Oy. OK Ray, time for some serious therapy.
I know Gary spends lots of time with the troops and talks with them about what they’ve experienced. If there are many guys like Ray, I hope the military has the means to help all of them with a minimum of red tape.
Ray, expect a visit from the cops.
The military has the means, Craig. Whether they have the will is another matter …
Trust Gary Trudeau, Pouncing Tiger, to safely extract Ray. Trudeau’s an artist who’s trying to make a point that the public badly needs to take. He’s trying to do good in the world. Does that make him a “do-gooder”? Yes.
The resources are there. Getting them used, in a culture that puts “Selfless Service” (putting others first) and “Duty” (which some view as not being the weak link), can be difficult part.
In re yesterday’s discussion: ProfGas, you aren’t smart enough to be a liar. You’re just mistaken and terribly gullible to believe these falsehoods. You probably also question President Obama’s birthplace, too.
How will the police detectives find the right pond?
My personal experience with the VA is many vets have heard completely untrue horror stories about the VA, and are reluctant to use the service. I try to get as many of my veteran friends as possible to avail themselves of the many programs and services by talking about how I got plugged into my best military service benefit.
Dylan Thomas, yesterday, asked if PTSD was less common after the “good” war, of 1939-1945, when the justice and, more to the point, the necessity of the fight was clearer. “Shell shock” was the WWI term for the mental problems suffered by vets. In WWII they called in “battle fatigue” and other things. The rise of organized crime and the “Jazz Age” in the 1920s was attributed by some to the number of vets desensitized to violence and unwilling to return to the constraints of civilized society, like Prohibition. Bill Mauldin did a cartoon about two WWII vets reading a newspaper that seems to contain nothing but stories about veterans turning ax murderer, etc. There are plenty of appearances in the literature of the world wars about the psychological aftereffects of the stress of combat. Watch “The Best Years of Our Lives” which was, in its day, a courageous and honest film about returning veterans. One protagonist has his share of nightmares. Not every vet has these problems. Probably a minority have any such problems, and as the majority of soldiers in any war are never, or hardly ever, in harm’s way, that is not surprising. But the men who form, as they say, the tip of the spear, are rather more likely to at least require a little readjustment, and in some cases, actual help.I saw an interview with the Battle of Britain Spitfire pilot. He was asked what it takes to make a good fighter pilot. He said, “Chiefly, a lack of imagination. If you regard what you do as the technical problem of bringing down another machine, you can do your job. If you start thinking about what your guns are doing to men (who are little different from you) inside that machine, or start thinking about what their guns might do to you, you are probably lost. People with a lot of imagination don’t last.”It was a truism in both world wars that every man has a breaking point, and will eventually reach it. As one WWII vet put it, “In that war you knew that one of four things would happen to you: you would get killed, you would go mad, you would get wounded bad enough to be pulled permanently from combat, or the war would end and you would be able to go home.” There was no doing your time, and getting rotated home. The last two of the four choices were all you had to hope for. And for most of the war, the third option seemed to be best you could realistically hope for, since surviving until the end of the war seemed so unlikely. It is said that Europe was filling with thousands of GI deserters by 1945. Don’t hear much about them.Were were in combat in WWI for less than a year. In WWII, from Pearl Harbor to VJ day was less than 4 years. We have now been in Afghanistan for as long as we were in Vietnam, though obviously on a much smaller scale. We’ve been in Iraq twice as long as we were in WWII. The stresses of war are cumulative. Ray went through the Gulf war and after, and Iraq and Afghanistan. He is one tough hombre. But the toughest piece of metal will bend or break under enough stress. If the armies in Iraq and Afghanistan were, like the armies of the world wars, full of draftees who never willingly enlisted, the number of such cases would, I am sure, be much higher.So, yes, whatever you call it, PTSD has been around for a long time, called by various names, and often never traced to its source. How many WWII vets became alcoholics, or worse, and no one ever attributed their problems to its base cause? Of course, sometimes stress just brings out traits and weaknesses latent in the individual, weaknesses that in normal life would never have been revealed, or never have been as bad.
