Michael's Dispatches

Sergeant Godsmack vs. Nazar

Panjway-US-forces-8545cc1000

27 March 2012

PTSD is a serious problem.  Suicides by veterans happen many times per day, every day.  At best, PTSD can degrade the quality of life of veterans and their families.  At worst, unmanaged, the human toll is incalculable.

Other problems with “military PTSD:”

1) PTSD for profit: Disability payments.  Profiteers learn the symptoms, mimic, and then get paid, often for life.  Most symptoms are self-reported, in response to interview questions by military or Veterans Administration (VA) professionals.  Chaplains also serve as a resource.  The PTSD mockingbirds, the fakes, often sing to chaplains, to establish a precedent for later favorable diagnosis.

2) Dueling Scar PTSD: Long before the recent wars, many people “suffered” from PTSD as if it were a dueling scar. “PTSD” was evidence that they had “been there.”  Rambo had “PTSD,” and wannabes needed it, too.

Dueling-Scar-SKORZENY-1000Dueling scar

Dueling scars were fashionable early in the last century in places like Germany and Austria.  Many were real, the result of genuine duels, or academic duels.  The cult of the scar was so compelling that a market emerged for anti-cosmetic surgery to create them.  Stuffing scars with horsehair made them even more disfiguring.  Dueling scars were supposed to be seen. Everybody knows that chicks dig scars.

A psychologist at a VA facility who treats PTSD reviewed this dispatch and commented, “You can also see this in VA hospitals where some veterans seemingly embrace the PTSD diagnosis (legitimate or self-diagnosed…) like being part of an elite club. There is overlap with the service compensation seekers but there is an identity factor independent of secondary gain that seems to drive certain individuals.”

3) PTSD as justification/excuse/alibi: “Yes, your honor, I beat my wife. And I wrecked my car with a bottle of whiskey in my gut. I have PTSD.” “What did you do in the Army?” “I was a cook.” “Were you in combat?” “The sirens from the rocket attacks still ring in my head.”

4) PTSD as Negative Brand: Nobody wants this. True case: a war correspondent wrote that two generals needed to be fired. In order to squelch bad press, or to make sense of unpleasant assertions, many people said (accused, really) that the writer had “PTSD.”  They said that he had “been in war zones for too long,” and that he was “crazy.”  (But then both generals were fired). The false branding was a handy tool to discredit an unwelcome messenger. Unfortunately, there is a persistent negative bias against soldiers, or anyone, really, who has PTSD.  This is the scar that chicks do not dig.

Veterans with authentic PTSD know about shunning. Those with legitimate diagnoses often display opposite behavior from the Dueling Scar crowd: they try to conceal their honorable wounds. Their symptoms are not what they wish to flaunt, but what many times they cannot hide.  Their memories are not what they want to remember, but what they cannot forget.

20120208- 10D8189cc-1000-2Man in Bangladesh who was attacked by a tiger in late 2011. He never smiled during our conversation.

For some people, one serious bomb or firefight overfills their cup.  They actually seem to crack. It is like they snap. One day they are fine, and the next, they are different. Maybe they will regroup. Maybe not.

Others who experience the same event, and sometimes dozens more, keep going.  They draw current like a battery.  Some are like rechargeable batteries, and they seem to lose chargeability over time.  I saw an entire American platoon in Afghanistan that kept doing very dangerous missions, but you could tell that they were spent. I saw a British platoon with a similar feel.

Everybody has limits.  Some crack like eggshells, and others seem hard like diamonds. All will splinter under sufficient instant pressure, or wear down over time with persistent mental abrasion.

PTSD is also a big business for “patients” on the scam, and for doctors, both honest and not. The disorder has become a “slip and fall” con for our generation, but with a hint of “Agent Orange.”  One side can make a credible claim, then the swindlers pile on, and our government does not want to pay for any of it.

Troops have a motive to “get” PTSD, while the military is incentivized to diagnose a “pre-existing personality disorder.”

From our psychologist friend: “I often hear about individuals being med-boarded out for post-trauma psychiatric problems that are mislabeled Personality Disorder NOS, but I do not hear about this mislabeling as much in regards to denied service compensation claims for veterans. Usually, you see insufficient evidence for the diagnosis, the problems are better explained by a comorbid psychiatric condition or the examiner is unable to link the PTSD to a service-related incident if there are other significant traumatic events in the life of the claimant.”

Unfortunately, veterans with legitimate diagnoses of PTSD can end up excluded from treatment. There is vigorous debate in Washington on this matter. During a March 2012 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, the issue was specifically raised.

Aside from the political and economic dramas surrounding PTSD, authentic and fictional stress can have disquieting legal and social consequences. The effects of bona fide PTSD can echo through generations, when a parent is psychologically and emotionally damaged (often with substance abuse issues).  Children suffer diminished parents, with adverse repercussions that can impact subsequent generations.  Suicide is epidemic.

Panjway-US-forces-8662cc1000New road facing away from Panjwai to Kandahar City: Auto accidents are the primary cause of PTSD in America, yet we do not expect survivors to go shooting up the neighborhood.

