On Veterans’ Day, What Can You Do If You Got PTSD in a Covert War? — by NormanB (“Deviations from the Norm”)
This is a poem. That’s all it is; it’s just a poem. Generalities and hypotheticals. It doesn’t mean this is that or that is this. It doesn’t. Don’t infer nothin’ ’bout nothin’. Shut up. Leave me alone. Mind your own business.
What can you do if you get Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in a covert war? You can’t call the VA – the Veteran’s Administration hospital – where they presumably have lots of experts on PTSD. You’ll never see the inside of one of those places. (Maybe as a visitor.) You can’t get a Military Disability. You can’t get Veteran’s Benefits. You can’t even say you’re a Veteran.
When somebody asks you – and they will ask – “Have you ever been in a war?” you’ll have to answer “No.” But it’s worse than that. You’ve got to say it with a straight face. No one can even suspect that you took part in that war. What war? There was no war. I don’t know what you’re talking about.
And you can’t get together with your fellow Veterans to reminisce, or even to process it a little. There will be no reunion. Want to go look up the people you were in the operation with? Wouldn’t that be spying on your own Government? You’d better not try it. You might run into those people in public: That would be easy: Just ignore them; and keep a straight face. But what if you do run into one of them, and then you get to talk? What then? You still can’t reminisce – if you did, well then, they would have to kill you.
What? After everything you did under orders in great personal danger for your country, didn’t you think that they would help you out with that legal trouble – because you were so deserving – and because it was their fault? No, you did not think that. You didn’t even suppose for one minute that they would come to aid you in the least. You had known, ever since Mission: Impossible [TV series] 45 years ago, that if you were ever “caught or killed, the secretary w[ould] disavow all knowledge of your actions.” And so they did. They just hung you out to dry.
It’s because you got fired. That bugged them out. Of course you didn’t want to do the job anymore after you found out what they were really doing. Nobody does. But most are even more cowardly than you: They’re afraid to quit. But once you were in, it was too late to quit for you too – you couldn’t just decide to quit, or to not do what you were told. So, you started acting up.
The foreign spy who’d just been smuggled into the country tried to check you out, asked what you did. Here was your chance to get yourself fired! You could have played it cool, you could have said anything, but it was up to you. So you blurted out that you were a reporter. The newcomer turned white as a sheet (and he was already pretty white). But all of the others in the room just sat there with their straight faces. They already knew you were a reporter. That’s one reason why they recruited you. And they knew you weren’t going to report on them, because they knew something that you did not know: That there were some major threats and harsh actions coming your way.
And so now all these years later you can sit so high and mighty as a good and decent person, and you can say that these horrible cowardly Coward Drone pilots are not doing what’s good and right. Oh, you’ve probably said worse things than that about the pilots of Coward Drones. Haven’t you?! You fucking hypocrite.
OK. OK. Coward Drone pilots are bad, right? Because they’re killing people remotely, removed physically and psychologically from the battlefield. At least they’re trying to be psychologically removed, just like you were with your “Stateside Support.” That’s what you were recruited for. Sounded reasonable. But you did know it was the CIA. No secret there. Sounded reasonable, exciting, sex, drugs, money. (Well, you were paid in something, somehow; maybe not money.) But it was exciting. And you were helping your country.
Or were you helping the CIA poison and destabilize your country? Well, never mind. (Who cares about that? We have bigger fish to fry.) What’s bigger than maybe poisoning and destabilizing your own nation? Lots of stuff worse than that! Lots worse! A lot worse! How’s this threat for a start: You tell anybody anything about what you did, and he will kill his whole family. You asshole. He brought you in, and now his family’s safety depends on your actions, and silence.
Why did they give you that Cabinet official’s name? You’re not high enough up to know that, not by a long shot! You’ve got to stop knowing it right away! Don’t you see that when an intelligence asset was using sex and hedonism to manipulate you and to get information out of you, you were getting information out of her the same way, and that if you’re somebody who’s so brilliant as to have been recruited by the Company, well don’t you see that: She didn’t just give you that information; you took it. Illegally. If you used sex and drugs in order to discover the name of a crooked Cabinet official, learning that name from an intelligence asset, and then she handed you written documentation of his office; well, then, you are a double agent, reporter or not. Then it should be no surprise to you that they put across that threat. And worse.
And what about seeing your freshly Tortured and permanently disfigured co-worker? They had to shock you into comprehending our side‘s Torture mill, to keep you in line. There was no “need-to-know” reason for you to see her face or to know about her Torture, and you didn’t want to know about it. But you did see her face, and now you have to know about it. You have to think about the consequences of your Stateside Support.
