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Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Ryan Budget, Veteran Suicides and a Doorway to Transition.

There is a type of peace that only warriors in war can know. It's not a peace from violence, but a peace through the way violence eliminates conjecture.

Bullets flying and mortars falling make for a very important moment. Do your job now or die.

What I saw reading through Ryan's budget was a bunch of maybes and should be's at some later time. This of course is no different than the Obama budget that does the same thing.

Now, if we look at this type of planning the same way a good NCO would look at any plan coming down from higher you assume that the plan will be very different by the time the rubber meets the road.

Nobody can predict the future by crunching numbers and the best that you can hope for is that the people in charge have honor and integrity.

I put about as much faith in the budgets of both teams as I did in intelligence reports down range. That said, I think there are aspects of both plans that bear scrutiny.

When I heard that Ryan's budget didn't even include the word "Veteran", I decided to look for myself.

Romney announced Ryan as VP on a friggen aircraft carrier, so I figured Vets would be his top priority.

After reading the Path to Prosperity I realized that veterans are not even on their radar!

Our nation and our leaders should be ashamed of the fact that the number of veterans killing themselves on American soil is hundreds of times greater than the number of SMBRs dying from combat on foreign soil.

Last month set a new record for suicides.

I believe that the number one issue in America today is the suicide rate of Veterans.

As a nation, we are mistaken if we believe the economy is the number one issue in this years' election. Without our SMBRS, there would be no economy.

We are mistaken if we believe that health care is the number one issue in this years election. Our SMBRs provide life care. Health care comes after your life and freedom is secured by the sacrifices of our SMBRs.

There is no argument here. The mark of a nations greatness hinges on how well that nation takes care of the men and women who secure its survival.

We are doing a poor job taking care of the men and woman who take care of us.

What can we do about it?

The plan signed by Obama last week is a step, but it doesn't specifically address veteran suicides.

In a battle environment when someone is hurt or injured, all hands are on deck. I'll never forget the number of people waiting at the FOB and then at the CASH after we got hit by the IED. Even the Colonel stopped by to check on us.

I won't comment on why this isn't the case back home, but I have an idea how to help.


Surprised? You shouldn't be. There is plenty of science about this issue.

The American Psychological Association President Suzanne Bennett Johnson, PhD, gave a keynote address at the 15th annual VA Psychology Leadership Conference, held last April in San Antonio Texas. In it she made the point that Veterans aren't getting enough sleep.

Combine this knowledge with the opinions of Karen Soltes who believes, after seven years of teaching mindfulness meditation to Veterans at the Washington DC VA, that sleep is the linchpin of transition.

In other words, help Veterans get a better handle on sleep and the rest of the issues may become more manageable.

I spent two years trying to fall asleep after I got home from Iraq. I spent an additional 3 years self medicating.

If science shows sleep is important and scientists have the resources to address the issue, then what is the friggen problem?

Part of my job as a Psyop Specialist down range was to interact with key communicators in our Area of Operations. I'd explain why they should fall in line by touting all the benefits Democracy would afford them in the future.

Most would feign agreement, but I know what they were thinking: why should I friggen listen to you?

What did I know or understand about being Iraqi? Same is true for civilian specialists introducing new techniques to SMBRs coming home from war.

It's like a mountain lion being encouraged to follow the advice of a rabbit.

What's needed is a doorway to current techniques that veterans are more inclined to walk through. Transitioning out of war isn't easy, but neither was training into it.

The first door I would like to open to you is mindfulness meditation as a sleep aid.

This free link to a mindfulness meditation sleep aid is currently being taught to veterans every Thursday by Karen Soltes at the Washington, D.C. VA.

If you or any veteran you know is having trouble sleeping, this meditation might help.

Just download the guided meditation, put on headphones and let Karen's voice guide you out of your head and into sleep.

This technique has helped me sleep better and it might be the doorway you step through to begin a sustainable path towards transitioning into a CVLN lifestyle.


This post was guided by the 23rd stanza of the Art of Peace, a book by founder and creator of the Martial Art Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba .

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