Barry MCCaffrey and What’s Wrong With America



It seems that war profiteer and Pentagon shill Barry McCaffrey slithered into Little Beirut the other day, to talk about some things near and dear to his heart, like, well, war profits, and their indefinite continuation.  The Oregonian’s jaw-droppingly credulous and fawning interview  with this flagrant criminal contained some of the most blatantly authoritarian and imperially dismissive things I’ve ever heard, and that’s saying something.  All were transmitted without comment or correction, natch, by veteran Oregonian reporter Mike Francis.

Entitled, somewhat misleadingly, “Barry McCaffrey Speaks in Portland on PTSD, Mexican Drug Cartels, and Homeland Security” (a more appropriate headline would have been, “McCaffrey Seeks to Continue Cashing In On Climate of Fear He Helped Create”), the article contains so little news I would have learned more reading a three-year-old Pottery Barn catalog.  It’s considered “news” that what McCaffrey had to say about the first, most tedious subject, PTSD, when asked whether PTSD was “hard to diagnose” by the reporter, who would obviously believe anything, McCaffrey said the following:
A: It is. When you’re looking at somebody with physical injuries that are immense and sometimes TBI, which you can’t see, … That’s a population where PTSD is just another diagnosis. I mean it’s there. It’s automatic.

Kids coming out of combat, with multiple combat tours, have been under stress, they do act a little crazy. It takes them a little time to acclimatize.

But for some number, whether it’s for underlying mental health, pre-existing drug and alcohol abuse or other factors, some of them exhibit longer-term disorder. And therein lies the problem.

So PTSD a little bit tricky and in the middle of all it are some of the most awful phonies I have ever encountered in my life. It is beyond belief. I personally have run into professional PTSD patients. Just shameful beyond belief.

Spoken like the purest of chickenhawks; indifferent if not hostile to the needs of those their relentless warmongering has mauled, killed or driven insane, McCaffrey is ashamed, not of himself, but his victims.  Rather than being horrified to hear such an astonishingly callous remark from from such a transparent slimeball, Francis timidly continues:
Q: It certainly obscures the real issue for the rest of us.

A: Absolutely. I want the VA to focus on the devastated veteran population I want to go through acute care and then chronic care. And where we’ve got long-term injuries, have an appropriate therapy program. But basically, people get better.

The best soldier I ever saw, he was a platoon sergeant at age 21, has never recovered from the war because he’s never found anything else at that level of excitement and value and importance.

American soldiers exposed to intense combat, generally speaking aren’t damaged by it. They’re made more powerful.

Now, upon hearing such arrogant, sociopathic claptrap, this is where you’d normally expect the reporter to fall off his chair, but this guy clearly wants to be David Gregory when he grows up. By now greedily eating out of McCaffrey’s bloodstained paw, he says this, and I’m not making this up:
Q: Oregon isn’t an active duty state, although we’ve had guys go multiple times. But our state National Guard has a higher-than-average toll of suicide. About half of those were people who never deployed. So I’m mystified by that. And I also wonder how meaningful it is to say they’re military suicides when they’re basically drilling once a month.

A: One of my friends is Dr. Sally Satel. One of her big deals as a psychiatrist is don’t ever set somebody up to think they’re permanently impaired. You don’t ever tell them that, for God’s sakes.

The Army to some extent has gone utterly sensitive on suicide. We’ve linked it in some ways, perhaps unintentionally, to soldiers being the victims of a war.

(A doctor at Walter Reed told me) “It doesn’t really matter to us if you’re a National Guard soldier and you’ve never deployed, you came in with a drug and alcohol problem, you came in with underlying health disorders, but we’ve got you now and you’re exhibiting symptoms of distress, we’ve got to listen to you and try to make you better.” What we don’t want to do is say it’s related in some way to this war, because, in many cases, it isn’t.

The primary cause of suicide in young soldiers is alcohol abuse, away from home, frequently tied to rejection by significant other and access to guns. And that drives our rate up.

