HeraldNet, October 10, 2010
Keep traumatized soldiers from war
The American Journal of Public Health this year published a study estimating that 20-50 percent of those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder
By Cliff Wells
U.S. military suicides have claimed more lives than combat-related deaths in Afghanistan. This week marks the start of our 10th year there. It’s long past time to ask, “Why are we sending troubled soldiers back into combat?”
We didn’t bat an eye when Saddam Hussein was still spooking us. We didn’t care when the VA funding was cut at the same time we wanted to throw our youth into battle with our president’s enemy.
Since 2000, traumatic brain injury, or TBI, has been diagnosed in about 180,000 service members, the Pentagon says. But some advocates for patients say hundreds, if not thousands, more have suffered undiagnosed brain injuries. A Rand study in 2008 estimated the total number of service members with TBI to be about 320,000.
The Washington Post, Oct. 3, 2010
The American Journal of Public Health this year published a study estimating that 20-50 percent of those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. With our military over-stretched, many of those same troops are being sent back to war.
Defense Secretary Gates said recently that soldier suicides — not Afghanistan military strategy — is his top priority right now. That is a clear indication that there is something terribly wrong with how the military is supporting (or not supporting) the mental health of our troops.
A local VA doctor predicted that we can expect 300,000 psychiatric cases out of these war years when you add the brain trauma cases with PTSD. Nobody caught that report.
Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are coming together this week to announce Operation Recovery, a campaign to stop the deployment of traumatized troops. They are calling on the military and our government to stop re-deploying troops who already suffer from PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, and military sexual trauma (from rape by other military members). They are asking members of the public to defend their right to heal from war.
I am a Marine Corps veteran and I will be standing with them.
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