Sunday, October 8, 2017

Congress Turned VA Into PTSD Tar Pit

Is This The Best a Grateful Nation Can Do?
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
October 8, 2017

This was what happened 16 years ago yesterday, leading to reality of another war young men and women would put their lives on the line for.
President Bush announces military action in Afghanistan
History.com
October 7, 2001

On this day in 2001, less than a month after al-Qaida terrorists flew commercial jets into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, President George W. Bush announces that American troops are on the offensive in Afghanistan. The goal of Operation Enduring Freedom, as the mission was dubbed, was to stamp out Afghanistan’s Islamic fundamentalist Taliban regime, which had aided and abetted al-Qaida and its leader, Osama bin Laden, a Saudi national who lived in the Afghan hills and urged his followers to kill Americans.

In a televised address that evening, Bush informed the American public that “carefully targeted actions” were being carried out to crush the military capability of al-Qaida and the Taliban, with help from British, Canadian, Australian, German and French troops. An additional 40 nations around the world provided intelligence, as well as bases from which the operations were conducted.
read more here
The problem was, and still is, Congress did not prepare the Department of Veterans Affairs to care for the veterans this war would create. Frankly, they had not taken care of the previous generations of those they sent before. While some settled for a war that would be over quickly, history had taught the rest of the people that it would be far from quick or easy. The Russians tried for 10 years to defeat the people fighting for their own country.

The invasion of Iraq followed and, yet again, historically known to be a lengthy commitment of lives, Congress failed to prepare the VA for even more wounded. 
"Had we taken all of Iraq, we would have been like the dinosaur in the tar pit - we would still be there, and we, not the United Nations, would be bearing the costs for that occupation." General Norman Schwarzkopf
That is what they knew after the Gulf War. In other words, they knew what this would do, how long it would go on, yet told the American public it would be over soon.

It wasn't over but no one has apologized to the veterans of either war. 

In 2006, The Washington Post reported the Army did a study on what redeployments would do to those sent back into combat.
"U.S. soldiers serving repeated Iraq deployments are 50 percent more likely than those with one tour to suffer from acute combat stress, raising their risk of post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the Army's first survey exploring how today's multiple war-zone rotations affect soldiers' mental health.More than 650,000 soldiers have deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001 -- including more than 170,000 now in the Army who have served multiple tours -- so the survey's finding of increased risk from repeated exposure to combat has potentially widespread implications for the all-volunteer force. Earlier Army studies have shown that up to 30 percent of troops deployed to Iraq suffer from depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), with the latter accounting for about 10 percent."
And yet again, they were failed by the Congress when the increased risk of PTSD was not addressed. Far too many were sent back over and over again.

And yet again, Congress seems committed to repeating the same Bills to reduce the rate of suicides after war. Does that mean they are satisfied with the results? If they are then nothing will ever change unless they change their minds or we change them!

Suicides tear at the soul of the veterans community because it means these men and women survived combat but could not survive being back home. What is worse is that no one seems concerned with the fact that as the number of servicemembers decreased, suicides did not decrease. Yes, even after all these years of Congress passing Bills and paying billions out without any accountability to those getting the checks.

Some want to guess at the number of veterans ending their lives instead of taking their lives back. The truth is, we will never know for sure. Too many states to not track them. Too many deaths are not counted when they are tied to "suicide by cop" or single vehicle accidents, drug overdoses and the list goes on.

The only thing we know for sure is that Congress has had jurisdiction over the way veterans are treated in this country since 1946, and have never once apologized for what they failed to do!

Is this the best a grateful nation can do for those who are willing to die to save lives, yet still cannot find what they need to save their own?