You’d never seen anybody with a freshly cut up face like that before. And this was intentional. Weren’t you glad right then that you hadn’t had sex with her a few weeks earlier, when she was beautiful, when she tried to seduce you, back when you were being recruited to the operation? If you’d already had sex with her too, then seeing her scabbed and stitched face at this time would have been even more traumatic. As it was, as soon as you saw her new face, you spontaneously erupted into projectile vomiting. In a room full of important people. That should have gotten you fired. But it didn’t. Coward. Hypocrite.
Yes, you are the Coward Drone operator, and I’ll tell you how: You were over here doing your Stateside Support for somebody who was arming both sides in a war that didn’t have to happen, a covert war that was killing people and corrupting Governments, and overthrowing Governments, and one of the Governments corrupted and overthrown was ours! You Mr. Hypocrite Coward Asshole, yes, you are worse than a Coward Drone pilot, because through your Stateside Support you helped your co-workers kill people without even knowing you were doing it. You didn’t have to see those dead people, or know their names, or know what they did. Ignorance is bliss. Was. But now you’ve been made to know about them, made to know specifically to hurt you and to threaten you; you should feel guilty. You are guilty.
In the beginning, they had asked you to help them. They didn’t say it was help for a covert war. You should have asked. This is another thing I’m pissed off about. You have known ever since James Bond [and Jethro Bodine(!)] in the 1960s that spies might use sex to manipulate people. Yet you fell for it. Again and again. Idiot. And, hey – red alert! – if somebody is giving you lots of expensive drugs, they too might be trying to manipulate you. Think about it.
That one getting-fired idea you had was a good one. Too bad it backfired. Direct superior was a needle freak. Should have been a piece of cake. Told her to stop obsessing on shooting up. Held that whole box of insulin needles inside the open door of the public dumpster at the shopping center. That got her attention. Threw those needles right in the dumpster and slammed the door. That stunt should’ve sure as hell gotten you fired. But instead, it got her to saying that she’ll quit coke for you.
When you use sex (and love) as weapons and tools of manipulation, things get misunderstood and mixed up. So you had to shock her back into reality, by saying “You don’t even know if you’ll ever see me again. You need to quit coke for you.” God, I hope she didn’t come back to the shopping center later and climb into that dumpster to get those needles back out. She probably did. (This may come as a surprise to some of you, but people under the influence of Cocaine are mentally ill. They’re crazy. That’s the thrill. That’s the high.)
Still not fired yet. Better amp it up. You were ordered to obtain Chinese bootleg Quaaludes. You knew that DEA were in the house waiting for you. You didn’t want to get anyone busted, leastwise yourself. So you outsmarted them: Got the smuggled drugs from a uniformed cop. Pretty slick. Pretty sick. But then you had to walk into that house full of intel agents, while holding. If you had just walked into the room where you were supposed to go, if you had exchanged the drugs ‘privately’ with the DEA dude, right there in front of the camera, they’d have had you dead to rights. Then, there would have been no need to fire you or beat you up or kill you or Torture you or threaten you – they’d have just locked you up and thrown away the key.
So you whipped it out right in middle of the living room! Big old clear plastic bagful of 100 fat white bitter pills. Right in front of everybody. Fulfilled your obligation, but nobody got it on tape. Pretty slick. Pretty sick. You might have been making some people pretty mad, but at least you weren’t getting busted. …Yet. And, hey, they all kept a straight face. Thought you were pretty smart, didn’t you? Obviously, you were, sometimes. But you still weren’t fired yet.
You had one weapon left: A very confused and drug-addled woman who thought she loved you, or you loved her, or something crazy like that (because you’d had sex with her, and shown compassion and concern). She was a ripe tool for manipulation. You were adamant to gain your dismissal. Not gonna be stopped. You were determined to use that weapon. You were gonna get fired! And all you had to do was to do the right thing, at last. Right, but very hard.
It was h-hour, the culmination of the whole operation. The top people were just going to send her out to sell most of the haul. They said she could handle it. They didn’t care much if she was in danger. They figured risking her life was worth the money they were going to make by selling the coke: A gigantic package of Cocaine, but still smaller than a breadbox. So you told her not to do it. You told her that she would be holding a small package worth too much money, and that she’d be stepping into a den of criminals with guns, who all knew that it would be cheaper to kill her than to pay her. You told her the truth.
You told her not to go, not to make the deal. Are you crazy?!! Do you even know how much money you just told her to turn down? No, you do not! You fucking asshole! You should have been shot! Oh, you had to be fired, that’s for sure. Can’t have you doing anything like that ever again. Can’t have the CIA losing money – or failing to get money that they might otherwise have gotten. Can’t have him killing you and her and the whole family over you fucking up the money. You’re fired! Good work.