(Al Byrne is a retired Naval officer who gave 24 years service to his country. He served as the Secretary-Treasurer and Chief Operating Officer of “Patients Out of Time” and has been certified by the DEA as a published expert on medical cannabis issues. He served on the Board of Directors of NORML from 1989 until 1994 while also serving as the US Representative for patient advocacy to the International Academy of Cannabis Medicine.)
I’m a therapeutic cannabis advocate so I am biased about the subject of cannabis. I’m a Veteran (1) and I’m biased about those folks as well. I write not of bias but of ignorance, not about doing a job but of not doing what is correct, injustice and collecting money, of yellow ribbons and black souls.
As a Vet who served in Vietnam, for a year of the 24 I wore the US uniform, I joined the VFW- Veterans of Foreign Wars. As a member of the military that served over several periods of service that encompasses their regulations I joined the American Legion. So did my wife a Vietnam era US Navy Nurse. Ask any wounded survivor of that horror and they’ll tell you about the nurse they fell in love with during the surviving time.
Well I fell in love with my nurse but it wasn’t wounds that brought us together or maybe it was. An invisible wound. I did not bleed in Nam.
The VA determined in 1987 that I suffered from PTS and then hired me and other Nam Vets as peer counselors. We rode the back roads of Appalachia for 5 years looking for Vets, lonely and neglected for decades, paid for by the Agent Orange Class Assistance Program, funds from a law suit we took versus our own government and the chemical companies that poisoned us. We won, we spent the money wisely but don’t worry we’ll all be dead soon. End of one problem called Nam Vets.
Am I a cynic, yeah but not by birth or schooling, just life. Is there something wrong in Babylon on the Potomac? Much. But I’m a cannabis expert and I’ll stay with this issue and the people who speak, as the Native Americans learned was a national game, with forked tongue. People who are blowing me and my brothers and sisters off after some of us got blown up.
That would be the VFW, “No one does more for Veterans” is their mantra and the American Legion also claiming “no one does as much for active duty military, veterans (sic), military retirees and their families as does the Legion.” A pissing contest for your money. The Legion is seeking a “catchy phrase” to market themselves better. Respond by April.
How about “one of two Veteran organizations that failed to live their creed.”
I’m a member, I’m an expert so I do the responsible, I call various offices and officers of the Legion and VFW. Can’t tell the difference as I wiggle through the labyrinth of staff who are not responsible for the non policy that I want to champion. It’s a complaint I want, a loud unceasing wail of displeasure to change stupid into an holistic action from these dwellers of Vet piety without Vet courage.
I should explain that all I want these self appointed ministers of all Vets to say is that the federal government policy of treating some Vets with PTS and TBI and a host of other Vet troubles with cannabis and denying that therapeutic protocol to me and others is wrong.
What do you people expect of me? How long must I be your target after being a target? Wounded Veteran medical treatment by geography? That’s Veterans Health Administration policy. I repeat-policy. (2). What the hell is going on?
I’ve had enough of mendacity, of pompous editors of Vet magazines, of political stupidity if not flat out cowardice. I’m appalled that US media seek out and codify dishonest and open flakes, all with zero medical or nursing knowledge as the wisdom we must have to refute the science of a multitude of countries concerning clinical cannabis uses.
Have you as citizens of the US had enough of folks and organizations that spit in the face of some Vets? I have. Is it 1970 all over again?
My brothers and sisters blow their heads off every 80 minutes and the VFW and the American friggin Legion blow us off every day?
I know one thing after 70 years of life- you do not deserve us, you who propose to lead while you cower in power. Elected or appointed you need to get out of the way.
I will not resign from either group of weak leaders. We’ve seen that ilk before and some of us lived long enough to see them die in disgrace.
I’d rather continue to be the voice of Vets opposed to these organized charlatans playing ostrich, and try to represent those who need medical cannabis to live and to live well.
So I am one Vet calling you guys out, whoever you are that claim leadership and hide like a Nam REMF. I’m saying that you suck bat shit from cave walls and I will repeat my mantra every chance I get until you remember who you were once and who you could be again.
I’m available to duel at your convenience.
Al Byrne, Lcdr, USN, ret.
(1) Please capitalize the words Vet or Veteran – they earned it.