Sunday, April 25, 2010

Fort Carson WTU WTF?, Pope Benedict Brand Condoms

P J O'Rourke
Mark Hyman MD

"America has made the mistake of letting the A student run things. It was A students who briefly took over the business world during the period of derivatives, credit swaps, and collateralized debt obligations. We’re still reeling from the effects." - P J O' Rourke
"Jan has always been a tough cookie and very partisan. I think what led her to this decision on the immigration bill was political, cold calculation. She felt the Hispanic community would not matter." - Mary Wilcox
T"Here's some depressing recent medical news: Antidepressants don't work. What's even more depressing is that the pharmaceutical industry and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have deliberately deceived us into believing that they DO work. As a physician, this is frightening to me. Depression is among the most common problems seen in primary-care medicine and soon will be the second leading cause of disability in this country." - Mark Hyman MD
The Federal Reserve reported that it turned over $474.4 billion in surpluses to the US Treasury. It seems that the financial crisis and bailing out all of those banks ended up being great business for the Fed. I plan on going to all of the more conservative blog sites in Colorado and posting this factoid. It's turning out that all of the complaints they had about the bailouts are wrong, and the correct actions were taken.
The five biggest banks in the US reported a total of $17 billion in profits for the first quarter of 2010.

Unfortunately, this doesn't translate well as it trickles down to "Main Street." People are still foreclosing on their mortgages, the banks are ending the programs they created to help the owners get by, businesses are still laying folks off from their jobs (41 last week at my brother-in-law's workplace), and next year many cities and possibly a few states will be bankrupt.

The beautiful city where I live is no exception. The lawns and plants in the parks are dying, and it will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to eventually replant. City workers are being laid off, police are being laid off, and they are even having trouble finding asphalt to fill in the potholes that blossom every Spring. The quick expansions and contractions of the tarmac when the weather swings over 40 degrees in a day, and the bad habit of throwing a few shovelfulls of hot asphalt into the resulting potholes only ends up making things worse each succeeding year. Much like what our local Army Base does to the soldiers who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan with physical and emotional problems.

In fact, Fort Carson made the front page of the NY Times.: "Created in the wake of the scandal in 2007 over serious shortcomings at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Warrior Transition Units were intended to be sheltering way stations where injured soldiers could recuperate and return to duty or gently process out of the Army. There are currently about 7,200 soldiers at 32 transition units across the Army, with about 465 soldiers at Fort Carson’s unit.

But interviews with more than a dozen soldiers and health care professionals from Fort Carson’s transition unit, along with reports from other posts, suggest that the units are far from being restful sanctuaries. For many soldiers, they have become warehouses of despair, where damaged men and women are kept out of sight, fed a diet of powerful prescription pills and treated harshly by noncommissioned officers. Because of their wounds, soldiers in Warrior Transition Units are particularly vulnerable to depression and addiction, but many soldiers from Fort Carson’s unit say their treatment there has made their suffering worse."

The Army tries to deny responsibility for any problems that soldiers experience during war. Look how long it took for them to be dragged kicking and screaming up to the mirror, and they had to admit that there was such a thing as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or shell shock, as it used to be known. The current experiment, lamely called the Warrier Transition Unit, is failing. It's failing because it refuses to man up and address the situation head-on, and over-medicates instead of providing the right personnel to help the individuals involved. As a result, Fort Carson has the highest suicide rate, and our community of Colorado Springs has the higghest homicide rate committed by soldiers and ex=soldiers. I guess we're supporting our troops by being fodder for their homicidal fantasies.
"For many soldiers, they have become warehouses of despair, where damaged men and women are kept out of sight, fed a diet of powerful prescription pills and treated harshly by noncommissioned officers... At Fort Carson, many soldiers complained that doctors prescribed drugs too readily. As a result, some soldiers have become addicted to their medications or have turned to heroin. Medications are so abundant that some soldiers in the unit openly deal, buy or swap prescription pills."
“These kids change their medication like they change their underwear, they can’t even remember which pills they’re taking.”
Because the soldiers are coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan, they bring heroin with them. It may be easier to obtain heroin on the Army base than it is downtown. This is another problem that is largely ignored by the Army brass and bigwigs.
“We’re all on sleep meds, anxiety meds, pain meds. The heroin is all that, wrapped into one.”
Since 2007, the Warrior Transition Units have treated over 50,000 people. That's potentially 50,000 soldiers they have failed. And if it's true that antidepressants really don't work, they just mask the problem, then we have a major problem. Millions of people now take antidepressants on a daily basis, from medicated children up to lonely 90 year old grandmothers, all drugged out and typing on keyboards, using their computers in lieu of any real, human connections. It really is a brave, new world we have created, and this is the mess we have at home, it is much, much worse what we leave behind in the hot desert sand...

