Sara Palin knows who the president was on those two dates.

By the way, while serving in the U.S. Marines, I returned home from Vietnam in 1966 with a serious case of PTSD, and I have never battered anyone like Sarah Palin’s son, Track Palin, allegedly did to his girlfriend while waving around an AR-15. – nydailynews.com

In addition, according to an Op-Ed piece on Stripes.com, “The link between combat and civilian violence isn’t only anecdotal. Research has found a link between the after-effects of combat service and increased violence. At the Department of Veterans Affairs website, experts explore the available data. A study comparing post-9/11 veterans with the general public found that rates of violence among members of the general public that experienced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were at about 7.5 percent. Among veterans, the rates ranged from 8.6 to 19.5 percent. … Another study from the mid-1980s looked at violence rates among veterans of the Vietnam War. Among those veterans, one-third of those who suffered from PTSD exhibited “intimate partner violence” — aka domestic violence — versus 13.5 percent among those who didn’t have PTSD.” 

Stripes.com says, “It’s important to note that Track Palin likely had several other of those factors. He was divorced in 2012. He is still in his 20s. He served on active duty. The data suggest that, even without PTSD, his experiences and circumstances might lead him to antisocial or violent behavior. (Track was also involved in a notorious 2014 brawl involving several members of the family.)”

I think it is time to stop using the term dumb blond as a stereotype for an attractive but unintelligent woman who can’t do anything right, and all dumb blond jokes must be revised, and here are the first two revisions.

  1. What does a Sarah Palin do when her computer freezes?
  2. She sticks it in the microwave!
  3. Why are there six bullet holes in Sarah Palins mirror?
  4. Because she tried to kill herself.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran, journalist and award winning author.

His second novel is the award winning love story and suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he didn’t do 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.

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Comparing the results of 2 films may reveal a sad fact about the values of the average U.S. citizen

There are some films and documentaries that should be required viewing the same as taxes and death. The Hornet’s Nest is one of those films that should be viewed not once, but at least three times or more, but, sad to say, average American values are on display when we compare two films that came out on the same weekend.

The Hornet’s Nest, a film my wife and I recently watched at home on a DVD, is a documentary shot by two journalists, a father and son, Carlos and Mike Boettcher, who were embedded with front-line U.S. combat troops in one of the most dangerous combat zones in Afghanistan.

The Hornet’s Nest is not based on a true story—it is a true story.

“The Hornet’s Nest is a groundbreaking and immersive feature film (documentary), using unprecedented real footage to tell the story of an elite group of U.S. troops sent on a dangerous mission deep inside one of Afghanistan’s most hostile valleys. The film culminates with what was planned as a single day strike turning into nine intense days of harrowing combat against an invisible, hostile enemy in the country’s complex terrain where no foreign troops have ever dared to go before. … What resulted is an intensely raw feature film experience that will give audiences a deeply emotional and authentic view of the heroism at the center of this gripping story.”

Yet, this film was never released to theaters outside of the United States and earned a total lifetime gross of $312.7 thousand.  The same weekend that The Hornet’s Nest was released on May 9, 2014, Neighbors, a film I did NOT see and don’t plan to see, came out.

Neighbors grossed worldwide more than $268 million, and was released in 3,311-theaters compared to 57-theaters for The Hornet’s Nest.

I know that the corporate goal in the private sector is all about making profits almost any way possible, legally or illegally, but this is ridiculous—because if we lose the world-wide war against Islamic extremism, there may be no profits for corporate capitalists to earn, and consumers, those who are still alive and have converted to Islam to survive, may have few if any products to buy as they get out their prayer rugs at daybreak, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and evening and turn toward Mecca to pray to the Prophet Muhammad’s tomb. Oh, and the prayers must be said in Arabic, no matter what the native tongue is.

The United States has been fighting the war in Afghanistan since 2001, and the Iraq and Afghan wars against Islamic terrorism have cost $4 to $6 Trillion (so far), in addition to thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of injured U.S. troops, and that isn’t counting the hundreds of thousands of deaths of civilians who lived in Iraq and Afghanistan and the millions who have fled to refugee camps to escape the horrors of war.

