Monday :: Feb 5, 2007

Treatment of U.S. Iraqi Vets a Disgrace

by soccerdad

Research psychologist Andrew Weaver and former CIA analyst Ray McGovern had a oped in the Baltimore Sun reprinted on Consortium News on returning vets.

The California Nurses Association reported that in the first quarter of 2006, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs "treated 20,638 Iraq veterans for post-traumatic stress disorder, and they have a backlog of 400,000 cases." A returning soldier has to wait an average of 165 days for a VA decision on initial disability benefits, and an appeal can take up to three years.

Soldiers are twice as likely to have mental difficulties if they were stationed in Iraq when compared to those in Afghanistan.

The need for mental health services is a function of combat experience, and ground service in Iraq entailed a greater exposure to combat, according to the PDHA data. Compared with troops in Afghanistan, troops in Iraq more frequently saw comrades killed or wounded and were three times more likely to fire their weapons. Half the soldiers and Marines in Iraq had felt in great danger of being killed, twice the rate of those who served in Afghanistan. link

How poorly some superiors treated the returning vets is described here in a report by Daniel Zwerdling

Jennings called a supervisor at Ft. Carson to say that he had almost killed himself, so he was going to skip formation to check into a psychiatric ward. The Defense Department's clinical guidelines say that when a soldier has been planning suicide, one of the main ways to help is to put him in the hospital. Instead, officers sent a team of soldiers to his house to put him in jail, saying that Jennings was AWOL for missing work.

The Bush administration needs to be beat over the head about this national disgrace at every opportunity. It illustrates in clear detail their hypocrisy. A bunch of guys, who for the most part, would go crying to their mothers because of paper cuts have no problem sending other people off to be scarred possibly for a very long time and then not care for them when they get back.

soccerdad :: 5:16 PM :: Comments (10) :: Digg It!