Thursday, May 18, 2006

6:30 am thursday may 18th

the courant story on the mental health of our troops appeared to kick some butts into action

one of which was our OWN liebs. hey liebs instead of just asking for a federal investigation of the screening of our troop's mental health, how about BRINGING THEM ALL HOME FROM IRAQ? how about asking your good bud, your peep, king george why he LIED? huh? how about it? you serve the people of connecticut - let me speak for the people of connecticut BRING OUR MEN AND WOMEN HOME NOW

Use Of Unfit Troops Blasted Senators Criticize Military Practices
By MATTHEW KAUFFMAN And LISA CHEDEKEL Courant Staff Writers May 18 2006
U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman called Wednesday for a federal investigation of mental health screening for troops deploying to Iraq, after The Courant reported in a series that mentally ill service members are being sent to war and kept there, sometimes with tragic consequences.Also Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld expressing "disgust" at a revelation in the series that the military was sending troops with post-traumatic stress disorder back into combat."You cannot simply have doctors prescribe psychiatric drugs such as Zoloft and send these men and women back to a combat zone," Boxer wrote. "No matter what the Defense Department's recruiting shortfalls, it is absolutely immoral to send soldiers who have been diagnosed as suffering from PTSD back into a combat zone."Lieberman, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, sent letters Wednesday to the Government Accountability Office and the inspector general of the Defense Department, asking each agency to investigate the military's pre-deployment screening practices. Lieberman said he was particularly concerned by The Courant's finding that among troops who indicated a possible mental health problem, only 6.5 percent were referred to a mental health specialist before they were deemed deployable."Clearly, our soldiers are experiencing unusually high levels of stress," Lieberman wrote in his letter to the inspector general, "but if the military is doing an inadequate job of assessing the severity of mental health problems in those deploying, and then placing them in further danger, their lives are [at] greater risk." Lieberman, D-Conn., said Wednesday that he was also "exploring legislative options" to improve mental health screening for troops, which consists of one question on a self-reported questionnaire. "We put our faith in the men and women of our armed services to protect us every day; they should expect and deserve to have the same faith in us," Lieberman said. The Courant's investigation, he added, "reveals that the deployment system's faulty implementation of mental health screening has betrayed the trust of our soldiers and their families. This is unacceptable and inexcusable.".........

(oh and once again, i must congratulate the courant and the reporters who covered this story. VERY well done and i personally thank you)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

ned lamont is gaining

and liebs is running scared (as he should be). ned lamont IS MY CHOICE TOO

Lamont wins women's group backing in race against Lieberman
By Stephen Singer, Associated Press Writer May 16, 2006
HARTFORD, Conn. --A women's political action group on Tuesday endorsed Democrat Ned Lamont in his bid to seize the Democratic Party's Senate nomination from Sen. Joe Lieberman.
The National Organization for Women Political Action Committee said the Greenwich businessman would go farther than the three-term incumbent to keep President Bush's nominees off the U.S. Supreme Court. NOW also rapped Lieberman for what it said was his failure to do more to help rape victims get immediate access to emergency contraception.
"There were a number of reasons they endorsed my candidacy today and I appreciate it," Lamont said.
Melody Drnach, a vice president of NOW, said her group believed Lieberman should have backed a threatened filibuster against the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito earlier this year.
Lieberman voted against the nomination and the filibuster. He is a member of the so-called "Gang of 14," a bipartisan group of senators who oppose filibusters unless there are "extraordinary" circumstances.
"We certainly feel that Ned Lamont's approach to the full range of women's rights.........

the last part of the courant's story on the mental health of our troops

5-YEAR-OLD Alexis McCabe in April holds flags planted at the gravesite of her mother. Army Pfc. Melissa Hobart, an East Haven native, who collapsed and died in June 2004 while on guard duty in Iraq. Hobart had been prescribed Celexa to ease the anxiety of being separated from her young daughter while in Baghdad. Her cause of death, the military says, is still undetermined.
(Mark Mirko)
May. 16, 2006

once again, cudos to the courant and the reporters who investigated this story. amazing! thank you for bringing it to our attention

Still Suffering, But Redeployed They have post-traumatic stress and other combat-related disorders. So what are they doing back in battle?

Story By LISA CHEDEKEL PHOTOS By Mark Mirko The Hartford Courant May 17 2006

Eight months ago, Staff Sgt. Bryce Syverson was damaged goods, so unsteady that doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center wouldn't let him wear socks or a belt.Syverson, 27, had landed in the psychiatric unit at Walter Reed after a breakdown that doctors traced to his 15-month tour in Iraq as a gunner on a Bradley tank. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, and was put on a suicide watch and antidepressants, according to his family.Today, Syverson is back in the combat zone, part of a quick-reaction force in Kuwait that could be summoned to Iraq at any time. He got his deployment orders after being told he wasn't fit for duty.He got his gun back after being told he was too unstable to carry a weapon.But he hasn't quite managed to get his bearings."Nearly died on a PT test out here on a nice and really mild night because of the medication that I am taking," he wrote in a recent e-mail to his parents and brothers. "Head about to explode from the blood swelling inside, the [lightning] storm that happened in my head, the blurred vision, confusion, dizziness and a whole lot more. Not the best feeling in the entire world to have after being here for two days ... "And I ask myself what the F*** am I doing here?".....

that's what i want to know, WHAT THE EFF IS he doing with a gun and being deployed????????

ANN AND JAMES GUY visit the grave in Arlington National Cemetery of their son, Marine Pfc. Bobby Guy, on the first anniversary of the Marine's death, on April 21. The Guys did not find out until two months after his death, in a telephone conversation Ann had with a Marine official, that Bobby had committed suicide.
(Mark Mirko)
May. 16, 2006

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

part iii of the hartford courant story on mental health in the military

there will be one more day of reports on this subject from the courant. i think they did an incredible AND excellent job on this story (stories actually). bravo to the reporters who worked on this!

