Forced Psych Disorder Discharges: Is THIS How the Military “Support Our Troops”? For Shame!
I don’t shock easily–but I am deeply shocked. I m outraged. I’m enraged. I’m bloody furious!
We hear all the time from the Bill O’Reillys, Ann Coulters and Rush Limbaughs of the country that any criticism of the Iraq “mission” is unpatriotic and goes against supporting our troops.
And then this–The Nation reports on numerous cases of soldiers injured in the war, pressured to accept a psychiatric discharge for a “pre-existing condition” that they never had, being told by their military doctors that this way they’ll get to keep their benefits and get a much quicker discharge–when in actuality these brave young men and women are hung out to dry, stripped of their medical benefits, and left holding the bill for any enlistment bonus they haven’t yet earned out.
This lowest of lowball tactics is saving the Veterans Administration millions of dollars–and is yet another betrayal of these many-times-betrayed soldiers.
Here’s a longish quote from the article:
He was standing in the doorway of his battalion’s headquarters when a
107-millimeter rocket struck two feet above his head. The impact punched a piano-sized hole in the concrete facade, sparked a huge fireball and tossed the 25-year-old Army specialist to the floor, where he lay blacked out among the rubble.
“The next thing I remember is waking up on the ground.” Men from his unit had gathered around his body and were screaming his name. “They started shaking me. But I was numb all over,” he says. “And it’s weird because… because for a few minutes you feel like you’re not really there. I could see them, but I couldn’t hear them. I couldn’t hear anything. I started shaking because I thought I was dead.”
Eventually the rocket shrapnel was removed from Town’s neck and his ears stopped leaking blood. But his hearing never really recovered, and in many ways, neither has his life. A soldier honored twelve times during his seven years in uniform, Town has spent the last three struggling with deafness, memory failure and depression. By September
2006 he and the Army agreed he was no longer combat-ready.
But instead of sending Town to a medical board and discharging him because of his injuries, doctors at Fort Carson, Colorado, did something strange: They claimed Town’s wounds were actually caused by a “personality disorder.” Town was then booted from the Army and told that under a personality disorder discharge, he would never receive disability or medical benefits.
Town is not alone. A six-month investigation has uncovered multiple cases in which soldiers wounded in Iraq are suspiciously diagnosed as having a personality disorder, then prevented from collecting benefits.
If it weren’t already obvious, this “treatment”–which ought to be the subject of immediate Congressional investigation AND ACTION is the very opposite of supporting the troops. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–the best support we can give our troops is to bring them home safely and SOON. To which I’ll add that bringing charges against the barbarians carrying out this deeply inhumane and vicious policy that victimizes the very people hurt in carrying out their orders is also a way of supporting the troops.