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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  February 26, 2011 2:00pm-3:00pm EST

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to crisis, the coming nuclear showdown. my main specialty is the middle east. i write for newsmagazines, done quite a bit. >> coming up next, journalist david phillips talk about the 560 industry regiment. the psychological damage to members sustained. mr. phillips spoke of the national press club in washington.
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getting the police in the year or two in west germany and my friend would come back with superior knowledge of types of chocolates i had never heard of. it was not a bad gig. and when i moved back to colorado springs, things were different and i started working for my home town newspaper. being deployed meant going to be sunni triangle or going to be hashed river valley where you stand a good chance of dying every day. it is not something i ever knew about or was my job to know about. my job that the newspaper, i
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thought i had the sweetest gig in the world. they hired me and there actually is a job where they hired me as their ski writer. in the summer i did things like biking and climbing mountains and things like that. my job was to write about to enjoy yourself in the rocky mountains and profile people who do it particularly well which worked great. then these murders started. for carson had one murder and then another and then another. stranger murders. murders there were strange not in the way they happened but because when you look for reason there was very little reason. at the newspaper we dutifully reported it, that these things would happen, it is set up for
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trial in so many months. we were not telling the story, it was happening. the whole office of spokesman who tell you without saying and they are going to get in trouble. that was the line for years. finally i decided who would know about this? the soldiers who were there would know about it. since many of them are sitting in prison maybe they would be willing to talk to you. i brought this up to my editor
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and the editor said you are the ski reichard, go sit down so i started to do this in my free time. tracking died down and sitting down with them and talking for a whole afternoon. let's start in high-school. tell me when you joined up and let end in prison and tell me what happened in between and i would ask who else was there with you? who else would tell me this story? pieces of platoon scattered on platoon or gotten out of the army. i thought it was important story for my city and the army and ultimately for all of us to learn what happened with the soldiers at fort carson who created a string of murders. i am not talking a couple murders. i am talking with in this brigade and i quickly learned
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after tracking down that it was one combat brigade that all this was happening in hand with in this brigade there was one particular battalion, that was about 500 soldiers. if you calculate the murder rate it wasn't one or two bad apples. it was about 100 times the and national average. if you adjust it and save all young men, they are all young and male, that is the highest risk of violent crime beat relief you adjust it for that it is 20 times greater than that very high risk group so we are talking a big problem so i started piece together what happened and i am going to read a little bit about it and tell you what has happened since. as i made sure to say i was at the pentagon today the army repeatedly said it is a learning organization.
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there are in number of individuals where that is really true. people who follow what is going on, we have got to fix this. that started to happen at fort carson to the point where the things i wrote about which is sort of more experience and the integration, failures of integration where they were turned around to where fort carson is look at also as a model. people from big army come to say things are really working here. we can spread it army wide. i will tell you a little bit of the story of the brigade. i will read for a few minutes. let me give you some background. all the guys said i am talking about almost all of them are 19 or 20 years old. all of them joined right out of high school and were immediately
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sent to korea, not iraq. if they were expected to stay for a couple years guarding the north korean border. this was back in 2003 or early 2004 and all of a sudden the pentagon realize the iraq war was not going very well and they might need some extra troops so they were suddenly call from korea and sent to the worst part of iraq at the time. they were in the sunni triangle, right between ramadi and fallujah. i am going to tell you -- i have a few of vocabulary words. i had to learn a whole language when i was talking to these guys. one of them the active duty folks know, i refer to something called a saw. is not what you could down trees
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with. it is squad automatic weapon, in medium-sized machine gun that soldiers carry. i will also refer to something called loop, michigan. this is the four lane highway just like an interstate that connected ramadi and baghdad. they would do highway patrol. highway patrol was so full of firefights and burnout cars on the side of the road that they nicknamed it my last vocabulary word, operation bad bags. they named all their operations after 80s movies. i will read to you a particularly bad day on mad max