According to Hollywood Reporter, the average cost of a movie ticket is $7.96. That means 39,285 people may have seen The Hornet’s Nest documentary, compared to about 34-million viewers who watched Neighbors, a film about a couple with a newborn baby who end up having a loud, hard partying fraternity move in next door; a film with an R rating “for pervasive language, strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity and drug use throughout. “

Rotten Tomatoes listed six media critics who reviewed The Hornet’s Nest and those six gave the film a 100-percent rating. Variety critic, Joe Leydon said, “This gripping documentary about soldiers in harm’s way during America’s longest war seems all the more relevant as we begin the countdown to troop withdrawals from that war-torn land.”

How about Neighbors?

Rotten Tomatoes reported that 44-critics reviewed the film with an average rating of 73-percent. One of the top critics, Christy Lemure, said, “I have been both of the people at the center of the conflict in “Neighbors.” I have been the drunken sorority girl who doesn’t want the party to end and I have been the perplexed new mom who’s desperate for some sleep. … If only the stakes were higher for all of these characters, it might even be possible to care about who wins.”

For those who care about the truth; the reality and quality of life, you may download the full film of The Hornet’s Nest for $3.99, and watch it starting with the next embedded video, or buy the DVD from Amazon by clicking the previous link.

As a combat veteran who fought in Vietnam, believe me when I say that you can’t hide from the harsh reality of life. Fantasies of sexy vampires, and visits to Disneyland and/or Magic Mountain will not protect you from that reality, because it will find you sooner or later, and it is a hard-wired fact that the United States has hundreds of thousands if not millions of enemies in the Middle East who want to destroy everything there is about America and the citizens who live here.

_______________________
Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

Low-Def Kindle Cover December 11His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller 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 fighting for the other side.

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Who do Americans admire most?

In December my wife and I went to see the The Wolf of Wall Street; then on Friday, January 10, Lone Survivor (its opening day).

Walking the mile-and-a-half home, both films stirred emotions and made for conversation. I admit that I didn’t think The Wolf of Wall Street was about a real man. It was so outrageous, so amoral, and so greedy—you name it—that I thought it was the product of a very active imagination.

When I Googled the film, I discovered it was based on a real story and was surprised that anyone could be this rotten other than a serial killer who loves murdering innocent people—the real Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort, was as depraved and greedy as they come. The film is worth seeing. DiCaprio does a great job playing Belfort, a man who is often unfaithful to his wives, and in the end has no loyalty to anyone when it comes to his own survival.

Belfort and his employees lead a lifestyle of total debauchery with lavish parties, sex and drugs both in the workplace and in their personal lives.

Belfort was indicted in 1998 for securities fraud and money laundering, but he only served 22 months in a federal prison designed for white collar criminals. This prison, as depicted in the film, was more of a country club with tennis courts—but still a prison you can’t leave until you’ve served your time. It seems that today, Belfort is worth millions again (although nowhere close to the amount—about $200 million—he took from his victims); hasn’t paid back what the court ordered; lives in Manhattan Beach, California and is engaged again.

Lone Survivor is about a team of SEALS in Afghanistan and is also based on a true story. The film starts out with SEAL boot camp and in short order shows how tough it is to earn the right to be a SEAL. These are tough guys who value loyalty, patriotism and honor above all else and they are more than willing to die for what they believe.

Mark Wahlberg plays the lone survivor, Marcus Luttrell. Three of the four SEALS in his team are killed in combat with a vicious enemy, the Taliban, who once ruled most of Afghanistan while supporting Al Qaeda.

While I was disgusted at Belfort’s debauchery and greed, I was angry at what happened to the SEALS in Lone Survivor. Not long after they were dropped off in the Afghan mountains to carry out their mission, they discover that the intel was bad. Instead of a few Taliban, they were up against hundreds and they lost radio contact. When the help arrives, it’s without the proper support because there are not enough Apache gunships to support all of the ground operations in Afghanistan. The result, one of the troop carrying choppers is shot down with everyone aboard killed aborting the rescue attempt.

