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tv   Vietnam Post- War Trauma  CSPAN  May 14, 2016 9:11pm-10:01pm EDT

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united states. anything else. another glum day in the history of death and dying in the united states. jan scruggs founder of the vietnam veterans memorial fund. physical andstwar
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psychological trauma. personal experience of mental health issues. adjusting to civilian life. moderated by joe klein. dr. galloway mr. strokes and joe klein. [applause] joe klein: good afternoon. this is the second time i've been honored to sit on this and both times the topic was veterans.
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time it was veterans of the iraq and afghanistan wars. called recent book was charlie mike which means continue the mission. about the veterans of those wars. to spendy interesting time with them as they have over the last four years. to spend time with veterans of my era. the vietnam war. the words were equally silly. time you guyssier head. they were all volunteers. ony of them volunteered
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september 12, 2001. units andover as quebec as units. alonenveterans went over and came back alone. because of the experience of vietnam veterans the doctors known all the posttraumatic stress disorders. it's not disorderly to respond to the experience of combat. having some troubles reintegrating into a society that knows nothing of combat. they treated each other differently. they are generation
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of volunteers. they've looked more recently organizations like team rubicon. disaster relief internationally and nationally. know thatrtant to when you see this horrifying statistic the 22 veterans of day commit suicide. which i had veterans of all wars and the majority of them are vietnam veterans. a long long way around us road back for the vietnam veterans. share the stage
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with these people. anybody walked points in redeeming this generation of making the public aware of them after so many people have forgotten the way they were treated when they came home it's jan. when you sell us how and why you did what you did. jan: after i returned from vietnam i spent a couple of years roaming around to getting into trouble i got a masters degree from american university while there i did research project on ptsd. testified in front of congress.
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that automatically makes you an expert on everything. i decided there should be a national vietnam veterans memorial. after seeing the deer hunter. my wife left at the notion. we all need a mental health day and i think you need a couple of weeks. i looked at the writings of carl young a student of sigmund freud. there are collective psychological states. the spiritual element to life.
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for this team wins the championship. the entire campus goes wild. i believe that people would have a belief that people give their lives for america should be remembered by having their name engraved. there was a theoretical basis for this entire thing. i started it. id not know what i was doing didn't article about my effort. when a $80 and raised two months. we needed a team. graduates of the harvard business school who would all served in vietnam hellbent to west point. a real band of brothers.
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they made a harvard business would put it all together theintroduce the bill footage from that was extraordinary. [applause] joe klein: we surprised by the emotional outpouring? no because the whole idea of seeing a name on a monument was always emotional. they're going to be tears shed. the designer of this memorial we have the largest architectural design competition in the
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history of western civilization to get this. the person who directed that is actually in our ordinance today. names notet's put the about political order .hronological order if you are in a certain battle in a certain battle you sealed these names they dined together. that takes the veteran back into the past and have some confront the drama and sometimes helps them recover. wrote my bookn i payback about vietnam veterans. find them through the army.
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these were veterans of a single unit and they completely lost touch with each other. you've been doing with these people for 40 years. you've probably bumped into more than a few iraq and afghanistan veterans. could you talk about the difference? the feelings of isolation? i like to correct something. i do not serve as a medic. i was a volunteer for three and a half years. they took linda swallow who was an army nurse and everything in vietnam. i think it is got messed up a little bit.
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now the lbj library. you guys are good. when you are young in your 17 years old. you think you're bulletproof. you're going to do things that maybe later on in your life you will regret although i don't regret this at all. i grew up very fast. learnedd to care and i iat was ok to say to somebody have posttraumatic stress. problem that's i can describe. ibuprofen will take care of it. i don't know what it is. is something wrong.
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my brothers when i came back to the united states, we all connected and looked each other up. we were about to admit that there was anything wrong or having flashbacks and nightmares. i said i can't sleep anymore. i keep waking up. it's not that i have been dreams is just that i can't sleep. he told me the same thing. thingang told the same
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they both die from agent orange. the last of my vietnam brothers who was still around. so living person left of that unit. that for some of you say i can't sleep and for years we if i pickedn touch up the phone and call them names like my gosh it was just yesterday that this happened. i'd never been apart for that many years. this is the way it was with us. homecoming was horrendous. lang thesefor john west point graduates who would of west point graduates. , his great great
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grandfather west point graduate. a long line of military families. all of these guys expected something more than what they got from the came home. it was very tough for them. my other friend came out of the cornfields of iowa. paradepected maybe not a that something with their family and the community. home theime they came sentiments had turned against the vietnam war. you have people who were protesting the war who said look i agree because i did too. but you hate war. you love the warrior. they didn't start the dam war. i don't get it. even today.
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you love the warrior. waydifferences between the the vietnam veteran was treated and now the iraqi afghanistan veterans are treated. it is like night and day. all you vietnam veterans in this room. you deserve to stand up and take a big bow because it was because of you. [applause] [applause] joe klein: any iraqi afghanistan veterans, you join them. one of the reasons i decided to write another book about veterans was because the experience was so different.
