Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mental Health

An article from my server snagged my attention. According to the article, "[t]he Hartford Courant, citing records obtained under the federal Freedom of Information Act and more than 100 interviews of families and military personnel, reported numerous cases in which the military failed to follow its own regulations in screening, treating, and evacuating mentally unfit troops from Iraq."

The article also notes the following:

The Army's top mental health expert, Col. Elspeth Ritchie, acknowledged that some deployment practices such as sending service members diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrom back into combat, have been driven in part by a troop shortage. "The challenge for us ... is that the Army has a mission to fight. And, as you know, recruiting has been a challenge," she said. "And so we have to weigh the needs of the Army, the needs of the mission, with the soldiers' personal needs."

This is not new practice, weighing the needs of the military before the needs of the soldier. It's common practice, and anyone who's served active duty knows this. That still doesn't explain how the military can send someone back to fight who is suffering from conditions that would render him unfit for entering the service (volunteers who suffer from PTSD are disqualified from eligibility to enlist).

It's a bit of a tough spot for the military. They have standards, and they mentally screen soldiers who have been overseas to check for eligibility. But, given the situation we're in, a war with no end in sight, recruiting shortages and rumors of possibly attacking another country, it doesn't look like it's going to ease up at all any time soon. People are going to cry out and say that this is ludicrous. People are going to blame the president, or the military commanders, or whomever. But, as I've said before, if you want to help out the soldier who's suffering, why haven't you enlisted to take his place? Would you gladly go if there were a draft to overcome the manpower shortages? Don't complain if you are not (or were not) willing to help out. For those of you who say that the soldiers knew what they were getting into, or who continue to support a war that would send mentally unfit people to fight, have you enlisted to join them, to show how much you support them, maybe to give those people risking their lives daily a break, some help?

We've created a mess, and there's no telling who's going to have to clean it up, or when.

1 comment:

Hannelie said...

Australia's Defence force currently have to 'clean up' and explain the private Jake Kovko insident.
Did he shot himself, did his gun went of accidently, who's lying?? And so the story goes.