Why was I angry? Because when I served in Vietnam—several times while in the field—I lost radio contact—once on a deep recon where four of us were dozens of miles in front of our own lines. We even drove our World War II vintage jeeps—with no armor I might add—through an abandoned village where the cooking fires were still smoldering and there was a Vietcong flag flying from a radio antenna sticking out of the top of a tree. Several decades later, and Congress should have done something about fixing it so no ground troops would ever be out of radio contact, and I blame the lack of enough air support on Congress and President G. W. Bush for not making sure the troops had all the support they needed to succeed and come home.

Then there are the rules of combat that limit our troop’s ability to fight a war. We had them in Vietnam and they sucked. Noncombatants should not be allowed to make rules for combat. Most Americans—who live in a real fantasy world—do not understand war.

The challenge is how do we measure who Americans might admire most?

For The Wolf of Wall Street, the film—with a $100 million budget—opened in December in 2,537 theaters and has earned $90.8 million as of January 10, 2014.

Lone Survivor opened wide in 2,875 theaters on January 10; had a production budget of $40 million and has earned $14.782 million (the film started in 2 theaters on December 25, 2013 and went wide on January 10) compared to The Wolf of Wall Street that made $18.5 million its first weekend.

Who do you admire most and why: Belfort’s and his mob or Marcus Luttrell and the SEALS?

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller 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 fighting for the other side.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Blaming Obama and offering a lame solution: Part 1 of 2

Rick Newman writing for Yahoo Finance suggests that President Obama could redeem himself for the Obamacare Mess, if he killed part of the government.

If you click on the Yahoo-Newman link above and read the piece, you will discover there is no mention of cutting jobs at the Department of Defense [DOD]. The cuts Newman suggests are so small compared to the annual deficit and size of the national debt, it’s hard not to laugh and cry real tears at the absurdity of it.

Newman points out: “The federal payroll, not counting the beleaguered postal service, is about 8% bigger than it was before the latest recession began at the end of 2007.”

The question Newman should have asked is where did civilian employment in the federal government increase the most, but he didn’t. Instead, he quotes a source that says that in the 1980s, the private sector got rid of an entire layer of middle management and suggests the government do the same thing. Then he points out a few small departments/agencies of the federal government with a combined budget of $81 – $185 Billion, but the federal budget for 2013 was $3.8 trillion and the actual deficit was $680 billion. You do the math.

What I want to know is why he didn’t mention the Department of Defense?

In May 2012, the Washington Times.com reported, “President Bush’s last budget, for fiscal 2009, pegged Defense Department civilians at 739,000, according to the department’s latest “Green Book” budget document on total spending.”

But if you check the numbers going back to 1962 comparing the ratio of civilian workers in the federal government to the total population, you would discover that the number of civilians working for the federal government has been dropping for years. The Washington Post.com reported that in 1962 under President Kennedy, 13.3% of the total US population worked for the federal government. By 2012—under President Obama—the federal workforce was 8.4% of the total even counting the 8% increase Newman complains about.

In addition, if we look closer, we discover that between June 2012 and September 2012, civilian workers employed by the federal government shrunk by 40,146 workers to 2,760,569—most of the jobs cut came from the DOD. Click the next link and check it out; you can see the number of workers added or cut by department. Source: opm.gov

In Part 2, I will focus on the Department of Defense—the only department that should see its civilian workforce and budget cut dramatically. In 2000 before 9/11, defense spending was $366.2 billion. By 2013, it had reached $821.6 billion. If we compare average annual defense spending by president starting with Clinton, we discover defense spending under Clinton averaged $335.6 billion annually for a total of $2.648 Trillion; under G. W. Bush the annual average was $605.5 billion with a total of $4.844 trillion, and under Obama, the first four years totaled $3.397 trillion or $849.2 billion annually. Source: US Government Spending.com

Do we ever hear Obama’s critics complain about his increased spending for the DOD? No, because we only hear about Social Security; Medicare and Obamacare—all programs designed to pay for themselves through specific taxes.

