Iraq, Afghanistan VA Patients Exceed 400,000

Maya Schenwar, Truthout: "Amid talk of a drawdown of troops in Iraq, new statistics from the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) show that US casualties are still climbing quickly. Iraq and Afghanistan battlefield injuries and deaths number 81,361, up from 72,043 last January, according to data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by Veterans for Common Sense (VCS). Veteran patients - including those who didn't seek care until their return home - shot up to 400,304 (from 263,909 in December 2007). For the thousands of soldiers flooding the VA, mental illness tops the list of ailments.... However, many barriers to adequate care and compensation remain, particularly for veterans filing for disability benefits."

//www.truthout.org/012909J



Purple Hearts: A Cold-Blooded Decision

Conn Hallinan, Foreign Policy in Focus: "Behind the recent Pentagon decision to deny Purple Heart medals to soldiers suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a cold-blooded calculation: It saves money. The official rationale for refusing to honor what is widely considered the 'signature wound' of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is that PTSD, according to Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen Lainez, is 'an anxiety disorder caused by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event,' not 'a wound intentionally caused by the enemy.'"

//www.truthout.org/012909N



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