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Cindy McCain Blames Vets for PTSD

By       Message Stuart Steinberg     Permalink
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Marie Claire is a women’s magazine that began in France and is now published in a number of countries in their own language and with articles geared to that country’s women.  According to Wikipedia, “the United States edition focuses on women around the world and several worldwide issues. The magazine also provides the reader with health, beauty, and fashion information in each issue.” In today’s issue, Cindy McCain was interviewed by someone named Sam Dealey whom no one has ever heard of and, hopefully, will never hear from, again.

I could rant in general about the entire interview, which was one of the biggest loads to appear during the Presidential campaign to date. It was a candy-ass pile of drivel that lobbed one softball question after another at Cindy McCain and never asked her about anything of substance, except in one particular area. Before I get to what that is, let me add one other thought. This “interview” was nothing more than a right-wing attempt to humanize Cindy McCain and make her appear first lady-like. I just made up that term because I couldn’t think of any other way to describe this sop of an interview.

Here’s the “one particular area” that was touched upon:

MC: You met your husband after his POW days. To what extent is that still with you — or is it a part of history?
CM:
 My husband will be the first one to tell you that that’s in the past. Certainly it’s a part of who he is, but he doesn’t dwell on it. It’s not part of a daily experience that we experience or anything like that. But it has shaped him. It has made him the leader that he is.” 

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“MC: But no cold sweats in the middle of the night?
CM:
 Oh, no, no, no, no, no. My husband, he’d be the first one to tell you that he was trained to do what he was doing. The guys who had the trouble were the 18-year-olds who were drafted. He was trained, he went to the Naval Academy, he was a trained United States naval officer, and so he knew what he was doing.”

These despicable comments by Ms. McCain either went right over Mr. Dealey’s empty head, or he deliberately, and quickly, moved on to the next topic, which was about McCain’s calling Obama a celebrity and then her saying she would compare John McCain—wait for it—to Winston Churchill. I swear to God and you couldn’t make this stuff up if you smoked crack and held your breath for five minutes. Any legitimate news reporter would have stopped cold, mouth hanging open and said, “Huh? What? Are you serious? Are you an idiot?”

Ms. McCain’s comments are so wrong in so many ways, I hardly know where to begin. I am a Vietnam veteran. I spent eighteen months there as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal specialist—that’s the bomb squad in plain English. I was wounded twice and decorated for heroism. During my tours, I went on some 500 incidents involving explosive ordnance, including numerous improvised explosive devices. On May 10, 1969, I was blown up in an ammo dump that had been attacked by the Viet Cong. I was trying to move a dud mortar round to our demolition area for destruction. Ten days later, I was injured again during an incoming attack. On numerous occasions, I helped clear dead bodies—ours and theirs—for booby traps and the ordnance these soldiers were carrying when they died. I saw things that no human being should ever have to witness. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, I have post traumatic stress disorder. Apparently, according to Cindy McCain, it’s my own fault.  

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Let me tell you something, Cindy, baby. If you think your husband does not have PTSD, you are living in some strange state of unconsciousness. Anger management issues are a prevalent symptom of PTSD and, wow, has your hubbie lived up to that one. Then there's the symptom of intrusive thoughts about traumatic war experiences. Do you really expect anyone to believe that your husband does not have intrusive thoughts about being shot down, his horrendous injuries and the five years of torture he reminds everyone about every time he opens his mouth to tell us why he's qualified to be president? Either you're lying, or he's lying, or your both lying, or he's had a lobotomy, which many of us believe is the case.  

And if you think that only “untrained” draftees get PTSD, you are so out of touch with modern medical thought and proven research, that I can only question if you have the intelligence of an ant. Wait. I think I just insulted ants. First, no one who knows anything about PTSD, and who knows what happened to your husband while he was in captivity, believes he does not have some small dose of PTSD. Not possible, ain’t gonna happen. Secondly, you pinhead, there are no draftees and haven’t been since, oh, 1970. Thirdly, I and many of my friends who suffer from this illness were well trained and knew how to survive, even though we didn’t come from an elite, privileged family like your husband, and didn’t attend the Naval Academy.

According to Cindy McCain’s theory, the military is pampering the thousands of men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who have been diagnosed with PTSD and depression, because they couldn’t possibly have this debilitating illness since they are the best trained, best equipped, yadda, yadda, yadda. I guess they are all faking their symptoms and the hundreds who have committed suicide were defective before they went to war and saw their friends blown to pieces, or picked up the body parts of innocent civilians killed in a sick and demented war. I guess it’s our own fault for not being able to suck it up like your husband.

Every day, I and my associates at Central Oregon Veterans Outreach, see the damage done by war to veterans from all eras. Some of our Vietnam clients have never gotten back on track, even after forty years. The kids we see who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan cannot understand what has happened to them and I have had more than one of them break down in my office and cry. These are men who fought bravely, who killed the enemy when required and who are now lost within themselves. Along with the Department of Veterans Affairs, we do what we can to see that they receive the benefits and treatment they have earned and which your husband has opposed time and time again through his votes in the Senate.

I hope, Cindy McCain, that your son Jimmy, who served in Iraq, came back in good shape and never has to deal with the problems now being faced by many of his fellow Marines. If your son at the Naval Academy ends up in combat, I wish the same for him. However, if you think that this disease is only suffered by ill-trained soldiers who came from less than privileged backgrounds, I would suggest you spend some time talking to the wives, mothers and fathers of the young men and women who have to deal with this every minute of every hour or every day, sometimes for years, sometimes for the rest of their lives. Why don’t you do that, instead of doing interviews with sycophantic suckups like Sam Dealey?

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Stu Steinberg is a disabled Vietnam combat veteran and retired public defender and capital defense investigator.

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