Post is courtesy of Alexa Napier…
There are persistent stereotypes about Vietnam veterans as psychologically devastated, bitter, homeless, drug-addicted people who had a hard time readjusting to society, primarily due to the uniquely divisive nature of the Vietnam War in the context of U.S. History.
That social division has expressed itself by the lack both of public and institutional support for the former servicemen expected by returning combatants of most conflicts in most nations. In a material sense also, veterans’ benefits for Vietnam era veterans were dramatically less than those enjoyed after World War II. The Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as amended, 38 U.S.C. § 4212, was meant to try and help the veterans overcome this.
In 1979, Public Law 96-22 established the first Vet Centers, after a decade of effort by combat vets and others who realized the Vietnam veterans in America and elsewhere (including Australia) were facing specific kinds of readjustment problems. Those problems would later become identified as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
In the early days, most Vet Center staffers were Vietnam veterans themselves, many of them combat veterans.
Some representatives of organizations like the Disabled American Veterans started advocating for the combat veterans to receive benefits for their war related psychological trauma. Some U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospital personnel also encouraged the veterans working at the Vet Centers to research and expand treatment options for veterans suffering the particular symptoms of this newly recognized syndrome.
This was a controversial time, but eventually, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs opened Vet Centers nationwide. These centers helped develop many of the debriefing techniques used nowadays with traumatized populations from all walks of life.
The Vietnam veterans who started working in the early Vet Centers eventually began to reach out and serve World War II and Korean vets as well, many of whom had suppressed their own traumas or self-medicated for years.
Veterans, particularly in Southern California, were responsible for many of those early lobbying and subsequent Vet Center treatment programs. These men founded one of the first local organizations by and for Vietnam veterans in 1981 (now known as Veterans Village).
Vets were also largely responsible for taking debriefing and treatment strategies into the larger community where they were adapted for use in conjunction with populations impacted by violent crime, abuse, manmade and natural disasters, and those in law enforcement and emergency response.
Other notable organizations that were founded during this period included the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and the National Organization for Victim Assistance. These organizations continue to study and/or certify post-traumatic stress disorder responders and clinicians.
There are still, however, many proven cases of individuals who have suffered psychological damage from their time in Vietnam. Many others were physically wounded, some permanently disabled. However, advocates of this point of view ignore the many successful and well-adjusted Vietnam veterans who have played important roles in America since the end of the Vietnam War such as Al Gore, Fred Smith (founder and president of Federal Express), Colin Powell, John McCain, Craig Venter (famed for being the first to map the human genome), and many others
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Should you have a question or comment about this article, then scroll down to the comment section below to leave your response.
If you want to learn more about the Vietnam War and its Warriors, then subscribe to this blog and get notified by email or your feed reader every time a new story, picture, video or changes occur on this website – the button is located at the top right of this page.
I’ve also created a poll to help identify my website audience – before leaving, can you please click HERE and choose the one item best describing you. Thank you in advance!
For those such as myself who served post Vietnam, the stereotypes about veterans were still there as well. In my case, the only time I could obtain employment was when the person hiring me had been either a veteran or had family in the military.
As for who is to blame for this stereotyping of veterans, the responsibility can be placed on the news media, the entertainment industry, and the academic community. Institutions that I myself now have little respect for.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I was honored to work with homeless severely challenged veterans of all eras for over two decades and truly appreciate the authors perspective. War screws some people up, period.
LikeLiked by 1 person
ROE lost the war. Our hands were tied by DC.
LikeLiked by 1 person
what would you expect from a LIBERAL.
like Bob above said (a different Bob then me)
“Al Gore…..you got to be shitting me”
I agree with that Bob 1000%
LikeLiked by 1 person
Speaking of negative stereotypes. The ollowing is from a blog on “yahoogroups” that I had briefly joined until I realized this blog’s members all have to be or have been students at the University Of California at Berkeley. They absolutely refused to listen to a real vet that had actually served in combat in Vietnam in I-Corps 1968-1969. Their rhetoric and total BS was so sickening they really didn’t have to even ask me to leave. This is what’s wrong with the world today, we just can’t seem to learn from history mainly because there are those like these young people that just change history to their perceptions and likings forgetting there are some of us out there that actually have some facts. I can’t for the life of me figure out their motivation for doing this. I’ve left the original address, date, etc., but the rest is only their response to me after telling of them of my experiences in Vietnam. It is obvious they know so much more that isn’t so than someone that has actually experienced the reality of it. It’s not even the content of their rhetoric anymore that makes me ill, it’s more just the total ignorance and attitude. Read it if you can stomach it.
