Trastorno (the Twelfth Chapter)

Okay. Now you have enough information to understand the events that led to my departure from the United States Army. So, where should I start with the story of my inglorious end? I guess with my second year in Iraq.

I was an intelligence trainer on a “Mission Transition Team” (MiTT). “What the hell is is that?” you wonder? It is a team of 11 people: five captains, five sergeants and a major. The major was the team commander and each captain and sergeant formed a pair for various military areas such as logistics, intelligence, operations, etc.
We drove three three trucks. Yes maestro, I was a captain of military intelligence, commander of companies of 100 soldiers, advisor of battalions of a thousand soldiers. But here I was a member of a pair with a sergeant (a complete dick, by the way), and I was a driver of a truck. Something a private would do in a conventional unit. Sometimes I was a machine gunner. When I wasn’t driving a truck, my job was to was to teach Iraqi officers in infantry battalions how to gather and use intelligence.

It was anything but a normal job. We were always driving to and from the bases of the Iraqi soldiers and walking around with them. Sometimes we slept on their bases. We would regularly leave our base and visit tribal chiefs and various units of the Iraqi army. With this, the year seemed to me a bit like Lawrence of Arabia. That is, they were immersed in the culture of the Middle East.

And yes, maestro, I experienced combat. I was in a low-intensity firefight. My truck was bombed twice. And several times I saw the aftermath of battles: exploded corpses of children, wives and wailing mothers with pieces of their husbands in their laps. None of this seemed traumatizing to me, though.

This doesn’t mean I didn’t have empathy. But because of my spirituality I’ve always had the opinion that death was not a very difficult thing to endure. We all go to God. It’s only a matter of time. Everyone finds the truth. Death is the end of injustice. For me, injustice is more intolerable than death. Yeah, the battle scenes were sad. But in general not for those who died, rather for the survivors, for the wives, for the mothers. During my year in Iraq I encountered such events only a few times, less than 10. I have friends in the Army who experienced every week what I experienced during my whole year.

This is an interesting topic. I know soldiers who suffered much more war violence than I did and yet did not suffer from PTSD. I also know soldiers who experienced less violence than I did and who got PTSD. In any case, post-war experiences influence the way soldiers process their experiences. I’ve noticed that how a soldier is treated when he comes back home is a huge factor in how they handle what happened to them during war.

In my case, it is not that my experiences were insignificant, but neither were they absolutely terrible. However, the atmosphere of my life after my second year in Iraq was such that a mosquito bite had the potential to become a season with a psychiatrist. I first went to see a psychologist for marital problems. The diagnosis they gave me was “adjustment disorder,” not PTSD. I had to fight five years after I left the army to get diagnosed with PTSD. During my final three years in the Army they insisted that I only had difficulty adjusting to my life after the war and my divorce. However, the diagnostics manual maintains that an adjustment disorder can only persist for six months. After that time, if someone continues to have mental problems, there has to be another diagnosis. But in my case, they said I had an adjustment disorder for three years.

In the military, an adjustment disorder is the same thing as a personality disorder. That is, if you have personality disorder or adjustment disorder, nobody does anything for you. And it’s normal that if you have personality disorder, you get kicked out of the army. But if you have adjustment disorder, they don’t do anything. You just live life as always. They assume you’ll just go back to normal. That’s what they said about me for three years. Both personality disorder and adjustment disorder are methods avoiding providing treatment to soldiers. One of them, personality disorder, says, “he’s just a bad, irreparable person we need to remove from service.” The other, adjustment disorder: “He just had a bad day. Tomorrow everything will be fine.” Now keep in mind, I was an officer. Not a soldier. Like the Ranger I mentioned to you previously, officers just aren’t supposed to need help. And I was a male. Not a female. Males just aren’t supposed to need help. Yes, maestro, I’ll tell you about forms of sexism in the military that you just aren’t going to find in the media.

