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Hullabaloo


Sunday, August 15, 2010

 
Catch-22 21st Century Style

by digby


Why does everything have to be so damned hard?

At the height of the Iraq war, the Army routinely dismissed hundreds of soldiers for having a personality disorder when they were more likely suffering from the traumatic stresses of war, discharge data suggests.

[...]

Unlike PTSD, which the Army regards as a treatable mental disability caused by the acute stresses of war, the military designation of a personality disorder can have devastating consequences for soldiers.

Defined as a "deeply ingrained maladaptive pattern of behavior," a personality disorder is considered a "pre-existing condition" that relieves the military of its duty to pay for the person's health care or combat-related disability pay.

According to figures provided by the Army, the service discharged about a 1,000 soldiers a year between 2005 and 2007 for having a personality disorder.

But after an article in The Nation magazine exposed the practice, the Defense Department changed its policy and began requiring a top-level review of each case to ensure post-traumatic stress or a brain injury wasn't the underlying cause.

After that, the annual number of personality disorder cases dropped by 75 percent. Only 260 soldiers were discharged on those grounds in 2009.

At the same time, the number of post-traumatic stress disorder cases has soared. By 2008, more than 14,000 soldiers had been diagnosed with PTSD — twice as many as two years before.

The Army attributes the sudden and sharp reduction in personality disorders to its policy change. Yet Army officials deny that soldiers were discharged unfairly, saying they reviewed the paperwork of all deployed soldiers dismissed with a personality disorder between 2001 and 2006.


The story chronicles the ridiculous Catch-22 situation these vets are in, many of them suffering from traumatic brain injury (another horror story of the Iraq and Afghan wars.)

We went through this in Vietnam with Agent Orange and it caused huge amounts of needless pain for thousands of veterans and their families. It takes years to sort out and in the end it's always determined that a bunch of people suffered and were denied help for no good reason.

It's five thousand people at mos. Just cover them. Even if a few of them were legitimately messed up before they went in, you know damned well, they were worse off when they came out. And since there's no way to really know, just cover them all. They're vets. They need treatment, give it to them. It won't cost more than one useless airplane to cover them all for the rest of their lives.


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