Monday, January 14, 2008

Costs of War (UPDATED)

An interesting report came in on the AP this morning, (and the DNR) reporting that "121 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans have committed a killing or been charged in one in the United States after returning from combat." Add this to the "349 homicides involving all active-duty military personnel and new veterans in the six years since military action began in Afghanistan, and later Iraq." The article that originated in The New York Times, went on to say that this represented an 89% increase over the previous 6 year period.

Chalk this up with yet another cost of the war that wasn't anticipated. We've always known that returning veterans from war zones have carried risks associated with their job. That they are not being adequately cared for medically or mentally is an issue and a cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that we will be paying for a very long time.

This article shows that even when we are able to bring our troops home, there will still be very high costs yet to pay.


In the Daily News Record today, the editor addresses this question.

My reply:

The crime rates by veterans quoted by the editor do show lower rates that the population at large. He conveniently leaves out another statistic from the article stating that the rate of violent crime in the last 6 years represents an 89% increase over the preceding 6 years. It is also true that our returning soldiers by the nature and training of their job are considerably more dangerous than typical young civilian men and women who turn to crime and violence. I agree with the editor in that proper care for both mental and physical effects of war are necessary and efforts in that area need to be improved especially with regards to the mental effects of war.

The editor shows an unhealthy, worshipful attitude of all things military. The military has a job, mandated by society, worthy of respect, but certainly not worthy of being held up for hero worship and adulation. This false patriotism and hyper-adulation of the military is a major cause of our falling status in the world and our deteriorating reputation as a nation. It is especially saddening when the after-care of veterans when they return home is so dismal. This is yet another cost of war that is never anticipated.

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