Now I can explain to you, maestro, how I caught the “adjustment disorder” that lasted for three years. As I mentioned earlier, my second tour in Iraq had its dose of violence. It was not the greatest difficulty of the year, though. I’ll tell you that disappointment and exhaustion were the main challenge. At first the MiTTs gave a lot of money to the Iraqi teams they were supposed to be training. The Iraqis did everything they were asked to do. The result was that the MiTTs didn’t really train the Iraqis to do anything, but rather lead them around like a golden horde of Genghis Khan catching bad guys. 11 US soldiers leading a thousand Iraqis. But in 2007 the US government stopped sending money. When Americans stopped passing out money to the Iraqis, they no longer had anything new under the sun to offer. So everything turned into nothing.

When the budget reduction reached the Iraqis, as expected, they had no reason to give a damn what the MiTTs said or asked them to do. That’s we found out that the American soldiers had no idea how to train anyone to do anything, and that the Iraqis in turn didn’t really want to learn anything at all.

By the end of the year, my team had not accomplished anything, and I felt like the soldiers when they returned from Vietnam. Why was there a war in the first place? What was the need for so much death? Then I went home to a wife who really didn’t want me back there. She was very happy in her home in Arizona without her husband and did not want to move to Monterey, California on Army orders. Imagine, maestro. Monterey, California! Obviously the Ninth Circle of Hell. Most Army soldiers would kill for the chance to live in such a paradise, but for my wife that was a nightmare. Paradise was always a nightmare for my wife.

In fact, we were going to Monterey because I had to study Russian as a requirement of my career as a military intelligence officer. I told you that my language was Arabic, but after studying it in military school, the Army sent me to Oklahoma to forget everything I had learned. And after many years they sent me to Iraq, where I learned a lot again. But after a year they sent me to Arizona to forget everything again. And then Iraq again. At some point it occurred to me to switch to Russian because my wife was Russian and so I could learn a language that I would not forget because I could use it at home. So I passed up a $30,000 bonus in order to go to California to learn Russian. My wife filed for divorce while I was in Russian school.

Unfortunately, ever since the fall in the garden of Eden, the purpose of the woman is the destruction of the man. If for the man it is important to go to some paradise to do something very significant and difficult, such as learning the language of his wife, she will of course hate the idea. The most important thing for the woman will be to cry about not having her favorite cookie for her favorite coffee or some such nonsense as that. That’s how my wife acted. Her complaints were constant.

After nine months, my wife wanted to return to Arizona, where we lived before I had to go to Iraq, and where she lived during the time I was at war. I was going to have to return there after my Russian course, before receiving further training for my next position in Washington, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The time we spent together in California during my Russian course sucked. I was distant, irritable. I spent most of my time on the computer. I wanted to learn the language well, and I was doing well at it, actually. In fact, I was the best student in my class. But everything besides Russian I always forgot. My behavior was too casual for an officer. I told crazy jokes to the soldiers and called them by their first names. I was was rebellious.

During the latter part of my course, after my wife had left ahead of me to go back to Arizona, she never called me, rarely received my calls, and never wanted to talk to me when we actually did manage to be on the phone. It was under of these circumstances, in that mental condition, when I flirted with one of my Russian teachers, and she filed a complaint. It had been no big deal, nothing cruel or vulgar. But students were not allowed to have personal conversations with authority figures. And I tell you, maestro, she wouldn’t have made any complaint, but someone discovered the interaction and, of course, it’s easier for a woman to say she’s been approached by an undesirable man than to accept that she really enjoyed the attention. Do not forget, maestro: the purpose of the universe is to protect women.

That would be the first link in a chain of nightmares with women that would drive me insane. I mean, the end of my marriage wasn’t the first or the only one of my trials.