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hadof the great insights i as i spent the last four years interviewing more recent veterans. post-traumatic stress isn't only about the things that you saw and data over there. a good part of it is about being part of the family. the part of the community. having brothers and sisters. and then when you come home you come home all alone. about the people i wrote was a woman who was a gunnery sergeant. it was like her locker. she came home with a raging case
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of post-traumatic stress. the commanding officer and my military order specialty was to stay on cap couch. me especially in this new generation one of the things the rest of us can learn .s the importance of community you're telling his story before about how vietnam veterans have made these communities for themselves. stress is the loss of a sense of community. grace: whether it is your family or the small town where you lived. i work in a small town called concorde north carolina.
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just a little bit north of charlotte. i work at a place called the community free clinic. and you and who is poor, you can't afford it, you can come to the free clinic. it is free. we take no federal money or state money. we get donations and volunteers and that is how we do it. so we'vest 10 years or been taking care of more and more veterans. they haveeason is benefits but the closest da's too far away. they succumb to me and i'll take care of you. they don'tne is that always have the benefits. they don't know they happen. we try to help them through that
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process as well. the most interesting group of veterans i know who are my patients is a group of about 12 people know more than that. they literally without the woods. >> they literally live out in the woods. they have been out there for 40 years. say thatking and they they're fine. cukooguys know they are for cocoa puffs. v.a., whenent to the you have a mental illness, you are in pain. it is the physical pain that you feel.
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v.a.they would go to the and say they were in pain, they would get pain medication. what they needed was maybe a mood stabilizer but most importantly they need someone to listen and some talk to. these guys threw away their oxycontin. they don't use it anymore. this is their community, their family. they help each other out. we go out in the woods in the wintertime to make sure that they get what they need, especially medication. i have to tell you a funny story if i may.
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he sees these strange people and the house and says so who are these people? another time he comes home and there is a strange man in the yard, an elderly gentleman. he asks who's that? one of my vietnam veterans that paid me back by breaking big yard. this is the community that we the regardless of the fact, is that a terrible thing. to them, that was their home. that is their home, that is their community. if you are invited to come to your house, this is where
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would come, into their tent. they are proud of it. what was coming home like for you? home just a few days before the kent state of event. this friend took me to lunch from an attractive girl. is going i would never do out with these vietnam veteran guys. these are what these people do. i can't see myself, i would be afraid to go out with them. maybe telling people you are about -- be a good idea. that is where it started. is for the mene
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,nd women coming back from iraq what we did with the vietnam is saying werial can separate war from the warrior. use nuclearted to weapons in iran. i got to know them both very well. that made a message. we separated the war from the warrior. this is not going to happen to these people. the public did not support by and large the war in iraq. no one took it out on the veterans and that is what the anon veterans did. a lot of them were our kids.
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in --host: in terms of your generation of veterans, there were some that became activists. the vast majority went on to live their lives. developeotype began to a vietnam veterans as half crazy when they came home. it is a stereotype that has continued on to this generation of veterans. i would like both of you to talk about that stereotype. how real is it? a vietnam veteran invented. internet.
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>> if you look at some of the great entrepreneurs of this there are a lot of really successful people including people who have themselves struggled with ptsd. it does not have to destroy you. one of the great experts is sitting next to me. >> post-traumatic stress is why i got this lovely little dog care. the best way that i can tell whone of you guys out there has pts is to give back to your
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community. guilte have is survivor's . how can i lived and my friends died? it's survivor skills. giving back is my way of saying to all my friends who died and , it is my in my arms way of saying to them that i pay you this honor and respect. host: there are statistics that are beginning to show that that is an actual fact.
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he was a navy seal. he was blown up in iraq. --started walking towards the wards. , would hehe wounded want to do now? answer was iimous want to go back and join my unit. say after you , i want toervice become a teacher or firefighter. in the course of talking to these kids, erik came up with a killer sentence.
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he said, thank you for your service. we still need you. i live my life and regret that i didn't come up with that sentence. eric went on to start an that gaveon fellowships to wounded veterans. they have been at -- academic studies that show that helping wayrs is a really wonderful to treat posttraumatic stress. it actually works. the other thing i say is this. service is a very crucial form of
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democracy. were you drafted? >> i volunteered for the draft at age 18. they were looking for people like me. [laughter] gave me a 20ma year appointment. i'm actually the chairman of selective service. it is very important what you're talking about. everyone here has some degree of mental health. when of the worst things you can do is to -- for withdrawal is to live alone with the television. you have to engage with people.
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when you asked to give back to people, the universe will give it back to you. one thing i would point out to -- groupsm veterans that do international disaster continues they are now reaching out to vietnam veterans to be part and join up. it is really wonderful.
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when you see veterans getting together and organizing themselves the way military people, to help other the joy that they get out of it of civiliansment that don't know anything of the depreciation, the that did they get out of it is a remarkable thing. for me, the first thing that i acting as a group was vietnam veterans against the war. john kerry will be here later in the week. that there is an awful lot that the rest of us civilians can learn from
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veterans and to learn about being a citizen and community. i might recommend you that we start thinking more as a society. to being part of the coming cycle for young men and women. [applause] in countries and societies that are smaller than ours, everyone either has to go into the military or service, that is fantastic. at apent 18 months working mental hospital. everyone does have to give back. social cohesion that is missing.
