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Army Lawyer Lt. Col. Darrell Vandeveld on PTSD Case; Prof Vincanne Adams on Privatized Katrina Recovery

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Lt. Col. Darrell Vandeveld, who resigned as a Guantanamo prosecutor in protest, shares his views after defending soldier convicted of fratricide; Prof. Vincanne Adams of UCSF reports on her study of the relief efforts that followed Hurricane Katrina.Lt. Colonel Vandeveld wrote this essay, Then Came the Last Days of May, following a very difficult case, representing an Army sergeant who was convicted of killing 5 fellow service members at a forward operating base in Iraq in 2009.  While he can’t discuss that case directly, we talk about some of the critical issues confronting the military after repeat deployments and other factors lead to increased mental health problems.

We open with a discussion of Guantanamo, where Vandeveld was a prosecutor, and he resigned in protest in 2008.   Then we take up the issues of war-related psychological stresses, how they are poorly addressed by the medics in a war zone.  And we talk about diminished capacity defenses and the role of defense attorneys.

At 36:10, we talk with Prof. Vincanne Adams, from the Department of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco about her new book, Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith: New Orleans in the Wake of Katrina. Her book is based on a study of about 160 cases of people displaced by the storm and the floods that followed.  We talk about the reshaping of New Orleans, with fewer poor people, and the economic barriers that prevented many from returning at all.  She reveals the privatization of the relief efforts, where government money was funneled through for-profit companies which charged the government more than $200,000 for each FEMA trailer, and denied loans and other financial support to 45% of applicants.  Most victims reported major struggles with insurance companies and the “Road Home” program, and Adams reports that faith-based and other nonprofits provided the volunteers and critical financial resources to many families spurned by the government’s efforts.  She also defines “philanthrocapitalism”, or profiteering on misery, as a new development with public-private partnerships that deserve more scrutiny and regulation.  You can order the book here.