Skip to comments.General Petraeus Speech
Posted on 11/14/2012 4:36:12 PM PST by Retain Mike
Thanks to my fellow veterans:
I remember the day I found out I got into West Point. My mom actually showed up in the hallway of my high school and waited for me to get out of class. She was bawling her eyes out and apologizing that she had opened up my admission letter. She wasn't crying because it had been her dream for me to go there. She was crying because she knew how hard I'd worked to get in, how much I wanted to attend, and how much I wanted to be an infantry officer. I was going to get that opportunity. That same day two of my teachers took me aside and essentially told me The following:
David, you're a smart guy. You don't have to join the military. You should go to college, instead.
I could easily write a theme defending WestPoint and the military as I did that day, explaining that USMA is an elite institution, that separate from that it is actually statistically much harder to enlist in the military than it is to get admitted to college, that serving the nation is a challenge that all able-bodied men should at least consider for a host of reasons, but I won't.
What I will say is that when a 16 year-old kid is being told that attending West Point is going to be bad for his future then there is a dangerous disconnect in America, and entirely too many Americans have no idea what kind of burdens our military is bearing.
In World War II, 11.2% of the nation served in four (4) years. During the Vietnam era, 4.3% served in twelve (12) years. Since 2001, only 0.45% of our population has served in the Global War on Terror. These are unbelievable statistics. Overtime, fewer and fewer people have shouldered more and more of the burden and it is only getting worse. Our troops were sent to war in Iraq by a Congress consisting of 10% veterans with only one person having a child in the military. Taxes did not increase to pay for the war. War bonds were not sold. Gas was not regulated. In fact, the average citizen was asked to sacrifice nothing, and has sacrificed nothing unless they have chosen to out of the goodness of their hearts. The only people who have sacrificed are the veterans and their families. The volunteers. The people who swore an oath to defend this nation.
You stand there, deployment after deployment and fight on. You've lost relationships, spent years of your lives in extreme conditions, years apart from kids you'll never get back, and beaten your body in a way that even professional athletes don't understand. Then you come home to a nation that doesn't understand. They don't understand suffering.
They don't understand sacrifice. They don't understand why we fight for them. They don't understand that bad people exist. They look at you like you're a machine - like something is wrong with you. You are the misguided one - not them.
When you get out, you sit in the college classrooms with political science teachers that discount your opinions on Iraq and Afghanistan because YOU WERE THERE and can't understand the macro issues they gathered from books, because of your bias. You watch TV shows where every vet has PTSD and the violent strain at that. Your Congress is debating your benefits, your retirement, and your pay, while they ask you to do more. But the amazing thing about you is that you all know this. You know your country will never pay back what you've given up.
You know that the populace at large will never truly understand or appreciate what you have done for them. Hell, you know that in some circles, you will be thought as less than normal for having worn the uniform
Just that decision alone makes you part of an elite group. Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few. -Winston Churchill- Thank you to the 11.2% and 4.3% who have served and thanks to the 0.45% who continue to serve our Nation.
General David Petraeus West Point Class 1974
The article points out the severe disconnect now existing between veterans and the general citizenry. At the end of World War II, when 11 out of every 100 citizens had served, every day involved many encounters with veterans and families of veterans. That contrasts sharply with less than 1 in 200 currently. Also, according to Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America only 7 out of every 1,000 have served in those theaters of operation.
Our civilians live among unfathomable luxuries compared to people of other countries. Too often they regard with indifference, and/or bewilderment, and/or disgust those choosing honor, duty, and sacrifice with the attendant consequences. If you think disgust is over the line try reading Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment at the link below. Homeland Security had to withdraw the document, because it profiled all veterans as potential Timothy McVeighs.
That brings me to the final article I linked to, which I think is one of the best I have seen on PTSD. Dr. Hoge says laymen and professionals too often label as a disorder the adaptive skills taught or learned through experience to meet the extreme challenges of combat and non-combat military experiences. For example, high situational awareness which is vital to finding clues that signal an enemy threat can be labeled hypervigilance at home. Instantaneous recall of prior violent encounters provides keys to recognizing future dangers, but is labeled flashbacks at home. Chaotic sleep cycles caused by continuous night operations, or watch rotations during extended deployments disrupt normal sleep cycles. Rigorous mission rehearsal and attention to detail (involving checking and rechecking everything mission related) contributes to re-experiencing symptoms, intolerance of mistakes, or shouldve wouldve couldve type thinking back home.
Dr. Hoge says these and other behaviors and skills that were imperative to survival and success need to be dialed back after the return home. You cannot restart the human being like a computer, so the transition can take years. However, at home veterans do not encounter the encompassing love and understanding of their grandparents generation who all in one way or another experienced the war. Dr. Hoge says, I cant say enough about the value of showing gratitude and appreciation for the people in your life who you love. So we should probably regard the warrior returning home as dealing with PTS, and reserve the D for the mental disorder of the civilians who cant or wont interact positively with veterans.
General Petraeus Speech http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?p=9312529#post9312529
Snoops Incorrect Attribution http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/045percent.asp
U.S. Veterans of World War II http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surviving_U.S._veterans_of_World_War_II
What was US population in 1945? http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_was_US_population_in_1945
Department of Veterans Affairs: Veteran Period of Service Statistics at a Glance http://www.va.gov/vetdata/docs/quickfacts/Homepage-slideshow.pdf
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America http://iava.org/about
U.S. Population 2012: Nearly 313 Million People http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/robert-schlesinger/2011/12/30/us-population-2012-nearly-313-million-people
Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment. http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/rightwing.pdf
The Paradox of PTSD http://digitaledition.qwinc.com/article/The+Paradox+Of+PTSD/835300/0/article.html
For example check this out...
I could easily write a theme defending WestPoint and the military as I did that day, explaining that USMA is an elite institution, that separate from that it is actually statistically much harder to enlist in the military than it is to get admitted to college, that serving the nation is a challenge that all able-bodied men should at least consider for a host of reasons, but I won't.Petraeus grew up in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York (about 4 miles from West Point--a national merit scholar and local newspaper delivery boy)...he knew all about West Point (and so did his mom).
Petraeus was wounded during a training accident (NOT COMBAT) and rushed to Nashville,TN. DR. BILL FRIST saved this narcissistic pal of Obama’s life. Imagine getting Bill Frist as your MD at an ER? Who the heck did he know? He should honor Bill Frist the rest of his life as I honor and thank those from the 93rd Evac Hosp in Tuy Hoa who saved my life after two GSW’s.
My letters only promise $5 trillion if I send $100 to a PO Box in Nigeria.
I am glad you made it home Lumper.Thank you for your service to our once great nation.
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