Health Chief Responds
Assistant Secretary Of Defense: `Comprehensive Process' Determines Fitness

Assistant Secretary Of Defense: `Comprehensive Process' Determines Fitness

And MATTHEW KAUFFMAN Courant Staff Writers

May 16 2006

The Defense Department's top health official and the Army Surgeon General on Monday defended the military's screening and treatment of mentally troubled troops, saying the mental health of service members is a top priority for the Armed Forces.

Responding to a series of articles in The Courant, Dr. William Winkenwerder Jr., assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, said he was satisfied that troops with serious mental illnesses are not being deployed to Iraq, and service members who develop mental problems in the war zone are receiving appropriate care.

"Our policy and our practice is to ensure that every deploying service member is fit, both physically and mentally," he said. "We have a very comprehensive process to do this.".........

Amid Patriotism, Anger And Questions

The Hartford Courant

May 16 2006

WILLARDS, Md. -- Just off the two-lane main street of this southern Maryland town, a couple doors shy of the big lumber mill that rumbles all day like thunder, Ann and Jim Guy's modest dwelling is the picture of a patriotic American home.

Out front, atop a tall white pole that dominates the postage-stamp yard, a scarlet and gold Marine Corps flag flutters in the wind, bearing the essence of the elite fighting force: eagle, globe, anchor and the venerable motto "Semper Fidelis."

Inside the house, that iconic emblem is stitched into quilts and pillows, engraved into picture frames, and printed on the only coffee mug Ann will put her lips to. "My son," the mug proclaims. "One of the few, the proud." The same Marine emblem adorns the gold ring on Jim's finger, the buckle on his belt, the watch on his wrist, the cap on his head.

And in the small living room, just above the piano laden with yet more Marine mementos, is the emotional epicenter of this home - an oversize portrait of Pfc. Robert Allen Guy in his Marine dress blues - his jaw rigid, his eyes determined.

It is a recruiting brochure fantasy of a proud, faithful military family.

But that family doesn't live here anymore.

They began to vanish at 4:15 p.m. on April 22, 2005, the precise moment Ann pulled open her front door, looked up from her wheelchair and found a somber trio of men in uniform staring back at her............

Potent Mixture: Zoloft & A Rifle

The military told Congress that medications aren't used to keep soldiers with serious mental illness in combat. But a Courant investigation reveals that drugs are increasingly being handed out.

The Hartford Courant

May 16 2006

When Army Sgt. 1st Class Mark C. Warren was diagnosed with depression soon after his deployment to Iraq, a military doctor handed him a supply of the mood-altering drug Effexor.

Marine Pfc. Robert Allen Guy was given Zoloft to relieve the depression he developed in Iraq.

And Army Pfc. Melissa Hobart was dutifully taking the Celexa she was prescribed to ease the anxiety of being separated from her young daughter while in Baghdad.

All three were given antidepressants to help them make it through their tours of duty in Iraq - and all came home in coffins.

Warren, 44, and Guy, 26, committed suicide last year, according to the military; Hobart, 22, collapsed in June 2004, of a still-undetermined cause.

The three are among a growing number of mentally troubled service members who are being kept in combat and treated with potent psychotropic medications - a little-examined practice driven in part by a need to maintain troop strength.

Interviews with troops, families and medical experts, as well as autopsy and investigative reports obtained by The Courant, reveal that the emphasis on retention has had dangerous, and sometimes tragic, consequences............

part ii in the courant story about the mental health of our service people


A Courant investigation has found that less than 1 percent of deploying troops receive an evaluation from a mental health professional, even though the military admits that more than 9 percent have a serious psychological illness.
The Hartford CourantMay 15 2006
In the 17 months after their son, Eddie, announced he was heading off to fight the war on terror, Margaret and Edward Brabazon of Bensalem, Pa., had held their breath.They were accustomed to holding their breath with the boy they had taken in as a foster child at age 3 and adopted at 12 - the boy who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and attention-deficit disorder by the time he was 10, and who had spent his early teenage years in a psychiatric hospital and group homes for the emotionally disturbed.They watched with bewildered pride as the young man they had affectionately nicknamed "Crazy Eddie" was handed a uniform and an M-4 rifle and accepted into an elite fraternity - the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment based at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Although Margaret protested, the 18-year-old soldier also had informed his parents that he had stopped taking his psychotropic medications because he "wanted to be like everyone else," Margaret recalled."We were surprised they took him, with the kind of mental problems he had, but we figured the Army must know what they're doing," Margaret said. "We didn't think they'd send him into combat."Today, the Brabazons regret those assumptions..........

Sunday, May 14, 2006

some GOOD news about a connecticut marine in iraq

on this mother's day, (well EVERY DAY) let's send our thoughts and prayers out to all of the men and women who are deployed in the middle east (and everywhere else too, what the heck!)

Hard Hat, Hard Head, Marine Saved Sniper Bullet Pierces Helmet Of Local Man Fighting In Iraq

By RACHANA RATHI, Courant Staff Writer

WESTBROOK -- A helmet was all that stood between a sniper's bullet and Marine Pfc. Fred Mitchell Linck's forehead. As it turned out, it was all he needed.
The armored helmet took the brunt of the May 5 shot, enabling Linck to casually mention the shooting in an e-mail from Iraq last week to friends and family."Things here are going decently," the e-mail read. "But I have some news for you all. I was shot in the head about two days ago..."I got some stitches, but will have a pretty big scar and a Purple Heart. ... Thank you for your love and prayers. Mitch."..............

ravings of a semi-sane madwoman: this from the hartford courant

ravings of a semi-sane madwoman: this from the hartford courant#links