gop hopefuls...
I know that you will be disappointed to know that Scott Brown will not be running as a Republican candidate for President come 2012. So far everyone else has been coy, out dancing by themselves before announcing anything final, but Tim Pawlenty, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, and Mit Romney have shelled out over $600,000 to make web sites.: "The online competition has taken a variety of forms. Palin has hired the two young founders of a fan site that zealously defends her honor and upbraids her critics. Pawlenty has hired online consultants from the 2008 presidential campaigns of Romney and Ron Paul. Gingrich has developed a sophisticated in-house micro-targeting operation. And Huckabee has deployed volunteers to man social networks.

And, though each potential candidate insists the efforts – online and otherwise – are intended to boost conservatives headed into the 2010 midterm elections, their web operations suggest a keen awareness of the Internet’s importance for organizing, messaging and raising money – and certainly could help lay the groundwork for their own prospective bids in 2012."

Remember, there are some places where free elections don't occur:

takin' a poke at the pope...
Some wags in the British Foreign Office were goofing around and created a memo on what kinds of activities they could provide for the Pope's next visit to Britain this September. Then, it was mistakenly put into a press kit and released.

Among the highlights were the suggestions that the Pope could distribute "Benedict" brand condoms, open an abortion clinic, and bless a gay marriage... Oh, those wacky, fun-loving Brits!

The person responsible was given some time off, and the BBC gave out some more of the memo, in all of its stodgy glory: "It suggested Benedict XVI could show his hard line on the sensitive issue of child abuse allegations against Roman Catholic priests by "sacking dodgy bishops" and launching a helpline for abused children.
The document went on to propose the Pope could apologise for the Spanish Armada or sing a song with the Queen for charity.
It listed "positive" public figures who could be made part of the Pope's visit, including former Prime Minister Tony Blair and 2009 Britain's Got Talent runner-up Susan Boyle, and those considered "negative", such as Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney and prominent atheist Richard Dawkins." Got all that? Have a blessed Sunday...


  1. Interested in your views on the WTU at Ft. Carson. My son is stationed there (I live in CS). He has attempted suicide and I have been fighting his chain of command for access to assist with his care. Finally took matters into my own hands. There is so much BS going on out there that I am positive that the complaints of the soldiers at the WTU are valid. I decided to start from the top down this week and if I don't get a response by end of week from the GC or CSM I am calling every media outlet in town as well as my congressman's office. I used to work at Carson (I'm a nurse) and I know how much BS they spread and what little help they actually are.

  2. Hello Kathy,

    Thanks for your comments although your story is breaking my heart. Both the CS Gazette and CS Independent have written articles on this subject before, and I'll bet that they would be receptive to your story. Also, try my link to the story in the NY Times, and contact the writer who did the story on Ft Carson and ask if he's interested in a follow-up piece.

    Since you are a nurse, you know when your son needs access to hospitalization if he is in critical condition. The problems with most meds for psychiatry is that once you stop taking them the symptoms come back even worse during the time they are still in your system, so doctors keep the prescription up for much longer than is usually needed. Make sure that the therapy he receives works with all aspects of the trauma, on a physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual level. A support network of family, friends, and fellow soldiers who went through the same hell as he did, where he can open up and tell the worst stories is essential.

    I studied tai chi and meditation for many years. For men, they would get to a certain level of achievement, and when it came time to look at the dark part of themselves, most quit. There are tools in learning meditation that helps you look at these experiences without judging them so that the crippling ties to the mind and soul can be cut and the experience can be let go. Otherwise, the experience keeps coming back, and the pain, guilt, and fear associated with it overwhelms you, which is when your son tries to end it by suicide. There is no easy way to heal, it takes an incredible strength of will and courage, so make sure that the therapy process doesn't belittle him and make him weaker when he needs just the opposite.

    I'd love to hear how everything comes out, good luck and God's grace be with you. I'm sure that your feisty, fighting spirit will get those dumbasses to take notice, and your son will get the help he needs.

