Iraq War PTSD

The Nation
P.O. Box 55149
Boulder, CO 80323-5149

Subject: Letter to the Editor

I am in prison where I have remained for nearly 35 years. I cannot email and feel lucky to have this old and antiquated typewriter. I am writing in response to Kathy Dobie's wonderful article "Denial in the Corps [Feb. 18]."

I am a decorated veteran of the Marine Corps who served with the First Marines in Vietnam in 1965 and 1966, forced in 1969 to retire due to wounds received in action.

When I first came to prison, in 1973, there were several other Vietnam veterans with "problems." At the time, PTSD was not part of the American lexicon, but we all knew where our problems stemmed from, and it did not require a name.

I am told that one out of six veterans ended up in prison within their first year after returning from the war, and none received any sort of treatment other than the few talks we were able to have with one another in support of what we were feeling.

The PTSD level today is going to be far worse because of the type of warfare and the multiple deployments. When they all come to prison — and they will — there is no treatment for them still.

They will have multiple opportunities to die in their minds every day for their country, as no one kills another human being without killing a large part of themselves . . . and it does not go away.


   Joe Labriola, Former Sgt. USMC

Note: This letter appeared in the "Letters" section of The Nation magazine (March 17, 2008 edition)

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