Once the complaint was on file, I went to see my commander. Again, it wasn’t really a big deal. There was no actual forbidden relationship. It wasn’t any extreme behavior. Just odd, expected from a guy falling apart inside, but nobody noticed that. No rule had been broken, it was just that a unit policy had almost been violated, and a teacher might have been a little upset. However, when I spoke to my commander I started crying. I was doing a little worse than anyone knew. Even myself. He recommended that I go to the mental health clinic for help with my marriage and also be evaluated for PTSD. I might as well have been ordered to jump into a pool full of acid. Yes, maestro, this clinic was the place I described to you before. Two of the three therapists who worked there had been suspended for corrupt practices, misdiagnosing and mistreating soldiers. I got the one that was left: a woman, Dr. Heather Klempp. Apparently this was my next godsend.

She gave me a personality test, the MMPI (”Minnesota Multiphase Personality Inventory”). She asked me about my situation and asked me to come back to hear her opinions. During the interview, I told her how I felt about my wife not being happy with my return from Iraq. I felt very exhausted. The war was haunting me at home, perhaps just as terrible. After taking care of everything and everyone in Iraq, in America I had to take care of everything and everyone again, and nobody or nothing took care of me. I didn’t mention a single thing about the violence of shells, corpses or bombs. For me stress was the most powerful weapon of war.

When I returned the following week, the therapist told me that my problem was that I didn’t understand what my role was in what was happening to me. I mean, apparently my life was perfect and my main obstacle was that I didn’t want to recognize my monstrosity. In other words, the therapist didn’t like me. This is where I learn that a man should never ask a therapist for help, especially if he has marital problems.

At the end of the appointment she asked me if I wanted to meet again. I, making a great effort not to throw up, had to say no. She offered to explain the results of my MMPI. With what little patience I had left, I had to tell her that I only needed to pick up my records and I would interpret them myself.

However, when I returned to the clinic to pick up my records, I only received an empty folder. There were no psych test results, not even notes of any substance. There was also no evaluation for PTSD. Just a piece of paper that said, ” Captain Bailey’s visit.” I submitted two applications in vain to receive my medical records.

I found it very strange because I knew that I had done my exam, and I knew that doctors have an obligation to show their reports to patients. In the end I had to talk to the big piece of garbage and son of Satan, Colonel Daniel Jimenez, the commander of the clinic. I’m really looking forward to finding this son of a bitch at the bottom of the eternal lake of fire to piss in his face. This bastard is the reason hell exists.

When I came to his office to ask him why my psych file was empty, he panicked. He barked like a mad dog. I was very surprised by this reaction. Before the appointment, I was upset because my commander was waiting for a PTSD evaluation and did not receive it. Besides, I was a little outraged that the clinic wouldn’t give me the therapist’s notes. But with a single look from the colonel, it was very obvious that something was not right here.

Do not forget, maestro, that I was not yet aware of all the problems the clinic was having. This colonel bag of shit had three psychologists spitting out diagnoses of personality disorder to all of the student soldiers. Two of his shrinks had already been suspended by an angry lawyer representing one of the abused soldiers.

In the Army, maestro, an officer is responsible for everything his soldiers accomplish or fail to accomplish. At the end of a tour in the war, for example, a colonel would receive as a medal a “silver star”, while a captain a “bronze star” and a private only a “service medal”.However, it’s the soldiers who water the battlefield with their blood. The justification is that high-ranking officers have responsibility for the lives of many soldiers.

Also, maestro, if I am commander of a company of 100 soldiers, and any one of them gets drunk on the weekend and kills himself in a car accident, it’s my fault. The battalion commander, the lieutenant colonel, my commander, would ask me what I had done to avoid the situation. If it didn’t turn out to be enough, then I could have problems in my military career. So this Colonel Jimenez was the commander of a bad unit. Probably about to lose his job. And I came around asking for my medical records. That was my crime.

The Army is an organization of bureaucrats who hate bureaucracy. Units of clueless bureaucrats who don’t do well in war are killed by soldiers. And this commander of a damn foreign language student behavioral health clinic would just sit in his office and sign forms and talk to his beloved wife about the taste of his lunch, while his psychological psychotics ruined the lives of U.S. Army soldiers, and he had no idea what was going on. And when the lawyer attack dog showed up, the asshole colonel was just thinking about his reputation.

