Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Marlboro Man Has PTSD

The Chicken Hawks who harp on how people who are against the war don't support the troops should read this article:
Pike County, Ky. -- BATTLE SCARS: The photo of the "Marlboro Man" in Fallujah became a symbol of the Iraq conflict when it ran in newspapers across America in 2004. Now the soldier has returned home to Kentucky,where he battles the demons of post-traumatic stress

The photograph hit the world on Nov. 10, 2004: a close-cropped shot of a U.S. Marine in Iraq, his face smeared with blood and dirt, a cigarette dangling from his lips, smoke curling across weary eyes.

It was an instant icon, with Dan Rather calling it "the best war photograph in recent years." About 100 newspapers ran the photo, dubbing the anonymous warrior the "Marlboro Man."

The man in the photograph is James Blake Miller, now 21, and he is an icon, although in ways Rather probably never imagined.

He's quieter now -- easier to anger. He turns to fight at the sound of a backfire, can't look at fireworks without thinking of fire raining down on a city. He has trouble sleeping, and when he does, his fingers twitch on invisible triggers.

The diagnosis: post-traumatic stress disorder.

His life in Kentucky, before and after the clicking shutter, says as much about hundreds of thousands of new American war veterans as his famous photograph said about that one bad day in Fallujah -- a photo Miller cannot see as an icon.

"I don't see a whole lot," he said. "I see a day I won't care to remember, but that I'll never forget."
This is the real cost of war that the Neocons and Limbaughs don't care to see or be bothered with. The cost they deny and refuse to pay. As more and more of these men and women come back, what is our responsibility and offering to them? Bush and his ilk have never paid such a price themselves, and they cut the benefits and monies needed to pay it for these people. War is hell, and they basically tell these victims of their asinine policies to go to hell.

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