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Broken Promises

SF Chronicle: Thousands of Iraqi and Afghanistan veterans are returning home only to become casualties of war - at their own hands. Suffering from p

SF Chronicle:


Thousands of Iraqi and Afghanistan veterans are returning home only to become casualties of war - at their own hands. Suffering from psychiatric injuries, 1,000 veterans under Veterans Administration care are attempting suicide each month. Almost 40 percent of the young men and women returning from combat almost have proven mental health injuries that include Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, major depression and traumatic brain injury.

But when they seek help, disabled veterans face a claims system so mismanaged and inefficient that they often must wait more than five years for any assistance. The Department of Veterans Affairs is choking on a backlog of some 600,000 unresolved benefits claims. Even after their eligibility has been established, thousands of veterans cannot obtain adequate mental health treatment. While they wait for the care they are owed, veterans are dying. About 126 veterans per week commit suicide. Vast numbers of veterans are living with mental illness, sometimes so severe that they are unable to work. Nationally, about 154,000 veterans are homeless on any given night and twice that many are homeless at some time during the year. Read on...

I've said before that I'm the granddaughter of a career military officer. There is no excuse for the treatment of vets and it horrifies me that we're adding tens of thousands of more vets every year from Iraq and Afghanistan. They say that the measure of a society is how they treat the neediest among them. What does this say about us?

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