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and afterwards briefly explain how it echoed throughout time. excuse me for using some names i haven't introduced you to but when every picture them pick jimmy ten years ago because they are very young, skinny guys, their helmets look too big for them. don't picture rambo. because you won't have the right image in your head. i am taking you back to 2004 in the sunni triangle. by the end of the week when kenny david philipps wooley -- kenneth eastridge learned his cousin was going back to mad max everyone was on edge. they were trained to protect themselves from an. es by watching for anything out of the ordinary. the problem was they soon also learn almost everything in their corner of iraq was out of the
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ordinary. everyday the soldiers struggled to find meaningful hints of what normal was in their control area and what normal was not. three people dressed head to toe in black robes, their faces covered except for glaring eyes. was that normal? seven men in head scarfs packed into a tiny tax the. was that normal? a burning mounds of trash in the middle of the neighborhood with goats foraging on smoldering edges. was that normal? and some of the things that appeared most normal, to kids from america were the most deadly. a person on a cellphone. boy on a bicycle. a lone driver in a car. a clear strip of highway. any of them could be a sign of an imminent bomb attack or not. there was no normal. the first few weeks here or
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there you have a fear that you're going to die any minute. you are hyperalert. but at some point you just don't care anymore. you accept your faith. you wake up in the morning and say i feel it. this is the day i get whacked. i want to pause here and say that the language the young infantry men use is not necessarily the language i would choose to use at the national press club but i want to be true to who these guys were. i find it easier to read if i apologize a bit first. several hours into the patrol the platoon's capt. called on the radio. the battalion had a tip that a group of insurgents in a car packed with explosives was on its way to ramadi from fallujah. he wanted to meet them west of a
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roadblock. the platoon rolled towards a stretch of loop michigan just down from a mosque they had raided the day before. they parked their three humvees on the side of the highway at 1:00 to block traffic coming out of ramadi. private jose barco and two other soldiers pull on leather globes -- gloves and pull razor wire off the hood of one of the humvees and began streaming across the pavement. kenneth eastridge stood a few feet away with his big saw at the ready. on his side of the street a few. riddled houses baked in the sun. on the other side a cluster of pathetic looking shots rippled in t heat. their owners staring at the soldiers through the dusty windows. kenneth eastridge's job was to watch over his platoon while the search.
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at the moment strickland was conferring with another of his leaders, about where to put an observation post. the street was full of women and cars. women and old in and out of shops. group of children played nearby in the dust. if there was a normal, this will close to it. it was a sign that despite the previous days of violence all was well. the platoon's medic walked up next to kenneth eastridge and asked if he could smoke a cigarette. sergeant strickland replied that soldiers are not allowed to smoke in public and since the captain was there he had to be strict about the rules. he nodded his head towards a humvee 50 feet down the road where the captain had just pulled up. the company commander was adamant that soldiers present professionalism and respect to the civilians and that meant
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the platoon had been out on their shift for hours and he really needed a smoke. kenneth eastridge, strickland bark, take this guide down the alley for a smoke. kenneth eastridge and crab ducked pass the humvee which was parked at the mouth of a narrow alley and walked several feet down the corridor to said on the tall wall of a half destroyed house. on the wide plains of michigan, jose barco pulled the dancing coil of wire across the pavement. other soldiers stood in waves of heat with hands on their rifles. a group of iraqi men had been circled in a tense conversation walked up to jose barco and the others stringing the wire and moved the humvee blocking the alley so locals could get through to their houses. the platoon sergeant looked at the iraqis and the humvee and
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then he told them they could go around. the men hurried across the highway arguing. can i borrow your gloves? a soldier said. jose barco turned his head to answer. it was last thing he remembers. at that moment the suicide bombers speeding down loop michigan veered across the median, aimed at the humvee and released his detonation trigger. instantly a flash of heat and concussion shattered the window. soldiers felt it before they heard it as the shock wave slapped them to the ground. glass and metal flew everywhere. fire if swallowed the road block. the fourth ripple of the alley and hurled kenneth eastridge into the dirt. they thought someone tossed a grenade on their head. everyone laid days and in a fog of just as there shaken brains grease at. it only lasted a second or two
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but seemed to stretch minutes. are you ok? he tried to pull himself up to his knees. en el okay. do you? he glanced over his head to a huge cloud of black smoke over the street. he whipped around and saw the oily smoke. he grabbed him by the shoulder and sprinted down the alley into the cloud. confusion hung as thick as the smoke. the army's combat medic training had drilled schools need to fight through the chaos of war into his head but nothing prepared him for what he saw. he followed kenneth eastridge passed the wreck of the humvee to it the suicide bomber's car which was no word to be seen.