According to our psychologist: “Many people don’t seem to get that PTSD is not a ‘thing’; it is a constellation of symptoms that exists on a continuum and in certain combinations, intensities and frequencies, surpass an arbitrary threshold to meet diagnostic criteria. PTSD means one’s symptoms are severe enough to create impairment in function and warrant the diagnosis. Those who cross the line into the diagnostic zone vary incredibly from highly functional and dealing with significant, silent internal turmoil to total, dysfunctional train wrecks.

“The train wrecks often have a complex trauma history, legitimate personality disorders (not the kind the military dishes out on DD-214s), comorbid conditions or just really severely disabling genuine PTSD.

“It is not a synonym for crazy, unstable, etc. Not to say someone swerving off the road because the dead armadillo suddenly has a bomb stuffed in it and the terrified driver in a moment confuses past with present appears to be a dangerous lunatic to others…yes, these things happen sometimes but these moments are usually very brief.  Even when I hear about reactive acts of violence when trauma triggers occur, it is almost always a spontaneous, immediate response to a (mis)perceived threat, not a sequence of calculated behaviors that result in a spree of violence.

Panjway-US-forces-8543cc1000Outpost in Panjwai

Every sane person is a psychologist. Tuning into ourselves and to others is an essential survival skill, though many of us believe that we are better psychologists, or more informed, than we really are.

To whit, less than a day after the Panjwai 17 massacre, before the suspect was named, we began debating whether or not he suffers from PTSD. The public did not know, and still does not know, whether the accused even committed the murders, or if he acted alone. An individual with PTSD will almost always not engage in a “sequence of calculated behaviors that result in a spree of violence,” as our psychologist explains above. In general, the mass media has failed to divine this attribute of PTSD, much less explain it to anyone.

Of course, from our side we will drag in PTSD, Lariam, traumatic brain injury, and no telling what else, and there may be truth to it.  The bottom line is that due to the circumstances, we have a predisposition to excuse mass murder.  We must wait to see what comes to trial.

Panjway-US-forces-8578cc1000Panjwai

The lawyer of the accused said that there is no forensic evidence, but if his client committed these crimes his footwear and his clothes should tell a story.  A forensics laboratory is 15 minutes from the crime scene at Kandahar Air Field (KAF).

image007-1000Robert Bales: charged with committing 17 murders in Panjwai

We harbor scant empathy for Afghan children who breathe interminable war, and who in many cases will see much more combat than our own troops. There were two more “green on blue” incidents yesterday (26 March, 2012) in Afghanistan. Afghans in two different provinces wearing friendly uniforms shot a total of three ISAF members to death. We will probably not wonder whether the shooters had PTSD.

Panjway-US-forces-8554cc1000US Forces in Panjwai

Weeks before the Panjwai massacre, I warned that something was coming. This is not voodoo, prognostication, or mere chance. It is more like a forest ranger who sees a hundred thousand acres of trees (or 91,000 troops), and no rain for a year.  No special skill is required to note the severe and growing fire hazard.

Panjway-US-forces-8669cc1000Most Afghan Security Forces do their jobs. It is incorrect to characterize them all as traitors, but it happened again, twice, yesterday.

Our troops are becoming disgusted and angry in what has gone from a promising start in Afghanistan, to something that many believe is a lost cause for an unthankful people who treacherously murder our own. President Karzai cannot be bothered to apologize.

Comments   

 
+20 # RE: Sergeant Godsmack vs. NazarPat 2012-03-27 18:02
Excellent story as usual. "Godsmack" is not welcome to Texas if he ever comes here. Let the lawyer come out to A'stan - welcome to the the real "Survivor" show.
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+16 # RE: RE: Sergeant Godsmack vs. NazarTB 2012-03-27 23:06
Sgt Godsmack is typical of many asinine rear area a-wipes I have met in the military and working around same. :sad:

He is not welcome in the US as far as I am concerned :-x
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+14 # RE: Sergeant Godsmack vs. Nazarkaren 2012-03-27 18:06
GOD bless you and your work....
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-17 # RE: Sergeant Godsmack vs. NazarDan 2012-03-27 18:12
Great story and great pictures. Thanks....But I worry a bit about you mentioning the guy on the motorbike, as a possible SF soldier.
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-13 # RE: RE: Sergeant Godsmack vs. NazarDan 2012-03-28 17:17
Ok, I think I have to clarify my comment a bit; If you see a SF soldier traveling alone and incognito. You are, at least in my opinion, be careful about pointing him out! Page 5, last photo!
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+22 # Heavy SarcasmTB 2012-03-28 19:57
Dan I thing that was a bit of sarcasm on Mike's part, if you know what I mean 8)
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+15 # TB is correctMichael Yon Author 2012-03-29 07:09
Highly doubt that is SF guy. The main message was that jackasses are blocking the road to getting their own messages out. Jackasses.
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+22 # longpeter 2012-03-27 19:08
Michael, thanks for writing, taking the time and courage to do this, to go to Iraq, to go to Afghanistan, to stick your neck out with the military and risk your embed, career, and LIFE! You may not succeed on a grand scale, truth-sayers rarely do, but we back home needed to hear this. My prayers, and support, are with you!
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+19 # USAF VETJim McCune 2012-03-27 19:27
As always top quality M.Y.
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+17 # Great story as usualMark b 2012-03-27 19:28
Have you ever thought of writing a book? Just kidding, I have your first one and loved it. Your second one is on my list.

