Lack of Care or Improper Treatment: A Special Report on US military veterans

Since the Vietnam War, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are the longest wars that the US military committed to, especially, more than 2.2 million troops were sent to the fight. This has resulted in more than 6,600 deaths and 48,000 injuries. A lot of service members have returned home unharmed and talked about rewarding experiences. However, the others have come back with different complex health conditions and find that life at home is not easy to adjust; meeting with the family, looking for some kind of employment, or coming back to school is a continuous battle. The demands to mitigate these health, monetary, and social issues are elevated by the amount of people affected. The quick withdrawal of military work force from Iraq and Afghanistan, and the long haul impacts for veterans, service members, their families, and the country.

A few years back, the IOM had requested to conduct a study on veterans‘ physical and emotional well-being. And in addition, other readjustment needs. Now, this report exhibits the IOM’s exhaustive evaluation of the physical, mental, social, and monetary impacts of the delegation on service members, their families, veterans, and their communities.

Key Conclusion of the Report

The DOD (Department of Defense) and the VA (Veterans Affairs) are trying to accomplish more to survey the feasibility and sufficiency of treatment, particularly if it is offered nationally. The tools that are used to evaluate cognitive function after a brain injury has “no reasonable scientific base” and the “Acknowledgment and Commitment” treatment utilized by the VA for depression “needs adequate experimental proof to back its utilization as a first line medication”, it said.

  • Independent research reveals that carrying lethal weapons stop suicides but the report figured out that regardless of the fact that a service member is at danger for suicide. However, the DOD denies limiting any possession of privately owned weapons. Half of the 300 military suicides that occurred in 2010 were deployed in the Iraq and Afghanistan clashes. According to a VA report, around 22 veterans commit suicide every day.

 

  • The report suggests that the DOD and VA should “extend its meaning of family” to incorporate unmarried partners, single parents, same-sex couples, and stepfamilies.

 

  • The report also said that the DOD and VA should work in tandem to integrate their respective databases to allow sharing information to keep track of issues of affected personnel exclusively. A big amount of relevant information can use to answer key questions about re-adjustment. These are collected by different federal departments and agencies to analyze and answer the questions of different problems at hand.

 

  • The DOD priority should be to reduce domestic violence and combat the troubling rise in domestic violence of service members.

 

  • This report was around 500-page and it found out that about 44% troops coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan reported problems. One out of five encounters PTSD, while a comparative number have a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). Some others have overlapping health issues, most usually PTSD, depression, substance use disorder, and side effects identified with mild TBI. It also noticed that the unemployment of veterans from 18 to 24 was more than 30%, which is contrasted with 16% for regular citizens.

So, this report clearly shows that there has been a lack of care or improper treatment of veterans. They should be handled with care and subtle treatment to overcome these problems. Otherwise, it would be a shame for the entire nation!

How has the Afghanistan War been ended?

After the 9/11 attack, the US and Afghanistan have joined forces together to react to the dangers to global peace and security. Also, they are working to offer the Afghan some assistance in securing a democratic prosperous future. After taking charge, President Obama along with NATO associates have sought after a focused strategy to fortify the Afghanistan’s security strengths and government to assume full responsibility for their nation’s future while they have taken critical actions against al-Qaida’s administration and kept Afghanistan from being utilized to dispatch assaults against the US.

Bringing Back the Soldiers to the US

In December 2009, the president declared the troop surge at West Point. The conditions that permitted them to push back the Taliban and develop Afghan forces. He also announced in 2009 that they had finished the surge and would start bringing back the soldiers from Afghanistan from a peak of 100,000 troops. He coordinated that troop decreases continue at a consistent interval. And it should be done in an arranged, facilitated, and responsible way. Subsequently, 10,000 troops got back home before that year’s over, and 33,000 got back home by the mid-year of 2012. In February 2013, The President reported in the State of the Union address that they would bring another 34,000 American troops from Afghanistan within a year – which they have done properly.

