Dear Gen. McCaffrey,
First, sir, let me preface my remarks by telling you I have the utmost respect for you and your continued service to our country. You are a no nonsense leader. You aren't afraid to speak your mind, no matter how difficult the position you take. Your advocacy efforts on the part of service members and veterans everywhere are laudable. That being said, I do have a major point of contention that I need to address: The recent view you expressed on PTSD.
During the 'After the Uniform' Panel Discussion on May 8 at the National Press Club, you asserted that, in most cases, PTSD can be cured within a year. By stating this, I feel you demonstrate a disturbing lack of understanding of the issues facing veterans and service members who suffer from PTSD. In the public arena, you are perceived as a material expert on military and veterans' issues. What you say informs many people's opinions on pivotal issues like PTSD. I am concerned that the view you recently expressed on PTSD is dangerously outdated and uninformed. These kinds of comments could have the potential to do a lot of damage to PTSD advocacy in the military and in the country at large, which is why I am reaching out to see if you would be willing to clarify your stance on this issue.
I do not intend to sound alarmist, but I felt the need to impress upon you the importance of this issue. As a combat veteran with PTSD, blogger, and PTSD advocate, I hear every day about the struggles facing our veterans, many of whom still suffer in silence. I hear the discouragement and the disillusionment in the establishment. The negative stigma and public misgivings about PTSD keep many men and women from pursuing treatment for a serious and potentially life-threatening disorder.
My first impression of you at the panel indicated that you are a man who values directness and productive discourse. It is a sign of a strong leader to surround himself with people who will challenge his opinions and positions on issues. I hope you understand that I am taking the time to write this letter because I am confident you are the type of man who will recognize this criticism as an opportunity to learn and grow. I invite you to contact me directly so that we can candidly discuss this issue and work together to better advocate for those who suffer in silence, before they become a statistic.
*NOTE: This is the body of the letter that was sent directly to General McCaffrey via email. The full document can be found below.*
As I continue my life with PTSD, I will share my challenges and discoveries on this blog.