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A Lifetime of Consequences for Serving Your Country

A Lifetime of Consequences for Serving Your Country

 

A new report released on November 8 by the Pew Social And Demographic Trends entitled “For Many Injured Veterans, A Lifetime Of Consequences” hit the nail on the head for many of us in the military community.  It makes it clear that the consequences of the past ten years of war will continue for decades. After all, a severely wounded veteran will need assistance for a considerable period of time, if not forever.  Their families will be affected for years.

While all of us in the military and veteran community understand that during these times of difficult budgets, with the very real possibility of massive cuts, veterans quite rightly wonder why they seem to be singled out. Veteran retirements are not welfare, these veterans have earned their retirement pay, their disability pay, their medical care.

They paid for it, many of them with their health, with arms, legs, eyes; they paid with severe traumatic brain injuries, and PTS;  to say that they knew what they were getting into, what they faced, cannot be the response of a citizenry that claims they support the troops and veterans.

As the report makes clear, those veterans who have been severely injured during their service have difficulties readjusting to civilian life, in a larger percentage than those who left the service without severe injuries. These seriously injured veterans are more likely to report suffering from PTS and they are, of course, more likely to have ongoing health problems in the future, and unfortunately more trouble holding down a job.  About half of the very seriously injured veterans say they don’t think the government has lived up to their promises, while only one third of uninjured veterans are of the same mind.

Veterans’ unemployment, which is very high, is an enormous factor in how veterans see their future. The President recently announced a series of initiatives designed to help veterans connect with those who have vacancies, personalized career counseling and a new job search site for veterans.

There is also a push for tax credits for hiring veterans, and a compromise was reached between House and Senate leaders in a bill which would give disabled veterans an extra year of vocational rehab benefits, creating a job training program for unemployed older veterans (including Vietnam veterans) and establishes a nationwide licensing and credential standard for veterans seeking trade jobs. This comes from the experience of many veterans who have been trained in trade jobs, including HVAC, engine maintenance, EMTs and other military specialties that can translate into good paying trade jobs, if the training they received and the “on-the-job training” in the military is considered.

The Pew Research Study finds that only 28% of those seriously injured are currently working full-time, and the same percentage reports that the disability has kept them from getting or keeping a job at some point. About half of the seriously injured veterans state that their health is “only fair” or “poor.” Among the wounded warriors surveyed in this, post-9/11 veterans are more likely to say their transition to the civilian world has not been easy, to report suffering from PTS and to maintain that the government has not done enough to help them.

While the post-9/11 conflicts are the longest period of “continuous fighting” in our history, the largest number of wounded warriors in the United States actually served during the Vietnam War. About 33% of all injured veterans are Vietnam-era vets, only 18% of wounded vets are post 9/11 and about 26% served from 1974 to 9/11, which includes the 1990/91 Gulf War.  Opinions about medical care vary widely: 55% of post-9/11 badly injured veterans rate their medical care as good and 70% of pre-9/11 veterans are positive about the medical care they received.

As the researchers state, one of the reasons for the differences being seen between the post-9/11 veterans and those who came before them “may be the immediacy of their experience.” Since we do not know how a severely wounded Vietnam vet may have felt right after he was released from the hospital, we must wonder if their attitudes have been shaped by the intervening years.

The post-9/11 seriously wounded veterans are reporting that only 49% of them are satisfied with their family life. A subset of this group, those who were married or had young children while in the service, say that the military did an “only fair or poor” job of meeting their family’s needs during deployment.

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(DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Travis K. Mendoza, U.S. Navy/Released) available at VIRIN: 101005-N-TU221-357

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55 comments

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6:14AM PST on Nov 27, 2011

M.E.W., I totally agree with you.

12:55AM PST on Nov 18, 2011

Bad news for a country.

1:20AM PST on Nov 16, 2011

"Serving your country"...I can think of countless better ways to practice social service for one's country than engaging in violence, damaging one's psyche/body, destroying nature...all for the profit of businesses involved in the war machine. So sad that people really believe that fighting on the other side of the world actually keeps us free in America.

That said, while I think that soldiers have wasted their lives in an unnecessary and immoral job, I do believe they should be adequately cared for as compensation for their military service.

8:15AM PST on Nov 14, 2011

@ Will R & Emanuel V. Your bigoted hatred is not needed. Don't blame the soldier, sailor, marine or airman for what is done in war, blame the Bureaucrats, in all all countries, for the insanity of war. To quote a line from the Movie "The Green Berets"
"Policy decisions are not made by the military. A soldier goes where he is told to go and fights whoever he is told to fight."

5:14PM PST on Nov 13, 2011

I am ashamed of the U.S. for not 100% standing behind every veteran's need for health care. I may not agree with the aspects of the war, but I completely want to support the troops' welfare and access to proper medical care.

2:43PM PST on Nov 13, 2011

It is sad on how our goverment treats its soldiers they did what was asked of them and they get screwed out of the benefits that they are entitled for.

2:48AM PST on Nov 12, 2011

Your country should not take priority over Your World. Patriotism is practised by feeble minded automatons. Soldiers are stupid because they think they're fighting for their country but they're fighting for their governments. And why do they think they're special anyway? They're just unnamed faces in identical uniforms who are doing a job for money, these mercenaries get paid they're not doing it for nothing! They also get the (perverse) satisfaction of legally killing, with no repercussions and because of Americas mollycoddling attitude which means that you aren't able to drink liquor until you're 21! A lot of people will join the army in order to go to other countries to drink and kill and Whore, away from the repression at home.
In the rest of the world America is the terrorist, if they have come to help or hinder its always the same, they bring Terror. They carpet bomb. They destabilise whole countries just to get a point across. And they are always trying to get their point across. The next target is Iran or possibly Syria or Jordan or even Lebanon. But the ultimate goal for this small minded country is China. I really hope that China does not give the west financial help because we would start a war so that we wouldn't have to give it back to them. Or we would mistake their kindness for weakness and attack them like the uncultured savages we are.

12:44AM PST on Nov 12, 2011

Don't be indoctrinated to believe people are serving their country. It's all one big lie . What people are realy serving is the Elite/illiluminati ZIONIST Banksters and their drive for world hegemony and total control of peoples lives and turning them into slaves or dead meat. Time we got real faced facts and discovered what really lies behind all the scams, the fraud, the lies and the theft of everyones wealth. The Elite crims ( Rothschilds) and their ilk have over the last 200 years robbed the world of 140 thousand trillion in wealth. That s 20million for every man woman and child. It does n't bear thinking about does it ? Or you can,t believe it can you ?Sadly it is so true. and what are we going to do about it???????

11:37PM PST on Nov 11, 2011

it's sad how many of our soldiers are treated when they come home.

9:15PM PST on Nov 11, 2011

When a person signs up to join the military, it is a CONTRACT between the government and the person. That CONTRACT states that the person will receive certain benefits while in the military (this includes any immediate family that person has). They enter into this contact with the PROMISE that this contract will be honored. Now the government (i.e. CONGRESS) is trying to wiggle their way out of the contract because it is costing too much money. I'm sorry but in the civilian world if there was such a breach between 2 companies, the lawers would be having a field day suing the company breaking the contract. The same thing needs to be done with Congress, they need to be sued for defaulting on their written PROMISES in the CONTRACT that was signed. Take the money that's laid out for their insurance, health benefits and at least 1/2 of their retirement and put it towards those military personnel (and their families) who gave of themselves thru time, health, limbs, minimal salaries, raising kids in a one parent household while their partner is working their butts off in some farway country or aboard a ship somewhere in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea or Pacific Ocean!

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