Wars May End But Mental Disorders March On

The AP reports that according to the government’s own statistics, more than one-third of veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq who seek medical treatment from the Veterans Health Administration have symptoms of stress or other mental disorders and are reporting it at 10 times the rate of just 18 months earlier.

Previous studies have shown that 15 percent of returning male Vietnam veterans had been diagnosed with PTSD, falling to 3 percent in the tame Gulf War of 1991, and rising to 18 percent for Afghanistan war veterans and now 20 percent for Iraq war veterans. Studies also show that as time marches on, so do the mental effects. They also show a much higher percentage of anti-social and criminal behavior among combat veterans than others.

There is a sad and unnecessary personal cost here, but an even greater one for America, so many of whose future leaders are debilitated — even worse than the ones they will be replacing who never saw combat.

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