Paying in Pain, and Money Too

The 15th International Civilian and Military Combat Stress Conference which focuses on the effect of combat stress on families and soldiers is being held May 4-10th at Camp Pendleton in California. The idea for this type of conference was originated by psychologist Bart Billings, a retired Army Reserve Lt. Colonel. All sessions on the weekend will be free to family members of anyone who paid to attend. Family members will also be given free entry on Saturday night to a variety show.

The Conference which is subtitled, “Supporting Our War Fighters and Their Families: Terrorism, Combat Stress, Operation Iraqi Freedom Issues, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” will include sessions on military family violence, readjustment following deployment, combat stress, strategies to assist families whose spouse has been fighting, and there will be extensive examination as to what can be learned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The conference is a wonderful idea. But, I am appalled that families have to pay in order to learn about what is happening to their fathers and mothers who are fighting in Iraq. I am astounded that cost for the conference is provided by Psyco-Legal Associates, a California Based continuing education company for mental health and legal professionals. The Defense Department is not contributing any money other than paying fees for a few speakers! How in God’s name can the Defense Department fail to pay for the entire cost of such a conference!! Combat and family stress was created by GEORGE BUSH, whose lies have caused the deaths of thousands of young Americans as well as over a 100,000 Iraqis. Isn’t it only logical that the Defense Department would be funding several such conferences all over the country in order to help returning soldiers as well as work toward preventing family stress and divorce?

I am sickened that families of those fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan have to pay money learn why their spouse is undergoing stress. I am horrified that a returning soldier is compelled to pay money to learn how to handle combat stress. Any insanity being felt by our fighting men is the result of Bush’s insanity in beginning this mad adventure in chaos. Perhaps, if George and his Republican buddies cut out a few bills like the famous proposal for a bridge in Alaska that went no place every family member would have fees paid to attend such conferences. By the way, where is Anne Coulter and her sarcasm when our service men and women are getting screwed by her buddies? She is quick to decry liberals but remains silent when her Republican allies give the shaft to those who are on the front lines.

Perhaps, my anger is misguided. After all, we just celebrated the fourth anniversary of George Bush’s famous proclamation of MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. If only it had been accomplished four years ago, then many fine young American citizens would not be struggling from the nightmare of Iraq.

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