After that, the President has announced a plan in which another 22,000 troops will return home before the year has over, ultimately, ending the U.S. battle mission in December 2014. From the start of 2015, a partnership agreement between the US and Afghanistan will be started. Also, the Afghans will sign a Bilateral Security Agreement and a status of forces agreement with NATO. It will allow putting 9,800 U.S. service members in different parts of the country. Besides, before the end of 2015, the US will reduce their presence to half, which will result in a consolidation of troops in Kabul and on Bagram Airfield. In 2016, the US will open an embassy in Kabul with security assistance component similar to Iraq.

Afghanistan is Responsible for its Security

Afghanistan and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) countries agreed upon a proposal to shift full responsibility for Afghanistan’s security to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) by the end of 2014. This proposal took place at the 2010 NATO Summit in Lisbon. This agreement has permitted the international community to draw down their powers in Afghanistan. In the same time, it has kept the hard-won gains and set the stage to achieve the fundamental objectives such as supporting Afghan Security Forces, disrupting threats posed by al-Qaida, and providing the chance to Afghan people to succeed as they stand on their own.

During the 2012 NATO Summit in Chicago, the ISAF countries and Afghanistan had reaffirmed this system for a move and they also gave consent to the point of reference in mid-2013 would start to transit from combat to support. The Afghans came to that turning point as the ANSF expected the lead for security over the entire of Afghanistan and the coalition powers moved their concentration to the training, advising and helping of Afghan forces.

Political Evolution

Since Afghanistan had taken the control of their security, they made strives to initiate a shift of power in the country. The presidential election was held and millions of Afghans voted in the election. The US has confirmed its backing for a reasonable, trustworthy, and Afghan-drove election preparation and does not support any hopeful candidate who is keen for own interest.

Economic Evolution

Afghanistan has encountered a rapid financial development and wonderful enhancements in key social pointers –

  • Afghanistan’s total national output has grown a mean of 9.4% for every year from 2003 to 2012.

 

  • In the most recent decade, life expectancy at birth has improved by 20 years to more than 62 years.

 

  • In 2002, an expected 900,000 young boys enrolled into school and no girls. Presently, there are 8 million students selected in school, more than 33% of whom are young girls.

 

  • In 2002, just 6% of Afghans had reliable electricity. Today, 28% of the total population has electricity, including more than 2 million people in Kabul who have access to electricity 24-hour a day.

Be that as it may, difficulties remain, and Afghanistan will need international support to maintain its stability and to achieve objectives.

Afghanistan War: A Brief Profile

In 2001, the Afghanistan war had started after 9/11. The US and NATO coalition joined forces to attack Taliban and Al Qaeda groups. Starting 2014, United States workforces are pulling themselves back from the nation, finishing a decade long battle. The US has been at war for almost the first decade of the 21st-century. A big number of US military personnel have been sent to another country to the Middle East to take part in what the administration of President George W. Bush indicated to as the ‘War on Terror.’ In numerous ways, the main battle of the War on Terror has occurred in the isolated and hilly country of Afghanistan. So, let’s take a brief tour to the longest war in the history of US.

Causes of the War

Afghanistan has been an unsteady country, especially over the last century. In the early 1900s, the country had established itself as a sovereign country that no longer need outside help. In the early 1970s, power shifts hand at a random pace, especially, from one group to another. A civil war within Afghanistan’s border had begun in 1978 and the parties involved were pro- and anti-communist forces. The Soviet Union sent in a military group to show support to the communists. As a result, a severe conflict started. Throughout this battle, the US gave cash and military help to those battling the Soviets. Some of these were known as the Mujahideen, made out of Islamists who were staunchly contradicted to the Soviet intrusion. Throughout this conflict, more than one million Afghans had passed on this contention, yet the Soviets were repelled.

Following the war against the Soviets, different warlords and extremist groups viewed Afghanistan as a weak link and they strive to take control over the country in the coming years. By the mid-1990s, the Taliban took control of the nation and they ruled by Islamic Sharia law. They also initiated to a great degree unforgiving restrictions on the citizens of this nation. Furthermore, the Taliban group had made a situation in Afghanistan that feed terrorists. Osama Bin Laden, a veteran of the battle against the Soviets, turned into a main figure in the Al Qaeda terrorist association, one of the biggest and most advanced Islamic terrorist groups on the planet. They operated within Afghanistan and they had planned to strike against the USA.

