The Trauma Lines Blog

Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists

How Is the U.S. Really Treating Their Troops?

with one comment

Recently, Bob Herbert of the New York Times wrote a provocative op-ed piece that calls the United States’ commitment and support of their troops into serious question:

The idea that the United States is at war and hardly any of its citizens are paying attention to the terrible burden being shouldered by its men and women in uniform is beyond appalling.

We can get fired up about Lady Gaga and the Tea Party crackpots. We’re into fantasy football, the baseball playoffs and our obsessively narcissistic tweets. But American soldiers fighting and dying in a foreign land? That is such a yawn.

For those of us who attended this year’s conference, we haven’t soon forgotten the emotional video of Canadian citizens welcoming home their fallen soldiers. Canadians lined the roads that led into the Air Force Base and they lined the roads which led away from the base. In America, fallen soldiers are returned under the cover of darkness, citizens and the media are prevented from photographing the caskets. Herbert contests that this is just another example that the U.S. isn’t owning up to their responsibility:

The meat grinder of war takes its toll in so many ways, and we should be paying close attention to all aspects of it. Instead, we send our service members off to war, and once they’re gone, it’s out of sight, out of mind.

In Herbert’s view, it doesn’t get any better for the soldiers who survived battle but now face a new war at home:

One of the things we have long known about warfare is that the trouble follows the troops home. The Times published an article this week by Aaron Glantz, a reporter with The Bay Citizen news organization in San Francisco, that focused on the extraordinary surge of fatalities among Afghanistan and Iraq veterans. These young people died, wrote Mr. Glantz, “not just as a result of suicide, but also of vehicle accidents, motorcycle crashes, drug overdoses or other causes after being discharged from the military.”

READERS: Do you agree with Herbert’s sharp assessment of how the U.S. is treating their military?

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Written by traumalines

November 2, 2010 at 9:30 pm

One Response

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  1. […] from Bob Herbert: The idea that the United States is at war and hardly any of its citizens are paying attention to […]


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