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the blast had destroyed it almost completely. as they edged into the street tiny pieces of metal held it down with smoke and dust like a scorching rain. silhouettes of bodies some moving, some not. an iraqi woman appeared through the gloom weeping as she tried to drag two children out of the road. the rack and bodies had been cutting pieces of limbs left on the asphalt. he groped passed a woman farther into the kill zone. strict priorities of combat medics, his soldiers come first. from every direction members of the platoon grass toward the blast site while civilians stumbled away. they found their platoon sergeant, sergeant strickland yelling for soldiers to get their rifles ready for another attack. the sergeant said on the ground
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with his hands in the air. it looked like several of his fingers hung by only strips of skin. blood streamed out of his mouth. shrapnel had torn over his calf leaving ribbons of red muscle hanging from his fatigues, spreading watches on his uniform showed where shards of the obliterated car had shot into his body. all army medics are trained to divide casualties in to three categories--those who are going to make it no matter what you do, those who are not going to make it no matter what you do, and those who may make it or may not depending on what you do at that moment. medics are told to ignore the first two categories and focus on the last. bloody or not for strickland was going to live at least for now. the medical soldier to give the sergeant some morphine and bandages and pushed on.
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he passed another soldier whose cheek had been sliced open by shrapnel and hung down revealing a bloody jaw and teeth. a shard of metal was stuck in his jawbone. he was going to make it. he kept going to another soldier who was bleeding from his face yelling i can't see. he was going to make it. the medic hurled towards -- hurried towards a pile of burning wreckage where the captain and some other soldiers have obscured by smoke were wrestling blistering hot razor wire off of the top table of soldiers. he took a half step to help them, then saw his squad leader who had been standing crumbled to the ground. thematic hurried over and knelt down. he saw blood spurting from the soldier's laugh i. the soldier was paper white and gulping like a trout. he program on his right leg. a chunk of car had punched
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through both sides below the pelvis clipping both femoral arteries. blood was spreading on the ground. if he didn't get care right now he was going to die. this is what he had trained for. he tried to apply fresher to stop the dree in and watch his hand sink into the wound. he said any debris for him while i hold pressure. was frantically working on his favorite sergeant. that left him reading in the road. it has the versus the and wreckage where a soldier had blood dripping from his face saying they are burning.
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in the wreckage kenneth eastridge's eyes fell to his friend jose barco. the cuban kid from miami was pinned by a fleeting front end of the suicide car. he heaved away the wreckage with two soldiers. the private then stood up wobbling in shock. they laid the smoking private donna stretcher. burning flesh. they went to the top rack of a
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medivac truck. just before they pulled away, the captain put you we's lind and down from the stretcher and placed it on strickland's bandage. tell me he is going to make it. he drove to the hospital. kenneth eastridge kept his gun level of a growing crowd of locals gathering on the scene to collect their dead. a little scrap of flesh that had been the suicide bomber littered the road. a couple of platoons from alpha company arrived and split up. have to control the crowd as others scoured the surrounding area. kenneth eastridge watched his captain walks into the middle of the highway. oblivious of the danger. and neil by a live body. it was an iraqi boy who looked to be about 6, a pool of blood right side of his head was smashed in like a basketball. the capt. search for a pulse.
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sayre, he is dead. police soldier next to the captain said. i felt him take his last breath. the cap started to weep. when he stood up people and sergeant no one in the platoon was leaving until after sundown. they were going to guard the chunks of a suicide bomber's body now slung all over the block. a person who must be buried before sundown goes to heaven. he suspected friends of the suicide bomber were waiting to bury their latest martyr and the unit was not going to let that happen. the gruesome scene. a few locals tried to collect pieces of the suicide bomber's body in buckets. soldiers ordered them to dump their buckets on the asphalt. i am going to skip a few
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paragraphs and just say that sergeant qe and strickland and jose barco were taken to the hospital. they lived but where medevaced to the united states. sergeant q e who had been a squad leader and father figure for all the guys i have mentioned died. i am going to join up where kenneth eastridge has gotten the news that his father died. as the sun went down, kenneth eastridge tried to keep himself squared away. he was guarding the same early where the blast had knocked him to the dirt. in the failing light a spine way in the narrow path between the wall. no flesh, no ribs, no explanation. just a human spine. kenneth eastridge's battalion spent months preparing for iraq and here they were totally unprepared. he was told to shoot and had
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been an attack that wounded several soldiers and killed the man he counted on most. he had not been able to fire a shot. guns were almost useless on route michigan. there was no good way to defend against a roadside bomb or suicide bomber. all the training to outshoot, outmaneuver and out of sync enemy soldiers proved fertile -- field because the enemy in iraq is not a soldier. he is a shadow. disease that wafted invisibly through the civilian population. it made kenneth eastridge furious that local let scumbags hide in their midst. he was enraged that they had killed his mentor, is leader, the one he looked to for answers and now sergeant strickland, the platoon leader was out of the they had eight months left in their tour in iraq. who would lead the platoon?
