Sunday, April 06, 2008

Damage Their Brains, Send 'Em Back Just the Same - Our Nations Shame

posted by Bill Arnett @ 12:44 PM Permalink

Our military is being destroyed willfully and and the greatest shame any of our citizens should consider is that our dipstick, wanna-be cowboy, bush, so full of himself and hip-deep with sycophants, are the people who are destroying it for the sake of taking Iraqi Oil.

There was formerly no doubt in my ex-military mind that our forces were great enough to defeat any enemy, but to my dismay the forces are being willingly destroyed by their own leaders too afraid to stand up to a rogue president.

Our forces did do their job, admirably, defeating the Iraqi forces within mere weeks, but now the protracted occupation of Iraq, which bush has made clear will last until Iraq gives us control of their oil, is slowly and steadily making our soldiers, airmen, marines, and navy mentally ill and encountering mental health problems with the demand of an ever increasing tempo of the mission in Iraq and multiple assignments there.

From an Army survey:
Army leaders are expressing increased alarm about the mental health of soldiers who would be sent back to the front again and again under plans that call for troop numbers to be sustained at high levels in Iraq for this year and beyond.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned of the toll the Iraq war could take on the military.

Among combat troops sent to Iraq for the third or fourth time, more than one in four show signs of anxiety, depression or acute stress, according to an official Army survey of soldiers’ mental health.

The stress of long and multiple deployments to Iraq is just one of the concerns being voiced by senior military officers in Washington as Gen. David H. Petraeus, the senior Iraq commander, prepares to tell Congress this week that he is not ready to endorse any drawdowns beyond those already scheduled through July.

President Bush has signaled that he will endorse General Petraeus’s recommendation…

Among the 513,000 active-duty soldiers who have served in Iraq since the invasion of 2003, more than 197,000 have deployed more than once, and more than 53,000 have deployed three or more times, according to a separate set of statistics provided this week by Army personnel officers. The percentage of troops sent back to Iraq for repeat deployments would have to increase in the months ahead.

The Army study of mental health showed that 27 percent of noncommissioned officers — a critically important group — on their third or fourth tour exhibited symptoms commonly referred to as post-traumatic stress disorders. That figure is far higher than the roughly 12 percent who exhibit those symptoms after one tour and the 18.5 percent who develop the disorders after a second deployment, according to the study, which was conducted by the Army surgeon general’s Mental Health Advisory Team.

The Army and the rest of the service chiefs have endorsed General Petraeus’s recommendations for continued high troop levels in Iraq. But Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the Army chief of staff, and their top deputies also have warned that the war in Iraq should not be permitted to inflict an unacceptable toll on the military as a whole. “Our readiness is being consumed as fast as we build it,” Gen. Richard A. Cody, the Army vice chief of staff, said in stark comments delivered to Congress last week. “Lengthy and repeated deployments with insufficient recovery time have placed incredible stress on our soldiers and our families, testing the resolve of our all-volunteer force like never before.”

…members of the Joint Chiefs have also told the president that the continued troop commitment to Iraq means that there is a significant level of risk should another crisis erupt elsewhere in the world. Any mission could be carried out successfully, the chiefs believe, but the operation would be slower, longer and costlier in lives and equipment than if the armed forces were not so strained.

… the study was based on 2,295 anonymous surveys and additional interviews from members of frontline units in combat brigades, and not from those assigned primarily to safer operating bases. Since the study was distributed last month, it has become a central topic of high-level internal discussions within the Army, and its findings have been accepted by Army leaders, senior Pentagon and military officials say.

The survey found that the proportion of soldiers serving in Iraq who had encountered mental health problems was about the same as found in previous studies — about 18 percent of deployed soldiers. But in analyzing the effect of the war on those with previous duty in Iraq, the study found that “soldiers on multiple deployments report low morale, more mental health problems and more stress-related work problems.”

By the time they are on their third or fourth deployments, soldiers “are at particular risk of reporting mental health problems,” the study found.

The range of symptoms reported by soldiers varies widely from sleeplessness and anxiety to more severe depression and stress. To assist soldiers facing problems, the Army has begun to hire more civilian mental health professionals while directing Army counselors to spend more time with frontline units.

Senior officers at the Pentagon have tried to avoid shrill warnings about the health of the force, cognizant that such comments might embolden potential adversaries, and they continue to hope that troop levels in Iraq can be reduced next year. Still, none deny the level of stress on the force from current deployments.

Admiral Mullen spoke broadly to those concerns last week, saying at a Pentagon news conference that the military would have already assigned forces to missions elsewhere in the world were it not for what he called “the pressure that’s on our forces right now.”
"…its findings have been accepted by Army leaders, senior Pentagon and military officials say." So military leaders are certain that the bush war doctrine is destroying our military, but fail to have the guts to forcefully confront him.

We have not one single "combat ready" brigade in America due to the excessively expensive war that is consuming our Treasury, leaving insufficient funds to properly train soldiers and provide the equipment needed for that training.

Our leaders know this, accept this, and yet do nothing about it rather than be forced into retirement as has happened to several flag officers already. Admiral Fallon it just the latest officer to be forced out.

And our soldiers, so many being eaten alive from the inside by PTSD, heavy depression, anxiety, and extreme stress, are being deliberately sent back into combat time-after-time, without regard for these symptoms,

Hundreds of returning veterans (literally) have killed themselves or a family member or even complete strangers.

If bush is somehow able to get self-justification for it, he will be ordering the bombing of Iran to destroy another "threat" that is not a threat at all, and place more troops in harm's way in another unconscionable war of aggression.

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