Dates To Remember:
In case you missed it, Paula Zahn did a decent job in
these two returning Iraq Vets. Let's hope more of the mainstream
media picks up these stories. This link is a mix of transcripts so
I've also pasted the interview below:http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0406/30/pzn.00.html
ZAHN: Before we went to the break, we heard the results of troubling
new study on post-traumatic stress disorder among U.S. soldiers who
had fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And with us now are two men who have firsthand knowledge of the
mental costs of war.
Philip Goodrum and Andrew Pogany both served in Iraq. They're both
being treated now for post-traumatic distress disorder.
Thank you for joining us tonight.
ANDREW POGANY, U.S. SOLDIER: Thank you as for having us.
ZAHN: So, Andrew, it was three days after you arrived in Iraq that
you were exposed to a shattering experience that changed your life
forever. What did you see? POGANY: Well, it was actually on the
second day. I was briefly exposed to an Iraqi who had been killed.
And shortly thereafter, unfortunately, I experienced a what I at
that time saw as a nervous breakdown or a neuropsychiatric event,
which in my case unfortunately was also introduced by a drug that I
had to take for malaria prophylaxis.
ZAHN: At what point did you seek help?
POGANY: I struggled pretty much throughout the entire night. I was
trying to scope with the symptoms. I was trying to figure out what
was going on because it was so foreign to me. I had never had
experienced anything like that before and it was pretty severe. So I
struggled throughout the entire night to figure out what I'm going
Obviously, in your mind, you think about how your comrades and
fellow soldiers are going to react, how your leadership is going to
react, especially because it happened so fast, like I said, on the
ZAHN: Does that make you paranoid?
POGANY: No, it doesn't make you paranoid. It just -- you struggle
within yourself to figure out what's going on, why am I having this?
ZAHN: Because you don't want to be considered a coward.
POGANY: Correct. But, in my case, I had to come to the conclusion
that I wasn't functioning. I was having physical symptoms. I was
having a behavioral reaction. And the conclusion I came to was that
the only thing I could do was inform my leadership as, you know, the
only responsible thing, because, if we do go out on a patrol or
something happens and I do freeze up, that could have consequences,
too, so there was a responsibility to inform them that I was not
ZAHN: And once you informed them, what did they say?
POGANY: Well, it was not received very well.
ZAHN: Now, what do you mean by that? What did they say?
POGANY: Well, they pretty much were in disbelief as to what I was
saying. And they wanted me to think about what I was saying and
think about my career and pretty much go...
ZAHN: Was it that overt or was it more subtle than that?
POGANY: Well, it was a little more subtle, but...
ZAHN: But the message was?
POGANY: The message was...
ZAHN: You're a wimp?
And the message was, hey, you know, you're a coward. You're acting
like a coward.
ZAHN: So how did you internalize that?
POGANY: I didn't. I tried to think about it for a couple of hours
and then I went back to some of the coping skills that we do have,
such as compartmenting information and moving on and trying to put
things into perspective. And it didn't work.
And, unfortunately, months later, I found out that the reason it
didn't work is because I was having a toxic drug level that was
affecting me. And, subsequently, I've been actually diagnosed with
permanent brain stem damage as a result of that drug toxicity.
ZAHN: The Lariam that your originally took to help fight malaria.
ZAHN: Now, Philip, you were actually in Iraq when you started having
pain in your hands. And it was so bad at one point, you didn't even
think you could handle a weapon.
PHILIP GOODRUM, U.S. SOLDIER: Correct. Yes.
ZAHN: So what did you do?
GOODRUM: I went through the medical process.
The first diagnosis was that I was exposed to possible radiation,
returned stateside for surgery on both wrists, had surgery on my
left wrist, still planning surgery on my right. When I returned is
when my issues started to surface.
ZAHN: And what were those issues?
GOODRUM: I could not turn off my mind basically from the environment
I came out of.
ZAHN: And what were you thinking? What were you seeing? What were
GOODRUM: When I was in Iraq, you go so hard, 18-, 20-hour days. The
danger is 360 degrees, and it's a very intense environment. I was --
it's been very difficult for me to turn that off once I returned
stateside, a lot of flashbacks, nightmares, issues with my sleep,
severe panic attacks.
ZAHN: Were you made to feel inadequate when you would express that
this is what you were experiencing?
GOODRUM: Under the stigma of being a behavioral health issue or
patient, it came to a point...
ZAHN: What were you most fearful of?
GOODRUM: Being labeled, but not being fully treated, and my career.
ZAHN: And you later sought the treatment? Has it worked?
GOODRUM: I have up and downs, but seeking treatment is the best
thing that I could have done for myself. It got to the point where I
became totally -- or to the point of dysfunctional. So, yes,
treatment was the best thing for me.
ZAHN: Was it obvious to people who were around you that you were a
GOODRUM: Yes. The ones who knew me prior to deployment definitely
noticed a tremendous change in myself when I returned.
ZAHN: And do you think your career has been compromised because you
were forthright and said, I know I'm not nuts, I know what I'm
thinking, I know what I'm seeing, I know what I'm hearing, help me?
GOODRUM: Without a doubt.
For example, I've been charged with AWOL for seeking medical
treatment from a civilian doctor. So, yes, my career has suffered a
tremendous impact on coming forward, saying, yes, I need help.
ZAHN: Are you bitter about that?
GOODRUM: Disappointed and hurt. I've served 15 years. I'm a combat
veteran of two wars and I'm very disappointed and very hurt.
ZAHN: It breaks my heart to hear these stories, particularly after
you both served your country.
Andrew, what is it that you think the nation needs to learn from
your two powerful stories?
POGANY: Well, the thing that needs to be learned is that there are
hidden costs, or unseen costs, and the most important thing is that
trauma or trauma that is experienced whether it's in combat or
anywhere else in life needs to be looked at as an injury to the mind.
And an injury to the mind needs to be treated just like an injury to
the leg, whether you have shrapnel wounds or gunshot wounds. It
needs to be treated. And I'm hoping that by, you know, us publicly
speaking, which is not an easy thing to do, because it's not easy
for one to admit to yourself that you're having a problem, and, you
know, being in the military environment, the stigma, the career --
my career has been tremendously impacted.
My military career is probably at an end. I've had my security
clearance suspended, revoked. And I'm still -- I'm still struggling
to get things, you know, set straight as far as what happened and
get an understanding.
ZAHN: Well, I know it hasn't been easy for either one of you to open
up old wounds here for us this evening, but I think it's important
that we all are exposed to your stories. And thank you for your
candor and your sensitivity.
POGANY: Thank you for having us.
GOODRUM: Thank you.
ZAHN: My pleasure, Philip Goodrum and Andrew Pogany.