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what would they do? he felt faint. he put his hand down on the crumbled walls to study himself and felt something warm and wet in his palm. he had leaned into a piece of long or liver or something. he didn't know what the. he jerked his hand away and wiped the blood in a long smear down the wall. this was not what he had signed up for. he felt even fainter. he went to steady himself and put his hand back in the liver. so this is a story that continues through another tour that is actually worse than the first. at some point most of the guys i mentioned decided to adhere to a very old infant the credo that is not as far as i know any part of any official army education
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which is due on to others before they do unto you. they were in an impossible situation fighting against an enemy that was little and often unarmed. the rules of engagement did not allow them to engage. we are talking young guys. guys who were most interested in protecting themselves and their friends. by the second four, off in killing unarmed people and planting weapons on them, or through various tricks making the command believe they had been attacked so they could respond. probably killed a lot of people unnecessarily. we will never know how many. but i wanted to review that passage that you could get a sense of that feeling in
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response and what i am going to is tell you -- each of these guys i mentioned ended up. one of the failings -- if there's any press in here tonight raise your hand. none in the national press club. one of the failings of our reporting on the iraq war is we are really good at imbedding. we are really good at writing detailed accounts of major military acts such as the assault on fallujah. we have been really bad telling the whole story which is that our military forces are going back and forth and back and forth all the time. and the stress that puts in them of living in two world and what happens when they are back here and there and how do you live in this new reality i don't think we talked about much. but it is something they live. i will start with one of the
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good ones. sergeant strickland had his hand main goals was flown to walter reed. he was patched up. he healed in time to deploy with the unit again in 2006 where he was blown up again in baghdad. and medivaced again. he was medically retired. he is doing quite well. married, out of the army. not everyone else was so lucky. the mac obviously -- you can imagine have a lot of shame and guilt, not being able to save everyone he laid his hands on, started abusing drugs. mostly cocaine and alcohol when he got back to the united
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states. it was under the radar. a year later he was allowed to deploy but by then he was so troubled by his war experience that he essentially became suicidal. he stopped loading his weapon. they were assigned to a very violent place in baghdad where they saw combat every day. not loading your weapon is a deliberate act. he did that both because he wanted no more to do with any type of killing and because he hoped to some extent that he would be killed. it didn't happen. he came home. he was reassigned out of the battalion to a job and was eventually medically retired. shortly after he retired he overdosed on some of the drugs he was getting for his behavioral health issues and suicide attempts but he did not die.
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he is actually doing very well now. he lives in denver. he has a wife and a child. he is in a much better place he became an instrumental person for me in helping to tell this story. jose barco who was pinned by the burning car was flown back to the united states to burns center. he had to get skin graft and was in the burn center for several months but then went back to his unit where he was supposed to be medically retired. but because everybody in the unit liked him and he really wanted to go he sort of snapped his way back to the next deployment. he became one of the people i described and felt he was justified in shooting people who were unarmed.
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primarily people on rooftops which he felt were working with the surgeons. he called the launchers. many of them may well have been. to -- they would other insurgents to where the american forces could bomb them. and so he would do things like that. he made it unscathed through the second tour despite two very close calls. when he got back he was a classic case of proposed traumatic stress. he avoided going to places with any crowd. he carried a gun all the time because of paranoia that someone was going to attack him. what had been a survival instinct and a very useful one in baghdad was now liability. he was drinking and he had a
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rage and it quickly led to him getting divorced and then a few months after his deployment getting in a fight in a party where they threw him out for getting drunk and obnoxious and when this happened at a party everyone is for and about the front door then goes out the front door onto the lawn to watch him leave. emptied his whole clip of his pistol at the crowd. only shooting one person who was a pregnant woman. >> seven months pregnant. he was charged with attempted murder. she did not die but she was pregnant. and got 52 years. the judge maximum of. called him a disgrace. josh butler who played a small part in the scene, he gave mouth to mouth to the soldier and dad died. he had been his father figure.