You have the requisite sense of humor for this type of situation and are able to show it without sounding like a complete wiseass. Keep up the good work wherever that may be!
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+32 # More strength to your penHenry Wood 2012-03-27 19:35
Dear Michael,
I am a reader from the UK and I have followed you for years. I honestly believe this is one of the most important and revealing posts you have ever made. So much so, I am sending a small contribution, as much as I can afford, and other deserving causes must wait for this month.

I just wish, I JUST HONESTLY WISH, I could print out this detailed six page post from you, then take it down to London, then be allowed to enter No. 10 Downing Street, and there I would happily grab my Prime Minister by the scruff of the neck, sit him down, then make him read and digest this whole despatch. Every politician in every NATO country supporting this ill thought out foreign intervention by our troops should all be made to read it IN PUBLIC, on international TV, and when finished reading your report they should look the cameras (i.e. THEIR CITIZENS!) in the eye and tell them just what they plan to do about this whole sorry mess.

Thank you for the time and trouble you take. I do try to pass on your messages and particularly your URL to others. All too often I am met with a shrug and, "What can we do??? ... " kind of whine.

I truly despair for the Western World and also am truly thankful I will soon be gone from it, and my circumstances mean I leave no offspring behind to reap the whirlwind our leaders have sown as regards unlimited immigration, foreign wars, and all the rest of it.
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+25 # RE: Sergeant Godsmack vs. NazarRick 2012-03-27 19:48
brutal, unvarnished, and infuriating. Keep up the excellent work.
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+21 # RE: Sergeant Godsmack vs. NazarAmes 2012-03-27 20:19
A brilliant post, Michael, and a brilliant evisceration of Sergeant Godsmack...
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+22 # RE: Sergeant Godsmack vs. NazarPhantom411 2012-03-27 20:31
Sgt Godsmack is not representative of Texans. He is a disgrace to the military uniform and those who served faithfully. He needs to be run out of our great state on a rail!
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+16 # RE: Sergeant Godsmack vs. NazarKaye 2012-03-27 20:34
Thank you. Excellent article. More people need to know about PTSD and our military.
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+21 # QueenGladys the Cat Lady 2012-03-27 20:35
Michael
Thank you for this wonderful post and especially the pictures. I will donate money into your paypal also. I don't have much but Mrs Nibbles and I can share dinners for a while.
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+20 # RE: Sergeant Godsmack vs. NazarDeidre 2012-03-27 22:03
Ah, Michael, what a tremendous waste of lives, treasure and time we have endured in Afghanistan. It is so beyond Third World as to be 100th World. What can be said about the living conditions?!! I hate like hell to call it quits or admit that it was never worth one precious American or NATO life. Honor to all those men and women who have served and not gone over the ridge. We should pull out now and leave it to God to have mercy on the Afghan people. I'm fresh out.
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+16 # Love it, Love it, Love it;-)TB 2012-03-27 22:54
This is a sad and depressing tale but your part about the El Senor Jackass PAOs really got me to LOL. :lol:

How true!

That said, the sorry situation in Afghanistain (intentional spelling) is atypical of the f-ked up political leadership (or lack thereof) we currently must endure in our great country.

There are no more heros in politics only zeros (most in the minus column). The only heros are those that face the forces of evil and their families.

The atheists and the godless have taken over our media and are more interested in defending murderers and thugs (Sandford, FL) than in preserving the American way of life and the freedoms handed to us by great men with more foresight than any of the present sorry excuses occupying the halls of political power.

The middle east is and always has been a cauldron of ethic and tribal hostility that will never change under the present circumstances, but the military industrial complex, along with their designated political puppets, will never stop in it's thirst for blood to line their corporate bank accounts and thus feed our youth to their insatiable greed!

Keep on telling it like it is and may whatever God you hold dear protect you ;-)
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+7 # Thanks M Yon!R Thompson 2012-03-30 11:09
This is a great post TB. God Blesss our troops...and God help ameroicans to see the light and vote out these compromised spineless Chicken Hawk Politicians and War Profiteers. This endless war B*&&^%Shiittt.. .needs to come to a screeching halt. The fortunes that have been made the past 12 years on the backs of our troops...by sleaze bag War profiteers is despicable...

Michael...stay safe. Thanks for the great insight...hope someone gives GodSmack and old fashion Texas GodSmackdown!
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+18 # RE: Sergeant Godsmack vs. NazarJames 2012-03-27 23:45
Since this shooting happened, I have been wondering if this is what happens when folks have just had enough of double dealing Afghans? I can imagine that there was a great deal of bad blood between the US Forces and the locals, this is after all a pretty heavy Taliban area. Just a thought.
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+20 # Guy sitting in front of PCPhillip 2012-03-28 00:24
The jackasses blocking the road are senior Public Affairs Officers. - WOW did we take 2 bitter pills this morning! That work of "fiction" you have written has to be your best story yet. Well done Mr Yon! In six pages you have explained EXACTLY what is happening OVER THERE more than anyone else has ever done!There are many gems in this story, I read it three times. and will share it with as many people as I can. Stay Safe! keep up the good work!
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+16 # jean_kary@hotmail.comDeloris Kary 2012-03-28 01:13
I find that if we don't stand firm and find out the truth about this incident of the death of the 17 or is it 18 villiagers now. I feel our President and other leaders have failed this soldier who has a history of PTSD. Why did they send him back into battle.. did we fail this soldier--shame on our miitary medicine and leaders.
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+12 # Tail wagging the dog?Doubtful 2012-03-29 08:41
Quoting Deloris Kary:
I find that if we don't stand firm and find out the truth about this incident of the death of the 17 or is it 18 villiagers now. I feel our President and other leaders have failed this soldier who has a history of PTSD. Why did they send him back into battle.. did we fail this soldier--shame on our miitary medicine and leaders.


Don't believe the hype. The narrative on this has bothered me from the beginning. Whatever the events were; the release of "managed information" and the media's bending of the story to suit a preferred effect are what we have.

On several levels and at all points a healthy skepticism asks, "Whose agenda is being promoted?" or in short "Who benefits?"
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+17 # Excellent, just excellentRobert 2012-03-28 02:53
What a great article, and amazing pictures. This was more revealing of the nature of where we are today in the Afghan war and the reality of Afghan life than the last, literally, 100+ articles I've read on CNN, New York Times, Wired, and Fox News.

Reminds me almost of Victor Hugo and his telling of Waterloo. Masterful.
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+17 # Guy sitting in front of PCPhillip 2012-03-28 03:03
Cant get this outta my head, can almost see the movie version of this, the 2 sides same story.... If I cant get this out of my head, how the hell can anyone who lives there/been there get it out of their head???
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+18 # RE: Sergeant Godsmack vs. NazarFrogfoot 2012-03-28 05:13
I worked on KAF for nearly a year, and excepting an R&R flight, never crossed the wire once. It was stinky (depending on which direction the wind was blowing), hot and dusty. Oh, and pretty boring too. I had it very easy there, and shared a base with MSG Godsmack, but really? I was so petrified that I could barely get myself together to track down bananas for a friend who works on base. Please. On two occasions that I recall, plans for dinner at TGI Fridays were interrupted by the Rocket Attack alarm, but it was more of an annoyance than anything else. Sometimes I didn't sleep at night either, but that was because some clown in our tent turned the A/C down too low or the heat too high. The agony.

P.S. The cookies on KAF? Awesome!!
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+17 # Holy DamnChaz Blammy Matazz 2012-03-28 05:16
Damn, Cap! That was GOOD. Keep it up!
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+27 # RE: Sergeant Godsmack vs. NazarEd 2012-03-28 05:36
As a TMC physician, I MOBed and DEMOBed thousands of Reservists from 2001 to 2009. This is the most honest description of PTSD and Pseudo-PTSD I have read.

Grisham's actions are disgusting. But obvious failure of his command should also be addressed.

Altho I have a friend who adopted a disabled Iraqi boy while serving in combat in Iraq, I never considered the war from Nazar's perspective. Very enlightening.

There is another aspect of PTSD you did not cover. I have observed many troops mis-diagnosed with PTSD who actually had residuals of Traumatic Brain Injury. TBI from IEDs, bombs, or other blasts is actually quite common. I hope you can address that issue in more detail.

Finally, your fight to eliminate the Crusader's Cross is important. The Red Cross markings are not required. They are counterproducti ve. Keep up the fight to eliminate them.

Thank you for your continued service.
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+18 # CaptainReady to go home 2012-03-28 06:39
Good article Michael, bitter lament becomes you. Its where I am myself. I'm almost out of this country as well. I was hoping for a bit more uplifting experience in this country as well. But I am just tired. Time to go home, or just level this country. Or both. Preferably both. Nothing more to gain here. Nothing we have gained but debt. Fuck the muslim world, time to spend American money in America.
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-37 # Mike you need helpLuke Churchill 2012-03-28 07:41
I'd write this on your facebook page but you banned me...

You've really gone off the deep end Mike with your bizarre vendetta complex.

It's one thing to go after other milbloggers and to try and destroy their reputation and web traffic by engaging in deranged and petty squabbles with them simply because they criticized some of your opinions.

That's odd enough.

But you entered a whole new realm of Crazytown when you went on that U.S. Army Special Forces forum and created yet another needless deranged war with those guys. When you denounced your (short) time in the U.S. Army Special Forces and tried to protray ALL U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers in Iraq as sick murderers, you crossed a line that shouldn't have been crossed.

Then you REALLY lost it when you declared war on Soldiers Angels, a CHARITY, simply because they had members from the milblogger community that you've been feuding with for years. That was really, really low Mike and totally insane of you to do.

It's also really disgusting how you churn out negative defeatist story after negative defeatist story whenever you lose an embed to "damage" (punish) the military - as you love to say.

And now you've let your demented vendettea complex to escape your facebook page and to creep into your official dispatches.

We get it, Mike. You don't like CJ because he criticized your opinions in the past. You created a totally insane feud with him that you never seem willing to let go. Even though he's suffering from severe PTSD you still can't resist kicking him when he's down.