Highly informative, Doughfoot. Thanks.
I fail to see much humor in this or most of your scripts.
I’ve tried the standard < p > </ p> for paragraphs but to no avail, so I just use two carriage returns/line breaks: < br />
I already got a Purple Heart. Just gimme a couple of aspirins.
At the end of a line of text, press “Enter” twice. Then type in the following 6 characters with no spaces between them:& n b s p ;(including the semicolon). Then press “Enter” twice more.
I agree that justice is complicated, but we’ve still got to seek it. When we despair of justice (as we do by ruling out capital punishment), we diminish our stature as human beings.
That human stature—Hamlet calls us “fools of nature”—is shot through with irony, as your story of Alfred Jodl illustrates. My favorite literary example of justice is Faulkner’s Popeye (Sanctuary; Requiem for a Nun).
This murderous gunslinger lies in prison awaiting execution for a murder he did NOT commit. By his many cold-blooded killings, Popeye has long since forfeited his humanity, but he still has a dim sense that HE has somehow been wronged. He keeps muttering, “What kind of justice is this, for Chrissake?!”
Trudeau’s handling of Ray—suggesting that Ray is mainly society’s responsibility—betrays something of the liberal’s despair of justice. To the extent he excuses Ray from responsibility for his actions, G.T. diminishes Ray’s human stature. Of course Ray needs to seek help. But once he’s cured, he’ll have to face up to whatever he’s done if he wants to join the rest of us “fools of nature.”
insightful, informative, timely…well done doughfoot.
america created the legions because there was a perceived need for vets to get together. only a vet can understand a vet. you cannot explain the total sensory experience of prolonged stress (read fear) to someone who has not been through it.
how sad though that up until the late 60’s we did not realize (or act on) the bad mix that alcohol mad with all of this.
If I may make one addition, doughfoot, the “hell’s angels motorcycle club” started up in california shortly after the second war. it’s members were almost universally bored fighter pilots.
@ProfessorChaos: You are. “Chaos” & “Gas” are etymologically related, and your remarks are full of gas, not chaos.
I am glad SP has not been part of the strip for the last 2 days. It has allowed the arc to focus on Ray’s problems an how BD can him.
Good man, Doughfoot. Also Trudeau. Get people to think and maybe act a little more kindly to each other.
Has anyone stopped to realize that a “civilian” with no military experience, taking highly-advertised “Ambien”, might well have done exactly the same thing Ray just did???
Vets aren’t the only ones getting highly “dosed” to profit the pharmaceutical industry. Hmm, who gets the money they pay for all those ads? Where does that money come from? Yep, no cycle of greed and profit in America today.
VA DOES do a pretty good job. The MILITARY however, has NOT done a very good job of taking care of troops, or veterans. Anything that might be “compensable”, disappears from records, records get lost, or even notice to VA someone has left the military on disability- doesn’t occur. It is not to the Pentagon’s advantage to let the numbers, or costs, add up.
I love the last frame. The good thing about Doonesbury is the worst thing that happens to the characters is they either loose their job or are stalked by Honey. Ray’s gonna be alright with friends like BD. If they came up with a VA helmet, BD would probably go to work for the VA.
PD, in regards to the death penalty and justice, what is the remedy to a pre-meditated mistake in the execution for a pre-meditated murder? The execution of justice has been so flawed that it’s hard to have confidence in the integrity of the death penalty. Back in the ’70’s Anthony Burgess discovered you could achieve justice short of the death penalty, by humanely keeping people alive and making them wish they were dead. By doing so he could remedy any mistakes that were made.
In my view justice would have been better served in this case by continuing to warehouse Alex after “treatment” instead of releasing him. Without the death penalty you still have the flexibility to achieve justice.
Your Shakespearean quotations are intelligently chosen and apt, fritzoid.
I’d only add that Shylock demands his pound of flesh out of revenge (like Eric Cantor, the Republican Majority Leader), not justice; whereas Hamlet is ready to pay with his life to make sure his revenge is just.
