Absence of Success on Virtually Every Level: Truth, Lies and Afghanistan How Medical Leaders Have Let Us Down on the War on Cancer

by | Feb 15, 2012 | Cancer, Military Learning

The February 13, 2012 issue of Army Times covered the very sensitive subject of the war in Afghanistan in an article written by Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis. His essay titled, “Truth, Lies and Afghanistan: How Military Leaders Have Let Us Down,” was published in the Armed Forces Journal (AFJ).

Lt. Col. Davis, an Army officer, was fed up with “rosy official statements” that paint Afghanistan as a picture of progress. He is demanding military leaders come clean about the “absence of success on virtually every level.”

“How many more men must die in support of a mission that is not succeeding and behind an array more than seven years of optimistic statements by U.S. senior leaders in Afghanistan? No one expects our leaders to always have a successful plan. But we do expect and the men who do the living, fighting and dying deserve to have our leaders tell us the truth about what’s going on.”

His 82 page essay was very critical of sanitized stories and the credibility gap of the discrepancy between official statements and the truth on the ground. Six percent of overall NATO deaths in Afghanistan have been attributed to attacks by Afghan security forces. Note: friendly fire (called fratricide in the military) account for up to 25 % of the body counts in modern warfare.

I have not read his full report except the coverage of his essay in the Army Times. What caught my attention most was when I read the sentence, “I witnessed the absence of success on virtually every level.” I could not help myself thinking and comparing military leadership with elite medical academic institutions.

I have been critical of current health care systems which focus on crisis management, treating symptoms, and not spending enough resources on prevention and correcting the underlying problems. Our medical care systems rely heavily on expensive technology by medical specialists which is too expensive to the point of breaking our country’s financial system.

One of my monthly lectures is called “The Art of War on Cancer,” which is based on my military training from CGSC (Command and General Staff College) at Fort Leavenworth. This lecture makes the analogy that conventional medicine is like military battle plans for cancer patients. One of the important aspects of military operations emphasizes the importance of Asymmetric Unconventional Warfare in the battlefield.

From the perspective of modern medicine, the asymmetric medical threat comes from overlooking hidden dental problems and unrecognized infections, especially parasites and medical treatment itself. Others include environmental toxicities, heavy metals, and food allergies, genetically modified foods and nutritionally depleted junk foods.

Ralph Moss, Ph.D., one of the prominent critics of the current cancer therapy of chemotherapy and radiation, was giving a lecture at the Baden-Baden, Germany Medicine Week in November 2011. He considered the War on Cancer declared by U.S. President Richard Nixon in 1971 a failure despite rosy official statements claiming progress in cancer therapy after spending over 200 billion dollars since 1971 (inflation adjusted).

According to him, the much-touted improvement in survival rates from cancer is a myth. The survival gains are measured in months, not in years, for most common cancers. Much of the improved longevity of cancer patients came from a change in lifestyle and early detection.

How do we battle cancer? Force management in the battlefield includes the Area of Target (tumor), the Area of Operation (whole body: body, mind, and spirit) and more importantly, the Battle Space (job, family, home environment, HMO, Government regulation and Insurance coverage).

Who benefits from the War on Cancer? During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln stated, “I have two enemies. One is the Southern Army in front of me and the other is the financial institutions in the rear. Of the two, the one in the rear is the greatest enemy.”

The most common reason why we lose the battle with cancer is from our lack of knowledge, ignorance, and losing the will to fight and live. Prevention published an article in 1976, “Mind Over Cancer,” by Grace Halsell about Carl Simonton, MD, cancer specialist. He observed a small group recover from advanced cancer by spontaneous remissions. He found that these patients had something very much in common. They were often positive, optimistic, determined people.

Finally, can we win the War on Cancer without fighting? How about prevention from having a recurrent cancer? According to the global perspective cancer report published in 1997 by the American Institute for Cancer Research, the preventive potential for cancer is 80-90% based on food and nutrition.

I have a great sympathy for Lt. Col. Daniel Davis for his honest, courageous essay, “Truth, Lies and Afghanistan: How military leaders have let us down.” We need more people like Lt. Col. Davis and Ralph Moss, Ph.D. to speak up about realistic conditions without painting a false rosy picture of official statements. The truth needs to be told including how our medical leaders have let us down on the War on Cancer.