Army Admits: Iraq War Driving Soldiers Crazy

5 de may de 2007

<body><div id="article"><tr><td height="28" valign="middle" width="184"></td><td valign="middle" width="185"></td></tr><h1>Army Admits: Iraq War Driving Soldiers Crazy</h1><p>May 5 (EIRNS)--On Friday, the Army released its fourth Mental Health Advisory Team report, this one based on surveys of soldiers taken in Iraq in August and September of last year. The report showed what any mental health professional could tell you: extended deployments and repeated deployments are taking a psychological toll on soldiers.</p><p>Unlike previous MHAT reports, this one also included Marines, 447 of them, along with 1,320 Army soldiers, and discovered that the Marines have fewer mental health issues and morale problems than do soldiers, probably because their tours are only 7 months compared to now 15 months for the Army. Those who have deployed multiple times reported "higher acute stress" and marital concerns than those on their first deployments.</p><p>The report, for the first time, also included questions on battlefield ethics, and found that ten percent of soldiers and Marines reported mistreating noncombatants either through physical abuse or unnecessary damaging of property. Less than half agreed that non-combatants should be treated with respect. Acting Army Surgeon General Maj. Gen. Gale Pollock tried to put a positive spin on this ethical problem, by claiming that the low percentage is actually proof of how well soldiers and Marines follow orders rather than considering that it might be evidence of a burgeoning problem.</p><p>The most important recommendation made in the MHAT report is that the amount of "dwell" time - the time units spend at their home station - should be increased to 18 to 36 months, rather than the 12, or sometimes less, that has been typical of Army units, in order to give soldiers more time to "reset mentally." Pollock, however, repeatedly dodged questions on whether or not that can actually be done, given how overstretched the Army is now. The plan appears to depend on soldiers who don't yet exist: specifically, the 65,000 that the Army is planning to add to its end strength over the next five years, which Pollock said will make possible that increase in dwell time.</p></div></body>