Thursday, July 22, 2010

Conversation With Veteran Ken Jones on military suicides leads to discovery: plot to use 'veterans' magazine for viral online anti-Israel/Jewish hatred

The other night I watched NBC Nightly News and was terribly shocked by Brian Williams' story about military suicides. I thought about my Twitter friend Ken Jones, known as @akvet who is a fellow author. He has free ebooks for our troops and veterans. His Twitter bio says: Life After Combat and When Our Troops Come Home. He boldly and honestly speaks of his own experiences and trauma and is a dedicated warrior in the fight to help our veterans transition to civilian life. 

I couldn't stop thinking about the military suicides and therefore sent Ken a tweet asking him about the situation. Here is part of our conversation...

Naomi: I wanted to ask you about the news of suicide rates of GIs and what is being done about it?

Ken:  Hi Naomi. What's being done about suicides among our troops? There's the macro-level, "We share your concern" stuff. My experience is that it's the troops taking care of each other that is keeping the losses down to the current levels. Am I giving you the kind of info you are asking about?

Naomi: "Keeping the losses down..." Oh, no! such a terrible, tragic level of GI suicides! Yes, your input is very important.

Ken: You're right Naomi, the suicides now are tragic. Without community interventions the rates are going to go much higher.

Naomi: Why are we not hearing about this after each death? Why are they just giving a 'news bite' here and there?

Ken: Individual suicides are newsworthy, right? If it bleeds it leads.

Naomi: But I don't see them. Do you? I don't see the reporting of individual GI suicides in the local or world news.

Ken: Probably not. Suicides are local events. The composite numbers will make the news from time to time. June was bad.
Naomi: Are the suicides happening in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as when they return to USA?

Ken: Yes, the suicides occur both on deployment and back here in the world.The suicides are intertwined with PTSD, alcohol and substance abuse, the need for adrenalin rushes, lots of stuff. If you really want to see the toll suicides are taking among our troops, set a up a Google Alert for "military suicides."

Naomi: During the month of January 2010 more soldiers committed suicide (24) than were killed by enemy fire. I don't know what the answers are or what to do about the military suicides but I will start reporting them daily.
Ken: Yes, the infinite emptiness of beyond looks compelling when suicide becomes an option.

Of course, I immediately went to Google and set up a daily alert for "military suicides." Not long afterward, I received my first daily alert. This is where the story completely diverts into a twisted and horrible scenario. Google sent me to Veterans Today. I discovered a plot so diabolical that it sickened me. That plot is using a title for an online magazine  that infers that the magazine either represents veterans today and/or has something to offer them. The only thing I saw for veterans was one link to the VA.

As I was perusing their site, my eyes landed on smarmy articles blasting Israel, calling Zionism racism, blasphemy against Jonathan Pollard and Rabbi Meir Kahane. The outright hatred from four different bloggers: Gordon Duff, Eric Watree, Jeff Gates, and Michael Leon is shocking. Jeff Gates has a post about Zionist dominance in the Obama administration saying, "His political career is a product of a Westside Chicago Ashkenazi network with roots that trace directly back to organized crime of the 1920s." (I purposely do not provide the links back to these cowards as I do not want to promote them.)

The idea that they would use our veterans as a front for anti-Israel rhetoric and blatant hatred against the Jewish people is simply disgusting.


  1. This is a good post thank you. Suicides in Iraq are caused by a variety of factors as your friend stated however the Army will release only some information and even when it does it goes out rather covertly. I don't like to see suicides portrayed as a direct result of war but then there is always a strong relation. From experience with Marines in the field, I had many times a young person come up all stressed out about being asked to perform some small task. Sometimes getting another Marine to fill in for that person's watch for a few hours, get them some extra sleep or time to think and unwind. Stress management should be taught to leaders at any level of rank and to learn to observe signs of stress whether combat-related or not.

    Many perish out here for lack of situational awareness; frankly, no different than the gulf war. Accidents are big problem out here. Leaders need to keep an eye on their troops' attitude changes and job performance. Someone's personal life spilling into their military duties is not unusual.

    As for the sources of information, I've been writing a guide for PTSD for years and the amount of information the military puts out on the web is so overwhelming it's hard to pinpoint which is best for a unit or particular mission. There should be a more centralized effort to coordinate pre-deployment, deployment assessments as well as post-deployment. They do exist but don't know if all units practice it. I'll have to go back and check all those links again and try to sort them out. It's that huge and I'm used to reading through a lot of content.

    The racists hiding behind the military support sites? Yes, they're out there and in numbers. I've encountered more than one recently and if you're not of a certain political persuasion and are a veteran forget it. The racial hostility is enormous. Truly a desperate way to send out their hateful message.

  2. Thank you for your excellent comments. I have been conversing with you on twitter a bit, but now have started reading your blog. You are doing outstanding, important work and your input is very much appreciated and important here. You say, "The racists hiding behind the military support sites? Yes, they're out there and in numbers," and that blows my mind. Thank you for confirming that fact.

  3. Pam Siegel ZarteJuly 23, 2010 at 3:25 PM

    Thank you novacancy1776 for your perspective.This is such a heartbreaking subject.I don't know what the answer is.It's good that people are publicizing the problem and what some of the responses should be.People who serve their country are so appreciated and I wish they didn't have to serve repeated deployments to war zones.I believe this may be a large part of the current problem.
    It is horrendous that racist and antisemitic people are hiding behind military support sites.They are belittling and diluting the message of support our armed service members deserve.

  4. Thanks, Pam! I'm always interested in your perspective. Yes, the subject of military suicides is heartbreaking for the families and for our entire country. Regarding the other topic: I am beginning to think there is something additional going on, besides the usual run-of-the-mill hatred being spewed. There is a common connection to Al Jazeera between these bloggers. There is something 'rotten in Denmark.'

