"Seven Questions: Supporting the Veterans"
The VA stuff is what always gets *my* attention.
Here's a few blurbs from the article:
FP: What are you hearing from soldiers in Iraq?
JS: The best data are a recent Zogby poll, which showed that 75 percent of soldiers in Iraq don’t know of a clear strategy for victory there.
FP: How would you rate the administration’s policies relating to veterans?
JS: The veteran who walks into the Department for Veterans Affairs
(VA) today is drastically worse off than he or she was four or five years ago.
FP: Why are so many Iraq war veterans in debt?
JS: If you’re making $80,000 a year in the civilian world and then you get called up and make $25,000 or $30,000 fighting in Iraq, you take a tremendous hit... (* this next one really irks the fuck out of me -- EconAtheist) There’s also the problem of insurance scams on military bases. [Insurance salespeople] try to get 19- or 20-year-old kids—who don’t know a lot about finance—to buy life insurance and mutual funds that charge high fees. When soldiers come home, many of them have a lot of money from their deployment because they had nothing to spend it on, and they end up being targeted by loan sharks.
But perhaps most importantly, and most disgustingly:
FP: When we think of homeless veterans, we often think of Vietnam veterans. But there are reports of a large homelessness problem among Iraq veterans. Why is that?
JS: When a soldier goes to the VA and his arm is broken, you can fix it. You can give him disability for a broken arm, a busted leg, or a messed-up back. But when you go to the VA after being off active duty for six months and you realize that you’re depressed—you’ve got anxiety, you can’t sleep at night, and your marriage is falling apart—they cannot give you a blood test to see if you have PTSD. Right now there are hundreds and hundreds of Iraq war veterans who have gone to Department of Defense psychiatrists and been coded with “adjustment disorder.” So they do not get disability. If they did get disability, they would get enough money to help them through their depression.
There are hundreds of Iraq veterans who have gone to private psychiatrists who have diagnosed them with PTSD, yet the VA says they have “adjustment disorder.” And that’s because the VA has not been fully funded by the Bush administration to address this new demand for PTSD treatment. It equates to turning their backs on the same people they sent to war. And that’s why we have homeless veterans. Homelessness is a symptom of a larger issue. Whether it’s beating your wife, suicide, or homelessness, it all comes back to this nasty word called PTSD.
"Adjustment Disorder." Yeah.
Time for this country to make some similar political "adjustments."