Monday, March 26, 2007

Military Misreports Head Injury As "Personality Disorder"

A 107 mm rocket hit two feet from Specialist Jon Town's head in Ramadi, Iraq. His injuries included rocket shrapnel deep in his neck and head, leaving him partially deaf and with memory loss. Town was declared unfit for combat.

But instead of sending Town to a medical board, doctors at Fort Carson, Colorado declared Town's injuries the result of a "personality disorder". As a result, he will not receive disability or medical benefits.

Recent investigations have shown that Army doctors have often ruled injured soldiers to have "pre-existing conditions" that therefore disqualify them for benefits - even for injuries clearly sustained in combat.

The recent wave of intentional misreporting of statistics that the Bush administration and the war machine find embarrassing, expensive or "unpatriotic" has created an environment of legitimate mistrust of the entire military apparatus. Veterans are being deliberately misdiagnosed to cut off all benefits and thus save money. More importantly, if this practice undermines the legitimacy of recruitment efforts or the deserved loyalty of soldiers, the US could suffer irreparable harm to the essential spirit and of our defense structure.

Much like the boy who cried, "wolf", our failure to re-establish integrity and honor may result in a generation of cynical citizens, and deservingly so, but detrimental nonetheless.

More on the subject at

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