Saturday, April 05, 2008

War’s toll on U.S. troops. Gen. David Petraeus and Amb. Ryan Crocker recently recommended to President Bush that troop levels in Iraq “remain nearly the same through 2008 as at any time during five years of war.” The New York Times reports on a survey by the Army surgeon general’s Mental Health Advisory Team that shows the mental health toll of these repeated deployments on U.S. troops:

Among combat troops sent to Iraq for the third or fourth time, more than one in four show signs of anxiety, depression or acute stress, according to an official Army survey of soldiers’ mental health. […]

Among the 513,000 active-duty soldiers who have served in Iraq since the invasion of 2003, more than 197,000 have deployed more than once, and more than 53,000 have deployed three or more times, according to a separate set of statistics provided this week by Army personnel officers. The percentage of troops sent back to Iraq for repeat deployments would have to increase in the months ahead.

The Army study of mental health showed that 27 percent of noncommissioned officers — a critically important group — on their third or fourth tour exhibited symptoms commonly referred to as post-traumatic stress disorders.

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