“Forgotten Soldiers”: WSJ Exposes VA’s Lobotomies After WWII


The Wall Street Journal unearths a cache of memos, letters and government reports about a time after World War II when the U.S. lobotomized at least 2,000 veterans diagnosed as depressives, psychotics and schizophrenics, and occasionally people identified as homosexuals.

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


    • This article has been here a few days now and it’s interesting that you’re the only one to post anything about it. I’ve been waiting to see if anyone else would post. It’s almost like what happened to these men and women doesn’t really count or is not that important. I was saddened after going through everything it had to share and have spent a lot of time since wondering about them. The VA should be proscuted in some way for ruining the lives of these people. Rather than dealing with these people properly and helping them adjust after experiencing the horrors of war they were hustled off to th lobotomy lab for their little operation so that they wouldn’t be a bother to anyone from there on. It’s dusgusting.

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        • I just read your post, I was interested in finding out about this because my uncle had this procedure done to him after returning from the phillipines . He came back with malaria , dissentary and tb, it’s a shame, he was a senior in college when he went off to war . I know his parents gave consent to the procedure but I wonder what they were actually told it would do for him. He spent the rest of his life being cared for, he didn’t talk much , he would answer you only with yes and no mainly. Occasionally he would yell out at Asian people or others ” I WILL KILL YOU NEXT TIME YOU YELLOW BASTARDS.! WE ASSUMED THAT THIS WAS FROM THE WAR. ANYWAY, thought I would share that .

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  1. RE:”I’ve been waiting to see if anyone else would post.”Stephen Gilbert.

    I think people care, they just don’t know what to write.
    The inventors and invention of the lobotomy were given a Nobel prize, and it has not been rescinded. Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1949.

    The chemical lobotomy continues on today, as documented by Dr. Nancy C. Andreasen. ” the more drugs you’ve been given, the more brain tissue you lose.” http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/16/health/research/16conv.html?_r=0

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  2. There was another article describing families reactions after the lobotomies. http://www.thepsychologist.org.uk/archive/archive_home.cfm?volumeID=27&editionID=235&ArticleID=2403

    Even after failure or death the family thanks the doctor for inducing brain damage onto the mentally ill person.

    The first trick is convincing the family (and the patient) the individual(the patient) is ill.

    “People will believe a lie because they want to believe it’s true, or because they’re afraid it might be true.
    Given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe its true, or because they’re afraid it might be true. Peoples’ heads are full of knowledge, facts and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it all true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool.” Terry Goodkind (writer)

    The patient is the scapegoat of the families faults and problems. “All scapegoat theories postulate that if only the offending person, race, illness, or what-not could be dominated, subjugated, or eliminated, all manner of problems would be solved.” Szasz.

    If you make mistakes you are not perfect ( not a perfect machine) It means you are defective, or mentally ill. Your genes or DNA is defective. A “normal” person rarely admits they are at fault, it is the other person at fault. Unconsciously they fear they themselves are partially crazy, so respond angrily if accused of being crazy, instead of asking for evidence or proof of “crazy”.

    Before doctors had drugs to make people crazy (after the accusation of crazy) they exploited their power in making people fear their accusation. A strong fear response to the accusation is confirmation of crazy.

    Psychiatry is all a confidence game and Ponzi scheme. The only person that can end it is psychiatry, but psychiatry will never admit they are not doctors. Government will continue to listen to psychiatry (and pay it) because psychiatry has the papers that say they are doctors.

    I guess when there are too many “mentally ill” in relation to working people the Ponzi scheme will collapse.

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  3. I know a veteran of the Viet Nam war that flies the Battle flags of his unit on his flag pole. He won’t fly the American Flag.

    These lobotomies for vets , Remind me of the time of thorazine forced on me 800mg. a day for an initial 2 months. I could feel the sensation of particles of my brain like the stars of the milky way drifting off into space. I was 16 years old and was afraid they’d give me a lobotomy unaware at the time they were giving me a chemical lobotomy.

    The Flags in America need to fly at half mast and upside down until the psychiatric pharma government nightmare is over. G-d bless the brave men and women who have fought for this country. They deserve better. I’m sorry we have been so badly fooled.

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  4. I just wanted to correct a statement that I posted before, evidently my uncles parents were only notified of his lobotomy after the procedure was done . He was taking 40 prescription pills per day at the time. I have the letter written to his parents. It’s a chilling read , so non chalet . Truly freightening

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