You need help, Mike. You've been displaying dangerous and deranged behavior for years now and it's just getting worse. Somebody needs to intervene before you harm yourself or others.
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+23 # Look in the mirrortigger088 2012-03-28 10:39
Mr. Churchill, I don't remember if it was your rants about how the Muslim world should be wiped-out or your hate-filled attacks against anyone who disagreed with you that got you banned. I do remember the long sigh of relief that filled the site when you were finally gone. Run on back to those who agree with your version of genocide.
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+21 # The Dark SideTB 2012-03-28 19:52
LUKE, I AM YOUR FATHER 8)

JOIN ME AND WE WILL CRUSH THE EMPEROR :o

(que in sound of respirator breathing)

:lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:
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+22 # Smoking crack and talking smackMichael Yon Author 2012-03-29 06:39
Less than 1/10th of 1% of Facebook friends have been blocked, making FB 100% better. Luke -- to brag about being blocked on my Facebook is like putting a tattoo on your face saying, "I was dishonorably discharged from the Navy for smoking crack while hiding in a torpedo tube."
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+31 # RE: Sergeant Godsmack vs. NazarHeywood Jablomi 2012-03-28 10:49
Luke, does being a moron come to you naturally, or do you have to work at it?

Seriously.

1. You minimize the conduct of competing milbloggers, the vast majority of whom have little, if any, time downrange. Wake up, you idiot.

2. The SF guys on "that forum" do not represent all SF personnel. They were abusive, condescending, dismissive and arrogant to Yon, and they absolutely did not like it when Yon did not roll over so that he could submissively join their club.

And why would he? Yon has more time in war zones than most of the SF'ers posting on that site. Yon is a graduate of the Q Course. And unfortunately, Yon is also a member of another fraternity: Yon has killed a man in hand-to-hand combat. Have you? Of course not. So shut the fuck up. Mischaracterizi ng Yon's words on "that site" reveals your agenda. Go sell stupid somewhere else.

3.As for Soldier's Angels, Yon is not the only person who has observed that they have problems. He merely did not remain silent about them. Why should he? Silence is consent. Simply because Soldier's Angels is a "CHARITY," as you put it, does not mean that it was not wasteful with donations, or that the conduct of some of its principals was not stupid. Have you done any research on the topic whatsoever? Clearly not. So yet again: shut the fuck up.

4. Many cannot handle uncomfortable facts. Many find it more palatable to imbibe the consensus kool-aid. It is easier to mischaracterize Yon's opinions as "negative defeatist stories." Is Yon "damaging the military?" Or is he reporting the truth as he knows it? I am telling you that you would not know the truth that Yon has experienced if it bit you in the ball sack. You have no frame of reference for even assessing it. So yet again: shut the fuck up.

5. Are you a psychiatrist? How do you know that Grisham suffers "severe PTSD?" Right. You do not.

Grisham is a jackass. And so are you.
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+14 # WOWMike Barnett 2012-03-28 12:44
Wow. This should be published in every newspaper in America. It's about left me speechless. Thank God you included the "The guy on the motorbike might be Special Forces. The jackasses blocking the road are senior Public Affairs Officers" line, or it might have been TOO fraught with tense emotional results... but, like a cop finding something funny in a senseless tragedy, that line relieved much of the angst I was feeling. Thanks, Mike. Watch out for CJ though, as I think you just prodded him mightily.
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+17 # Civilianjohn walsh 2012-03-28 14:00
Do you plan to write another book soon?

jw
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+18 # PTSDBill Brent 2012-03-28 15:21
B.G. Burkett and Glenna Whitley wrote extensively about the origins of the PTSD diagnose it and those who fake it in their excellent book about Vietnam veterans, "Stolen Valor."
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+18 # Sad but trueGreg 2012-03-28 16:01
Michael you are truly a world class journalist thank you for providing the truth at what is going on in Afghanistan!
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+14 # Afghan PTSDPopsiq 2012-03-28 16:07
Obviously there is a significant war wounded population in Afghanista. But what about PTSD? One would assume therewould bbe a large number of people displaying those symptoms too, but that haqs not, as far as I have been able to guage been studied or commented upon.

It it possible that 'classic' PTSD is more a phenomenon of first world societies - like eating disorders?
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+16 # Deleted PostsTB 2012-03-28 19:07
PTSD in not just a combat related condition :-|

It can occur as the result of ANY trauma wheter it's physical, mental, or both :sad:

Extreme spousal abuse is just one example, vehicle crashes is another, especially motorcyclists :o

But to many opportunists have latched on to PTSD as a method of getting on the free lunch programs this governemt seems to love with a passion, so they, the politicians, look like they CARE :-x
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+14 # Backward ObserverGeoffTN 2012-03-28 16:40
Thank you again, Micheal, for being there and telling us the truth. Things in the States are also becoming touch and go; your services may be more needed here in the near future than any of us would care to admit. Godspeed, my friend...
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+21 # PTSD goldbricksGordon 2012-03-28 17:22
Yesterday I had my first appointment at the local VA hospital. I found out, after years out of the service, that I was eligible for VA care (and I'm quite grateful for that).

