Oxymoron # 80


How do they sleep at night?

Jon Town has spent the last few years fighting two battles, one against his body, the other against the US Army. Both began in October 2004 in Ramadi, Iraq. He was standing in the doorway of his battalion’s headquarters when a 107-millimeter rocket struck two feet above his head. The impact punched a piano-sized hole in the concrete facade, sparked a huge fireball and tossed the 25-year-old Army specialist to the floor, where he lay blacked out among the rubble.

“The next thing I remember is waking up on the ground.” Men from his unit had gathered around his body and were screaming his name. “They started shaking me. But I was numb all over,” he says. “And it’s weird because… because for a few minutes you feel like you’re not really there. I could see them, but I couldn’t hear them. I couldn’t hear anything. I started shaking because I thought I was dead.”

Eventually the rocket shrapnel was removed from Town’s neck and his ears stopped leaking blood. But his hearing never really recovered, and in many ways, neither has his life. A soldier honored twelve times during his seven years in uniform, Town has spent the last three struggling with deafness, memory failure and depression. By September 2006 he and the Army agreed he was no longer combat-ready.

But instead of sending Town to a medical board and discharging him because of his injuries, doctors at Fort Carson, Colorado, did something strange: They claimed Town’s wounds were actually caused by a “personality disorder.” Town was then booted from the Army and told that under a personality disorder discharge, he would never receive disability or medical benefits.

Town is not alone. A six-month investigation has uncovered multiple cases in which soldiers wounded in Iraq are suspiciously diagnosed as having a personality disorder, then prevented from collecting benefits. The conditions of their discharge have infuriated many in the military community, including the injured soldiers and their families, veterans’ rights groups, even military officials required to process these dismissals.

They say the military is purposely misdiagnosing soldiers like Town and that it’s doing so for one reason: to cheat them out of a lifetime of disability and medical benefits, thereby saving billions in expenses. LINK.

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2 Responses to Oxymoron # 80

  1. Darrell Prows says:

    There is no such thing as conservativism. There is only a particulalrly virulent form os self interest thinly disguised to look respectable.

    I mean, what’s more central to the philosophical underpinnings of conservatives than the so called free market. In reality, “The law of supply and demand” is a quaint little rule of thumb. As a generality, it has a lot to commend it. As a means of managing our lives and our planet, it takes a poor second place to actually thinking about the way that we would like things to be.

    For example, what would a supply and demand analysis look like for determining an appropriate response to the bombing of Pearl Harbor? The concept of an “invisible hand” that is going to guide the whole human race down the best possible road is a little faith based for my tastes.

    If conservatism is phony, then certainly compassionate conservatism is no less so, and this sort of deplorable treatment of veterans is exactly what I would expect from an administration committed to trying to dismantle every aspect of government that does not directly line their own pockets.

  2. Ginny Cotts says:

    “an administration committed to trying to dismantle every aspect of government that does not directly line their own pockets.”

    Priceless Darrell.