Stop Uranium Wars

this Site is maintained by the Pandora DU research Project, which is part of the Stop Uranium Wars coalition. The aim is to publicise and make available information on the uranium weapons subject, plus making resources and data available to be used by groups and individuals in the campaign.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Shafting the Vets

by Conn Hallinan | November 10, 2006 (full story at: http://fpif. org/fpiftxt/ 3695
“War is hell,” Union General William Tecumseh Sherman famously said 14 years after the end of the bloodiest conflict in U.S. history. “It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation.”

Clearly the U.S. Civil War is not on the reading list of psychiatrist Sally Satel, a scholar at the right-wing American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Indeed, Satel sees war less as hell than as a golden opportunity for veteran lay-abouts to milk the government by “ overpathologizing the psychic pain of war.”

Satel, whom the AEI trots out anytime the Bush administration needs cover for cutting veteran services and benefits, says the problem for former soldiers is not Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). “The real trouble for vets,” she writes, is that “once a patient receives a monthly check based on his psychiatric diagnosis, his motivation to hold a job wanes.” Her solution? “Don't offer disability benefits too quickly.”

The commentary makes an interesting contrast to a powerful piece in the October 2006 issue of the California Nurses Association's magazine Registered Nurse titled “The Battle at Home” by Caitlin Fischer and Diana Reiss. They found that “in veterans' hospitals across the country—and in a growing number of ill-prepared, under-funded psych and primary care clinics as well—Registered Nurses … are treating soldiers … and picking up the pieces of a tattered army.”

According to the authors, RNs across the country “have witnessed the guilt, rage, emotional numbness, and tormented flashbacks of GIs just back from Iraq and Afghanistan,” as well as older vets from previous wars, “whose half-century-old trauma have been ‘triggered' by the images of Iraq.”

How many soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan will eventually fall victim to PTSD is not clear, although a U.S. Defense Department study in 2006 found that one in six returnees suffer from depression or stress disorders, and 35% have sought counseling for emotional difficulties. The Veterans Administration (VA) treated 20,638 Iraq vets for PTSD in just the first quarter of 2006 and is currently processing a backlog of 400,000 cases.

Out of 700,000 soldiers who served in the 1991 Gulf War, 118,000 are suffering from chronic fatigue, headaches, muscle spasms, joint pains, anxiety, memory loss, and balance problems, and 40% receive disability pay. Gulf vets are also twice as likely to develop amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's Disease) and between two and three times more likely to have children with birth defects.


Post a Comment

<< Home