A nurse took my history. The process included several questions that were designed to discover if I had PTSD. I don't, of course. The worst experience I had was a unit commander who was a jerk, and I never heard a shot fired in anger.

But I know why some might fake PTSD. For one thing, a service-connect ed disability gets you free dental care in the VA system. That's a significant benefit over a lifetime.
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+17 # RE: Sergeant Godsmack vs. NazarKrsna Kuma 2012-03-28 17:52
thank you, Michael! fighting in foreign lands is so dangerous! I am a house cleaner and use loose change I find in couches for charity -- but this month I will send the spare change to you!!!
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+16 # Truth hurts sometimesm00pa 2012-03-28 18:27
Michael, Thanks again for another view on the struggle. Real news is hard to come by now-a-days. It seems reporting truth has fallen through the hands of most, and just a brave few report the truth. Thanks again little brother & stay secure.
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+22 # RE: Sergeant Godsmack vs. NazarThat guy 2012-03-28 18:48
I was diagnosed with severe PTSD about a year ago, and it's been hell ever since. It got so bad that after 18 years AD I'm getting med-boarded. I'm embarrassed by it, when other guys ask me what I'm getting med-boarded for I usually lie and say it's for something else. I was with 1-24 back in the day up in Mosul.You guys have no idea the amount of guys from the Deuce that either got in serious trouble and are in jail now, or wen't bat-shit crazy and got the boot.
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+21 # Brotherhood of ScarsTB 2012-03-28 19:39
At least you have gumption to face the truth and try to live with your condition by getting help!

Those like you and the few I have met through my interactions with veterans is something this nation needs to address with more compassion and honesty than is present :sad:

We have lowlife scumbags running around this country living in nice diggs, driving new cars, and buying steaks and shrimp platters @ Walmart on taxpayers money, while we have suffering veterans living on the street.

Is this the American dream? I think not :cry:
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+3 # That guyW.R.Monger 2012-04-07 00:13
i hear ya and sympathize with you. at 17 years i got the same thing (only it was an NOS diagnosis) and do the same thing. it's difficult to look back and think that you should have gone with your Brothers in Arms but couldn't. i sometimes feel that i somehow let them down...
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+17 # Deleted PostsTB 2012-03-28 18:57
I have been getting follow up emails on the comments posted here and I think you should leave up the attack dogs emails and let us go at'em.

Heywood is particularly good at eviscerating these lame milblogger lap dogs who have probably never even been in a foreign country under REAL duress.

I have followed your harrowing accounts since before the fire-fight in which you saved a mans life by picking up his M4 and retuning fire at an enemy close.

I don't see any these arm chair losers even doing anything close to that and god only knows what you went through as a REAL SF troop!

When I was active member of the Vietnam Veterans of Brevard County FL I met and talked with many of your brethren @ their yearly reunions and they did act or talk like these supporters of Sgt Godsmack!

Many of them did not really have much to say, but you got the feeling that there was deep water running through them that would never see the light of day.

I have seen REAL PTSD up close personal through these interactions and it's really scary sometimes to think about what these folks have endured and relive on a regular basis for life.

Those that fake PTSD for free benefits are no more than human paraquat and atypical of the present free lunch programs that are being touted by the present scumbag politicians and Marxist media whores ruining our great nation :sad:

Keep on keepin' on Michael Yon 8)
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+22 # PTSDBravoBilly 2012-03-29 01:19
Thanks Michael for all that you have done.
I have been involved in AA for the past 8 years and found that there are a quite a few Veterans in this particular group I attend and many have had combat experience. There is a unspoken bond between the Veterans immediately even those who are from other countries. By attending to the Alcohol and drug problems there is the ability to deal with other problems.

I really have a hard time smiling at those who are taking all the government can hand out to them and I can barely survive on SS and a meager Veterans Pension. I have seen the hustles.

Once again thanks for all that you do. Hope that you get a chance to visit Bay Pines, FL when come home...LOL
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+17 # RE: Sergeant Godsmack vs. NazarDeidre 2012-03-29 04:04
My goodness, Mary Parsons, please clean up your language and thought processes. Very unbecoming to a woman. Part of the problems with American culture today is the coarsening of language in every day discourse. Think about it, Mary. Be a real woman of character and dignity.
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+13 # Poor CJEric A. 2012-03-29 15:51
Quote from CJ Grisham regarding Michael Yon from "A little perspective is in order"
"My PTSD is NOT the cause of my anger. Writing disgusting accounts of how our Fallen Heroes die to get a few Paypal donations is what causes my anger. When I think of what will be going through the mind of that mother, sister, wife or family member having to read that, I’m physically ill. I’m not saying he doesn’t have the right to write it; I’m saying he should have had better judgment. And the fact that he’s making a living writing such things didn’t sit well with me. It still doesn’t sit well with me. My fault lies in not crafting my disgust and outrage in a manner that wouldn’t be twisted for selfish reasons. "

