Veterans continue to face extremely high levels of unemployment, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress and homelessness. Since 2000, nearly 6,000 servicemembers have experienced traumatic amputations from injuries caused by improvised explosive devices and other war-related dangers. Nearly one million active servicemembers have been diagnosed with at least one mental health disorder since 2000; nearly half of those have been diagnosed with two or more. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, an estimated 22 veterans take their own lives each day. Last year, more U.S. military personnel died by their own hands than the hands of others. On any given night, nearly 63,000 veterans are homeless. Many suffer chronic debilitating mental health problems.
Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! discusses the hurdles facing many veterans today with writer and photographer Ann Jones, author of the new book, "They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars—The Untold Story."
Ann Jones: "PTSD is a label that seems to cover everything and excuse everything. But another effect that it’s having in this current situation is that it leads soldiers to be, veterans to be heavily medicated. Now, that’s called treatment, but I’ve talked with one after another who tell me, "It didn’t treat me; it turned me into a zombie." And the effect it has for the Pentagon is it shuts our veterans up, so they can’t tell us what it was like for them in the war. I think if we could hear those stories, if they could tell them, and we had the courage to listen to them, we would change our minds about giving our executives the authority to hurl into wars, of their own choice, these all-volunteer armies, that—as long as we have these standing armies, that corrupt our democracy, the executive can go to war anytime he wants with this army, because we’re no longer getting pushback from the parents of a really democratic army."
You Can Get Help
If you are a U.S. military veteran and suicidal, call 800-273-8255
and press 1 or follow the link to Veterans Crisis Line website: