- via MAL Contends

Editors Note: In the piece below (with links to the full article series) the authors lay out how Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has evolved into a political hatchet under the Bush administration, and how veterans are not just rejected treatment and benefits, but now are actually being blamed, (and like in one case that we know): Jailed. - MAL

- Reprinted with permission of ePluribus Media, (c) 2006. Article appeared originally in ePluribusMedia in Feb. 2006 -

by D. E. Ford, Commander Jeff Huber, US Navy (Retired), and I. L. Meagher

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) became part of the American vocabulary after the Vietnam War as its effects on veterans became widely publicized. Now, a new generation of American veterans are again victims of PTSD. This series explores the impact of politics on the funding, diagnosis and treatment of veterans suffering from PTSD. It examines the propaganda used to justify a reduction in benefits to veterans with PTSD and the effort to redirect blame for the ravages of war to the soldiers themselves.

Part I: Stacking the Deck - With trillion dollar estimates for the Iraq war, the Administration looks to cut costs, eyeing treatment for the returning PTSD wounded veterans.

Part II: Ration & Redefine - Redefining PTSD and substance abuse as moral/spiritual failings opens the door to cheaper unregulated, unlicensed faith-based "treatments."

Part III: Malign & Slime - Propaganda is used to stigmatize veterans seeking help, reduce benefits to veterans with PTSD and to blame the soldiers for their own illness.

PTSD Resources About the Authors


Penny Coleman from AlterNet nails it:

This administration's policies regarding PTSD and combat-related suicide are consistent with their claims to support the troops while making budgetary decisions that endanger them.

In the past six years, more than 22,500 soldiers, most diagnosed with PTSD or traumatic brain injury, have been dismissed from service with a diagnosis of "personality disorder," which, considered a pre-existing condition, absolves the VA of all responsibility for their future care.

Despite cries of foul from psychiatrists, veterans' rights groups, injured soldiers and their families, and even the military officials required to process these dismissals, the practice continues and successful appeals are almost non-existent.

The Army Times reports a backlog of some 600,000 veterans' benefits claims on appeal. On average, it takes the VA 177 days to process an original claim and 657 days to process an appeal. If psychically injured veterans die with their case under appeal, the case dies with them.