In the year 2011, the Al Qaeda terrorists group started attacks against the USA and they flew with two planes filled with innocent people and crashed into buildings in New York City and one into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. The brave passengers in Southern Pennsylvania had brought down the fourth plane. About 3,000 Americans were killed during these terrorists’ attacks.

How many have died in this war?

  • S. soldiers: 2,014 (as of 7/10/12, according to the Department of Defense)
  • Taliban: More than 30,000
  • Al-Qaeda: more than 2,500
  • Afghan government forces: 6,100
  • Afghan civilians: more than 34,000
  • British soldiers: 341
  • Canadian soldiers: 152
  • Soldiers from allied countries (mostly from Germany, Spain, France, and Denmark): 163

Why was it so hard to achieve positive goals against the Afghanistan?

  • The Afghan society is made of different tribes and ethnic groups. They have a history of conflict and rivalry. As a result, it is a difficult task to bring them into one government supervision.
  • The mountain terrains of this county provide several hiding places to insurgents and make traditional war an impossible task.
  • Despite the fact that the USA had no plans of making a colony in the country, the conventional Afghan brutality worked against them.

How do the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan affect the Surviving Soldiers?

Since Vietnam war, the Afghanistan and Iraq wars are the longest ever battle operations. A lot of stressors confront these Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) troops. OEF/OIF service members are at danger for death or severe injury. They may see others hurt or executed. In fact, they might have needed to slaughter or wound others. As a result, they are subjected to dangers. These and different components have the potentials to expand the possibilities of having PTSD or other psychological problems.

Several members of service have been far away from home for long stretches of time and these issues can bring problems at home or work. Also, these issues can add to the anxiety as well. Besides, these problems are severe for National Guard and Reserve troops who had not anticipated that they would be away for so long. Half of the individuals who have served in the present wars have been Guard and Reservists.

There is another persisting stress problem that occurred in Iraq and Afghanistan is military sexual trauma (MST). This is rape or recurring, devastating inappropriate sexual behavior that happens in the military. It can happen to men and ladies. MST can also happen during peacetime, training period, or war.

One early study looked at the mental health of service members in Afghanistan and Iraq. The study asked Soldiers and Marines about war-zone experiences and about their symptoms of distress. Soldiers and Marines in Iraq reported more combat stressors than Soldiers in Afghanistan. This table describes the kinds of stressors faced in each combat theatre in 2003.

A research has been conducted on the emotional well-being of service members in Afghanistan and Iraq. It revealed some information about war-zone experiences and the side effects of distress. More soldiers, officers and marines in Iraq war reported about stress than in Afghanistan war. The below table portrays the kinds of stressors confronted in every battle in 2003 –

Combat Stressors Seeing dead bodies Being shot at Being attacked/ ambushed Receiving rocket or mortar fire Know someone killed/ seriously injured
Iraq Army 95% 93% 89% 86% 86%
Iraq Marines 94% 97% 95% 92% 87%
Afghanistan Army 39% 66% 58% 84% 43%

Source: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/

The soldiers and marines served in Iraq war suffered from more combat stressors and mental health problems than those who served in Afghanistan. The rate of having PSTD is higher for the soldiers in Iraq than Afghanistan. A later research confirmed these findings with evidence.

What causes the risk of PTSD in OEF/OIF service members?

Some research studies have revealed that specific factors make it more likely that OEF/OIF service members will develop PTSD. These factors include:

  • Long deployment time
  • Severe combat exposure, such as Deployment to “forward” areas close to the enemy and watching others wounded or killed
  • Severe physical injury and Traumatic brain injury
  • Lower rank and Lower level of schooling
  • Low morale and poor social support within the unit
  • Not being married and having Family problems
  • Member of the National Guard or Reserves
  • Prior trauma exposure
  • Hispanic ethnic group

What are the probable outcomes?