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he started abusing drugs and now call when he got home. he couldn't bear the thought of going back on another tour but he was signed up for a tour and looked like he was going so he got "lethal warriors: when the band of brothers came home" to shoot him. he thought he would be medically retired. he'll miss a few days and they put him back in. he kicked out for using cocaine. he too was having a lot of classic symptoms associated with posttraumatic stress and got in a lot of fights with his wife. eventually won that was bad enough to send him to prison and she was pregnant at the time and had a miscarriage shortly thereafter. that he blames himself for. he thought he hadn't been in those fights with her the child would have lived. he is now out of prison.
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but is a very marginal existence. he has been in and out of unemployment and lives in a motor home. that just leaves kenneth eastridge. he came back with the same symptoms as a lot of these guys. drug abuse and carrying a weapon. and was arrested after the first tour for pointing a gun at his girlfriend. he bail himself out of jail and rather than awaiting trial which is what he is supposed to do he deployed with the rest of the units back to iraq where he continued to spiral down hill. he was one of the do unto others before they do unto you people. he had lost any faith in the people they were assigned to protect. he told me that he and others would rob houses that they were supposed to be searching. they would stockpile weapons
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which they would then sell to rival factions and used the money to buy booze and drugs. they would also sometimes called of boredom would shoot people based on stories from the platoon. the army investigated this after the gazette wrote about in the first time. officially they never found anything about it. i think some of it has happened. at some point he was so unstable in iraq that they put him on duty guarding the fog is at the operating base in baghdad. there he was caught with valium which is available across the counter in iraq and he was court-martialed. they essentially decided that he was too bad of a soldier and too much of a liability, too
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dangerous to keep in iraq so they sent him to colorado springs. they did is repeatedly with guys from this brigade. if somebody is too unstable to stay in baghdad you send them to us, that is a good move. if you have a robust behavioral health and good reared the attachment of a brigade to keep track of these guys. neither of those was in place in colorado springs. we still had a behavioral health office at fort carson that was in the cold war when no one was seen their friends blown up and our cases had increased 700%. it was overwhelming. if you felt through the cracks, no one was going to come working for you and this is what they did. they medicated themselves
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instead with drugs and alcohol. they gravitated toward guys who were in a similar boat and so kenneth eastridge was arrested because he was running around with two other soldiers from his company who had also been sent back for similar reasons. they were finally arrested for two counts of first-degree murder, both for killing other soldiers from fort carson. at least one count of armed robbery in and then a bizarre crime in which they ran over a woman they didn't even know and one of the soldiers. lee and mattock jumped out and stabbed her before they left her for dead. these were random crimes. it is a terrible story except and this is very important, except that it got so bad that the army has told and key people at fort carson said we have to
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do something. we have got to fix this. what is wrong? the key person there was a general. the general in charge of all of fort carson. he had this unique experience i don't think anyone would want to have but it allowed him to see what was happening and realize he had to do something. general mark graham. lifelong soldier. his sons grew up moving around like army rats and debris on officers. by the time he took over both of them were dead. one had been blown up just a few meters from the scene i describe to you in the book in the sunni triangle and the other killed himself after struggling with depression and being afraid to openly treat it because he was an officer in the army and especially at that time and to
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and extend still that didn't fly. here was this man who had lost his family to the horror of war, the stigma of behavioral health. he had nothing to lose. he had only to gain because he felt every day when he looked at those soldiers, all the soldiers, he saw his son and said what would i do for these guys? so he talk to bottom remade behavioral health, how the command deals with mental health. not wooley that but he got the army to commission a big study pig turtle epidemiological consultation, that brought in all sorts of scientists to look at what was going wrong, how can we fix it? it seems like an obvious thing to do but the army doesn't do that because if you are the general in charge and you do
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that, you know that what they are going to find is going to be bad and you will have all these press people out there and talk about the murders and what we did wrong and no one who wants to move up the chain of command would ever willingly do that and i think it is just this general, is inherent decency that said it doesn't matter. this is something we have to do. so now often are remarkably different at fort carson. i won't say that war doesn't still have the ability to ruin people. i won't say there are no problems. but when you look at the numbers, this brigade i wrote about just came back from afghanistan. just as bad a fight as they had in iraq last time. we lost 40 men. but the numbers are very different. suicides are down by 70%.
