Friday, May 12, 2006

This Is Just Sad

Insufficient combat stress help for US troops faulted

By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Only 22 percent of U.S. troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan seen at risk for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder have been referred by Pentagon officials for mental health evaluation, a report has found.

Thursday's report by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, found the Pentagon did not provide reasonable assurance that troops who needed referral for evaluation for combat-related stress actually got it.

Investigators found that 9,145 of 178,664 troops -- about 5 percent -- who served in Iraq or Afghanistan may have been at risk for developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder based on responses they gave to a Defense Department questionnaire. Among Army soldiers, the figure was 6.4 percent.

Of those at risk, the report found that Pentagon health care providers referred 22 percent for further mental health evaluations, with the rate differing among Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force personnel.

The study looked at troops deployed through the end of September 2004.
So the data is at least two years old, AND was only one-third of the man-hours troops have fought in this war.

Want to bet those percentages now read more like ten percent of the troops, 13% of Army soldiers and 11% seeking assistance?
The report said the Pentagon did not identify the factors that its health-care providers used in determining which troops merited mental-health referrals.
Which is kind of like diagnosing AIDS based on a breathalyzer, I suspect.

Time and time again, I have sung the praises of the GAO and the Comptroller General, David Walker. Thank god SOMEONE, no matter how marginalized he has been made, is making a stink about this in a position to do something about it. I only wish more Congresscritters, Dems and Repubs, took a little more interest in the folks who, as Michael Moore said at the end of "Farenheit 9-11"
the very people forced to live in the worst parts of town, go to the worst schools, and who have it the hardest are always the first to step up, to defend us. They serve so that we don't have to. They offer to give up their lives so that we can be free. It is remarkably their gift to us. And all they ask for in return is that we never send them into harm's way unless it is absolutely necessary.
We'll be paying for this war with our tax dollars for generations. These soldiers, they'll be paying with their lives.

Shame on you, Wimp and Blimp.

Bring this report to the attention of your Congresscritter and your local paper. This needs to get out there.

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