A Plague of Affects

The recent Fort Hood shooter was another one of the many injured soldiers the Armed Services are refusing to treat for PTSD and brain injury (their spokespeople are being very careful to say that he had not been officially diagnosed with PTSD and that his brain injury was “self-reported” and not yet confirmed by in-house–or in-Fort–MDs).  It is horrible irony that veterans’ families have to turn to petitions and fund-raising to help their returning soldiers.  We nickel-and-dime our veterans but spend horrific amounts of money on defense contracts sealed virtually without competitive bidding.  Psychologists and psychoanalysts have been studying “shell shock” ever since (if not before) Freud wrote his “Thoughts on War and Death” in response to WWI.  In essence, Freud’s argument was that the reprise of arbitrary power as “necessary for the defense of the country” had very distressing and depressive effects on that country’s civilian population.  Bad, sad feelings are circulating through and through this country–it’s an affect plague. Feelings of helplessness, depression, grief, betrayal, abandonment, panic are abounding, within as well as without the soldier/veteran population, while insurance companies fight parity tooth and nail, hoping people who are already stressed-out and having trouble functioning will be so stressed-out they won’t fight for their legal rights.  The Armed Services are just as bad.  They could, however, set an example now that would help us all feel more alive, by getting rid of the bean-counters and announcing a new “No Stone Unturned” campaign to do everything possible to help their vets.  As they say in opinion-page-ese, I won’t be holding my breath.

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