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this awful presidential contest which i can't stand. you had to remind me. this is my vacation. to be up to come to detect -- texas to really appreciate it. >> you brought up and point. i agree, i believe that every single person when they turn 18 owes their country two years of service. if you want to the military, that's fine. whether it's public health, mental health, serving the community as a teacher. you own your country two years.
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bet way i think we can may that we are indeed the family of man and that we will make a better country and better world. people say america is the best country in the world. i say, not yet. we can get there. how about it? [applause] host: there are those who are still suffering.
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have you deal with them? people come to me as having written these books. how do we deal with these folks? there is a tremendous organization called given our made up of therapists that gave an hour of therapy each. veterans who are coming back from iraq and afghanistan. they don't know how to deal with that. civilians never ask and your generation was never asked because people thought the answer would be a lie.
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tell me what you did over there. what was it like? >> vietnam veterans really deserve a lot of respect. it was a very difficult war to fight in. it was always hot over there. the vietnamese, the viet cong. they know. the draft supplied a lot of people. the --people were at drafted to fight in vietnam. out of the 58,000, you're correct.
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there was an average of 20 people killed today. we cannot put up with that right now. on in iraqars going and afghanistan. you can say my kids are not going to get drafted. it is important to remember how difficult it was and how they .owered the standards it was atrocities that so many of them would get killed in combat because they didn't know what to do. it is harder to get in the army now than it is community college. what we're talking about here is something that is prideful and
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essential. host: there is a book by william mcneill that is called a lovely title. it is called keeping together in time. the history. that at the dawn if you wantedn, to get out and get some meat for dinner. the chances were that you would be the lines dinner. over time, the habit grew of young men doing the killed the lion dance together. that gave them a much better chance of coming home with some
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protein. was -- isnct into young men. we are trying to get by these without having any coming-of-age ritual at all for young men. many of them join gangs and fraternities. that is what you have. i do believe an essential part of the honor that is owed to the is the honorietnam that as terrible as it was and as unfair as it was, they fulfilled their
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humanity and their citizenship in a way that people who scorned them never did. [applause] know he is in the audience. if you were wounded on a battlefield in vietnam, which i was. i love the way you say that for the last five minutes. if you're an american soldier. people will give their lives for you. that is what i saw in vietnam. i am very proud of those guys.
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[applause] >> but it's tough to follow up. what we are veterans in iraq and --hanistan is what we know how do we do it? and the way inic found the best way to honor them is to listen. a lot of times they don't want to talk to you but they want you to sit there. let them talk to you. meanslking to them absolutely nothing. pointave to get to a
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where we can listen to you. yes, i am ready to listen to you today but yesterday i was in. listen, be there. respect that and you will be doing so much more than any psychiatrist could do. >> i want to close this with a story about a veteran who share the stage with me the last time i was here. i think the thing that infuriates me most as a .ournalist and as a citizen
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the public senses that veterans are victims. have internalized this. some of you vietnam veterans. people won't a veteran on their resumes as they think it will be harder to get hired. he graduated from harvard. before 9/11, a dual degree in physics and philosophy. announcehe occasion to
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that he was joining the marines. new england liberal stock. the boston globe the next day that he would only just just --e disappointed if he had been joining a life of crime. >> do you still believe that what you did was right? he says absolutely. iraq.ved four tors in and he decided to run for congress up in boston. i don't know how many of you have seen the movie spotlight but the guy who was the hero of spotlight, walter robinson.
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he looked at work veterans who ran for congress. many of them exaggerated their records. about a month before the election, he found out that walter robinson was investigating set. and there was going to be a story coming out and that story came out two weeks before the election. thisr robinson discovered unbelievable thing, that he had received two bronze stars and and maybe action metal. he had never told anybody including his parents. and robinson asked why he had never told anyone. military he joined the
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that it was his duty as a citizen. against the war in iraq but i figured my job there was to get my guys through and i did not succeed in that. what is there to brag about? experience, that is what a veteran is. i won't use the word hero because they hate it when you do. these are people who we need to learn from. and i hope as we move along we
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in the way that you do every day. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> i love american history tv. i had no idea that they did history. with american history tv, it gives you that perspective. this weekend on the presidency, we talk about dwight d eisenhower's mentoring of ronald
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reagan. here is a preview. followed ike'sn advice. , thatheme of common sense was his actual campaign theme. eisenhower admitted he had been studying reagan but did not view him as an extreme right-winger. he actually ended up advising reagan in emphasizing northern california as his campaign for the governorship. and also twice eisenhower helped ronald reagan fight false charges. ronald reagan on speech delivery.
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eisenhower actually critique some of his speeches and reagan then thanked him. you should seek out independents and democrats. >> watch the entire lecture on sunday. here on american history tv, only on c-span3. america, 40eal years ago in the wake of watergate the united states senate created a commission to look into the u.s. intelligence service. it is known as the senate select committee. it is best done as the church committee. the committee met for 60 months reviewing more than 10,000 documents


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