First apparently CJ is an expert on PTSD and all of its symptoms and manifestations. Since he is aware of all of his actions and can segregate those that are PTSD and those that are not. Secondly, he is hawking his PTSD and woe-is-me tale to...you guessed it, "get a few pay-pal dontations." Third, he is berating Mr. Yon for "making a living writing[about war], and that doesn't sit well with me." HE IS IN THE MILITARY AND HE MAKES A LIVING PARTICIPATING IN WAR AND DEFENDING OUR NATION! So, war is okay but any truthful tales and pictures about it is WRONG?!??! I hope this man does not own any war movies? That would be wrong to show how soldiers fight and die in war. Finally, it is not quoted but apparently Mr. Yon has PTSD according to CJ and many of his supporters. This is used in a NEGATIVE connotation to characterize Michael Yon as crazy, hateful, misguided, and vengeful man. Thank you Michael Yon for your Blog and Thanks to MSG Grisham for providing us with a sounding board for how not to be a MSG or a leader of troops.
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+14 # Viet Nam MarineMike Hughes 2012-03-29 23:34
We had our share of Grishams in Viet Nam.

We called them REMFs.

Fortunately, their audiences were in cheap bars and EM/NCO clubs. This ass Grisham has the internet to broadcast his cowardice. He is a disgrace to his uniform, his subordinates and his country.

I spent 35 years working for the MSM Michael and it is refreshing to find someone who reports rather than fabricates the news. Thank you.
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+11 # Thanks for the great writing and cool photosDaniel 2012-03-30 05:40
Once again, your reporting and writing astound me in terms of the high quality and honest writings (same say brutally so). Some issues may be uncomfortable, but they still need to be addressed, and your article does a great job of presenting a balanced objective view. There will be plenty of detractors, but also know that you have plenty of people who admire and suppport your work. Keep it up and don't lose faith.
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+7 # MrRyden 2012-03-30 15:42
Might have said it before, but you're definitely the Robert Capa of today! I think this might be the best article you've written, at least about the war in Afghanistan.

Regarding Bales, do you think he might be taking all the blame for others, like Steven Green after Mahmudiyah?
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+8 # RE: Sergeant Godsmack vs. NazarJJ 2012-03-31 04:35
Your description of KAF reminds me of Than Son Nhut. Many types of aircraft with high tempo ops proceeding 24/7. The directions outside the wire reminded me of the same in Vietnam. It was tropical - Afghanistan is desert.

Afghanistan has become our Vietnam. We are going to leave and there will be a blood bath among those who worked with us. War is not a game to be played as if it didn't matter if we throw in the towel and bug out. Unfortunately, for those who died and were wounded the scarifices have been in vain. And for the Afghanis who want peace and a non-sharia ruled life, their lives are about to be turned into hell. War, when it comes to that, must be fought to win At least that's my opinion.
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+8 # RE: Sergeant Godsmack vs. NazarEric Frazier 2012-04-02 02:56
Great reporting with integrity, courage, and honesty. Thanks you for what you are doing.
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+4 # Jenda, formerly of Pros and ConsHonza Prchal 2012-04-02 13:54
Speaking of ending on a sour note - how much, 9f any of the morale issue due to seemingly impossible assignments as detailed by Bill Roggio, here - http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2012/03/us_general_john_alle.php ?
To be fair, my asking to quantify a psychological problem smacks of the old managerial school of warfare (and its comcommitant censorship and arse covering) that served us so poorly in Vietnam, but I still think it an interesting question.
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+5 # Your future passingW.R.Monger 2012-04-06 23:59
Michael
I am relieved to hear that there is at least one person who sees this massacre of humans as something more than what our LSM is promoting it as. I cannot believe that it is within one of our soldiers to do something so heinous that it would endanger his fellow Soldiers. I am a former helicopter Air Crewman and Army Scout who knows better and this goes beyond the pale.
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+7 # RE: Sergeant Godsmack vs. NazarLes 2012-04-07 22:08
Michael,
I wish your dispatches could be taken and shouted from the rooftops, and were required reading for all of our lovely elected officials. It saddens me to know that most Americans will never even have a clue what goes on in war, and our politicians go on blathering about the Geneva Conventions while our soldiers are slaughtered in a hellhole for the sake of political expediency.
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+5 # Master Sergeant FakeSGTSOLO 2012-04-13 17:59
Hi Mike,

MSG G is very negligent considering he is Intel and definitely not for his soldiers. I was shot in combat in Iraq back in 2004, went to Italy, recovered 7 weeks and begged my command to send me back to the field to be with my soldiers… And this guy just up and leaves, brags about living well and then attempts to steal valor and honor from those who actually earned and deserve it!!! Strip this guy of his rank and put him the grinder.. Roman Rule.. Thumbs down for MSG Grisham. RIP Chazray.
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+5 # Stolen valor has many facesMichael Yon author 2012-04-14 07:01
Grisham demonstrates one of the faces of stolen valor. There are many more, including legal interpretations:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/23/us/stolen-valor-act-argued-before-supreme-court.html
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+4 # Stilen Valor has many facesW.R.Monger 2012-04-14 16:35
Thank-you Michael
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-3 # Michael Yon is full of crapD-bar 2012-04-27 19:18
I am an NCO in the infantry who has been deployed multiple times, I have fought in every deployment. I have a serious problem with everything Michael says, I and all the men I serve with disagree completely with him. some of whome have passed the q-course as well. all of whome have fought.
Also, from just the critical standpoint of the above article, I am not sure what the authors point even was. Yes PTSD is misunderstood by many, yes its faked by many for multiple reasons, yes its a legitimate wound for many authentic soldiers who have to deal with it, and yes it is twisted in ways to excuse crimes. what is the point? you make arguments but to what end? do you want it labeled something else? do you not want soldiers to get disability for it? What was the point in all the above statements?
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+2 # PTSDMal Hombre Cockroach 2012-08-17 07:14
MSG Chris (C.J.) Grisham uses Ptsd as an excuse for HIS POOR behavior.... he is a professional victim.... He has used it as an excuse every time his MOUTH gets him into a jam....