The increase in defense spending during the wars on terror; in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost the United States an additional $5.556 Trillion since 9/11.

Continued on November 18 in Blaming Obama and offering a lame solution: Part 2

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller 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 fighting for the other side.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Collateral Damage—Dumb Bombs versus Smart Bombs

If you lived in a war zone, would you rather have dumb bombs or smart bombs dropped on targets?

Dylan Stableford—writing for Yahoo News—reported on a documentary about the fear and stress of life under the threat of U.S. drones, and I left this comment: “If people in countries where al Qaeda and the Taliban operate don’t like the U.S. drone attacks, then all they have to do is stop supporting Islamic terrorists and fight back against them so the U.S. troops will go home and take their drones with them.”

An anonymous, faceless person criticized my comment. His or her name was Win—who, as far as I know, could be an al Qaeda or Taliban PR person—wrote, “Lloyd, you sound like the typical dumbshit in government, underestimating how difficult it really is to do that. You are implying these people deserve what happened to them. If either you or me lost all that we have one day for absolutely no reason because some dumbshit from a foreign country willed that it happened to either one of us, I can guarantee, guaran-damn-tee that our blood would boil and our rage fueled.”

From Win’s comment it is obvious that he or she has little or no knowledge about the battlefield in countries where wars are fought. And I want to remind Win that we did not start this war for “absolutely no reason”.  The war was started by Islamic Fundamentalist terrorists on 9/11 in New York City when they killed thousands of civilians by hijacking commercial jets full of passengers and ramming those jets into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Now back to the question: If you lived in a war zone through no fault of your own and you didn’t want anything to do with the war, would you rather have dumb bombs or smart bombs used to hit targets in your country?

In World War II, for example, the United States killed millions of German and Japanese civilians bombing the cities in those countries with dumb bombs.  Fleets of bombers flew over targets and dropped thousands—probably millions—of bombs without knowing exactly where those bombs would land and explode.

In fact, the United States dropped more dumb bombs on Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia than it dropped in all of World War II.

In World War II, civilian deaths in Germany are estimated to be between 1.5 to 3.5 million.  In Japan, civilian deaths were 500-thousand to one million. In comparison, the United States—the country that dropped most of the dumb bombs that caused that collateral damage—only lost 1,700 of its own noncombatants.

To defeat Germany and Japan, the United States and its allies also dropped napalm on German and Japanese cities. In one bombing of Tokyo, for example, 2,000 tons of incendiary dumb-bombs were dropped over the course of 48 hours, and between 80,000 and 130,000 civilians were roasted to death in the firestorm that followed.

In Vietnam, the collateral damage was somewhere between 245,000 and two-million civilian deaths.  But the United States didn’t drop dumb bombs only in Vietnam. The U.S. also dropped dumb bombs In Cambodia and Laos. In Cambodia the collateral damage was 200,000 to 300,000 civilian deaths. In Laos, the collateral damage from dumb bombs was 20,000 to 200,000 dead civilians—and millions were wounded.

Now, let’s focus on civilian casualty counts in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars to see if the use of smart bombs to target enemy combatants resulted in reduced civilian casualties—that dirty word is known as collateral damage.

Classified US military documents released by Wikileaks in October 2010 recorded that there had been 66,081 civilian deaths in Iraq over a period of six years. But the Iraq Body Count Project’s numbers are higher: 110,937 – 121,227.

When checking these numbers for Iraqi civilian deaths, there were no details on who did the killing and how these civilians died.  And we know that al Qaeda blows up civilians all the time in the streets; on buses; in Mosques and Churches; in restaurants, at weddings and funerals, etc.  Therefore, it’s easy to conclude that American smart bombs were not responsible for all of those deaths. In fact, reports from Afghanistan indicate that collateral damage from Western smart bombs is responsible for less than 10% of all civilian deaths.

