Thanks for your thoughts, Friermcc. I would wholeheartedly agree with you if your assumption were true--that "the very basic techniques that TM offers are available widely for free from a number of teachers and books."
I too have practiced many different techniques from the various traditions. Then I discovered TM and found it utterly unique and fundamentally different. So I was trained as a teacher and now I have been teaching TM for 38 years. In almost every class there are people who have tried other practices. The common experience is that they find TM to be essentially different from whatever they were doing. I just taught TM to a person who had spent many years (perhaps as long as you) trying every technique in the book and had recently spent a year in a Zen monastery. Same story: he found TM refreshingly effortless and, for him, much more natural and effective. But it's always a personal thing. I'm not going to try and talk anybody into doing TM. But the generalization that all meditation techniques are the same as TM is an assumption that is, I suggest, worthy of reconsideration.
The opinion that the other types of meditation are basically the same as TM and produce the same results is also not in line with the scientific findings. Consider, for example, the varying effects of different practices on the brain: http://phys.org/news198836667.html Or the fact that TM is the only form of meditation recommended by the American Heart Association: http://meditationasheville.blogspot.com/2013/05/heart-association-transcendental.html
If TM could be taught for free, it would be taught that way and personal instruction and the classes with the teacher would not be necessary. But learning this particular technique of "effortless transcending" requires a trained teacher: http://meditationasheville.blogspot.com/2008/10/why-should-i-pay-course-fee-for-tm-when.html
I understand and respect your viewpoint. I just suggest that people consider the possibility that there's another side to the story. I say this because people's lives are at stake. If research is showing one technique to be consistently more effective, for whatever reason, at reducing stress and PTSD, then it's important for veterans to know the difference.