He ended a 40-year career in the Army two years ago, but retired Gen. Pete Chiarelli has not abandoned his troops. Far from it.
Former President George W. Bush made that clear last week when he singled out Chiarelli for his efforts on behalf of veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress, the sense of fear or terror that strikes people long after they have lived through a horrible ordeal. It has primarily been known as PTSD — until Chiarelli suggested toward the end of his Army career that the word “disorder” should be dropped to help reduce the stigma of the affliction.
“We are going to use our platform to make clear that veterans receiving treatment for posttraumatic stress are not damaged goods, they are not mentally shattered,” Bush said at a summit on veterans’ issues at his presidential center in Texas. “They are people who got hurt defending our country and are now overcoming wounds”¦.
“One of the leaders in this area is retired General Pete Chiarelli,” Bush said. “Pete has made it his mission to spread the word about the science behind PTS and the medical treatment that veterans can receive.”
After two tours in Iraq, Chiarelli made it a top priority as the Army’s vice chief of staff to address the suffering he saw among troops and veterans who experienced either PTS or traumatic brain injury. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs estimates that as many as one in five veterans who were in Afghanistan or Iraq suffer from PTS or TBI.
“I’ve studied TBI very, very hard and PTSD very, very hard,” Chiarelli said in an interview on the PBS program Frontline in 2010. “The whole stigma issue is a huge problem”¦. But one of the things that I’ve found, studying suicide and behavioral health, is that [although] we want everyone who has these issues to seek that professional help, it’s not a panacea. It won’t solve everything.
“It takes a total program of not only mental-health but substance-abuse [counseling] and family programs that help families reintegrate and members of the family to understand what the symptoms are and get their loved one the help they need when they need it.”
At Chiarelli’s retirement ceremony in March 2012, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta praised the general’s compassion for the troops. “If there is one thing that has been the hallmark of Pete’s career, it is the depth of his concern for the welfare of every soldier,” Panetta said.
Chiarelli broke down at the ceremony when he mentioned that 650 soldiers died under his command in Iraq. “I would trade all the medals and ribbons on my chest and every bit of rank to get just one of them back,” he said.
Just a few weeks after his retirement, Chiarelli became the CEO at One Mind for Research, a California-based nonprofit “dedicated to curing the diseases of the brain and eliminating the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness and brain injuries.”
The group’s cochairman, former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., said Chiarelli was the obvious choice for the position. “General Chiarelli has demonstrated incredible dedication and passion throughout his career, and we could not be more pleased for him to continue his tradition of excellence — especially in addressing brain disorders — with One Mind for Research,” Kennedy said.
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With three days until the first debate, the polls are coming fast and furious. The latest round:
- An Associated Press/Gfk poll of registered voters found very few voters committed, with Clinton leading Trump, 37% to 29%, and Gary Johnson at 7%.
- A McClatchy-Marist poll gave Clinton a six-point edge, 45% to 39%, in a four-way ballot test. Johnson pulls 10% support, with Jill Stein at 4%.
- Rasmussen, which has drawn criticism for continually showing Donald Trump doing much better than he does in other polls, is at it again. A new survey gives Trump a five-point lead, 44%-39%.
In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shunning traditional debate preparations, but has been watching video of…Clinton’s best and worst debate moments, looking for her vulnerabilities.” Trump “has paid only cursory attention to briefing materials. He has refused to use lecterns in mock debate sessions despite the urging of his advisers. He prefers spitballing ideas with his team rather than honing them into crisp, two-minute answers.”
Donald Trump "is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish. Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition."
Bill and Hillary Clinton have purchased the home next door to their primary residence in tony Chappaqua, New York, for $1.16 million. "By purchasing the new home, the Clinton's now own the entire cul-de-sac at the end of the road in the leafy New York suburb. The purchase makes it easier for the United States Secret Service to protect the former president and possible future commander in chief."