Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Is The Army Deliberately Avoiding Helping Returning Troops?

Yesterday we explored the unusually high incidence of suicides among U.S. Army recruiters, the bulk of whom have already served in theaters of war and who are under pressure to meet inductee quotas.

Now, is reporting that, in at least one case, an Army psychologist is claiming he's under extreme pressure to not diagnosis and treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The revelation comes in what is presented as a surreptitiously recorded interview between an Army sergeant and a Fort Carson psychologist who he had gone to see after his return from Iraq. The sergeant says he suffers from the classic symptoms of PTSD, but that he's been diagnosed with having an anxiety disorder instead.

During the session, the psychologist, the recording reveals, told the sergeant something in confidence. That he was pressured by his superiors to misdiagnose PTSD.

This is bad enough if it's an isolated incident. The implications are far more ominous, however, if the downplaying of the syndrome among troops returning from Iraq, where the sergeant served, and Afghanistan, is more widespread.

Some veterans organizations have long suspected that the Army has been understating the numbers of returning combat troops who are suffering from PTSD. The claim reported by Salon deserves further investigation.

And there should be assurances that if this allegation is credible, it will not begin and end with this incident. But that we get a full understanding of how the Army is approaching the problems of psychological trauma exhibited by so many of our returning veterans.

The intent should not be to find a scapegoat. It should be to ensure that all combat troops get properly evaluated and receive, if necessary, through treatment of their psychological wounds.

After sending them into harm's way on behalf of us, the least this nation owes them is that.

We talk about issues like this and more weekdays at 5 PM New York time on News Talk Online on


Anonymous said...

Well luckily BHO is in office and will do the right thing by our soldiers. It's time to start manning up and stop blaming every past administration. We're waiting.

Anonymous said...

I know of a case in which a professor had a student who had served four tours, and had snapped, for unsurprising reasons, and the Army was trying to force him back, so this is not surprising. I also have friends/acquaintances who served who have lost families to divorce, and have gotten awful close to the edge in terms of mental health. That would seem to call for a more equitable distribution of the burden of service in order not to create lifetime psychiatric casualties, which are some of the worst injuries a war can inflict.

Don Rich

Anonymous said...

the problem with a professional army is, they work for money. so their employer pays as little as possible.

that seems fair, it's the american way.

someday, a general will say: "soldiers, you have been badly used by the corrupt grandees of the beltway! follow me to washington and we will cleanse the nation of these parasites!"

and they will. that is the usual progression of political evolution in empires.

in the meantime, get over the notion they are working for the people of the usa. they work for the government. if you don't understand the difference, just ask yourself "when was the last time anyone asked me whether we should go to war, or not?"

got it, yet?

al loomis