http://militarygear.com/asp/asp-in-the-news/

CJ's Legal battle was settled out of court but it didnt stop Soldiers Angels from Hustling moneyh for his Legal defense fund... IM VERY curious where did the money from this fund go, How much was collected and where did the cash go... with SA's Fund raising and dammed near every millblogger hustling for old cj im sure a ton of money poured in for this guy... whats his connection to SA besides being theyre cheerleader and being sponsored by them and his other sponsors doiung business with SA as well... the whole dammed think stinks to high hell...
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+1 # PTSDMal Hombre Cockroach 2012-08-17 07:15
here is a link to SA germany HUSTLING money FOR CJ... Theyre New york Chapter was also hustling for him yet took the link down for some reason...

http://soldiersangelsgermany.blogspot.com/2009/12/milblogs-go-silent.html
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+1 # WOWMal Hombre Cockroach 2012-08-17 07:42
This dude ( CJ GRISHAM) whenever he gets into a jam cries PTSD this post was made during his legal issues and the army telling him to SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP....
If his PTSD is so damm bad why does the army Keep him in let alone ANY LEADERSHIP POSTION OF ANYKIND... me thinks he got into a jam In Afghanistan for having his bullies threaten Mike Yon in his tent, and decided to use PTSD once again as an excuse for his conduct... HE IS a bully and a coward... A disgrace to his uniform.. he thinks hes a damm rock star like all the board over at SA... I feel bad for the hundreds of good, well meaning volunteers at SA.... youre being played...

http://militarygear.com/asp/2009/09/18/the-power-of-seeking-help/

here is CJ back in 09 Crying about ptsd to cover his ass.. notice whenever hes in a jam its PTSD related... and to those Real vets suffering from Ptsd it isnt my intention to belittle youre suffering in any way...
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# CjMal Hombre Cockroach 2012-08-17 07:45
If ya listen to the dude hes seen more action then Capt Audie L Murphy.... Jeez
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# RE: CjBarbara 2012-08-23 05:23
What the....? I thought soldiers with PTSD only tell their combat experiences to a trusted person, not post it all over the 'net?
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# RE: Sergeant Godsmack vs. NazarKurtTheInfidel 2012-09-16 16:29
Your stories are always the best Michael. you spare no details and your pictures are so vivid.

As for Godsmack, this guy seems like a joke, but what he is doing has serious consequences. I'm far from the type of person who would step on another's first amendment rights but when you're in that uniform you accept a slightly different set of rules.
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# Booze-related?Popsiq 2012-10-04 17:26
Evidently the culture of drinking depicted in the post below could be fundamental in the development of PTSD and other mental conditions.

http://atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/01/in-the-military-the-drinking-can-start-on-day-1/?src=recg

The US, and other armed forces have tremendous traditions of boozing before, during and after action.

The notorious 'PTSD killer', described above, is also supposed to have gotten a snootful of 'illegal booze' at the base before he went on his midnight wilding.

Booze, pre-existing mental conditions and overmedication for little or no reason, the 'warrior ethos' needs a culture change.
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# "Dueling scars"Lukas 2013-01-31 15:16
Sorry but what you wrote about the "dueling scars" is totaly wrong! They are "results" of being memeber of a fraternity and having done fencing, so called "mensur"! its an old tradition from the 15th century which is still praactised in Austria and Germany!
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# R we talking about CJ Grisham ?S Wi 2013-02-03 22:55
I am confused at the title... who is RE: Sergeant Godsmack vs. Nazar in real life. I love the story
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+1 # Grisham reaping what he's sownWind Rider 2013-03-24 18:49
There's a huge difference between Yon and Grisham, and it's simple. Michael cares about the soldiers he has imbedded with, patrolled with, slept under the stars with, and seen fight and die. Grisham, on the other hand is a scared little man hiding behind as much protection as possible, lobbing spitballs and whining when he gets himself in a jam, because it's only about one thing - poor maligned CJ Grisham.

Here's hoping the dipstick ends up doing some greybar hotel time for his latest screw up, despite the opportunity it'll give him to cry even louder. He's well earned any misfortune that befalls his widdle head. So reap it, jerk.
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# Once again, a great articleAllan Leroy Folsom 2016-11-21 13:31
Thanks again Mike. The yoemans perspective, told for all of us by the best writer in the business. WRITE THAT DAMNED SCREEN PLAY!!!
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