"We have this theme in this country that we will support our troops, all work as a team, but there are so many cases when they are just released from service and left on their own. We treat them as second-class citizens, but they are the ones who pay the price."
More Iraq, Afghanistan veterans need more help
Kevin Fagan, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer
Monday, November 30, 2009
Pentagon bean counters see an extra $40 billion in annual costs if President Obama sends 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan, but Michael Blecker sees mainly this:
More than 13,000 new cases of post-traumatic stress disorder. An additional 8,000 or so traumatic brain injuries. More suffering and need coming home in the form of wounded vets than the country can easily handle.
The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have produced more diagnosed cases of PTSD and debilitating injuries per capita than any other war in the nation's history, health care experts say. And veterans who encounter homecoming trouble are becoming homeless more quickly than ever, street counselors say.
It's something most people don't consider when they think of sending more soldiers overseas, said Blecker, head of San Francisco's Swords to Plowshares veterans aid agency. But they should, he said - especially now, as Obama prepares to make a speech to the nation Tuesday.
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