Thursday, May 22, 2008

The War

This war is impacting our nation in so many horrific ways. The death of soldiers was not unanticipated. That doesn't mean the deaths are any less important or any less of a loss but death is a known entity of war. But what of the reprecussions of war now demanding attention?

Soldiers wounded in this war have a 90% survival rate which is applaudable while also presents the injured with rehabilitations never before seen in a war's wounded. Savage head injuries and facial disfigurations cause mindboggling challenges to the survivors. Loss of limbs have been a tragedy of war since wars began but ingenuity/progess in prosthetic design helps survivors better adapt to non-military life.

2007 soldier suicide rates were at an all time high and soldiers with facial disfigurement committed suicide at an even higher rate. (2100 soldiers injured or tried to kill themselves in 2007 compared with 350 in 2002; 210 succeeded in killing themselves)

And then there are the children of wounded soldiers. ABC News ran a segment tonight about the impact of parental war injuries on children. Head injuries and PTS can cause a parent to experience extreme mood swings, anger issues arise, wounds create physical challenges -- and it isn't just the soldier who deals with all this. Their children suffer from the changes in their parent.

It is clear our country's leaders did not prepare for this war in any capacity other than to invade Iraq. Troops were inadequately equipped, medical facilities in the US are embarrassingly shabby (think Walter Reed), and the VA is unable or unwilling to provide veterans with the care they need and deserve.

I despise this war and the leaders who got us into this situation. But the soldiers who volunteered are doing their job, at an embarrassingly low salary, and should be given excellent treatment upon their return. Their families must be recognized and healed also. I'd like to see our elected officials receive the care given to our returning soldiers; things would change quickly then.

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