A research on OEF/OIF Veterans recommends that 10% to 18% of OEF/OIF troops are vulnerable to have PTSD after the war. Also, the PTSD, OEF/OIF service members are at a greater level of danger for other mental problems. In spite of the fact that studies differ generally as far as systems utilized, approximations of depression in returning troops vary from 3% to 25%. An excessive level of drinking and use of tobacco among OEF/OIF Veterans might be hazardous. They additionally report worries over differences with others.

Apart from this research, several other research studies have revealed how the reaction to war stressors changes after some time. The PTSD signs will probably appear in returning OEF/OIF service members after a while. Utilizing a brief PTSD screen, they were evaluated at their arrival and an again six months later. They will probably have a positive screen and they have demonstrated more PTSD side effects – at a later time. Now, a lot of service members who were screened positive with PSTD in the initial showed that the side effects will be reduced after six months. As a whole, it must be noted that almost all the returning members evaluated negatively for PSTD at both times.

Summary: The War against Iraq

From 1979 to 2003, Saddam Hussein ruled an atrocious dictatorship of Iraq. In 1990, he attacked and possessed the country of Kuwait for six months until being removed by a global coalition. For a while, he had demonstrated differing degrees of scorn for the international terms consented to toward the end of the war, to be specific a “no-fly zone” over a significant part of the nation, especially, the international examinations of probable artillery destinations. In 2003, an American-drove coalition attacked Iraq and ousted the Saddam Hussein’s long-standing government.

  1. Creating the Coalition

US President Bush had provided various reasons for attacking Iraq. These rationales included infringement of U.N. Security Council resolutions, the assembling of weapons of mass annihilation (WMD), and monstrosities conferred by Hussein against his kin. All of these violations represented a strong risk to the U.S. what’s more, the world. The U.S. guaranteed to have proof that demonstrated the presence of the WMD. They asked the U.N. Security Council to approve an invasion but the council did not. Rather, the U.S. along with the United Kingdom enrolled 29 different nations in a “coalition of the willing” to support and complete the invasion started in March 2003.

  1. Post-Invasion Troubles

Despite the fact that the first part of the war went as anticipated (the Iraqi government collapsed in a few days), the occupation and the restructuring demonstrated a very troublesome and difficult task. The UN held elections that led to the birth of new constitution and government. Be that as it may, brutal efforts by rebels had driven the nation to civil war. It had destabilized the new government and made Iraq a hotbed for terrorist enrollment. And significantly, these violence efforts raised the expense of the war. No stockpiles of WMD were found in Iraq, which harmed the trustworthiness of the U.S. As a result, the reputations of the American leaders were damaged and undermined the method of reasoning for the war.

  1. Divisions inside Iraq

Within Iraq, the different groups and loyalties were difficult to understand. Religious flaw lines between Sunni and Shiite Muslims were investigated. In spite of the fact that religion is an influential force in the Iraq friction, secular influences, including Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath Party, was considered to better comprehend Iraq.

  1. Expense of the Iraq War

In Iraq War, over 4,000 American troops have been executed and more than 30,000 injured. Almost 300 troops from other associated forces have been slaughtered. According to sources, over 50,000 Iraqi agitators have been murdered in the war and Iraqi regular citizens dead range is from 50,000 to 600,000. The United States has spent over $700 billion on the war and may eventually spend a trillion or more dollars.

 

  1. Foreign Policy Implications

Since 2002, the Iraq war and its aftermath have been at the focal point of U.S. foreign policy. The war and encompassing issues (like Iran) possess the consideration of about each leader at the White House, State Department, and Pentagon. Furthermore, the war has created an anti-American sentiment around the globe. Ultimately, it has made global policy making procedure more troublesome

  1. Future movements for the Iraq War

President Bush and his group appeared to be resolved to proceed with the control of Iraq. They had wanted to convey enough solidness to the country that Iraqi security powers can keep up control and permit the new government to pick up strength and legitimacy. However, other people believe this is an unthinkable task. What’s more, the perceived future is conceivable however can’t develop until after American soldiers are taken off from Iraq. Dealing with the American departure is discussed in a report from the bipartisan “Iraq Study Group” and in the plans of a few presidential campaigns.

Iraq War: Everything You Need to Know about!