“”””””””””QUOTED from HERE”””””””
Date: Mon, 16 May 2011 18:08:07 +0000
Subject: [vietnam-the-longest-war] Re: Vietnam Army Kills 14 More Hmong Protesters, Hundreds More Missing
(their reply to my message of my personal experience in Vietnam)
In the psychology profession there is a clinical term called “arrested development”. This term describes individuals who abruptly stop maturing mentally at a given age. The most prominent example of ‘arrested development’ is George W. Bush. Bush was diagnosed by observing psychologists to have stopped maturing at the age of 17… which explains why he talked and acted like a kid.
‘Arrested Development’ is also a syndrome diagnosed by VA doctors who encounter former military people who’s brains stopped evolving, rationalizing or reasoning at a certain stage in their lives, though that ‘stage’ is not necessarily governed by age. For example, some Vietnam vets stopped mentally evolving during or after their tour of duty in Vietnam. Any and all concepts that they determined to be accurate at that time remain their same line of thinking throughout the remainder of their lives and never change despite all the evidence accumulated since their tour of duty that includes far more information and facts than the veteran had available to him 40 years ago when the war ended.
This is true for the writer, below, who blames “the media” for “losing the Vietnam War. Some Vietnam vets blame “the politicians”. Others blame Jane Fonda or Frosty the Snowman. But what all these vets have in common is that they are general “low-information” readers or researchers who have, usually by choice but sometimes because of low education, failed or refused to learn more about the Vietnam War because they simply do not want to face a truth that would put factual responsibility for the war on our military.
In other words, these vets are similar to little children who tell their parents “it wasn’t my fault”, or “someone else did it, not me” when their parents confront them for an explanation as to why the cookie jar is empty… even though the kid has cookie crumbs spread all over his face.
The simple fact is, we lost the war in Vietnam and it was the fault of our military, not the politicians, not the news media, not Jane Fonda and not the weather. We lost the war in Vietnam because we sent over troops too young and too un-educated (along with being too stupid to avoid drug and alcohol abuse) to win the war. We sent over Generals too incompetent to pacify a country the size of Texas. And we sent over racists who treated the Vietnamese the way we treated blacks in our country. (The Vietnam War and Civil Rights Movement were simultaneous.)
Our military had the capability of decidedly winning the Vietnam War, just as our military in Afghanistan could quite easily and efficiently pacify Afghanistan but chooses to prolong wars for selfish (military, corruption or criminal policy) reasons.
“””””””””””””””END OF QUOTED REPLY””””””””
I can hardly read it anymore, I know not why I still save it, but I do. Unfortunately they, or their offspring, will someday have to suffer the same consequences we did because of some kind of “arrested history” that they are trying to dish out. I’m quite confident none of them have ever seen “Cherries”, it would be much too harsh for their weak undeveloped minds to even begin to comprehend.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Hey bro, remember that these people are the offspring of those who protested the war when it was taking place. It’s clear that they’ve studied the wrong textbooks and care to believe that the truth lies within comic books and Gameboys. Thanks for posting. If you want to post an article about your experience with this group, get back to me via email.
LikeLiked by 2 people
The dismissive condescension shown by the writer of this piece epitomizes the arrogance of the so-called educated class.
Something that I myself have personally had to deal with. Reality does not exist to them, just their blinkered agenda.
And to be fair, this writer is also exhibiting the very same arrested development that they condemn.
Whomever this individual is, they themself should stop and reflect
If they ever can, that is.
Quote Vietnam veterans who have played important roles in America since the end of the Vietnam War such as Al Gore ….. End Quote
You’ve got to be shitting me!
Kissinger should be brought up on charges for leaving the POW’s in
Vietnamese, Laotian and Russian prisons..
He should be arrested for lying to Congress and the American
citizens about the pow’s he and Nixon left behind….to rot!
Vietnam Combat Vet
101st Abn Division
I corps, Thua-Thien Province
My brother, they should have started with Robert McNamara ….. to many D C criminals killed and hurt us.