View From Table 9

September 29, 2007

And Then There’s This…

Filed under: articles,musings — table9 @ 11:53 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

From the Associated press, this article , on the trials of our wounded veterans once they return home.

He was one of America’s first defenders on Sept. 11, 2001, a Marine who pulled burned bodies from the ruins of the Pentagon. He saw more horrors in Kuwait and Iraq

Gamal Awad, the American son of a Sudanese immigrant, exemplifies an emerging group of war veterans: the economic casualties.

More than in past wars, many wounded troops are coming home alive from the Middle East. That’s a triumph for military medicine. But they often return hobbled by prolonged physical and mental injuries from homemade bombs and the unremitting anxiety of fighting a hidden enemy along blurred battle lines. Treatment, recovery and retraining often can’t be assured quickly or cheaply.

These troops are just starting to seek help in large numbers, more than 185,000 so far. But the cost of their benefits is already testing resources set aside by government and threatening the future of these wounded veterans for decades to come, say economists and veterans’ groups.

“The wounded and their families no longer trust that the government will take care of them the way they thought they’d be taken care of,” says veterans advocate Mary Ellen Salzano.

How does a war veteran expect to be treated? “As a hero,” she says.

Surprise, the VA is ill-equipped and severely unfunded. Soldiers are returning with more severe injuries than in previous combat situations, largely because of body armour and of more sophisticated weaponry. We’re encountering new syndromes – for instance, they’ve found that penetrating brain injuries, like those seen in IED encounters, leave the memory completely intact. This compares to blunt force trauma, where the memory is largely spared.

So we’re maiming, crippling, psychologically and physically scarring a generation, calling them heroes, then leaving them essentially ‘to the wolves’. Financially destitute, unable to cope, with limited medical and psychological help. Yep, that’s supporting the troops. NOT. God Bless America. Just be sure to not be a wounded hero.

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