To win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people may be costing us the minds of our own. A new study shows that nearly one in five U.S. combat troops
returning from war in Iraq suffered from extreme post-traumatic stress, major depression, or other serious mental conditions. One in four Marines
reported killing Iraqi civilians. About one in five Army members reported engaging in hand-to-hand combat. More than 85 percent of those in Marine or
Army combat units said they knew someone who had been injured or killed. More than half said they had handled corpses or human remains....
Mental Toll on Troops Detailed
Nearly one in five US combat troops returning from war-torn Iraq suffered from post-traumatic stress, major depression, or other serious mental
afflictions, according to new data detailing the psychological costs of the bloodiest war in a generation.
A survey conducted by the US Army shows that combat-related mental problems have been higher among those who have served in Iraq than in any military
action since Vietnam. It also paints the first broad statistical picture of the battlefield horrors encountered by the American combatants on the
front lines in Iraq.
Up to 17 percent of these troops in Iraq suffered mental health problems, though less than half said they had sought professional help after ending
their tours, according to the study, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.
"There's no question that these service members have truly experienced the spectrum of things that happen during the war," said Dr. Charles Hoge,
psychiatry chief at the US Army Walter Reed Medical Center and lead author of the study. "This is real, sustained war."
The Pentagon's health affairs chief, Dr. William Winkenwerder, said it was premature to compare service in Iraq with Vietnam, but added, "We can
certainly surmise there's plenty of stress."
With more than 800 US soldiers killed and more than 5,000 wounded, Operation Iraqi Freedom has become the deadliest American military conflict since
the Vietnam War, in which some 58,000 Americans died.
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We somtimes forget about the impact of this war on our own. We do not see what they see, hear, taste or smell. and one can only imagine what that has
been like for these young men and women we send to fight in this war.
The reality of this war is brought to us through the news media. The true reality is much more painful for those who live it everyday.
This reality is one the government and media would not like you to see. Yet the news of beheadings is appropriate.
The men and women we send to fight this war will have to live with all that they have seen or done there for the rest of their lives, and as past wars
has shown some simply lose their minds over time and are all too quickly forgotten after the war.
Some would say be tough and just DEAL WITH IT... But for those who have not been there it would be all to easy to deal with.
Some of the victims of war live.. and later find themselves wishing they had not.
They serve with pride. They are our own, and they are trying to deal with the reality and insanity of this war the rest of us will never see.
You can't just put a band-aid on this one.
[edit on 1-7-2004 by UM_Gazz]