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people getting by weekly treatment that is really starting to happen. but it depends on continued
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vigilance. i write a little bit about the other steps they are taking in the book but i will stop there because i went too long and open this up to any kinds of questions. i know we have a collective duty folks here and hopefully -- >> ever since we have been at war -- something that we just identified? >> were you in -- [talking over each other] >> i was between wars. >> i think everybody probably has some sense that that is true but it is also different. pt of the has been around, our brains have not changed everett since we got older really good source of protein our brains
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have unchanged and the motions have not changed but something has changed which is why i think we hear about things like post-traumatic stress disorder now than we did right after vietnam or right after world war ii. warfare is fundamentally changed. in world war ii if you were wounded, my grandfather only had one in three chance of making it out alive and by my father's generation, in vietnam if you were wounded it had gone slightly better but not much. one in four chance of living from your wounds. now it has improved so vastly that the last numbers were one in 20 and it may be a lot better than that. not all we that but because of body armor there are a lot of
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people who are never injured in the first place. we have many more people who have seen combat and are walking amongst us seemingly without a scratch, they may have been in several firefights the digital they may have even been shot and not have a scar and yet the human psyche has not changed for several thousand years so you carry the burden. more of us are around to carry them. >> i am active duty and it is an interesting phenomenon that if you compare this to other wars i could be in a firefight and a home within 18 to 24 hours. if you compared to previous conflicts in particular world war ii, my uncle came back on a ship that was three weeks where
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the compression occurred on their bodies and got to san francisco and you would jima and what ever, very terrible compared to what we're seeing today. kick back in san francisco and made it across the country to their wives and families. there is that period of the compression. is that a factor at all as you look at these soldiers and that might have helped in this case or not? >> my short answer is i don't know. but it is interesting that the things that every brigade that deploys to iraq and afghanistan has a combat health team and what they will do a lot of times after the firefight is they have a debriefing where they have everyone talk about what happened and it is a really helpful thing for people because it creates a narrative and helps
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your brain on conscious and subconscious level sort of digest that stress, di fine it. isn't it funny that that is what they were doing on the ship's when i talked to guys i said with the army do differently? these are young guys a after rising to the rank of specialists and they all tried to argue that that would be a good thing, for a period of a week or two have some sort of decompression but it is tough. you wouldn't give up your ten days of our and our where you fly home and are there with your family and then go back. it is a tough line to walk between keeping people from their families longer than you have to and trying to give them some structure but i agree.
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more good leaders are starting to build those debriefing times into their return. anyone else? >> more effective treatments. >> let me do a big disclaimer. we generally use -- it doesn't mean anything wrong with johnny when he came home from the war. he came back different. posttraumatic stress disorder is really specific. it is a memory dysfunction where you are unable to suppress or avoiding reminders of a traumatic memory and is causing bad things to happen in your life. that has really promising treatments that all involved exposure to in some ways that
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traumatic event whether it is talking about it or writing about it or going through the military has essentially virtual reality go through the streets of iraq thing the. that will help you did in your abnormal response to that memory. but there are different things that are more complex and when johnny comes home different it is not just that he hides under the bed when he hears a loud noise. shame, guilt, depression. i would like to describe it this way. i assume almost everybody in this room went to college. think of yourself the day that you got there, freshman year, what a fool you were and so innocent and think of all the formative experiences you have when he made mistakes and that new friends and had menders and grew and think of how different
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you were when you graduated. then replace all of that with iraq. that is what happened with these guys. these guys were in iraq more than they were in the united states. had had their friends killed in front of them in horrific ways. maybe killed people they don't think having looked back on it they should have killed and you have to live with that stuff and that is not necessarily posttraumatic stress disorder but it is things, we are also -- human beings are resilient and we can even remake our character after we feel it has been destroyed if it comes to that. the key to success or one of the most basic keys, there has got to be a stable place to rebuild these guys are hanging out with other guys drinking and carrying weapons, they never have that