THE ARMY HAS GONE UTTERLY SENSITIVE ON SUICIDE.  Yep, he said that, and the hapless lackey of a reporter was evidently so befuddled that he decided he’d better switch, but quick, to drugs and Mexicans before the men in white coats showed up to haul away his interviewee.  So he did, and after typing obediently that this paragon of virtue thinks we also need to militarize the border and throw lots more people in jail, Francis did manage to peep out a tiny question about stopping the drug war, a shocking affront to which the ever-loquacious McCaffrey babbled thusly:
A: The legalization argument amuses me. Usually it’s an intellectual argument that on cursory examination falls apart. Nobody in their right minds wants to legalize drugs. It absolutely doesn’t work……

Part of it is we know that if you make substances less available, and then more expensive, and if you stigmatize them by saying it’s criminal to sell them, drug use goes down. That’s the deal.

Not in the real world, of course, but I digress.  The fact that tawdry exemplars of corruption and amorality like Barry McCaffrey are running around loose saying such errant, self-serving nonsense and are treated as credible by ass-kissing reporters like this one is the cause of all of our problems.  Must be that Francis is hoping for an interview with Dick Cheney when he comes to town; he does have a book out and all, and like McCaffrey, loves those war profits, too.  This interview was quite an audition. 


  1. dirigo says:

    Well the general might slap me around for saying so but: maybe he’s got a touch of PTSD himself, thinking he’s today’s George Patton for the entire U.S. Army – its trauma judge and jury.

  2. dirigo says:

    Here’s the problem (and this guy, with his taste for media posturing and bombast, is an example): a lot of retired officers like to grunt and sweat rhetorically in front of willing listeners. McCaffrey just has a nice paying gig in which to do it, and maybe pass judgment here and there on alleged “slackers” in the ranks who may need some help with benefits and maybe sweat it that a general like this would like to cut them off. Any noise they make may be fearful on that level and surely not as glorious as officers tend to have it. Brass, even retired ones, love to go on this way. I ran into a couple at a wedding recently (yawn).

    • cocktailhag says:

      I wouldn’t have yawned; this stuff is heinous, on the order of Leona Helmsley. “Only the little people fight my wars.”
      I guess I haven’t quite lost my capacity for outrage. Give me time.

      • dirigo says:

        Well it is heinous, I agree. It’s just that for me, having experienced the real thing, and knowing how officers can dress you down about this or that mickey mouse at dawn, I prefer to yawn these days.

        I also yawn at really bad Gilbert & Sullivan.

  3. daphne says:

    No one in his right mind, huh? Tell that to my elderly father who, as a teenager in Chicago when Prohibition was repealed, witnessed street crime doing a nosedive for lack of alcohol-related profitability. He’s been pro drug legalization even since.

    Meanwhile, in psychology-speak, McCaffrey has exhibited a shocking “talent” for minimizing aka discounting. And finally, that shit-eating grin almost says more than his putrid words themselves.

  4. avelna says:

    Reminds me of the moronic state governors claiming that welfare recipients and the unemployed are ever so much more likely to be drug users so they got to test ‘em all! They’re all psychopaths. And idiots.

    • cocktailhag says:

      And no matter the evidence to the contrary, they believe it, and keep saying it. They’re like the Jesus freaks with the bumper stickers that say, “God wrote it, I believe it, that settles it.”
      Ignorant and arrogant about it, to boot.

  5. Ché Pasa says:

    Bloodlust and punishment know no bounds. Once infected with it, it takes an ActoGod to get it out of you. McCaffery is — of course — one of the most putrid because of his public profile, but there are plenty many more where he came from.

    Anti-drug hysteria –which he keeps whipped to a frenzy– and calls for the bloody slaughter of the Other –which he supports in every possible manner– have long since driven this country over the cliff.

    If it were up to me, I’d just put a bag over his head and drag him off to the looney bin where he and his ilk belong.

  6. dirigo says:

    I propose that Gen. McCaffrey be drafted to become the next manager of the Boston Red Sox. If there’s one thing that team needs, now more than ever, it’s a cosmic know-it-all in the dugout – to go the distance.

    It’s never too late, trauma be damned (and the general’s possible lack of knowledge of the infield fly rule, squeeze play, or even suicide squeeze, be damned too!).

    Then again, given the apparent return of 100 years of bad karma hovering over Boston baseball, McCaffrey might have his hat handed to him in less than one season, which could be a truth – ( – he may not be able to handle.