On February 15, 2001, Sonia Reich fled her home in Skokie, Illinois, insisting that someone was trying to kill her -- to "put a bullet in [her] head." It took a year for her son, Chicago Tribune journalist Howard Reich, to understand why she was running the streets of Skokie, fearing for her life: Late-onset PTSDTurns out that Ms. Reich is a Jewish survivor of the Ukrainian-Russian area known as Beyond the Pale of Settlement begun in the 18th century where Russian Jews became the victims of pogroms, an enterprise of West-Asian anti-Semites and Stalinists which became mindlessly organized to commit deadly violence upon Jews and assorted non-right thinking persons of the last century.
Soviets, Nazis, whatever; militarists and bigots share much in common notwithstanding wars among them.
Suddenly, and late in life for Sonia Reich the bystanders and perpetrators of some 60 years ago became a 21st-Century monster terrorizing her.
Ms. Reich's plight won't come as any great surprise to any victim of war.
War is always a crime, always an act of terror.
The people who fought wars in the name of the USA, American veterans, in a supreme irony for the world's greatest purveyor of violence remain the object of scorn and ridicule in our political system.
Running the streets, hiding out in the garage, staying vigilant against ghosts; this is a familiar story in America. Just not a story that many want to hear.
The neocons, Dr. Sally Satel, the American Enterprise Institute, Christian fundamentalists, the Republican Party with much of the Democratic Party in tow, all agree or tacitly accede to the asserted demands that caring for veterans just cost too much money.
And besides Dr. Sally Satel assures us: Trauma, PTSD, psychological problems associated with war aren't nearly as serious as veterans' groups say. No cause to expend public capital as though veterans, especially that bunch who served in the Vietnam War, can still have any problems associated with their service.
Here's an example of the tripe from Satel:
[M]emories of horrible experiences are rarely, if ever, repressed--that is, exiled from consciousness without the victim knowing it and actively kept out of her awareness.But ask a Vietnam War veteran. Ask a Palestinian in Gaza or the West Bank. Ask a victim of the American wars of the last few decades which seem to have a more provincial benefactor like the state of Israel and its cheerleaders in American society. Ask Sonia Reich.
Ask the veterans before they shoot themselves.
As one angry Vietnam Army combat veteran, Bob Walsh, an attorney who battles the VA every day on behalf of veterans says, "(Veterans) freeze to death on the streets or blow their brains out in the garage. The veterans' benefits claims system is a national tragedy, and men like (longtime claims specialist with the Veterans Benefits Administration) Mark Rogers are the problem, not the solution for our veterans and their families."
Good point, Walsh.
And with respect to Sonia Reich: Perhaps she can us teach us something about demons, war and respect in a civilized society.