Serena Freewomyn

Sometimes Even Soldiers Get the Blues

Filed By Serena Freewomyn | April 18, 2008 8:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Media, Politics
Tags: Iraq casualties, mental health, military, PTSD

A new report from the Rand Corporation shows that 300,000 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from mental illness.

The co-leader of the study by the Rand Corporation, Terri Tanielian, calls the situation "a major health crisis" that could have "long-term consequences" if it is not addressed. Among her findings are that only about half of the Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who have symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, depression and traumatic brain injury have sought treatment, and only half of those received adequate treatment.

Shooting at people is hard enough as it is. But when soldiers who are about to get sent home are told that they're going to be redeployed, is it any wonder that our troops are suffering from depression and PTSD?

Tanielian's 500-page study - based on interviews with 1,900 service members - says mental health problems are particularly prominent among combat veterans who are women or members of the reserves.

The military has said mental health problems are particularly acute among troops assigned to long and multiple deployments to war zones, as many U.S. combat brigades have been.

This war has gone on too long. It time to bring the troops home. And more than that, it's time to start taking care of the soldiers when they get back. It's appalling that military recruiters approach high school students with promises of college scholarships in return for enlisting, and then those kids find out that the GI Bill today isn't what is was back in the 1950s. (This assumes, of course, that these kids make it back alive. The official count of US soldiers killed in Iraq is 4037. The number of civilian casualties is 1,199,782 as of April 14th.)

When the troops come home, what will they be coming home to? Inadequate health care and the inability to get a civilian job? For all we've been talking about marriage rights for the LGBTQ community, I don't see how we can say that ending the war in Iraq isn't the #1 priority.


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The cost of this war in dollars, soldiers' health and human life is appalling. I keep hoping that Bush has some sort of Christmas Story-type realization that he's been beating Tiny Tim with his crutch.

Keep in mind the tens of thousands of soldiers mutilated and maimed permanently. Over 40,000 of our service people, in addition to the 4000 dead, have been disabled out of the military.

And then CWA starts this "Support Our Troops, Let 'em Win" campaign that sickens me.

I am the mother of a soldier who was decorated 9 times in 24 months, serving in an elite unit.

He and his comrades want to come home intact and alive.

I don't mean to subtract from your son's circumstances, but after he comes back "alive," considering what he's witnessed and participated in, I doubt he'll come back "intact," at least not mentally. And that's Serena Freewomyn's point.

Thanks for the post, Serena. I can't wait for this war to end. Down with McCain!!! :(

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | April 21, 2008 7:13 AM

The war parties, led by the Clintons, Bush, Obama, and McCain etc, have recently witnessed the failure of both the US military’s 'surge' and the collapse of the US trained ‘government’ military and police. The insurgents, both in Basra and Baghdad, proved that the insurgency was very much alive and kicking.

As in Vietnam the military situation is fluid but the US is losing. In spite of bipartisan support the US effort is stymied by its own bungling political and military leadership, the growth of the antiwar movement among civilians and GI’s, the desertion of its allies and the stubborn resistance of the Iraqis. That resistance, in spite of the genocide, or maybe because of it, is proof that the light at the end of tunnel that General Praeteus claims to see is an insurgent freight train coming on him at full speed.

The US leadership is desperate to increase their supplies of cannon fodder. If they succeed in repealing the Clintons bigoted DADT law the GLBT and antiwar movements we’ll want to mount a campaign to let prospective GLBT volunteers know what’s in store for them and why they should be ashamed to have anything to do with the oil piracy and the racist genocide against the Iraqis. At the same time we want to campaign to aid the whole GI antiwar movement and to insist that GLBT service members are treated with scrupulous fairness. But in doing that we have to make it clear that we're oppposed to the illegal and immoral Clinton-Bush oil piracy war in any way.