Scott Horton Interviews Joshua Kors

Scott Horton, April 23, 2010

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Joshua Kors, writer for The Nation, discusses the military’s fraudulent “personality disorder” discharges that deprive injured soldiers of benefits and medical care, Sergeant Chuck Luther’s mistreatment and effective incarceration by Army doctors, how the Pentagon has saved an estimated 12 billion dollars by denying care to 22,600 soldiers since 2001 and how the Feres Doctrine limits malpractice lawsuits against military doctors.

MP3 here. (35:30)

Joshua Kors covers veterans’ issues for The Nation. He is the winner of the National Magazine Award, George Polk Award, and Military Reporters and Editors Award. He was also a finalist for Harvard’s Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting and the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award. His work is featured in the American Society of Magazine Editors’ anthology “The Best American Magazine Writing 2008.”

19 Responses to “Joshua Kors”

  1. 1. Holding in a confined space – check
    2. Sleep deprivation – check
    3. Loud music – check
    Doubly shameful, classic torture techniques turned against US soldiers, it suggests who the real enemies of the power structure might be – its own subordinates. Absolutely shameful.
    Excellent, excellent interview, and as usual, Scott poses good questions, thank you.
    One thing about the money, Scott insinuates that there is a large number of soldiers enlisting as a way of escaping economic ruin and securing benefits (a sign of the times, maybe, it and may be true) : as people holding antiwar convictions and who brush off as nonsense the smoke-and-mirrors arguments, we might be unaware of how many truly do go into it believing that there is a moral imperative underlying these wars, and it is always good to try to understand the reasoning of the other side – and to understand them as victims, not only as perpetrators.

  2. Doesn't a person who would voluntarily sign up to kill other people for reasons they don't personally understand have a severe pre-existing personality disorder by definition?

  3. Then by definition a large part of the population has a PD throughout world history, and it is a deeper question about human nature in general. I think Robert Fisk said it best, war is "the total failure of the human spirit", but many new recruits don't know what it's like, and have romanticized notions about it, partly thanks to obedient mass media. The real problems are blind subordination to authority (which the military requires as a rule, especially for the lower ranks), nationalism, lack of critical discussion, racism and propaganda – these combined can translate very quickly into bloodlust, but this isn't the place for a big discussion on that, maybe.

  4. easy to fake ptsd
    you wouldn't know!!!!
    rand corporation got its start in publishing tables of statistical functions????

  5. No, most are just very young and inexperienced in life. The typical soldier is an 19 year old boy.

  6. Which is the sole reason why the average soldier is about 19, because you can't really get them much younger if you don't want to be accused of using child-soldiers. At age 18 the average male prefrontal cortex has just become fully developed, and with it the ability – not the skill – to foresee long term consequences of ones actions. Therein lies the possibility of exploitation at this age of last oppertunity. Not that you can really make them believe absurdities more easily than when they'd be a few years older. That would be just as easy. But that they are less inclined to properly weigh risks and oversee the consequences, especially when under time pressure and therefore more likely to take unnecessary ones. And this makes children of incalculable value to any death machine.

  7. One must feel a little harassed after experiencing this bum's rush to say the least. But perhaps they now appreciate, or at least have a glimpse as to, how the Iraqis and Afghans feel as well. No honor among thieves–or war criminals.

  8. I live in Mississippi and am a barber. Most soldiers that I have talked to joined to have a job. There are hardly any jobs here, and the ones that are here are crappy walmart jobs. Joshua sounds very well educated but I have to side with Scott on this issue. The military is a jobs program for the south. Mr. Kors should come to Mississippi and interview poor people in the Delta. The military is literally the only way out for the poor, since education budgets are being slashed to the bone by our conservative governor Haley Barbour.

  9. "the military is literally the only way out for the poor"

    …. there's always revolution…

  10. I think they're even poorer in Thailand. Have catfish too:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMOLHdJ95f8
    http://www.deepsea.co.za/images/catfish1.jpg

  11. There's an interesting article just out, one of the claims included is;

    "In 2008, altogether 2,266 U.S. veterans under the age of 65 died for lack of health insurance coverage or medical care, 14 times higher than the U.S. military death toll in Afghanistan that year (AFP, November 11, 2009)"
    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2010-

  12. The facts related by Joshua Kors are like a groundhog's day of all the wars in which the young who do the dirty work for old pampered men are discarded once they have sacrificed their brains and limbs. The stories of Napoleon's soldiers begging in the streets are replayed when the flags are rolled.

  13. FYI Albert…. you can enlist at 17 with parent/guardian signature. So we really do have child soldiers. I was one, 3 days after HS graduation at 17… luckily there was no war in progress.

  14. I believe that it was a German Kaiser who was once asked "if his men thought" – he answered that "if his men could think he'd have no army" – ALL of us when young really do NOT 'think' about what it is we are doing when we join the military. As the saying goes: "We get old too soon and smart too late".

  15. Yes, you are right. In Italy that's the case too. And in the UK it's even younger 16.5 and about half join when under 18. The UK sent even 17 years old soldiers to Iraq between 2003 and 2005. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6328771.stm

    In my country (Holland) there was a discussion to lower the minimum age to 16. It's now 17.5 and the government refuses to ratify a protocol to prohibit the use of under 18 y/o in armed conflicts. I was in the army as a conscript at 18. I have not met anyone there who didn't count the days to get out. The few useful things I learned there was how much variety there is in hardcore porn, how to drink more beer than you weigh and that it is a bad idea to jump over a fence into someone's backyard to hide from officers when the owner has dogs.

    We are used to thinking in categories, it's part of our natural pattern-seeking predisposition, hardwired in the brain and it's very useful but now and then misleading. In reality of course there is no magical boundary you cross at your 18th birthday and all of the sudden you are an adult, while the day before you were a child, but there is a gradual aging process going on. All armies in any country would want to do is to exploit this window of opportunity and make it wider whenever they can.

  16. Scott Horton, I so second your remarks about the Album “Master of Puppets” and the “newer” Metallica albums. I was laughing out loud raising my arms when I listened to this show on my bycicle.
    Also, using “Disposable Heroes” as intro song was a brilliant move! Your overall taste in music is excellent!

    Greetings from Hamburg, Germany.

    Matt

  17. Not true. That was Vietnam. The average age of the US soldier sent to Iraq or Afghanistan is closer to 29 than 19.

  18. [...] Pentagon Wages War Against Enlisted Joshua Kors interviewed by Scott Horton [...]

  19. I think this is not necessary to have discussions about war problems and other army problems with kids lower 16. It's absolutely non-sense. They won't understand all the depth of your speech anyway.

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