Reading at the Crossroads

Reading at the Crossroads is an archive for columns and letters which appeared in the Terre Haute Tribune Star. I also blog here when my patience is exhausted by what I feel is irritating, irrational and/or ironic in life. --gary daily

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Location: Terre Haute, Indiana, United States

The material I post on this blog represents my views and mine alone. The material you post on this blog represents your views and yours alone.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

WAR -- The Money [Part 15]

As stated a number of times in these reports on "The Money," there is no real way to draw a firm line between the human costs and the dollar costs of this war. Lives lost in Iraq and Afghanistan are beyond replacing. The dollars that we throw into the bottomless pit of national debt are only dollars. But there is no denying that those lives and those dollars could do and pay for much of what life in America and the world needs desperately. It's a form of double waste and it's enormous in size.

This breaking story brings together the tragic human cost of the war with a possible price tag (probably under-estimated) tied to it. What it does not spell out in detail are the human and material costs to a nation when so many of your finest and their families are tied to pain and suffering for years, possibly lifetimes. What is lost due to these injuries can never be added up on a spread sheet. Angry artists--poets, novelists, musicians, film makers and others--will be trying to provide an understanding of these losses and costs for decades to come.

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Nearly 1 in 5 Iraq Vets Reports Signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
April 17, 2008

The first large-scale, nongovernmental assessment of the psychological needs of U.S. troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past six years finds that 20 percent of military troops who have returned from war—some 300,000 total—report symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or major depression. Slightly more than half have sought treatment, according to the study by Rand.

Rand researchers estimate that PTSD and depression among returning U.S. troops will cost America some $5.2 billion in the first two years after their return. Since 2001, about 1.6 million U.S. troops have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.

According to the study, early evidence suggests that the psychological toll of the deployments may be disproportionately high compared with the physical injuries.

Researchers surveyed 1,965 U.S. troops across the country. Half said they had a friend who was seriously wounded or killed, 45 percent said they saw dead or seriously injured civilians, and over 10 percent said they were personally injured and required hospitalization.

—Anna Mulrine

U. S. News

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