One source I checked reported that “In the first six months of 2013, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan counted 1,319 civilian deaths and 2,533 civilian injuries with 9% attributable to pro-government forces—this means that collateral damage from the West’s smart bombs may have only killed 119 civilians. Compare that to six months of civilian deaths during World War II in Germany or Japan or in Vietnam when the West was only using dumb bombs and often sent fleets of B52s to carpet bomb urban and rural areas.

That same report said, that in all of 2012, total civilian casualties were 2,754 deaths and 4,805 injured with 8% of those loses attributed to pro-government forces meaning that 92% of the deaths were caused by al Qaeda and/or the Taliban.

In conclusion, the United States is at war in Afghanistan with insurgent forces who started this war on 9/11—the same Islamic fundamentalists who have sworn to destroy Western civilization, and I’m convinced that they would not hesitate to use dirty bombs or nuclear weapons on Western cities like London, Paris, Berlin, Rome, New York, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, etc. killing millions of civilians without any effort to minimize the damage.

On April 11, 1880, General William Tecumseh Sherman, who played an instrumental role in defeating the South during America’s Civil War by ruthlessly destroying everything in his army’s path, said this in Columbus Ohio: “There is many a body here today who looks on war as glory, but boys, it is all hell.”

I fought in Vietnam as a field-radio operator in the United States Marine Corps. We had rules forced on us by civilian “dumb-shits” who said we couldn’t shoot at the enemy unless we could see who was shooting at us first. And most of the time, we couldn’t see who was shooting at us.

We lost the Vietnam War. We didn’t lose World War II.

If the West is going to win the war against al Qaeda and the Taliban, then the West must be as ruthless as it was in World War II, and if the West fails, then civilians will be dying in American and European cities by the millions.

General Sherman was right. War is hell, and if you are reading this and you do not live in a country that is a war zone like Iraq or Afghanistan, then you should bless your fortunate stars and pray that the war doesn’t come to your neighborhood.

No one who is innocent deserves to be killed from a bomb—dumb or smart—but as cruel as it sounds, “Better them then us.” And if you believe in coexistence, then I think you should be the one to—face-to face—convince al-Qaeda to stop killing innocent people.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller 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 fighting for the other side.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Returning from Combat with PTSD – the impact on family

 

I returned from Vietnam late December of 1966, and I did not talk about the war for years. Instead I kept it locked in my head, but I slept with a K-BAR that had a seven-inch blade. The reason I did not sleep with a pistol was because I feared shooting my wife.

I drank too much. I had an explosive temper. When the anger overwhelmed, instead of hitting her, I punched holes in the drywall and drank more.

After falling asleep at night, the flashbacks were vivid, violent and real. There were times that I carried a loaded rifle through the house checking the doors and windows to secure the perimeter. Sometimes I still do. All it takes is an unexpected noise and out comes a loaded weapon and I cannot rest until I know my family is safe.

After the first divorce in 1979, I stopped drinking and fight to contain the anger, and—at the time—most of us still didn’t know what PTSD was. It helped that I started writing about my time in Vietnam in the MFA program I started at Cal Poly, Pomona causing me to open up and talk about what I experienced in the war.

There is no cure for PTSD, but with understanding, the afflicted might be able to manage the trauma better and avoid destroying families and lives. For sure, drugs and alcohol are a bad mix with PTSD.

The impact of PTSD on families is shocking. “Research that has examined the effect of PTSD on intimate relationships reveals severe and pervasive negative effects on marital adjustment, general family functioning, and the mental health of partners.

“These negative effects result in such problems as compromised parenting, family violence, divorce, sexual problems, aggression and caregiver burden.

“About 38% of Vietnam veteran marriages failed within six months of returning from the war. The overall divorce rate among Vietnam veterans is significantly higher than the general population.” Source: ptsd.va.gov


Impact on family

The divorce rate among Afghanistan, Iraq War Vets increased 42% throughout the wars.