  3. As someone who worked at the Fort Carson WTU I will just say don't believe everything you read or hear. Of course the NY Times wants a juicy story. All it takes is one or two discharged soldiers who weren't happy with their care to go to the press afterwards and voila--instantly the WTU is declared a failure. Of course they don't print anything about the THOUSANDS of positive outcomes. They also don't print the caregiver's side of the story, which is QUITE different. I wish I were at liberty to use names because believe me I could tell you some stories that would make your head spin, but obviously I will protect the privacy of the soldiers. Just remember, there are two sides to every story.

  4. Hello Anonymous,

    Yeah, I bet that working for Fort Carson and trying to help vets, you have absorbed a lot of stories both good and bad. I'm assuming you work as a therapist, and it's a profession I have nothing but respect for. If you ever get fired or change jobs, I hope that you do get to tell your side, it should be just as fascinating.

    At times I've worked on the peripheries of trying to help alcoholics, heroin addicts, and a lot of homeless people, gone mad myself a time or two. Thanks to an accident 10 years ago, I have been in pain 24/7, but I have seen so many people worse off. So much of trying to help others is a thankless task, you have to have deeper justifications than a weekly paycheck. I hope you have found a way to recharge your batteries, keep the faith...

  5. My son is in the WTU at Fort Carson and has had 2 suicide attempts, both nearly fatal. In April he was sent to Haven to recover, but was still extremely depressed when he was relaesed. He, as well as others, asked them repeatedly not to release him, but they did anyway. At this moment my son is laying in ICU at Evans with kidney damage from an overdose. He is withering in pain from an injury to his side and can't be given pain meds to keep his pain to a minimum. He was found alone in his room curled up in a fetal position on Sunday morning. Thank god for his seargent checking on him, or he would be dead. I have heard rumors that they may try to discharge him dishonerably. If that happens let me just say, there will be more stories in the news about Fort Carson. I will not stay silent if they wash their hands of my son. How can someone be awarded a purple heart and then kicked out of the army because he became suicidal and tried to take his own life. That's what severely depressed people do! BTW, I've spent time with my son in the WTU, talk about depressing!

  6. Unless you have signed an agreement not to talk, you should be shouting to the rafters for help. Fort Carson needs an ombudsman who can intervene in emergency cases such as yours. The last thing we need is to see our loved ones in pain. Even worse if he should commit suicide because our children should survive us. I watched my father work through his emotions after my brother committed suicide by an overdose of his meds... Yeah, when the armed forces don't know what to do with you they try to discharge and abandon you, I've seen it happen to too many friends who were Vietnam vets. The only way the Army will change its policy is if it's publicly humiliated. Good luck and may god bless you and your son.

  7. the whole system is smoke and mirrors to hide the broken soldiers from the rest of the fighting army to keep fighting morale up.and to show broken soldiers to the rest of the world to prove we are still staying positive despite what has happened to us its like we are poster boys to everyone... then behind closed doors the fun begins....alot of us in the WTU system are abused verbally by our NCO's... these stories are true while anonymous is telling the truth that there are positive outcomes, there are far too many negative ones that outweigh it like the focus of the WTU is transition for those of us that are not able to be soldiers any longer is college... what about the vast number of us that have severe TBI/PTSD and cannot functionally attend college, our intelligence is intact but we have zero memory function, they treat us as if we are intentionally avoiding college and thereby treat us worse and worse as time goes on they offer things that we cannot use 100 mile bike rides to people who it hurts to walk 300 meters and every time you "decline" they more and more label us soldiers with bad attitudes and we often times do have bad attitudes due to our issues such as brain injuries TBI/PTSD depression runs rampant through our small WTU and the cadre who should be supportive aren't and they use their position that should be used to care for us to push us around and treat us with indignity and disrespect which is an evil cycle that drives us deeper into our ptsd depression which looking at it from our perspective is like they are trying to make things harder on us, the announced goals of the wtu are not the goals that we see inside the wtu yes we do the triads yes we do the weekly assessments (for which just today i was yelled at for giving an improper/truthful answer) and as it stands now i will be kicked out of my unit for my inability to be a soldier but i thought the wtu was for soldiers who were nonfunctional? but if your too messed up or inconvenient they make you someone else's problem what is that supposed to do for your morale? So many of us want out more than life itself but they will not let us out they threaten us with everything under the sun to keep us in line except the one thing they should....HELP


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