Invisible Storm: A Soldier’s Memoir of Politics and PTSD Book Review

Jason Kander is many things: a politician, a veteran, a published author, and a family man. He was also living with PTSD after serving his country.

Kander’s new memoir, Invisible Storm: A Soldier’s Memoir of Politics and PTSD, was published earlier this month. Back in 2017, Kander’s political future was bright. He was running for mayor in his hometown of Kansas City. All signs pointed to an easy victory. There were even whispers of him as a possible candidate in the 2020 Presidential election.

Then everything stopped. After being home from Afghanistan for more than a decade, he suddenly became depressed and suicidal. This deeply felt and dark memoir is the story of how the darkness nearly claimed him and the difficult task of recovery that he underwent to heal.

His story is personal, heartfelt, and a reminder that mental health is health. Just because the scars are not visible to the naked eye does not mean that the person is not suffering. What I was impressed by was how brutally honest Kander was about the experience. He also was very vocal about the fact that our veterans are not being given the medical care that is owed to them. They gave up almost everything for this country, the least we can do is ensure that they are as physically and mentally healthy as possible.

My favorite part of the book was the interjections by Kander’s wife, Diana. It shows that this disease does not only affect the person, it affects everyone they love. Mental illness requires a team effort to live with and/or overcome.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Invisible Storm: A Soldier’s Memoir of Politics and PTSD is available wherever books are sold.

Advertisement

Don’t They Have More to Deal With in Texas Than Policing Women’s Bodies?

Abortion is more than the control of women’s bodies. It is the control of our destinies. Throughout most of human history, we have been beholden to the men around us. Now that we have been speaking up and taking control of our lives, the reaction by some (both men and women) is to pull us back via the figurative leash.

In Texas today, one of the most restrictive abortion bans became law today. One of the features of this law is that the average person on the street can sue abortion providers and anyone who helped the women (or a pregnant person) obtain the abortion. It does not matter if the person who is behind the lawsuit is any relation or knows either party that is being sued. This is on top of another heartbeat bill, which bans the procedure after six weeks. To add insult to injury, not even cases of rape or incest are given leeway.

This is a diversionary tactic. There is way too much shit going on in this country (Covid-19 being a good chunk of it) to focus on whether or not the decision to abort a pregnancy is made. This is a deeply personal and complicated decision between the woman who is pregnant, their spouse/partner (if there is one), and their doctor(s). I am all for freedom of religion, but that does not give one group the right to impose their beliefs on anyone else.

What is scary is that this bill has the potential truly damage, if not take down completely Roe V. Wade.

We need to focus of taking this nation forward and dealing with our issues. Telling a woman what to do with her body should not be on priority list to begin with.

P.S. We made a big deal about getting out as many women and young girls from Afghanistan over the past few weeks. But when it comes to the women in this country, some people still think that we live in the dark ages.

Why is the World Silent about Afghani Women When They Made so Much Noise about Israel?

I would love to say that in 2021, women across the world have broken the glass ceiling. The archaic rules of what is “acceptable” for the female gender is nothing but a memory. But the truth is that for every achievement and every right that is ours to claim, there are many who still believe that a woman’s place is in the home.

Since the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan last week, the fear of Afghani women is that they will be forced back into the extreme restrictions they were forced to live under in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Though the country’s new leadership has promised to not re-instate the old rules, it is a promise that seems to be more talk than action.

Their promises are akin the Women of the Wall “allowed” to pray in peace at the Western Wall by the Ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Speaking of Israel, the world’s reaction to what is happening on the ground in Afghanistan is nothing compared to crap the Jewish state received in the spring. Where is the anger, the outrage, the articles in the press and the posts via celebrities on social media? It is crickets compared to collective noise directed at Israel in May.

The fact is that the country gets shit on no matter what it does. But when there is a life and death issue the affects another nation is facing, the racket from the rest of the world is a pittance. Meanwhile in Israel, women have been free to live their own lives for decades.

Silence speaks more than any word can.

Leaving Afghanistan: Damned if we do, Damned if we Don’t

I would hope that when someone enters the halls of power, their immediate wish is that if there is a conflict, it can be resolved via peaceful means. But when all other options run out, the only response is war.

After nearly twenty years, the United States military is leaving Afghanistan. We went there just after 9/11 to avenge the loss of nearly 3000 innocent souls and stop those who would do it again. A generation later, the United States is leaving the country, creating the opportunity for the Taliban to regain control of the country.

I listened to President Biden‘s speech earlier today and I don’t envy the choice he has to make.

If we stay, we can be accused of overusing our influence and sending additional American troops to die in another foreign war. If we go, we know the result. Though Biden tried to claim that this is different than the Fall of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam war, the similarities are too hard to ignore.

The fact is that whoever was President, it would have been messy, complicated, and a convenient political attack on both sides of the aisle. Biden is facing a challenge that so far, meets if not surpasses Covid. He claims that he had no choice but to continue you know who’s plan, but I don’t quite believe that.

I also don’t quite believe that the Taliban will respect democracy and women’s rights. Given their history, it is only a matter of time before they return the country to their vision of what it should be.

Only time will tell what the consequences of this decision will be. Either way, we are damned if we do, damned if we don’t.

An American Bride In Kabul Book Review

Life is made up a variety of experiences. Sometimes these experiences take our lives into new directions previously not thought of.

In the early 1960’s, second wave feminist and author Phyllis Chesler was young and in love. Ms. Chesler was born into an Orthodox Jewish family from Brooklyn, New York. The man she fell in love with was the son of a devout Muslim family from Afghanistan.

Deciding to take a chance on love, she put aside her family and her ambitions to marry this man and live with him in his native country. Her experience is chronicle in her 2013 memoir, An American Bride In Kabul. When the plane landed in Kabul, her American passport was taken away from her. She was no longer an individual, but property that was part and parcel of her husband’s family.  The charming, educated, open minded man she fell in love was soon replaced by a traditional man who clung to the old traditions and expected his wife to do the same.

What I very much enjoyed about this book was that it opened my eyes to a world that I know really nothing of. Many of us who live in the West, unless we have visited countries like Afghanistan, truly have no understanding of what it is to live in that world.  One of the points that Ms. Chesler makes is that those of us in the West may pretend to understand what it is to live in Afghanistan and other countries in that region, but the truth is that we do not.

I highly recommend this book.

%d bloggers like this: