Thursday, January 31, 2008

You can judge a government

By the way they treat those in need, in their employ, in their military. Pale Rider of Blue Girl, Red State quotes a study:
A new military study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine says soldiers who suffered concussions in Iraq were not only at higher risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, but also that the depression and PTSD, not the head injuries, may be the cause of ongoing physical symptoms.
And then cites a story of how the military declares 'personality disorders' and denies medical claims of those soldiers who were wounded:
It is the use of the 5-13 discharge to cull injured troops from service and deny them future benefits through the VA.A 5-13 is a psych discharge.It brands the veteran as having a personality disorder, an Axis II disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychological Association. Personality disorders are deemed pre-existing conditions, and therefore the military is absolved of all future responsibility to those veterans.
As if this is not horrible enough, here are some even worse statistics via Paul of Byzigenous Buddhapalian, John Cory of Hoffmania:

The folks who see profit and growth in the numbers of veterans of this war, the Health Care Insurers know an opportunity when they see one. In her December 2007 report Emily Berry for American Medical News gives us a tour by the numbers:

30,000 troops have been wounded in action.
39,000 have been diagnosed with PTSD.
84,000 vets suffer a mental health disorder.
229,000 veterans have sought VA care.
1.4 million troops (active duty and reserves) deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan so far.
Estimates run between $350 billion to $700 billion needed for lifetime care and benefits for veterans.

And now, making the rounds in Washington is a plan that has become known as “The Psychological Kevlar Act of 2007” which reaches out to the pharmaceutical industry to partner with the Department of Defense to use the drug Propranalol to treat symptoms of PTSD even before a soldier succumbs to full blown PTSD. An ounce of prevention after all is worth funding for experimentation, I mean research. A numb soldier is a happy soldier.

If you haven’t visited Penny Coleman you really ought to drop by and read up on her articles. Thanks to Penny and people like my friend Miss Remy, we learn the truth about the terrible sweet beauty we call war. The price – human toll – and numbers.

A CBS study of 45 states over the past 12 years reveals disturbing and tragic patterns of suffering veterans whether Korean War, Vietnam, or the newer versions, Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2005 alone, there were 6,256 veteran suicides. That’s 120 every week or an average of 17 suicides every day.

The Bush administration has no waiting period to go to war, only waiting lines that take months to treat veterans and provide the health care they need. It is an amazing irony that Bush has presided over the longest delays and waiting periods for veterans in VA history and yet he has generated more veterans faster than most any other administration. As the Democratic Policy Committee pointed out in 2004: “During Bush's four years in office, the average millionaire has received a tax break of $123,000. In contrast, President Bush has broken all previous records for fees paid by veterans - proposing to collect $1.3 billion from veterans themselves in 2005, a 478 percent increase during his time in office.”

Be grateful for what NTodd and friends are doing to stop kids from signing up . If sources for the volunteer army dry up, there will have to be a draft. Politicians know that it is career suicide to activate it and will immediately focus the wrath of 70+% of Americans who are against this war. Because it does not weigh equally on all of us, the war grinds on and grinds up lives and treasury, but bring back the draft and this war will end.

Update: Molly Ivors of Whiskey Fire notes that the VA is being encouraged not to help vets with their paperwork:

One of the things they do--or at least have done historically, is help wounded vets apply to the DoD for the benefits they have coming. But here in upstate New York, that's no longer the case.

Army officials in upstate New York instructed representatives from the Department of Veterans Affairs not to help disabled soldiers at Fort Drum Army base with their military disability paperwork last year. That paperwork can be crucial because it helps determine whether soldiers will get annual disability payments and health care after they're discharged.

Now soldiers at Fort Drum say they feel betrayed by the institutions that are supposed to support them. The soldiers want to know why the Army would want to stop them from getting help with their disability paperwork and why the VA— whose mission is to help veterans — would agree to the Army's request.

1 comment:

pygalgia said...

Beyond appalling.