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chance. it is a command issue more than of therapeutic issue. how do you create an environment for success? >> the films that come out in the last couple years, particularly with our current wars, how do you react to them? you really thought were very strongly accurate and honest in portraying what you understood from your research and knowledge? i am wondering about your reaction to some of these documentary's. i don't know how many you have seen. >> i am sure active-duty guys in here can yell out. he hurt blocker was ridiculous. is an expert sniper. what are found judging on the
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guys i knew during the surge in baghdad, very small group of guys i study the lot, they did not -- they did not necessarily value iraqi lives in a way that the hurt locker portrayed. i don't think they necessarily would have risked much. they would have risked anything for their unit. but if they thought one or two iraqis could have been blown up in the blast that they didn't do something but they might get blown up, that is just these guys. the one that i thought was most like the guys i wrote about was the movie no one ever saw, in the valley of the llama. turns out one of these soldiers had been killed by three and other soldiers and there was no
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you have a question. >> they call you to discuss your book or have you speak with some of the units that were coming back. >> fort carson. i am not allowed on fort carson. i have to get permission and two people follow me around with a tape recorder. within the military people still you can't generalize. there are some people like anywhere, some people are complete jerks and other people who are intelligent and thoughtful and open minded and i have a lot of friends at fort carson. they are just not the people who necessarily are in charge of dealing with the media. but they are very open-minded. the other day i had lunch with a brigade psychologist and she is doing fantastic work.
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good things are happening. [inaudible] >> his life's work to make sure as many people as possible understand why it is different in this war and how -- it impacts families and great leaders and challenger coming more involved in advisory roles to combat commanders so they are getting beat jiminy cricket ingredient before this stuff is even thought about. i appreciate very much what you have done for this whole realm of misunderstanding. feel very badly -- >> alton again thrown out the window when you need guys -- there are rules on the books that say we need two years at home and at most a year abroad and these guys had one here at
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home and 15 months in a really bad place and the lot of them didn't get to take vacations. there two weeks late. the best laid plans. this war was supposed to end eight years ago. i checked that with a grain of salt but at least they are saying good things. >> getting away from the featured aspect and individual to the larger picture of the cost of post-traumatic stress disorder and the continued treatment of it. understand that the gentleman who was put in prison for almost murdering a woman who was pregnant, my brother is a judge. he has had situations where he sends people to prison who are
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post-traumatic stress disorder veterans. they go to prison for whatever it is. once in prison, they no longer -- he has had a person who was escorted to the of the a to meet with his physician who was taken and escorted by military police off of the va grounds because he was the state prison responsibility's responsibility. so these people are not getting continuing care for all of their whole repertoire of ellises and injuries and the cost is being dumped on the skate in addition to that. >> we end up paying for it. >> so who pays for the woman who was injured who was expecting the baby? who pays for the ongoing treatment? what is the implication for all at and how is that changing? in minnesota for example where i
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am from they are setting up a separate company to treat veterans. it amazes me how this administration can approve of a separate but equal court system. >> we can talk about veteran courts all day. >> in virginia we passed a constitutional amendment exempting veterans from paying property tax. >> the costs will be with us for long. we are still paying for vietnam in a big way. one of the good things that has come out of it is things got so bad at fort carson and those places that the department of defense in 2006/2007 allowed an obscene amount of money to be
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spent on posttraumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury research which went for -- went to universities all over the country and what we are going to get out of that, the potential leap in science we get with funding for this research, could be a really good thing. so i agree. there is a morass here is that we have created. there are signs of progress. >> small anecdote if i could add. i was in o'hare airport transferring planes two years ago. and the prison checking me in said how many banks to you have? i said two. she said i can count three. i said okay. put it in so i moved aside to put in. she said right now. the gentleman behind me is and i
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am not carrying anything. i will carry that for you. so we started chatting. turns out he was going to the city because he was a consultant to the pentagon and was from colorado springs. so i said colorado springs. are you terrified out there because of all those murders? he said mergers? what ever do you mean? i said all those murders, all those people coming from iraq and shooting people up and he said those are just those guys on the other side of town. however did you find out about that? i said internet. >> they do live on the other side of town. >> you are going to have to call it -- >> one more question. >> a veteran of combat in iraq and afghanistan. worth watching -- very well done
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documentary. if you want to see what it is like in that environment, it is going men in combat. the brigade took over from the brigade you wrote about. >> thank you very much. i


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