War Wounds

(…..) It’s often said that traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, which Richards’s doctors also diagnosed, are the signature wounds of the Iraq and Afghan wars. That’s partly because of the strains of repeated combat tours and partly because the enemy relies more on bombs than bullets. These factors suggest an answer to a continuing mystery: Why is suicide among soldiers and veterans more common now? Data collection has been poor, but several studies suggest suicides among Vietnam veterans were not elevated. And traditionally, suicide rates among military personnel were lower than among civilians. Yet that has changed in the last decade, perhaps because of the increased time that today’s troops have spent in combat and how common explosions and resulting concussions have become in war zones. OF 100 soldiers under Richards, about 90 were hit by at least one bomb blast, and one Stryker crew was hit 5 times, Richards says. Yet few received significant medical treatment or were pulled out of harm’s way to protect them from a repeat concussion. Richards himself didn’t receive any thorough examination or prompt diagnosis, even though he sought help from a series of doctors and counselors. He and Farrah just knew that something was wrong with his mind, and the intellectual toll became clearer when the Army sent him to Georgetown University to earn a graduate degree. The once brilliant scholar found his brain didn’t function properly. “The paper is disappointing,” Professor Nancy Bernkopf Tucker commented on one of his term papers, on China. “Parts are not coherent, overall it is not effective. It is not well written and it is sloppy. Of greatest significance is the lack of analysis.” Tucker told me that she recalled Richards well. “I remember him partly because I liked him so much,” she said. “He never told me about his background, and all I saw was someone not living up to his potential.” Richards agreed with her comments on his work. His pure reasoning capacity is unimpaired, his memory and ability to concentrate are faulty. In effect, he is a brilliant man tracking his cognitive deterioration. After stumbling along to complete his Georgetown degree, Richards moved to West Point two years ago to take up a teaching position. He was elated to be teaching there, but found himself losing his train of thought in class. He couldn’t read more than a few pages at a time. Richards saw students were looking questioningly, trying to figure out what was wrong. “It hurts, it’s humiliating”. “I was always thinking maybe this is just something psychological, I’m an Army guy, I can get over this”. It was at this time, three years after the concussions in Iraq, military physicians finally gave Richards a diagnosis of traumatic brain injury. Meanwhile, the headaches, the insomnia, the fatigue and the concentration problems grew worse, and he was embarrassed that medication for the headaches led him to put on 45 pounds (…..)

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/12/opinion/sunday/war-wounds.html


Acerca de ignaciocovelo
Consultor Internacional

2 Responses to War Wounds

  1. Professor Uziel Nogueira says: I wonder how Mitt Romney’s easy talk of another Middle East war would be delivered if his SONS were in combat ready units of the US Army. War is initiated by ambitious politicians and fought by the common man, either the less educated poor or naive patriots.

    MONEY is made by bankers and shareholders of the industrial-military complex.


  2. Valter Reimnitz says:

    War in not initiated by ambitious politicians…. war is initiated by circumstances.


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