Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Real Support of the Troops Now Being Tested

Our troops go to war, accompanied by impassioned speeches warning of the dangers to our existence. But as in previous wars, most of those troops eventually come home - and they become veterans, veterans who often have to fight again, but this time to get deserved medical and psychological care for disabling and lifetime lasting effects from combat.

Vietnam became the awakening for the true extent of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD didn't have a clinical name after WWII, other than cliches like 'shell shock', and as reported in Tom Brokaw's books, most veterans came home and didn't want to talk about the war. So the PTSD effects on tens of thousands got buried. Vietnam War veterans came home to a country that wanted to forget about that war too for other reasons. But through the efforts of many of these veterans and their families and friends, first the physical effects of Agent Orange were fought (and are still being fought), and then PTSD began to be recognized as affecting a huge percentage of Vietnam vets who have documented its effects and pushed Congress for support.

As a result of the Iraq war, PTSD is estimated to affect at least half of the returning troops. And now inexplicably, the VA is trying to renege on PTSD benefits already promised to over 72,000 returning diagnosed veterans. The VA's excuse? These soldiers were 'misclassified' - but the reality is the VA is looking to free up money because Congress is aiming to cut $600 million from veterans' support this year. With an estimated 1 million troops who will have fought in Iraq - whenever it ends - how many of them will be stripped of needed help? This time instead of Agent Orange and PTSD, it's depleted uranium and PTSD.

So, those of you who really think you are supporting the troops, wake up. Those troops become veterans and they become leading targets for nonsupport from our federal bureaucracy. It's happening again.

For those veterans looking for some very good information on PTSD (or Agent Orange), go the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA)website. The VVA is the only national Vietnam veterans organization congressionally chartered and exclusively dedicated to Vietnam-era veterans and their families, and 30 years later they are still fighting to get help.

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link