I have a verse, maestro, but it’s not written in the Bible. It’s a personal adampation of mine:

Greater love has no one than this, that a military officer lay down his life for his own ass.

That’s why a captain who complains in his office that he can’t get his damn medical file was the threat of the century in his eyes. What do you think a bag of dicks like this bastard colonel would do if he really had to face a real threat, maestro? I’ll tell you, he’ll lie, steal, and cheat before he behaves like a real man. That was my doom.

He made many excuses, asked me many questions in a noisy and rude way. In the end, he assured me that he would give me my file. I left puzzled from my ordeal with the splendid commander. “What the hell just happened?” I thought to myself. “I just want my file to read what the crazy psychologist had seen in the damn test.”

I didn’t get my file, and my commander didn’t get any PTSD evaluation for many weeks. I’ll tell you something else, maestro. If you are expecting something, and you need good results, but you do not receive what you are expecting in a reasonable amount of time, I assure you that the results will be particularly bad.

For example, imagine you deliver a thesis to your teacher. You have 30 days to receive your grade, but most students already know what their grade is after a week. So, if after 29 days you have no answer, I promise you, maestro, you will receive your thesis the next day and that the results will be even worse than in your most diabolical nightmares. I call this the annihilator’s fault.

Look, maestro, the psychologist bitch Heather Klemmp didn’t like me. That much was obvious. But I’m sure fucking Colonel Daniel Jimenez ordered my total devastation. So much so that even she felt ashamed felt ashamed and guilty, and had to wait until the last minute to concoct my destruction.

When I went for my evaluation for PTSD, I didn’t get a diagnosis. Just a notification that my personality wasn’t inclined to develop PTSD. It was just a page that explained that I was a green, stinking piece of shit, a worm-infested dog. Bear in mind, maestro, I hadn’t raped this psychologist. I didn’t insult her either. I just told her that I didn’t want to go back for more sessions and that I would see my test results for myself. I didn’t talk about a desire to kill anyone, or to fuck babies, or devour poor widows with a knife and catsup.

I just told her I thought my wife didn’t give a shit about me. In Germany I was in paradise, my Jewish teachers treated me like a prodigy. But I had to give up that dream of being the perfect student to take care of my wife on the basis of making money in a military career that required me to kill villagers and bomb towns. Nobody noticed anything. My wife had her source of income, and according to the psychologist, everything was perfect except me, who behaved like a childish and selfish asshole.

However, she said it in an almost poetic way, as if trying to shock the reader because with the magnificence of my abomination. The professional evaluation lacked elements to support any diagnosis or program of treatment. Imagine an elementary school girl declaring her opinions about another girl she hates with all her guts. The bitch wrote something like that.

And indeed, at that moment my career in the Army ended. Don’t forget, maestro, a commander is responsible for everything that happens in his unit. If I am the commander of a company that has a drunk soldier, my commander, the commander of the battalion, is going to ask me about what I have done to avoid the vice of the soldier. Likewise, if a reputable source tells a commander that all his soldiers will be killed by a green dragon in a purple sky, the commander will commandeer tons of blue paint to change the color of the sky. Let there be no doubt in this. If a reputable psychologist tells a commander that one of his officers is an unredeemable human being, that is going to be the case. That officer is finished.

However, in my case, my commander didn’t have the mercy to just shoot me in the head right there. My hell was just beginning. As a good commander, he just sent my assessment to the security clearance center and assigned me to my next unit. After the Russian course, I returned to Arizona for advanced espionage training. Yes, maestro, they sent an officer in the process of divorce, who was going crazy, and had just been evaluated as a threat to humanity, to learn how to be the next James Bond.

Hey. My mom’s calling me. I’ll write you another e-mail tomorrow to continue this beautiful saga.

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