A July 2010 report found that child abuse in Army families has been three times higher in homes from which a parent was deployed, for example. From 2001 through 2011, alcohol use associated with physical domestic violence in Army families increased by 54%, and with child abuse by 40%. Source: cost of war.org

In addition, Expedition Balance.org says, “It’s harder for veterans with PTSD to hold jobs.

“The VA reported that more than 130,000 veterans were homeless on any night.

“Studies show that families where a parent has PTSD are characterized by increased anxiety, unhappiness, marital problems and behavioral problems among children.

“People with PTSD are more likely to have problems with drugs and/or alcohol.

“People who suffer from PTSD and depression are significantly more like to take their own lives.

“Female veterans have a higher rate of military sexual trauma. They have a higher rate of divorce and homelessness as well.”

The Huffington Post reported that “Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who struggle with the anger and emotional outbursts of combat trauma are more than twice as likely as other veterans to be arrested for criminal misbehavior … Veterans ‘who perceive that they have control over their future and who have greater psychological resilience’ are better able to refrain from violence, the study said.”

For me, managing the PTSD—so it does not manage me—is a full time job that is not always successful.

In 2011, there were 21.5 million combat veterans in the United States. Source: American Veterans by the Numbers (that is the cost of America’s endless wars)

Discover A Prisoner of War for Life

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
is the award winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition].

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 fighting for the other side.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

One Never Forgets

It has been forty-six years since I fought in Vietnam, and watching two movies rebooted my PTSD interrupting my sleep pattern. For years, I usually wake at least once a night and listen. However, since watching the movies, I wake every hour and listen to the night sounds.

In Brothers, one of the two brothers, a captain in the US Marines, goes to Afghanistan on his fourth tour of duty and becomes a tortured and abused POW.  After he is liberated and his captors killed, he returns home suffering from severe PTSD trauma. Tobey Maguire plays Marine Captain Sam Cahill and does a convincing job playing a veteran that is severely damaged by PTSD symptoms.

Watching Maguire act his part reminded me of my first decade back from Vietnam when I drank too much and often woke once or twice and carried a loaded weapon around the house checking the doors and windows.  More than once, when overwhelmed by a burst of anger, I punched holes in walls with fists.

The anger comes fast—one moment you are calm as a rusty doorknob and an instant later an exploding fragmentation grenade.

In the Valley of Elah, Tommy Lee Jones plays a father, who was also a Vietnam combat veteran, searching for answers to explain his son’s death soon after returning from Iraq. In this film, we see how war strips young men of their humanity—that thin veneer that comes with so-called civilization.

From Brothers, I was reminded of the homeless Vietnam veteran I met in an alley in Pasadena, California one early morning. He had been a prisoner of war and similar to the character Tobey Maguire plays, was severely traumatized with PTSD symptoms.

The VA rated the homeless vet I met in that Pasadena alley as 100% disabled by PTSD possibly explaining why he was homeless—not because he could not afford an apartment.  The disability from the VA was more than enough to support him.  However, most of that money went for drugs and booze for him and his homeless buddies.

Then there was another vivid image of a Vietcong POW being tortured by South Korean troops during a field operation I was on.  The South Koreans hung that Vietnamese POW by his heels from a tree limb and pealed the skin off his body while he lived.

In the Valley of Elah reminded me of an ambush where a team of Marines I was a member of went out in a heavy rain at sunset and after an hour or so of slogging through the gloomy downpour, we stopped in a rice paddy with water to our necks and stayed there for more than an hour waiting for complete darkness before moving into position. We shared that rice paddy with a very large king cobra.

In the Marines, one does not question orders—we do or die—so we stayed in that paddy knowing a king cobra was in the water with us.

Both of these films are dramatic examples of what war does to young men and their families.

Some combat veterans avoid seeing films such as these two. However, I do not. I do not want to return to that time where I avoided talking and thinking of my part in the Vietnam War, because at night when we struggle to sleep there is no escape. We cannot hide from the monster that came home with us living inside our skin as if it were an unwanted parasite.

Discover A Prisoner of War for Life

_______________________

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!”