When the first reports of a U.S. soldier, one American sergeant, killing 16 civilians in Afghanistan hit the airwaves, I noticed one very interesting comment from Catherine Herridge on Fox News. She indicated that one of her sources in Afghanistan suggested that it would cost U.S. taxpayers too much money to treat all the soldiers suffering from traumatic brain injury (TBI), and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and that diagnosing soldiers with this condition and removing them from active duty was not taking place as it should be. (not verbatim)
I cannot find video or text of her statement, nor can I find the name of the source she was quoting. Whether true or not, this brings up a very important topic in light of the recent killings. TBI, PTSD, and multiple deployments.
Katie Drummond at Wired Danger Room reports that 'new details about the still-unnamed staff sergeant’s background suggest that brain damage, wrought by a traumatic brain injury during an earlier deployment, might have been a contributing factor'. (image NRI) Also:
Joint Base Lewis-McChord, where the accused soldier was treated for TBI before being deployed to Afghanistan, has recently been implicated in an investigation over misdiagnosed PTSD cases. Again, officials haven’t stated whether soldier in particular had been diagnosed with PTSD at any point during enlistment. But as reported in the Washington Post today, Army investigators are currently poring over thousands of cases to see whether soldiers with PTSD at Lewis-McChord were diagnosed with a lesser ailment (like personality disorder). Already, the medical diagnoses of 285 soldiers will be re-evaluated by doctors.
Tammy Swofford asks, "Did he display signs of needing a psych board evaluation which were ignored?", noting that "His history was already littered with troubling signs of a soldier in distress before sent on his 4th deployment". Wired's Danger Room backs that up:
In an interview with ABC News on Monday, an unnamed source claimed that the sergeant suffered a TBI sometime in a past deployment, either by “hitting his head on the hatch of a vehicle or in a car accident.” A subsequent story from Reuters reported that the TBI occurred as recently as 2010. The alleged shooter is said to have later undergone TBI-specific treatment at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, before being cleared for duty and then redeployed. He also reportedly passed typical behavioral health assessments during his enlistment.
The sergeant is hardly alone in suffering from a brain injury while overseas. TBIs, along with post-traumatic stress disorder, are widely renowned as “the signature wounds” of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. An estimated 200,000 soldiers have been diagnosed with a TBI since the wars started. That estimate is most likely a low-ball. And clearly the vast, vast, vast majority of those TBI sufferers have not turned homicidal. (Wired Danger Room)
See information on studies concerning TBI and PTSD and any connections to violent behavior at Wired, who concludes TBI still seems implicated in violent behavior on its own — regardless of a PTSD diagnosis.
In Kandahar, 91 soldiers have been murdered last year alone, according to Daniel Greenfield who writes:
There will be no mention of how many of them died because the Obama Administration decided that the lives of Afghan civilians counted for more than the lives of soldiers. No talk of what it is like to walk past houses with gunmen dressed in civilian clothing inside and if you are fired at from those houses, your orders are to retreat.
Air strikes are for days gone by. The American soldier in the ISAF is expected to patrol and retreat, to smile and reach out to Afghans while they shoot him in the back. After risking his life to hold back the Taliban, he is expected to take it calmly when his government announces that it is trying to cut a deal with the Taliban. As he waits out the final months until withdrawal, seeing his friends lose their limbs and their lives, knowing that the enemy has won, that he has been betrayed and is being kept senselessly on the front line for no objective except the diplomatic position of a government that hates him, that is taking away his health care, his equipment and his job; how does he feel? (read it all)
Afghans again take to the streets in outrage, no outrage for the innocent women, children, men that the Afghans themselves torture and kill on any given day for some failure to live up to the rigid guidelines of Islam. The Afghans threaten to behead U.S. soldiers while the Taliban call the United States animals, sadistic, and murderous.
The debate over whether we should bring our troops home is once again prominent and will need to be addressed by presidential candidates on the campaing trail.
Also the debate of diagnosing and treating our brave men and women properly is again in the news. If tax dollars are to be used for anything, they surely need to be used to treat our military members, and not wasted on green pet projects that invariably fail, by the Liberals in Washington.