The Iraq war started on March 19, 2003. Currently, it is the longest military clash of United States other than the Vietnam War. The Iraq war has taken somewhere in the range of 90,000 Iraqi lives. Besides, around 4,298 coalition troops has been died, among them, there are about 4,000 Americans. Also, the American citizens or taxpayers have paid nearly $700 billion and this war may cost up to $2 trillion if the war continues for another five years.

Significant Events of the war

  • On March 2003, about 300,000 American and British troops had attacked Iraq. Almost all the members from the U.N. have opposed the war. On May 1, the then President of US Bush declared victory over Iraq. But, there was violence against American soldiers and Iraqis who supported the war. Because of vulnerable security, robbers figure out how to take invaluable archeological relics from the National Museum in Baghdad. And a huge amount of explosives was stolen from an Iraqi weapons facility. The Iraqi Army had broken down and members from Saddam’s ruling Baath party were restricted from taking part in the government activities. In December, Saddam was found in a little subversive hideout.

 

  • In 2004, an interim constitution was approved. There were photos revealed abusing Iraqi detainees by American fighters in the Abu Ghraib jail. A furious adversary of American inclusion in Iraq, Shiite minister Moktada al-Sadr, drove an uprising against U.S. troops. As a result, the terrorist attacks occurred in every day.

 

  • In 2005, the first election in Iraq took place in over 50 years. The people of Iraq picked a National Assembly. In that election, all most all Sunnis decline to vote, and Shiites win a greater part of the vote. The “Bringing down Street Memo” surfaces – providing details regarding a 2002 meeting, the head of British Intelligence expresses that President Bush needed to uproot Saddam, and that the Bush administration influenced the evidence to start an invasion. Saddam Hussein goes on trial for wrongdoings against humankind.

 

  • In 2006, Nouri al-Maliki was elected as Prime Minister of Iraq. Abu Musab al Zarqawi, a pioneer of “Al Qaeda in Iraq,” was executed by American troops. Saddam Hussein is executed as well.

 

  • In 2007, on the insistence of General David Petraeus, who was the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, US President Bush had provided an additional 30,000 troops to Iraq. “The surge” means to smother the aggression and help the rival groups to achieve a political settlement. The ongoing brutality of “al-Qaeda in Iraq” triggered a backfire, which is known as the Sunni Awakening. Almost 80,000 previous Sunni agitators betray Al-Qaeda and backed the new government.

 

  • 2008 The Iraqi government calls for the removal of U.S. troops by 2011.

 

  • In February 2009, newly elected U.S. President Barack Obama declared that American battle troops will leave Iraq by August 2010. However, around 50,000 soldiers will stay for advising and training the Iraqi security forces and thus, they will help with intelligence-gathering.

 

  • In August 2010, US President Obama declared that the American battle mission in Iraq has been finished.

Numbers involved with Iraq War

  • American soldiers murdered in Iraq: 4,487
  • American soldiers injured in Iraq: 32,226
  • Dollars spent (or affirmed to be spent) on the war, through 9/10: about $900 billion
  • Iraqi police and soldiers murdered: 9,381
  • Iraqi civilians murdered: assessments range from 50,000 to 600,000
  • Iraqi guerrillas slaughtered: around 55,000
  • Iraqi refugees who have left their home: more than 2.1 million (about 7% of the aggregate population)
  • Iraqi refugees inside Iraq: more than 2.2 million starting 2007

How has the Iraq War changed the course of the lives of Iraq People?

As indicated by the International Committee of the Red Cross (in 2007), “Civilians endured the worst part of the persistent brutality and the poor security conditions disrupt the lives and jobs of millions. Consistently, many individuals were murdered and numerous were injured. Shootings, bombings, snatchings, murders, military operations and different types of savagery are compelling a large number of individuals to escape their homes and look for security somewhere else in Iraq or in neighboring nations.” As of 2007, 25% of Iraqi children experienced endless chronic malnutrition. 40% of professionals had escaped from the nation and a lot of homes had electricity for just a couple of hours a day (starting 2007). And just 1/3 of homes had sewer system facilities.