  5. I am sickened to think that after so much history this country, yes country, not administration is still not treating our soldiers the way they deserve. Military suicides go back as far as wars themselves, I will never profess to know why but I have studied both strategy of and history of wars and the way we train soldiers, the way we lead soldiers and the fact that the phrase "acceptable loses" even exists sickens me.
    Why these individuals feel so antisemetic I can't answer but I know that part of their training helps them identify what they hate the most and turn it into "bravery" through rage. See the enemy kill them!
    The common thread is the same common thread I have read about over and over again, Nationalism. It will lead to the Diaspora, they will come and want to identify us then isolate us and either drive us out or destroy us. They fear people who believe as Rabbi Meir Kahane z"l did, he taught us to be strong, proud of being Jewish and vigilant.
    Any maniac with half a reason and todays technology can spread their vitriol in record time, things go viral in incredibly short periods of time and publishing can be managed in your living room with a computer and a kinkos

    It is the motivator of hatred against Jews from the inquisition, through the nazis and to jihad.
    Jews are convenient to hate, we are mysterious, we are different, we own the banks your land and control the media. When the plague was ravaging Europe we didn't have it in the ghettos.
    We survive because of our discipline and our dedication.
    We still marry our own although this is now changing at an alarming rate.
    We stay together in communities so we can pray together and be with those that share our values, culture and language.
    Your uncovering this link will play out as even more relevant than we may know for some time.
    Thank you for your dedication to our people and your effort to keep us from being blinded by apathy.
    As I always I remind all, to turn the other cheek is not a Jewish belief and NEVER FORGET what Rabbi Kahane z"l taught us "Never Again"


  6. Thank you Paul! I see a special side of you when you write your feelings. Your Jewish pride is a beautiful thing. Appreciate this chance to get to know your heart through your writing. You are a portal into a Jewish world that exists now and forever.

  7. Just a note to add about Paul's comments: I had sent Paul an article by Michael Leon, one of the Jew hater-bloggers from the VeteransToday site and I believe his reference to "Why these individuals feel so antisemetic..." is in reference to that article. I am still in shock as to the public display of their bloggers hatred toward Israel and the Jewish people. Do you believe this Leon calls himself "a public relations specialist?"

  8. Note to "anonymous" whose comment I have rejected. No, Jews are not responsible for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and America is not Israel's 'bitch.' If you'd like to reveal your name, then I challenge you to do that, and I'll post your disgusting science fiction.

  9. Ah Naomi, pretty amazing that you'd feel strongly about these two intertwined issues. As strongly as I feel about Israel, I feel the same passion for soldiers, veterans and their families. Please don't forget the families. I have walked in their shoes my whole life and am currently using my community development profession to do what I can for the veterans and families community here in Australia.

    The veteran suicides are nothing new, sadly. The things soldiers do and see in the name of peace on this earth is nothing short of horrifying. And we're a society who believes that when (if) they return, everything will go back to normal. It's more convenient for us that way.

    The reality is, when people throw budget projections out for what a war will cost - quadruple it. They're not taking into account the care for the soldier for the rest of his life, nor the cost to society from broken families and the suicides of the children of these veterans and how that impacts upon society. When people bray for us to send soldiers to war, remember that war doesn't end when the soldiers return. For the soldiers and their families it is just the beginning of a long walk through hell.

    For a fascinating look into PTSD, I highly recommend Col. David Grossman's book on Killology. It's very readable and put things into terms the average person will relate to. Current research indicates that 99% of returning soldiers will develop PTSD at some point in their lives. The other 1% will come back psychopathic. If the soldiers get treatment within the first couple of years there's a good prognosis. If they don't, it's a life long battle they'll have to fight.

    Please don't forgot the families in this equation. Australian research shows that children of veterans have a suicide rate 4 times higher than the national average, 80% have been diagnosed with depression, 70% have had cancer, and nearly 100% have secondary PTSD. The wives, G-d bless them, they are truly amazing people. What they live with, in the name of the love they have for their partner, is incomprehensible. If you know a veteran family, support the wives, the kids, offer help, and ear to listen, a hug. They all need it.

    As for the anti semitism, how bloody disappointing although I'm not surprised. The veteran community is as diverse as the rest of the community. And veterans need to blame some one for their ills. You can't blame your government really, it looks unpatriotic. You can't blame your family. Maybe the bad guys? Except you've looked into the whites of their eyes in the fury of combat and seen their fear and you know they're as human as the rest of us, so who do you blame? Who do you focus your anger on to help make the pain go away? The people who've always copped the blame, Jews. It's too easy to blame the Jewish people because their image has become so dehumanized over millenia that some people don't see Jews as people. That's the sign of successful anti semitism in society.

    That's not to say all veterans would be anti semitic or blame the Jewish people for their ills, not at all. In fact I'd go as far as saying most veterans would hold Israel and Jews in higher esteem than they would anyone else. I developed my love for Judaism and Israel partly from my father who served with (and stayed friends with) a Jewish man who was a former IDF officer. But there's always dimwitted people who'll blame Jews for anything they can come up with.

    I would suggest Naomi, to publicize this anyway you can to bring attention to the issue so people are aware of it and we can do what we can to stop it before it gets worse and spreads to the rest of the veteran community. But it needs to be done very carefully, very sensitively lest the veteran community come off even worse than they already are. You know I will do what I can to support you.

  10. Naomi, thanks for bringing this up: I'd only ever seen one of the guy's videos and thought he'd sounded ok.

    Research over here indicates that mental health disorders sometimes don't show up in veterans until up to 14 years after leaving the Forces; it's going to be a long old haul.

  11. Thank you Paul! I see a special side of you when you write your feelings.