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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Treatment of our Injured Soldiers Disgraceful

No matter what we may think of the current war or any war, most of us think our returning soldiers deserve treatment of their injuries at government expense. Instead, many of them have been lumped together and discharged with no benefits, no medical treatment, and generally given the shaft. They've even had to forfeit all or part of their enlistment bonuses and some owe the government thousands of dollars.

Their story was featured in a recent ABC Bob Woodruff report. If anyone in the MSM knows about the injuries our troops have suffered, it's Bob Woodruff.

I saw the report when it aired last week and wanted to post about it then but it was simpler to wait for it online.

From the report:

"In Town's case, the discharge came two years after he was injured in an attack. In the fall of 2004, a 107 mm rocket ripped through his unit's headquarters in Ramadi, exploding two feet above Town's head and knocking him unconscious.

The rocket blast left Town with hearing loss, headaches, memory problems, anxiety and insomnia. For his wounds, he was awarded the Purple Heart.

But when he returned to the states seeking treatment for those very wounds, the Army quickly discharged him, asserting his problems had been caused not by the war but by a personality disorder that predated his military career.

A Quick Way Out

It is known as a "Chapter 5-13" — "separation because of personality disorder." The Army defines it as a pre-existing "maladaptive pattern of behavior of long duration" that interferes with the soldier's ability to perform his duties.

In practical terms, this diagnosis means the personality disorder existed before military service, and therefore medical care and disability payments are not the military's responsibility. But some veterans and veterans' advocates have been vocal in their belief that personality disorder is being misdiagnosed in combat veterans.

Since 2001, more than 22,000 servicemen and women from all branches of the military have been separated under the personality disorder discharge, according to figures provided by the Department of Defense."

The Dave Matthews Band has taken up the cause,

From the report:

"The Dave Matthews Band collected 23,000 signatures on its fan site for a letter requesting that Congress and the Department of Defense look into the personality disorder discharges."


I signed the Dave Matthews petition yesterday.

Town not only was discharged with no benefits, but owes the government $3,000. He went public and his story attracted nationwide notice. There are far too many stories just like it. In some cases, the Army might be correct but it seems more like a money saving catch-all and a shabby way to treat our soldiers.

In an update, after several members of Congress from both sides of the aisle raised the issue, the Department of Defense has quietly begun paying Town's disability benefits and treatment.

That's one case which if it hadn't been for Town going public and the Woodward investigation, would have been buried. How many more are out there?

Comments:
Worried said...

TOO MANY! The government spends billions to wage the war but wants to cut costs on veteran care by denying them benefits.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007 5:08:00 PM

Daniel said...

The reason is simple. You don't make money out of looking after damaged soldiers. They are a liability!

We have the same problem in Australia: the callous forgetting about those who the politicians have sent to fight their wars.

Let's reverse the situation and send the politicians off to fight! But then there'd be no war!

Cheers.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007 2:43:00 AM

Worried said...

Old men wage war; young men fight it.
We should resurrect the old days when a nation's or city/state's leader LED the battles or were at least on the battlefront.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007 3:18:00 PM




3 Comments:

  • At Tuesday, July 17, 2007 5:08:00 PM , Blogger Worried said...

    TOO MANY! The government spends billions to wage the war but wants to cut costs on veteran care by denying them benefits.

     
  • At Wednesday, July 18, 2007 2:43:00 AM , Blogger Daniel said...

    The reason is simple. You don't make money out of looking after damaged soldiers. They are a liability!

    We have the same problem in Australia: the callous forgetting about those who the politicians have sent to fight their wars.

    Let's reverse the situation and send the politicians off to fight! But then there'd be no war!

    Cheers.

     
  • At Wednesday, July 18, 2007 3:18:00 PM , Blogger Worried said...

    Old men wage war; young men fight it.
    We should resurrect the old days when a nation's or city/state's leader LED the battles or were at least on the battlefront.

     

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