Saturday, May 17, 2008


Yesterday on NPR, I listened to this horror story of this Iraqi vet who came back to Fort Carson, literally deteriorated right in front of his wife's eyes, no help: Army in the form of his immediate commander, a Captain, claiming malingering, etc.--in one example, the guy was so sick that he had to be wheeled to daily formation by his wife.

All military types, who mostly have a love and hate relationship with the media know that there is probably more to the story than what some NPR (National Public Radio) reporter used--the news media is looking for a story, not the truth: a story and the hell with the facts; regardless, this was a horror story even if only a miniscule portion were true. My thoughts immediately, as in so many of such things, where was the Chaplain? The Chaplain is the "poor man's psychiatrist". The Chaplain is the first stop for this wife or should be.

The well done SOP, (Standard Operating Procedure) sickening in its content but a super documentary about the Abu Grabib infamous prison debacle. The pictures of humiliation by any standard were scandalous. The scandal, awful, made me ashamed. The immediate question: Where was the chaplain? Is it that Chaplains have such poor PR (public relations) that they are not even mentioned in dealing with problems of soldiers, especially returning Iraqi vets. Occasionally, we get some story of the good that chaplains are doing and it is a lot. I understand but too often in these horror stores, nobody mentions the Chaplain: the wife in this episode went to everybody, getting no help. What if she had said, "well, at least the chaplain encouraged me."

Are Chaplains too tied to the command structure to "kick against the pricks" as the Apostle Paul said and I am fond of saying. We have a Chief of Chaplains. I'm thinking typical politics--his mission: to run the chaplaincy, meaning messing in personnel and trying to keep a low profile. Is the chaplaincy like Ensign Pulver in the movie, Mister Roberts with a mission of staying constantly below the radar. I hope not. Please! The chaplains should be making a difference. This is the best chance Chaplains have had in ages to really shine in terms of what they do best. I'm not hearing it! On this NPR story, the Chief of Chaplain's office ought to be all over it: finding out how to help, what to do--anything but nothing which we are hearing.

We at least ought to have a few chaplains kicking ass and taking names. Amen!