Unlike Faulkner’s Popeye (or Shylock or Cantor), Hamlet has the imagination to realize that justice may arrive unexpectedly and indirectly. “The readiness is all.”
I’ve been reading the archived strips from 1970 on. I’m up to 1991. I get so tired of certain folks attacking the author for his political views. Taking the strip all-in-all, he makes fun of liberals just as much as conservatives. I’m not saying he doesn’t lean to one side. But you don’t hear liberals complaining when he skewers them. I wonder if there is something in the way people think. Some have tried to be liberal Limbaughs, but it never works. They never have the mass following that the O’Reillys and Limbaughs have. It is an approach that liberals don’t respond to even when it comes from their own side. Liberals don’t like jeers, anger, nor bullies. They like satire and irony and humor.
By the same token, it is hard to imagine a conservative Trudeau or Jon Stewart. Look at a strip like Mallard Filmore, which certainly attempts to be humorous and conservative. Mocking & scathing it may be, but I’ve never found the strip to be good humored, or tolerant, or self-critical in the way that Trudeau and Stewart are. Filmore doesn’t often make fun of conservatives or conservative contradictions. Trudeau often makes fun of the liberal pretensions and inconsistencies of some of his characters, Stewart almost always polite to his conservative guests even while disagreeing with them. Almost always. (Though why any public figure would consent to be interviewed by one of the “reporters” for The Daily Show is beyond me!) And the Daily Show, which is a comedy not commentary show, does have that mass kind of following. Now, the radical left has just as much self-righteous anger and just as little humor as the radical right. But the radical left is nowhere to be found these days. The radical right isn’t as rampant as liberals like to think. But the mean-spirited right does seem to be very visible. If you think that all that I have written above is just BS, okay. I have as much trouble as anyone seeing the big picture, and have no claim to the omniscience that some posters seem to claim.
^ I hate the loss of the “Edit Comment” option.
An addendum: Shakespeare also goes out of his way to make Claudius more sympathetic than he has to be. He’s the only character other than Hamlet who gets a soliloquy (or pretty much even an aside), in the Prayer Scene, and what do we find out? Claudius is sickened by what’s he’s done (and is doing). But, like Macbeth, he simply finds himself so far and so deep into the river of blood that to continue on is easier than to turn around and go back.
By the way, palin, you still haven’t explained how ruling out capital punishment is either symptomatic of despair of justice, or a diminution of our stature as human beings. If anything, “I will kill no fellow man, even in self-defense; nor will I approve of any man being killed in my name, even if he has wronged me personally” seems to RAISE that stature, both in the one saying it and in the one being spared.
“Use them after your own honour and dignity; the less they deserve, the more merit is in thy bounty.”
Hey DeeCee Bee!
@Richard S. Russel: GBT’s genius is taking a serious subject, relating to it seriously and compassionately, and still giving us a laugh in the last panel.
@Dr Troutma Governments and the military have a long – very long – extended history of not givitg a zot about servicemen after their service is no longer required.One only has to see what happened to vets from the Crimea or Zulu wars to see the way the British Govt ignored their vets. All they got was a very miniscule pension. No support. The fate of the 14 VCs that fought in the Zulu wars was interesting because many of them went completely bonkers and took their own lives. This happens when hundreds of people are trying to dismember you and you don’t get to sleep very much. Your mind fails.This is why PTSD needs to be recognised and treated, but I guess we all intuitively know that.@Susan Newman My Grandfather fought in two world wars and his head was mashed potato because of it. It wasn’t just him that suffered. My mother still suffers today and in some way my childhood was a bit miserable becuse of this. These effects trickle down for generations. The two world wars are still contributors to alcoholism and violence in all societies, not just western ones. Oh and by the way, Australia and Europe were involved in these wars for many more years than the US and were directly attacked. That means that it wasn’t only vets that suffered (and still do suffer) from PTSD. I am not an American, but I see it vets with these problems as well.Why do we have so many people smugglers? Geez, I don’t think I would like my wife and kids to be in the middle of a war any more than anybody else. It’s self explanatory.Thankyou GT for yoru strip. I work with these guys every day and it offers me an insight that otherwise I could not have.